A significant (atleast for me) incident has happened this morning. I broke my nice, slender pair of specs. Due to the lack of a spare pair I am stuck with an older one for the next two days. So currently I have a “distorted myopic vision”. Further more this current one according to my dad makes me look like Jassi. Speaking of the lady, I wonder how many people had noticed that ever since the day the news item regarding the real identity of Jassi was flashed in a few papers the Asian Paints advertisements disappeared from nearly all televsion channels. Supposedly the lady playing wife to Aamir Bashir is Jassi alias Mona singh.
Few days back when I wrote about Indian movies I left a lot unsaid. Movies like Dil Chahta Hai, Satya, Sarfarosh, Lagaan or even Legend of Bhagat Singh to mention a few are diversions from the generally accepted genre. As a general rule we mostly have boy-meets-girl romances, rich-poor differences, marriages, revenge dramas to name a few. And Govinda movies [These are a class apart]. All of them have song and dance routines irrespective of the fact whether they are needed or not. In such a scenario if a desi edition “Independence Day” or “Volcano” or “Jurassic Park” comes chugging along its bound to cause a stir. Many moons back a Sci-fi flick called “Chandramukhi” with Sridevi, Salman Khan, Pran (or was it Prem Chopra?) and others had released. It was on the lines of “Big” with some fairies and magic thrown in. I remember enjoying it but unfortunately it sank without a trace. Currently , “Koi Mil Gaya” is doing the rounds of the cinema halls across the country but as I havent had the good fortune to watch it I cant really make a comment. What I am getting at is that serious cinema, mainstream flicks and hollywood bigwigs all have their audience. And sometimes this diverse set merges. When “Jurassic Park” was wreaking havoc at box offices across the globe, even the rural population in India well fed on nautanki-ishtyle stories were queueing up to watch the “badi badi chipkalis”. Some themes if based in India are never accepted. A volcano errupting under Mumbai or IAF pilots flying to destroy an alien space ship or even King Kong brandishing his teeth atop Qutab Minar would only attract guffaws.
The movies I mentioned earlier are not a major deviation from the usual themes. Friendship, falling in an out of love, underworld dons, cop stories or patriotic flicks have been made dime a dozen ever since the inception of the Indian film industry. Yet these stand apart because of their narrative style, treatment and overall appearance. The urban population lapped it up as it showcased indentifiable settings and conversations. The english-speaking population is also exposed to western imports and can easily compare the two. Somehow the westerners manage to set their odd stories within a semblance of normalcy, whereas here we tend to add spice at all quarters. Perhaps the Hrisikesh Mukherjee classics of yore that were set in normal middle class homes scored high as the viewers could relate to them. Yet just as our sci-fi s more often than not fail to cut ice, I believe that Govinda couldnt be replicated in any part of the world. Indians as people are an exuberant lot and it reflects in our lifestyle, celebrations, food and naturally in films. Vibrant, colourful and lots of spice.
Personally I love watching narratives that leave some space for thougt. An all time favourite is “Forrest Gump”. Children’s films score high with me because these are like comic books. Vibrant and full of life. And they also bring back good memories.