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Dances With Na'vi

How ‘Avatar’ reminds me of ‘Dances With Wolves’!
By Naresh Kumar Deoshi
Wed, Dec 30, 2009 13:04:43 GMT
 

Dances With Na'vi
He was the only white man in a landscape that inspired awe. He entered another world, a world hitherto unknown, a world misunderstood and often exploited by his compatriots. The first person he met from this new world was a woman, who later on taught him the ways of her people, her clan, her tribe.

He learnt to speak their language, ride like them and even hunt like them, in the process also falling in love with the woman. Soon he was one of them - no longer a trigger-happy white man but someone who’d learnt to live in harmony with nature. And when people from his former world came to drive away the indigenes, he fought them. Lieutenant John Dunbar had no regrets killing the ‘greedy’ white men who came to the alien country not as guests but as rulers.

Former marine Jake Sully of Cameron’s sci-fi film could as well be the future avatar of John Dunbar of ‘Dances With Wolves’. While the latter flick took us back in time (1863) to the breathtaking prairies of America and into the lives of the Sioux natives, 'Avatar' star-treks us straight to the magical world of a distant planet Pandora and its Omaticaya people.

Like Sully, Dunbar too went on a mission to negotiate with the natives. While Sully records his thoughts in a log book, Dunbar penned a diary. And it’s a remarkable coincidence that the Omaticaya clan Sully became part of had a shaman not very different from the Sioux holy man Dunbar befriended.

Kevin Costner and James Cameron certainly don’t have much in common, but for the fact that they apparently think alike. Back in 1990, Costner took the risk of translating his good friend Michael Blake’s rejected book onto celluloid in ‘Dances With Wolves’ which eventually won seven Oscars. In the new millennium, James Cameron finally got the technology to give shape to his much-cherished and improvised sci-fi thriller ‘Avatar’ which, again, is expected to clinch many trophies and statuettes in the coming award season.

But there’s one point of departure in the two movies. History is witness to what happened to the native American Indians as the white man won the west. If indeed humans ever set foot on another planet with extraterrestrial life to obtain something precious like unobtainium, how I wish Cameron’s vision to come true.
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