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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Hollywood Rewind | Titanic: The ship has sunk, only memories remain

Made on a budget of 200 million dollars, Titanic earned a jaw-dropping two billion dollars at the box office. And for good reason.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
Updated: November 15, 2020 11:48:58 am
titanicTitanic released in 1997. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

No phrase befits Titanic better than “A feast for the eyes.” Helmed by James Cameron, Titanic’s world is part fiction and part truth. What the Leonardo DiCaprio-Kate Winslet movie lacked in story, it made up with all the glamour. I had a difficult time pulling my eyes away from the screen.

The story is simple enough — A rich girl meets a less-privileged boy aboard a humungous ship on its maiden trip. While our leading characters had some comprehension concerning love and its obstacles, they were completely clueless about the actual disaster in waiting — an accident of epic proportions. The sinking of the ship. I remember watching Titanic in a cinema hall as a child. Even then, all I could take in were the visuals, the scenic beauty that painted the screen. The narrative didn’t hold much significance. Only years later, when I watched the movie as a 16-year-old, did I shed tears for the lovers and its now meme-worthy climatic moment. That said, it should be added that it is no masterpiece cinema. We have seen better love stories, better cinema before and after the film’s release. However, it is the attractive pairing of Leo and Kate and the bond that they showcased on screen, which is still etched in my mind. That and the iconic ship pose and Celine Dion’s mournful crooning of “My heart will go on.”

Before Titanic, both Leonardo and Kate had appeared in a handful of independent movies. And they were very good in them too. Therefore, getting aboard Titanic was an experiment for the duo. An experiment that worked wonders. Leo admitted as much in an interview with ABC. He said, “Titanic was very much an experiment for Kate Winslet and I. I loved her (Kate) as an actress and she said, ‘Let’s do this together, we can do this.’ We did it, and it became something that we could’ve never foreseen.” What Titanic also did was announce the ‘coming’ of Leonardo and Kate in a grand fashion. Leonardo was only 22 when Titanic happened. And on more than one occasion, the actor has confessed how overwhelmed the film’s success had made him. What that fame had also done was open new doors for the Oscar-winner. “I used (my fame) as a blessing, to make R-rated, different kinds of movies, to throw the dice a little bit on things I wanted to act in. People would want to finance those movies now. I’d never had that, before Titanic,” Leo said in the same interview. Leonardo had never played the ‘hero’ before the James Cameron directorial. A hero with a tragic ending. Sure, he did a version of it in 1996’s Romeo+Juliet. But the effect was not the same, not so larger-than-life as it was in the case of Titanic. After Titanic, both Leo and Kate became the cynosure of all eyes, and years later they picked up an Oscar for their fabulous performances in different films. Yes, the experiment had worked indeed.

Titanic was the most expensive movie made at the time. And it showed. The dresses were intricate and stunning, the ship itself looked like an opulent giant waiting to swallow its audience wholly into its world. Made on a budget of 200 million dollars, Titanic earned a jaw-dropping two billion dollars at the box office. And for good reason.

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Titanic is available to stream on Disney Plus Hotstar.

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