Monday, June 19, 2017

The Filmy Factor





If you haven’t watched many movies during your growing-up years, whatever little you saw remains special, right? I’m sure this happens to you. There you are watching an old movie and suddenly - wham, you are transported back in time. Like food and scents, movies make sure something or the other jangles your memory cells. It could be anything. Like a movie on your sixteenth birthday. A movie after board exams is equally memorable. As is a movie with mushy ‘corner seat’ memories. 

As I rewind my cinematic reel, my first literal ROFL moment was while watching Jaane Bhi Do Yaron on our Beltek television. The story of two bumbling journalists from Beauty Photo Studio remains a memorable black comedy. The recent flyover collapse in Kolkatta was a reminder that when it comes to builder-babu nexus, little has changed. Who can forget the scene where a tipsy Om Puri drags the casket of a dead D’Mello, or when Om Puri mumbles in his Punjabi laced Hindi, “Oye Draupadi Teri Akele Ki Nahin Hain, Hum Sab Shareholders Hain”. Unlike the quintessential ‘dishoom dishoom’ culmination, JBDY climax was a classic Mahabharata and Ramayana cocktail with a dash of Akbar. Served with great comic book flair, “This is too much. Ye Akbar Kahan Se Aa Gaya?” was epic.


Then there was Masoom. Our parents probably heard, ‘Lakdi Ki Kaathi’ song and imagined that Masoom was perfect kiddy watch. Moreover, the little girl who played Naseer and Shabana’s youngest daughter was a family friend from Kanpur. Clueless about the infidelity angle, I hated Shabana for refusing to accept Jugal Hansraj. His blue eyes, a tapestry of torment and pools of grief made me miserable. When thick streaks began rolling down during ‘Tujhse Naraaj Nahi, Hairan Hoon Zindagi’ dad took me out for an ice cream. Downright silly, but for some reason I haven’t forgiven Shabana till date. Such was the Masoom impact that Shabana’s wronged wife act in Arth did nothing to salvage her image for a long time.


Silsila (1981) remains memorable for my first mother-daughter tiff. It was my birthday and instead of allowing me to celebrate with friends, mother insisted we watch a movie. Those days, my mother was a big fan of Rekha, while my righteous teen angst saw Rekha as a home breaker. In an interview to Stardust Rekha had said that she saw Jaya shed tears from the projection room during a love scene between Rekha and Amitabh during a trial show. Both Filmfare and Stardust were abuzz about how Yash Chopra had managed coup in bringing the two women together in the epic confrontation scene. It was also Bollywood's first foray into Netherlands and tulip gardens.

Growing up in a small town, there was a lot of talk in school about Dimple and Anil Kapoor making out in a stable in Jaanbaaz. When the VCR guy sneakily delivered the Jaanbaaz cassette, the print was poor and visuals sketchy. During the much hyped ‘Jaanejaana’ song, all I saw was Anil Kapoor winking at his pet horse, the horse grinning back and Dimple exposing her tantalizing long legs in a huge pile of hay stack. A step ahead from two flowers, the scene was pretty chaste, though sensuous given the times. Dimple brings me to Saagar where I sat happily sandwiched between school friends waiting for Dimple to drop that towel. Disappointment again, for we saw nothing except a glorious sunset.

Given that there was no getting away from tight home reigns, Qayamat Se Qyamat Tak remains etched for most of us in school and college. ‘Papa Kehte Hain’ was a rage – it had become a metaphor for our age and emotions. This was also a time when Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik had created magic with their fresh vocals. While on our annual summer trip to Mussoorie, ‘Ghazab Ka Hai Din’ playing on the car stereo made me see the hills in a new light. So in Mussoorie, I unconsciously veered in Juhi’s Rashmi mode – two plaits, coy looks and chirpy talk. Needless to add that the boys on the Mall Road appeared in Aamir’s Raj mode – Akele Hain To Kya Gham Hai.

Then there was Mr India, which I remember for reasons other than Sridevi’s sky blue sari minus an underskirt. Those days, balcony in single screen theatres was expected to have decent crowd and the seats weren’t numbered. And yet, a group of boys were throwing peanuts over our heads. When a match stick landed in my lap, a big fight ensued. Dad called the manager, the screening was halted and louts evicted.

