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Sunday Special–The Nineties

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While the above will come across as out-dated and cheesy to most, I have lot of nostalgia attached to it. This represents the nineties era – the era I grew up in. And since I am so obsessed with movies and music, what reminds me of my childhood better than nineties Bollywood?!

I spent several lazy summers of Nineties crammed in the only air conditioned room of the house – living room – with my mother and baby sister, lying on the carpet watching Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander or 100 Days or the like; movies that the cable guy would play every afternoon. Movies that were full of gaudy maroon lipstick, puffy bold flower print skirts, voluminous coarse hair, shiny eye lids and rebellious love stories actually got me addicted and, worse, inspired. I wanted to be in the movie. I wanted to be like those actresses. I wanted my future life to be that movie.

I know. Childish fascinations.

I adored Madhuri dixit (still do) and after I stopped infatuating over Anil Kapoor, it was Salman Khan. I still adore him.

Nineties songs are peppy and melodious – very hummable and foot tapping. Every time I cannot decide what genre to listen to, I tune in to Nineties. If I start listing down my favourite music from that era, I would be writing for the next 3 months.

A slim Madhuri danced in heavy winds and dreamt of her Prince Charming in Humko aaj kal hai.

A snobbish Pooja Bhatt and sulky Aamir Khan fought over a watermelon and place to sleep while battling their inner desires in Dil hai ki maanta nahi.

A love struck Salman Khan tried to woo a haughty, purple sari-clad Madhuri in Didi tera dewar deewana.

A young SRK came as a knight in shining armour to save his damsel in distress in Tujhe dekha.

Battle of the sexes – Akshay Kumar and Deepak Tijori challenged Ayesha Jhulka and Sabeeha in Khud ko kya samajhti hai.

A goofy looking Ajay Devgan boldly announced (sang from rooftops, literally) his love for Madhoo, fearlessly, in Maine pyar tumhi se (a favourite Antakshari song).

Tu cheez badi hai mast mast was almost a National song for half a year.

There are endless Govinda-Raveena foot tapping numbers and Akshay-Raveena animated ones.

There are also touchy Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi songs & lovable and memorable Dil Toh Pagal Hai ones.

Evergreen pairs: Salman Khan-Madhuri. Sridevi-Anil Kapoor. SRK-Kajol. Aamir Khan-Juhi Chawla. Govinda-Raveena. Akshay-Shilpa. It was never boring to watch them do the same antics again and again.

This era makes me smile. It is quite difficult to watch the movies today; cinema has surely moved on. Moreover, who can stand those gory outfits and make-up? Nevertheless, movies like DTPH, DHKMN, DDLJ and HAHK have the capability of warming our heart. They hold meaning. They are real, deep love stories – tragic or happy. There are real friendships, real family issues.

I am proud to say – I am a Nineties Gal!

Nineties

A tribute to my favourite era. Some images that are imprinted on our minds permanently.

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Lessons Barfi! Teaches Us

Barfi!’s posters are highly misleading. They show funny tactics done by mute Barfi giving the impression that this movie is another Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani. Fine, this movie has its fair share of humour and wit; makes the audience laugh till they clutch their sides in pain and wipe happy tears off their faces but underneath the daftness is a brew of emotions – pain, love, grief, joy. The movie demonstrates some genuine emotions that are rarely felt or seen in the world today.

Barfi (played aptly by Ranbir Kapoor) is this happy-go-lucky mute guy who falls in love with a pretty Bangalan and is heartbroken when she opts for marriage with a wealthy guy (only to regret the rest of her life). Barfi is not your usual unhappy, sedate handicapped guy. No. He is like lightning – aggressive, quick and flamboyant. He is proud, confident and happy. Though on the face of it, one sees that Barfi believes in deriving happiness through small things in life, it is clear that Barfi has lot of pains in life – about losing the ones he loves.

Amid lovely songs and Darjeeling’s charming beauty, Barfi sails through on his bicycle doing odd jobs and troubling the local police officer. You tend to fall in love with his simplicity, clear heart and selflessness. Despite being less gifted and carrying various burdens in life, he is confident and happy. Makes one stop and think whether his/her life’s troubles are really that big?

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Another reason why Barfi!’s posters are misleading is absence of Jhilmil, the autistic character (played brilliantly by Priyanka Chopra). This character melts you. She is pure, innocent and soulful. Her path crosses with Barfi accidently and leads to a heart-warming life-long relationship. Barfi saves her from kidnappers and takes care of her till she is dropped back to her home (where her drunken mother and greedy father reside). Barfi tries his best to get rid of her but she starts liking his company and refuses to let go. She runs miles after the bus Barfi rides on, calling out his name, asking him to take her back. So pure was she, she liked him, she went to him and asked for his companionship. Simple. Today, can we keep our egos aside and go to the one we love, without fearing about consequences?

   

Barfi and Jhilmil ultimately go away to Calcutta, stay together and do odd jobs together. They share little moments together and laugh, cook and play. Jhilmil plays the adoring wife (without being actually wedded) by cooking for him, helping him get ready, fanning him while he eats and waiting for him with a big smile on her face when he returns from work. All this done selflessly without asking for anything in return. Seeing them together brings a warm glow to your heart.

