Main duniya bhula doonga, teri chhahta mein
O dushman jamaana, mujhe na bhulaana,
Main khud ko mitaa doonga, teri chhahat mein
This is what Rahul Roy sang in the legendary love story of olden days, Aashiqui. People often say that movies are reflection of society. 70s was full of movies made on bandits when they were pretty much prevalent in Chambal. Angry young man took over them soon. The theory holds pretty much true for love stories as well.
The 90s, the decade I was growin up, was pretty much reflection of the society. The generation was still in the hang of License-Raj. It was all about fight against the mighty establishment – the rich versus poor. If you wanted to fight your way to the top, you needed to fight it through licensed red-tappism and bureaucracy. It was all about giving it all and caring a damn. Oh the epic song of Ilzaam
Pyar kiya hai, pyar karenge,
Duniya se ab to, hum na darenge
So were the love stories. Quite often, it was poor man’s kid falling in love with rich man’s kid, the fight to bridge the gap, the protests which often turned violent and stories often ending in the death of love birds. The stories could be divided in three parts – falling in love, fighting for love and fragility of lovebirds against the might of opposition. Quayamat se quyamat tak was a typical example.
If love prospered, it was in a clandestine way. Even the songs reflected the same.
Hum laakh chupayen pyar magar, duniya ko pata chal jaayega
Lekin chup chup ke milne se, milne ka maja to aayega.
It was quite like getting to arrange the packs of cement to build your house in olden days. Even cement was needed to be bought secretly. Everything was under strict supervision. Everything needed a license.
Sometime in early 90s, the country heard about the term globalization. Economy opened up. Although it was a forced decision because of terrible economic condition of the country in those days but it did happen.
Things started to change. Middle class started to dream bigger. The luxury meant for the higher strata of the society was becoming affordable for the middle class, if not in reality at least in their dreams. Slowly, the dreams were going to turn in to reality.
As people started to digest the good side of an open economy, things started to change. So did the movies and the love in it.
DDLJ happened. The fight in it was no longer with the establishment. It was with fight between the value system and the urge to kick it. The protagonist, the hero, made sure value system won.
Something else also happened with DDLJ. It showed us all how scenic the world is – the world outside our country. It showed us London. It showed us Zurich. Trust me; the scenes were much better than watching Juhu Aerodrome again and again. Oh BTW, DDLJ had a happy ending. The hero didn’t have to slog at a construction site like Aamir Khan had to do in Dil. SRK was born to a millionaire in DDLJ.
I watched DDLJ three times in a hall.
Things moved on. From being a fight with the world outside, it became a fight within – the typical pyar hai ya dosti syndrome. Maslow’s hierarchy was taking shape.
Suddenly, the world outside was supportive. Value system wasn’t challenged. But the bigger issue was in finding an answer to the question – is it love or is it not?
K2H2 was the torch bearer of this trend. DTPH was the biggest advertiser.
I watched K2H2 twice and DTPH four times in a cinema hall.
Clock kept ticking.
Few years later, the movie everyone was talking about was Jaane tu Ya Jaane na. Some of my friends even told me that this was the best movie they had ever seen. There are downsides of watching a movie if you have heard lot of good things about it. Maybe this happened to me when I watched this movie on TV. Or maybe I really found it boring. I didn’t like one single bit about it. A decade of hunt to seek an answer to the question - is it love or friendship, had bored me to death.
Maybe I had grown out of the age. Maybe I was losing it in the rut of life. But I couldn’t fathom the fact that people were so much bothered about this confusion. Oh the people weren’t worried about greedy landlords sucking your blood by increasing the rent twice a year or auto-rickshaw strikes which made you walk 5 kilometers after horrendous journey in a Mumbai local or the ripple of recession sent across the by the fall of Lehman. People were born in houses located in south Mumbai, all of them. By people, I mean the people in the movie. I just hated them.
In a fight of capitalism, I was becoming a socialist. Or should I say in a world full of romanticism, I was becoming a realist.
With change being the only permanent thing in this world, there was one more change taking place. Soon, love stories were no longer just about love. The protagonists weren’t just chasing their love interests; they were also chasing their dreams. It was a welcome change. It was change moving towards reality.
Sid in Wake up Sid wanted to make a mark of his own even though he had his dad’s successful business waiting for him. He wanted to become a photographer. There was something more than love. There was an attempt by the protagonist to make a mark in life. I liked it more than the previous trend. I hope in the in the sequel of Wake up Sid, Sid isn’t shown to be working as a data analyst to support his dad in the family business.
I haven’t seen the movie Ek main aur ek tu¸but I have heard it was along similar lines. Things were changing for sure but they were still quite far from the reality.
If you find a cinema hall full in 10:45PM show on a Monday night, the movie must be a super-hit. If everyone is laughing out loud on almost every dialogue but you don’t understand the reason behind their laughter, there can be only two possibilities – either the movie is in Mandarin or you are intellectually challenged to understand the movie. I would like to believe that I belong to the second category. I just couldn’t understand the sense of making this movie – Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani. While my better half and two cousins termed this as DDLJ of current times, I must have been the only person in the entire hall who was waiting for the movie to finish. The story was an extension of the last few movies I have mentioned.
From a question of “is it love or friendship”, things have moved on to “should I chase her or become a host on a travel show and tell the world all about the spitting cobras in the jungles of Bahamas”. Though it is lot better than the earlier lot but I can still not digest the “Oh I want to chase my dreams but what to do with the chic who roams around in hot pants, doesn’t mind showing off the deep cut and keeps on hugging me every now and then” stories.
Screw it dude. I mean the dreams.
Anyways, such stories are still too rosy for my likings. To belong to the kind – “Oh I want to chase my dreams”, you must have belonged to something more correct few years ago. You must have belonged to the correct sperm. For not so rich, the kind doesn’t really exist.
Hence, I am bored with this lot of movies as well.
I would rather watch a movie which is closer to reality. I would rather watch a movie about protagonist slogging his “THAT” part off to make ends meet. I would rather watch a movie about a man who bangs his head in front of a PC entire day, entire year and hopes to get a salary hike with which he can hope to beat inflation posted by the government. If I say real inflation, it will again become too rosy to be true. I would rather watch a movie about a guy who gets crushed between two moms – his own and his kids’ mom, who save money so that he can go on vacation and doesn’t go on vacation because he hasn’t saved enough. I want to watch a movie about the guy who finds out about country’s problems every morning in Times of India and solves them every night on News Hour on TimesNow.
Basically I want to watch a movie about the common man. I want to watch a movie about me so that I can relate to it. Don’t tell me that my life, a common man’s life, is boring – it is more comic than you can imagine, it is more tragic than you can think of. Every time a common man’s wife is thinking of getting a gift from her husband, it gets more romantic than you can imagine. As soon as the gift is given, the life becomes full of action. In between, there is more thrill than one can imagine. Oh yes, there is love too, loads of it.
For all other kinds of love, friendship, dreams and all that crap movies– to hell with it.
We all go watch such rosily unrealistic movies because we want to run away from reality. Believe me, there is nothing more thrilling, titillating, comic, tragic and romantic than reality. There is nothing more entertaining than a common man’s story about his life. All that is needed is the art to tell that story.
Alas, not many have it.