I do believe that there are gifted people. How else can one be divinely brilliant, if one is not blessed by God? So, the world can be divided into two parts: A few gifted people and rest of the mediocre lot. I liked Amadeus not just because it states the same thing and reinforces my belief.
I watched Amadeus because it inspired the Salman Khan Starrer “London Dreams”, because Amadeus won 8 Academy awards and because it shows the relation between two musicians; one of them being the great Mozart. When I watched the movie, I found a better reason to like it.
Amadeus is a love story. It narrates a story of a boy, who falls in love with a girl when he was a child, who gives everything he has, spends all the time he can and sacrifices all his life just to win her, who later finds that she has fallen for a freak, who grieves his fate but fights back to win her again and who finally loses and goes mad. Of course, the girl is not a real girl. It’s something else.
”I am a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.” says a young composer Wolfgang Mozart in the court of Vienna. Everyone knows that his music is great. But Antonio Salieri, the court composer, believes that it is the greatest. As an archrival of Mozart, Salieri cries every time he listens to Mozart’s performance, not with envy but, with love and worship for his music. He even believes that God is composing it through Mozart. He confesses to have watched even a flop opera of Mozart all the five times it has been played.
Amadeus is not about Mozart. It is about Salieri and Salieri’s love for music. As long as he can remember, Salieri always wanted to become a great composer. He prays the God for the same and offers to be chaste in return. As he gets the life he wanted, achieves the acclaim he dreamed of and finds himself in the most respectable position for a composer in the city of musicians, he thinks that the God is on his side. He realizes that he is wrong, when he meets a womanizing, stupid, brute and boastful, but extremely talented Mozart. He feels it unfair.
When Salieri encounters Mozart for the first time, he hates Mozart as much as he adores Mozart’s composition. He wonders why God chose a vulgar soul such as Mozart to be the greatest musician, instead of him who sacrificed everything for music. He pleads the God to enable him to create one composition, which is as great as that of Mozart. He realizes that he doesn’t belong to the gifted people and is just one mere mediocrity, compared to Mozart. He shows his disappointment (or helplessness) towards God by throwing a cross in the fire. Despite his failure in making great compositions, he remains faithful to his love, music. He always criticizes Mozart, but never speaks a word against Mozart’s music. He tries unsuccessfully to play a Mozart’s composition under his name. Finally, when Mozart dies of overconsumption of alcohol and restlessness before completing his composition for Salieri, he accuses himself of killing Mozart and goes mad.
The movie starts with the mad Salieri making a confession to a chaplain in an asylum after 32 years since Mozart’s death. Salieri narrates the whole story. He tells the chaplain that his music has died slowly till no one plays it whereas Mozart’s has become immortal. Salieri asks the chaplain why God has done injustice to him. The chaplain doesn’t answer. Salieri comforts him by saying, “I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.”
The movie runs for 3 hours. This is the reason why I postponed watching it for almost 2 years. Finally, when I watched the movie, I placed it among my all-time favorite movies. There are a few scenes that stand out and make you watch the movie again and again: especially, the one in which Salieri plays bits of music for the chaplain, the one in which Salieri asks Mozart’s wife to visit him alone in the night and the one in which a disguised Salieri asks Mozart to imitate Salieri.
The director of the movie, undoubtedly, is gifted; else he wouldn’t have made an engaging, captivating and astounding masterpiece with such a complex concept. One more example for his mastery is his other work “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”, which went on to run for 11 years in Sweden and became the second movie in the history to win the 5 major academy awards.
I don’t recommend Amadeus for you, if you watch movies only for entertainment. If you believe that movies are a lot more than just fun, it is a must watch.
PS: For those who wonder what Amadeus means, it is “God’s beloved”.