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Jhilmil teaches us that one quality that is probably totally missing in today’s world – selfless love. Giving all that she could give – companionship, joy, love – for just little care and attention in return. Once, when the Bangalan returns to Barfi’s life, Jhilmil sees him ignore her and drift away yet waits for him to love her back (until she couldn’t take the hurt any longer and goes away without giving any inkling). Some years back, when I was a little more innocent than I am today, I had been selfless too. I gave without asking for anything in return. But today, its mathematics for me. What do I get in return? How much should I give, given the situation? Why should I take the first step? Why should I let down my pride? The younger generations I see are much less emotionally attached and are more self centred. The spirit of relationships has changed totally. Purity is rarely seen.

Barfi and Jhilmil had enough pains in life to deal with. Barfi saw his father dying because he didn’t have money for his treatment. The girl he got to love left him for money. Jhilmil’s parents didn’t care for her. They left her in a Special Kids Home and brought her back only when her grandfather left his entire property to her. These two anguished individuals had seen enough betrayal to stop trusting mankind in general. And yet, they kept giving and loving. With all the perfect communication and physical ability we possess, we are unable (or unwilling) to express love to our family, friends or partner. We hesitate to take the first step, our egos, fears and imaginary obstacles like lack of time coming in the way. And this couple, one cannot talk or hear, one cannot move or talk properly, learn to communicate and make their relation special. For example, Jhilmil manages to teach Barfi English alphabets. Every time Barfi comes back home, Jhilmil blows a whistle, jumping out from behind the door, and Barfi jumps up and shows mock surprise. The same routine followed everyday to make Jhilmil happy.

The movie has hundreds of such ‘Aww’ moments. They make you laugh, they make you cry. They make you want to go back to childhood, when things were simpler and relations purer. When falling down, getting hurt and getting up was much easier.

Why I Love Salman Khan

My love for Salman Khan goes back to when I discovered puppy love. It goes back to the days when internet was absent and magazines were the face of glamour world. It goes back to the days when magazine and newspaper cuttings were precious and kept hidden in school books for sly and shy peeking. It goes back to the time when Rs. 40 cinema tickets helped you come face to face with your Bollywood heartthrobs.

My collection of Salman Khan posters, cuttings and postcards, hidden below my mattress, created a hump in the mattress. I could sense the growing collection of precious pages underneath the mattress along with my growing obsession for the Khan in my heart. The kind of obsession that makes mothers of teenage daughters worry about their daughters’ ‘wrong intentions’.

So, all his movies – Judwa, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Biwi No 1, Hum Saath Saath Hai and all were seen with dreamy eyes, gleeful smiles and of course, love. I admit I was among those girls who shrieked with delight and jumped in their rickety cinema seats when Salman Khan, dressed in black, showed up unexpectedly in Sajanji Ghar Aaye song in KKHH.

But it was not puppy love. Or some silly infatuation. Almost 15 years after that teenage crush, my liking for Salman Khan hasn’t reduced. Though I would say the feeling is not obsessive, it definitely involves doe eyed stares, melting sensation and remorseful sighing in every kind of a movie – Ready, Bodyguard or Ek Tha Tiger. Openly proclaiming my love for him only makes me appear shallow. People, in social gatherings, say they admire only one Khan – Aamir Khan. I have been causing huge risk to my social stance by declaring my liking for Salman all around.

So, I had to watch Ek Tha Tiger. Nothing could stop me. Hollow or whatever, suspense or not, good locales or not, what mattered was it starred Salman Khan.

And I seriously think he and Katrina make a really good pair. The chemistry, the apparent protectiveness he has for her, he the tough guy she the Barbie doll thing, works a brilliant charm when they are together. I was told that Salman took objection to one of her costumes in Masha Allah song. Man, am I jealous! I really wish someone like Salman would tell me not to wear a certain revealing blouse or whatever. If any other guy tries telling me this, he can just go to hell but with Salman it’s something else altogether. It is love. Security. Comfort.

The black-buck thing or Ash beating allegations thing or drunken driving thing doesn’t perturb me (But then what does when you are blindly in love?). Salman’s star aura is unmatched (that explains why the guy gets beaten up when he asks Hero kaun hai picture ka, before Salman delivers the infamous Mujh par ek ehsaan karna mujh par koi ehsaan na karna dialogue, in Bodyguard title track. You CANNOT be ignorant about Salman’s star force). So when Bombay Times printed this picture of him on Page 1, I wanted to salute the person who thought of this line – Baaju hat, bhai aaya – nothing could have described Salman better.

He casts a strong message to public when he ALWAYS wears a Being Human tee in public appearances. He lets people guess why he has loyal friends and why he genuinely supports charities. He projects his strong belief system to the unhappy public when he so loyally, sturdily supports and promotes his friends.

So, call me shallow, call Salman ‘old’, he still looks drool-worthy in black tees and ripped jeans. He still makes many hearts beat faster. He is very much an undying shining star.