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Millennium Post

Film is dead, long live cinema!

I vividly remember, during the beginning of our summer vacations in class XI, when I went to watch this iconic film called Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (QSQT). I went all alone only to see Juhi Chawla as I had become a huge fan of hers ever since she bagged the title of Miss India!

For the next seven days, I kept going back to the theatre to see the same movie with a different set of friends each time. By the eighth day, QSQT was on its way to become one of the biggest blockbusters of Bollywood.

QSQT was a love story in its true sense, as pure as the emotions of love could get. It was a clean and beautiful film with great direction, music and acting.

Those indeed were amazing days!

While getting nostalgic one recent evening reading about QSQT’s 25 year celebrations, I wondered whether a movie like QSQT will work in today’s times or not. Coincidentally, after hearing praise aplenty from the student community, I went to see Aashiqui 2 the same evening and got my answer.

Aashiqui 2
is a Mahesh Bhatt film. He necessarily is someone who finds his place in the top 25 all-time influencers from the world of Bollywood – even if his films are branded on the borderline of soft porn nowadays. After initially making great art-house movies, he and his extremely bold and talented family members decided to make films largely on some of the most real passions of humanity – sex and crime.

Bhatt is someone who can claim that he never made popcorn movies that looked unreal. So I went to see Aashiqui 2 expecting a lot of passion and realism. The film didn’t betray my expectations, though a tacky first 15 minutes and below average acting by the hero (due to lack of dialogue-delivering ability, something that ails most of our new breed heroes) did rob me of the initial excitement. Yet, thanks to the incredibly fresh and sweet impact of Shraddha Kapoor, I stuck on to this story of a girl hopelessly in love with a drunkard. And it kept growing on me.

When finally the ‘loser’ commits suicide just before the end of the film, I realised why the movie has become such a rage amongst the youth. It hit me hard. I could hear myself saying, ‘What?! The hero of a film called
Aashiqui
can actually be such a loser to commit suicide just because he can’t leave alcohol?’ And I realised, yes, these are different times. These aren’t really those times when parents in cities oppose love marriages. These are times when fame is what the aimless youth aspires for. The hero of the film symbolises it all. He has fame. Has hardly any substance. And most importantly, he drinks aimlessly.

To me, that marks 25 years of QSQT. Yes, Aamir is still around and doing some wonderful films. Yet, times have changed. Gone are the days of QSQT sensibilities. These are times when we commit suicide, live on alcohol and Facebook. It’s not suicide due to rejection, mind you. It’s suicide for love. An extreme sense of instant self-gratification and a deeply distorted definition of selfishness is at the core of our existence.

QSQT had a superior script and Aditya Roy Kapoor’s acting prowess is not anywhere close to that of Aamir Khan’s – so Aashiqui 2 isn’t going to become as big a blockbuster as QSQT was. But somehow, it looks like a perfect film to mark QSQT’s 25th anniversary and reflect on the changing times.

Talking about anniversaries, the bigger anniversary of course has been Bollywood’s 100 years. Bollywood, to many of us, is about one man – Amitabh Bachchan, the god of Bollywood, and the man voted by a BBC survey as the greatest actor of the last millennium.

Anurag Kashyap, through Murabba (one of the four short films featured in the recently released
Bombay Talkies
), has made a tribute to Bachchan that perhaps only he, with his deep rooted Indian-ness, could have made. I suspect it is Kashyap’s best work till date. Like the beautiful short stories of Premchand, in a few minutes, Kashyap makes us go through varied emotions, makes us laugh and cry, and above everything else, tells us a story about the inner desire of every Big B fan.

Kashyap’s work is worth celebrating the 100th anniversary of Bollywood with.

For time may change the way we love, but one thing has remained constant. That’s our love for Amitabh Bachchan, exemplified by the fanatic Bachchan fan inside most of us and the way we express our love for him through sheer irrational obsession. Long live Bollywood.

The author is a management guru and director of IIPM Think tank.
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