Moving one, there were others like Arth, Mirch Masaala, Bazaar, Golmaal and Khoobsoorat, but I don’t remember them for anything other than their cinematic appeal. As memories come flooding, one post won’t do justice to all the drama associated with films. Losing house keys during Amar Akbar Anthony, running to the loo (upset tummy) during Sharaabi and buying tickets in black for Karz remain memorable. Remember ‘paanch ka dus, dus ka tees’ touts promising corner seats? 

In today’s age of multiplex, we will perhaps remember movies for different reasons. It could be a bomb scare when the entire hall was evacuated. Not finding parking, getting stuck in the mother of all jams and missing the movie could be equally memorable. Ditto for being harassed by a traffic cop after movies. 



22 comments:

  1. Movies were much awaited, gossip was much followed and fimstars were trendsetters. Each movie you've mentioned has a special place in our heart. Maybe because we were yet to step into the age of plenty. Or perhaps we were young and impressionable.

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    1. Yea, also because movies were the only source of entertainment. No net, no netflix.

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  2. You have taken me a long way down the years Alka.I remember most of the movies mentioned by you and as you say-for various memories associated with them.
    Lovely post.

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  3. Hmm, you know what? You've listed exactly the same movies that I remember the most! I would probably add only DDLJ to the list. For some reason, most probably age and memory retention...I can only very distinctly remember books and movies I saw in my younger years. The Amitabh-Jaya-Rekha triangle was done to death on lunch-breaks while I never totally recovered from the fatal attraction of QSQT. Thanks for taking me down the filmy, memory lane....going to be humming 'Dekha ek khwaab... ' from Silsila all day long ;)

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    1. I missed DDLJ, though I do remember we couldn't even reach the cinema hall because of traffic around CP. And I was humming Ghazab Ka Hai Din....from QSQT while writing this.
      :D

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  4. A very memory stirring post
    Though I hav seen most of these movies in my later years I do hav memories associated with many movies, like the charity shows watched with school friends , my first movie with friends being ddlj in 5th std and drooling over srk , the movies watched by sneaking out of hostel and bunking even office in recent past (many to pen )
    Grt post

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    1. Thanks Afshan, you were in class 5 when DDLJ got released? Reminds me of Love Story with Kumar Gaurav and Vijayeta.

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  5. down the memory lane with your post, Alka. JBDY still keeps me in splits. it was made much ahead











    Your post took me down the cinematic memory lane. JBDY still keeps me in splits , the innocence of 'Masoom' still prevails. Big B's films always garnered lot of attention and a jackpot for black marketeers.
    another memorable film I remember is 'Quarbani', a daring film of those days.


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    1. Yes, Qurbani was special with Zeenat crooning Aap Jaisa Koi and handsome Vinod Khanna.

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  6. A nice walk down the memory lane! A lot has changed reminding that is the only constant,Alka!

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  7. Thanks for the walk down memory lane! We've started going to the theatre again after so many years now that the kids appreciate good movies! I guess we're approx the same age because I have similar memories of the movies you posted about!

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    1. I missed quite a few actually.Many Farooque Sheikh Deepti Naval movies, Lamhe, Amar Akbar Anthony.....

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  8. You had me at Dimple's long legs in Jaanbaaz. I so distinctly remember the scene when she flips over the railing! Etched on my mind until, well let's see what all Deepika is going to accomplish in her career!

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    1. Deepika, I find wooden. Pretty but not as sensuous as Dimple.

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  9. The first movie we watched as a family was DDLJ. And then there was Jurassic Park. Sometimes we would be taken for movies from schools too. Walking from school to the theater through hilly roads passing boys schools was something else altogether. Then during college Namastey London was a memorable one and so were many other. So many memories, I could go on and on as well :)

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    1. Yea, movies do that. I missed quite a few....Lamhe was one of them.

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  10. Alka! I am a film buff and crazy for the dhamaal masala entertainers, be it Amar Akbar Anthony, DDLJ, original Agneepath, Mr India, JJWS or the kissing scene in Jaanbaaz which was a highlight, pretending to go look for something in the room to avoid being awkward in front of parents. Silsila! I remember but will never forgive Yash Chopra for replacing my favorite heroine, Smita Patil. She would have made a bigger impact. College days, Khakee, Salaam Namaste aur Bunty aur Babli:) ladki ke kati, no child can pretend not to hear it:)

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    1. Yea, so many of them and such beautiful memories. In the age of Netflix, we have an overdose.

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