Welcome to the world of Rahul - the handsome yet single, the rich yet not a brat, always surrounded by girls and yet virgin. Rahul, after a few appearances here and there, was officially launched in Dil to Pagal Hai (DTPH). And it changed the face of Hindi movies forever.
For ages, the protagonist in Hindi movies had to face the challenges of achieving objectives of much lower pedigree like avenging the murder of his family or continuously saving his sister from getting raped or teaching his younger brothers few lessons of life or taking on to a mafia DON. He was always fighting outsiders. But with DTPH, he had found a bigger enemy to fight and the enemy was inside him. It was his confusion.
Confusion was that the girl, with who he spent 23 of 24 hours everyday, was his beloved or just a friend. Did he love her? What he needed to do if she loved him and feeling is not mutual? In his own words it was “Yeh pyar hai ya dosti”.
It was a struggle to achieve self realization to find his target of romanticism.
Rahul, contrary to his predecessors wearing dresses that made me wonder if there was a dress designer at all in those days, wore trendy cloths of brands never heard in India. Some of the brands were even launched by him. He gave birth to celebrity dress designers. He lived in places which had everything - starting from a gym to a music studio to a boxing ring to a landscape garden to a sea beach to basket ball court. Only thing I never saw in his flat was a toilet may be because he believed more in gas. Every Sunday I see the property ads knowing all I can do is to see the ads, cannot buy. But I am yet to see a property ad which offers as many amenities in a flat as Rahul’s flat had.
What I liked most about Rahul was that his life was hassle free. His movies were quite light and in those days, movie tickets didn’t make your pocket much lighter. Whereas watching a movie with family may be more expensive than 15 days of vegetable expenses these days.
Rahul’s life was full of colours. There was not a piece of dirt in his life. Whenever I saw his movies on screen, I thought about my hostel room and said “Wow, this is the place I would like to live”. Whenever I saw him roaming around in fancy cars, I thought about my BSA-SLR bought in 1992 and said “When I start earning, I will drive cars like these”.
Apart from these material pleasures, he had something else at his disposal which I could never have. He had a female friend and friendship was completely mutual. In addition to this, he couldn’t decide if she was “the one” or if he needed to wait for someone more special.
Compared to him, my situation (and most of my friend’s too even though they wont accept it) was different.
Studying in a place which had 20:1 male-female ratio, we weren’t blessed with such luxury to choose for “the one”. Assuming every girl had at least one “the one” and 4 backup options, there were 15 of us below the poverty line. Situation was even worse if someone, like yours truly, had come from all-boys school. For them, the interaction with females remained limited to the ones in our families. Forget befriending, even talking to a girl used to be a challenge bigger than a mountain for us. Some tried to cross the mountain and very few succeeded. Rest remained deprived off a female company. Average time gap between 2 separate interactions of over 15 minutes with a female used to be at least a week. In some cases, it was 4 years. Whichever girl we got a chance to talk became our “the one”. We spent next 24 hours dreaming about her. Rest of the week went in planning for next encounter and hunting for topics to discuss. “Yaar, baat khatam ho jaati hai ladki ke saamne” was our biggest problem. But just before the next encounter was to take place, we saw our “the one” roaming round, hand in hand with her “the one” which left us heartbroken. But we gathered all our courage and moved on. If we were lucky, we had another encounter, found another “the one” and the show went on.
That is why I liked Rahul. He had what I couldn’t dream of having. He had a female who he called his “just a friend”. The places I had spent my youth, men didn’t have that luxury. It was reserved for the other side of sexual divide. Only a girl could have “just a friend”, “good friend”, “close friend”, “very close friend”, “friend - brother”, “target boy friend”, “actual boy friend” and so on.
Rahul was our reply to the so called weaker sex which had the power to choose in a draught struck land.
Thanks to Chopras and Johars, Rahul has lived on to tell his tale. Just that I don’t like them anymore. May be age has caught up with me hence I find the question “Yeh pyar hai ya dosti” absolutely ridiculous. May be times have changed because when one of my friends said “Whenever you have confusion of yeh pyar hai ya dosti¸ get laid. Confusion will get cleared immediately” I appreciated his point of view thinking India has shone under the sun which rises in west. I would assume it’s the former as most of the people I know; who were born after Chetan Shrama was hit for most notorious six ever, liked Jaane Tu Jaane Na. I found IndiaTV more entertaining than the movie.