It was somewhere around 1995. Strange times were they, or to say great times when I reflect back. Marriages happened in such a fashion ambiance that when you watch the VHS cassettes of those marriages, you feel so weird,good and embarrassing at the same time! There were no Bitto Boss kinds of video-graphers but the market for videography was seeing an upsurge where a team of two would be handling the wires trying to save them from the foot-falls of people!
A song always captured my imagination in marriages. That song went like this– “Jije Ki saaliyon ,O hare duppatte waaliyon!” Infact whenever I would be waiting for my luck in the buffet system, this song if played somehow captured me. The tune was infectious maybe! Till that time I hadn’t watched much films..all that I had seen were some 22 men fighting it out on field in boring white shirts on the national channel. This time I was determined to actually find out the genesis of this song. I came back home,asked my cousin brother–“ye gaana kis film ka hai” and he[lived in kolkata] laughed at me, scorning that I didn’t know the film. How could it be? I felt as I did not know what is the national animal of India. But I persisted. He after having been satisfied humiliating me,replied: HAHK. I remarked–what is HAHK? He then finally burped out the name that formed an integral part of my first interactions with cinema. I never knew I would graduate from Barjatya to Fellini one day.
The question was how to watch the film. We had a VCP at home but then going to VHS cassette shop was considered taboo[I fail to imagine now why?] and I had no money of my own to even dare attempt that. It was time to be humiliated again at the hands of elder brother. He was just two years elder to me but then he had that pricy tag of being “elder”. He made me swear that I will share my “gulaab-jamun” that we would get in the evening. I was determined enough to climb the everest this time. [I laugh at those times now,as of today,all I have to do is download a 1-1.5 GB file and run it on my lappy.Gulaab-jamuns can stay in trays at sweet shops] I agreed. Bro went to our uncle and demanded that we be shown a film at home. He got a good scolding but my stars were burning bright. My mausi intervened and said lazily -” HAHK achhi film hai, hum Patna me dekhe the,2 ghanta laga ticket lene me..ek baar aur dekh lete hain.”. Suddenly I was riding the horse of luck.
The VHS arrived..the evening was settled for the show..all assembled and I slipped in between my elder brothers and sisters! The room was dimmed a bit. And the movie started. I was feeling as if I am about to witness the most prudent invention in this world. I was praying–“Bhagwaan agle 3-4 ghante light na kate”. And suddenly the voice of S.Balasubramaniyam struck my auditory canal. And I widened my eyes..and there he was..a smart handsome attractive boy who they[my elders] were referring to as Salman Khan. Madhuri followed and people started discussing more. I for myself got confined in that little space and just captured that whole scene, frame to frame in my mind and heart. Finally I had seen a movie when I could judge many stuffs.
I had my meeting with Salman Khan, the first actor I ever knew. Pacino, Beaty, Brando followed later. 6 months later I saw another guy who was playing a small guitar on a bridge. And that will be another story, another day. Life has its moments. Our times change..SS gave way to Mplexes but the essence of movie-watching has completely changed. I seldom feel the excitement to go through a BW film. Paradoxically the last time I did feel something in a film was in Magadheera, an average fare but the movie-goer inside me wanted to walk alongside the movie! It happens..sometimes average fares excite you more than classics!! Guess that is why I slept 5 minutes into TDK. Never understood why is it a classic,never could complete it!
Milind/AnupamTags: Bittoo Boss Exclusive Hum Aapke Hain Koun Madhuri Dixit Salman Khan Sooraj Barjatya