What if our behaviour was solely determined by the presence of a complex organisation of emotions who held the remote to our actions, reactions and feelings working inside our heads? What if in reality we were not the masters of our own lives?
That is exactly what ‘Inside Out’, yet another creation of the director of ‘Up’ and Pixar tried to explore. To visualize a concept as complex as the realms of the subconscious mind through the medium of animation is almost an unimaginable task, but like every other time Pixar did manage to bring new heights to the whole art of making animated movies for all age groups. I remember the excitement on my dad’s face the first time Up came on the television, and even this time when I went to watch Inside Out, an old couple was sitting beside me and I could see them thoroughly enjoying the film.
So I won’t be writing a regular review of the movie with a summarized story and a ‘go watch to find out what happens next’ ending. I will just try and dwell upon some scenes that struck me the most. What this movie tries to portray is that every mind is controlled by a set of emotions- joy, sadness, disgust, fear and anger. When we are young, joy is the predominant emotion. Taking our first footstep, creating a ruckus when mom tries to feed us, adding a tiny lollipop to the shopping cart filled with groceries, making our first friend in school, losing our first milk tooth and sitting on a swing as dad pushes it from behind are all core memories cherished by our parents and eventually us as we grow older. Life is uncomplicated. Chocolates and balloons make us happy, broken toys make us sad, vegetables disgust us, bogeyman scares us and hardly anything ever makes us angry! But as we start growing older, we get exposed to a lot more things. Parents start reprimanding us for many things that they would have found amusing before, there is always the pressure to fit in amongst our classmates and we awaken to a lot more things happening around us that no longer feel joyous.
But most of all, as we grow older our collection of memories expand. According to the blueprint of the warehouse as shown in the movie, it is divided into two sections- short term and long term with a certain limit of space. Thus to accommodate our new memories, often there is a random clearance of the older memories and the ones that are cleared are thrown into a pit where they eventually vapourize and are lost forever. This is what hit me the most in the entire duration of 94 minutes. I wonder how many treasured memories of mine must have been tossed down the pit. So that day when I came back to my room, I lay on my bed and tried to recollect things from the depths of my past, memories that managed to survive the test of time. I was surprised by the number of events that flashed past my mind. Dad carrying me on his shoulders so that I could see the idols amidst the sea of people in the durga pujas, mom reading us the story of Totto Chan before our afternoon naps, me cycling around with my sister on the carrier seat, the first time I learnt to cook an omelette from grandma, the time when I used to secretly apply mom’s lipstick and a lot more were memories that were evidence to the fact that childhood was the time when Joy held the remote control to my life.
Then slowly, with time sadness and anger crept in. Education was a competition, art class was an obligation and family was full of friction. Those were my teenage years. Even though I am still a teenager, trust me when I say that my pre-teen days were much worse. Probably that was the time when sadness and anger decided that joy had held the remote for too long and decided to end her monopoly. As I grow older I will go through more different phases of life, but this time I know for a fact that the reigns are not in my hand anymore. And not just me, you, your grandfather, his neice and her pet dog, everyone has their own set of emotions that build up their personalities. So next time don’t blame yourself, your boyfriend, your president, your conspiring classmate and especially not your genes (parents). Blame those tiny engineers of emotion. What you are is an abstract form of the labyrinth of emotional mechanisms working inside your head.