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Sreedhar Pillai

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London Olympics 2012: The Night Danny Boyle and the British Made Rest of the World Feel Cheated and Green Eyed

Posted: 08/01/2012 5:21 pm

What secret mission can be more daring for James Bond than whisking the Queen and dropping her in to the Olympics opening Ceremony from the sky? If anyone ever doubted whether the British monarchy is in touch with the common man, is there any better proof than a monarch who agreed to amuse the whole world, for the sake of her country, by such a down to earth appearance? The daring royal entry in to the Olympics alone has redeemed the pride of the British who have suffered a series of mishaps and international doubts about their ability to stage the London 2012 Olympics.
The truth is the world is dazzled and jealous how the British pulled off a magical night as their own with characters that in fact belonged to the whole world. The London Olympics opening event is slowly getting its shower of praises after not so flattering and sarcastic remarks from foreign media.

There were some early cringe-worthy scenes of pre-industrial Britain: maypole dancers, thatched cottages, mustachioed beekeepers, and a hirsute Kenneth Branagh dressed up as British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel orating from Shakespeare's The Tempest.
At times quixotic, the Opening Ceremonies were immediately accused by some of being simply too British, laced as they were with obscure references to the National Health Service and English club music

Despite being fantastic eye catching events, many people can hardly remember anything from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing or several others before, which were telecast to the whole world. Yet, the London Olympics opening spectacle of Danny Boyle, with the Bond-Queen séance and Mr Bean's version of "Chariots of Fire," both of which have gone viral on the social Web, is already being etched in to the human psyche.
The reality is, it is almost impossible to conceive a 'totally British' Olympics 2012 opening ceremony like the one presented by Danny Boyle without having a universal appeal. That is because there was hardly a 'British' character in the whole show that didn't belong to the whole world.
From Chincha Alta (Peru) to Siem Reap (Cambodia), who doesn't hold a little corner of their heart with some affection for many of the characters who enlivened the evening? Starting with the Queen, several living and fictional characters like Mr Bean, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, James Bond, Harry Potter, Paul McCartney, David Beckham and many others have left indelible marks on human memory and will continue to do for centuries.
Is there anyone fortunate to have a basic education who is not taught of the industrial revolution? Is there anyone who whish they didn't have a universal health assurance epitomised by the British NHS, except perhaps the Americans who think it is a crazy idea?
Of course one could argue that going back further in history, to Shakespeare and Henry VIII; you could be really English and British. Though that would have been more 'Greek' to the rest of the world, there would still be some universality about it.
If the British characters have become the world's own, you can't blame the British for it. Neither can you blame the English Language. It is the genuinely human appeal each of these British born or conceived heroes evoke in human minds which make Macbeth to Slumdog Millionaire endearing to human minds, something no other nation has been successful at, at least in such large scale.
That is the quintessential brutishness evinced by Danny Boyle's wonderful and ingenious production the British can be really proud of. In fact a celebration of the freedom of spirit and mind engrained in the British social values, and in the ultimate British sense of humor.
As the IOC president Jacques Rogge reminded in his opening speech, London is home to the Olympics games in many ways, by establishing many of the ground rules in the 1948 games and proceedings. Danny Boyle and his team can be proud that the 2012 Olympics Opening Gala will make it even more so by establishing the standard and benchmark for future opening events.
That, sheer regimentation, pyrotechnics and robotics at the cost of millions of dollars, just for showmanship of a nation and grandeur of any event, have come to the end of their limits is shown by the Beijing Olympics. That, the way forward, in the real world beset with economic crisis, is the ingenious use of imagination and modern technological innovations in media and imagery, is shown by the London 2012 ceremony.
Yet it will be almost impossible to better what was seen on the night of the 2012 Olympics opening in London in the imaginable future, because Danny Boyle has already pulled out the best of everything.
Whether you like it or not the British have done it again. No point being jealous about it.

 

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