Cocktail probably set the road straight for the so-called new-age movies that employ themes and characters that blur the distinction between the reel and the real -- extremely happenable situations and believable characters. The trend has caught on so fast that soon the screen could be synonymised with a window into another life, just like the neighbour's next door.
Traffic covers 12 hours of a day -- a normal day for most, life-shaking for some others. And in the span of 12 hours there is a host of emotions and attitudes which most can relate to. Through the warp and woof of death and life, the movie hands out very subtle messages on complicated aspects of life such as love, lust, responsibility, priorities to mundane concerns like the importance of wearing helmets. It is also an expose of the glitter-less and unglamorous side of being a superstar -- a well-known fact rendered beautifully through one punchy dialogue. What the movie does is to underscore the "accidental" encounters that a life is all about, and absurdly simplifies the fact that life moves on no matter what or who or when.
And, next time there is huge traffic block, one might pause to think if it's an interim between life and death. In a nutshell, lessons Traffic teaches:
* both passengers on a two-wheeler must wear helmets
* unconditional loyal love is so totally out; lust rules
* sometimes it's good to take a risk -- "if you say no, nothing will happen, this day will pass as a usual day, but if you say yes, it could be history, an inspiration for many others to say 'yes'." -- a different view in the time of "learn to say 'no'" trend !
* life is all about perspectives -- one mother has to lose for another one's gain; in the end man is selfish.
* film magazines are just a bunch of beautified lies.
* perhaps, there is more to fans' associations than mere hooting and howling.
* finally, it's a story, a figment of imagination, but something one would want to believe in, because, such stories emphasize that life is not all that bad.
PS:- It's indeed a sad plight to see carcasses of unthinking dogs, cats and even crows dotting the highways. Are they victims of reckless driving or is it the reckless fate?