So, I was watching the movie Chashme Buddoor yesterday. There is a scene in the movie, when the hero takes the heroine to a restaurant and orders an ice-cream for her. She orders Tooti-fruity. Somehow, to this day, that scene is embedded in my memory, and ever since watching that movie some 15-16 years ago, I have always ordered tooty-fruity whenever I go out. Infact, I remember that it was not an easy ice-cream to get in our friendly neighborhood ice-cream stall which used to sell Kwality Walls, and only when they started stocking Vadilal’s that I got tooty-fruity. (Now that was until I got pampered by Corner house and Cold-stone. My favourite ice-cream now is the Ice-cream with French Apple cake, that is served in Corner house)
The movie reminded me of those Saturday afternoons in Vishal Apartments. We would be watching some old Hindi movie on DD. Often it would be some Rajesh Khanna romantic tragedy or an Amitabh action movie. Sometimes, they would play absolute treats like Chashme Buddoor or Golmal or Choti Si Baat etc. Vidya and I would watch every movie thrown our way by DD, battling groggy eyes after an exhausting morning session of games in the sun and a great lunch. Around 4 PM, Amma would go into the kitchen, and start making tiffin, which would end up being hot-and-delicious dosas of the tava or my favourite tiffin, verum-arisi-adai. I would go on eating in, often eating much more than I need, mainly because of the heavenly taste and also because my senses would be lost in the movie world. Later, Amma would bring hot tea to the room, and we would drink that and continue to watch the film, with one ear on the door-bell, waiting for Appa to come in, on half-day Saturdays. Around 5, friends from below will shout out, calling everyone to play, and the movie will be promptly forgotten, thick plots erased from memories, thrilling who-dunits would be set aside for Amma to fill in the story much later in the evening, and we would start our evening games of football or cricket or kho-kho in earnest.
Chashme Buddoor is a movie that I have loved to watch over and over again. It is a simple comedy, and the comedy is in the day to day events of life, and it is brilliantly made. The movie was the first time, I saw about young men living alone and enjoying themselves. As a teen, whenever I saw the movie on TV, I would dream about the day I too would go to college away from home and stay alone and have fun with friends. Much later, when I was in 10th or 11th, we were getting back to Calcutta from Madras, and in the side-berths, two bengali students were returning home to Calcutta, from their college in Bangalore. Amma has this amazing ability to strike conversation with absolutely anyone, and she started talking to them, and I heard, for the first-time, first hand account of hostel life, and my resolve to go to hostel strengthened, mainly because I get to travel back home alone by train (the side-upper berth has been a fetish for me, till I grew too long for that berth). In 2001, I was stubborn in my decision to go to Bangalore to study and not stay in Madras, where Appa got transferred. Only thing that I was sad about was that my distance to home was now just 361 kms, and not 1700 Kms, if home were still Calcutta.
Did I say Amma has the amazing ability to strike conversations, like the conversation with the German tourist in our hotel lobby in Port Blair. On our trip to Bombay when I was in 7th, Amma got into a conversation with a few people travelling with us. The conversation later turned into an argument on public decency, when they started to smoke. On listening to Amma debate, the old thatha in the upper birth said that Amma should have been a lawyer. On that trip, I was sad that the route from Calcutta to Bombay does not go through the ghats and we will not be able to see the 22 tunnels that adorn the Pune-Bombay route. Somebody said that Nashik-Bombay, the final leg of the journey is also beautiful and I woke up all night to see the sights from Nashik to Bombay early in the morning. The early morning chill gave me a bad cold which tortured me for much of my Bombay trip.
I still remember many of the sights and sounds of that Bombay trip, and Bombay mesmerised me then too. The first time I took the local train after getting into IIT, I was amazed that I remembered few of the stations on the central route in order, and as the train sped past Dadar-Parel, I saw the lower Parel station on the western line, and it was like a worm-hole, and I remembered the journey back from Mullund to Colaba during the Bombay trip. Parents have moved back to Chennai just today, and I wonder if I will ever get back to Bombay again. Hopefully work takes me there often. It is a mesmerizing place.
Hmm, I have rambled along. As I went to sleep last night, this was the stream of thoughts in my memory. I decided to write it down, because we do make weird connections, and it is impossible to even figure out how our memory is wired!
I saw the animated movie Up yesterday in digital 3-D, and it was a treat. The film had a moral (that living your life itself is an great adventure, enjoy it, and look for new ones), but the fantasy world that the animated movies can create is uplifting. Believing, even for the two hours of the movie, that helium balloons can lift your house up and you fly to a paradise island in South America, to fight talking dogs to save an exotic bird is refreshing. However, there was a realistic part in the fantasy movie that was the most brilliantly done part of the film according to me. The hero and heroine meet, marry and live out their life, with its shares of ups and downs, and every time they save money to make a trip to S.America, some life situation begs for the saved-up money to be used, and the dream remains a dream. This was shown in one fluid sequence with a beautiful composition in the background. And, as the sequence ended, you had formed a deeper connection with the old thatha, the protagonist, the hero of our fantasy story, who is old, grumpy and has lost his best and only friend, his wife.
Reviews of Chashme Buddoor on the Internet, led me to another Sai Paranjpe movie, Katha. It is about an idealist, instinctive do-gooder, Rajaram (Naseeruddin Shah) and his con-man friend Bashu. As with many of these off-beat old hindi movies, this was a treat to watch with a good story, brilliant screenplay and marvellous acting by an ensemble cast.
Thanks to Anjana’s post, I have been hooked to ‘Allo ‘Allo, a British sitcom. It is too funny, and sometimes, I wonder if I can transport myself into the totally foolish world of Monsieur Renet!