So I have to ask. Zeenat Aman or Parveen Babi? My vote for Zeenat Aman – more refined features, better body.
Just saw DDLJ being advertised for the nth time on TV and realised I’d happily watch it again. It was our generation’s Sholay. Fans of Sholay, don’t lynch me, I think Sholay is the best too. But it reminded me of a really funny incident.
I had learned about this rather prim British game from my grandmother’s youth and happily shared it with the rest of my social circle. It was called Fish Pond. A bowl would be placed in the centre of the room and we all got paper and pens and could drop in anonymous notes. From the timid confessions of love to the most nasty stinkers (but mostly love notes), everything made it’s way in there – and everyone knew if a note was meant for them or not. Soon it became a staple at every party. We’d walk in, drop our notes in the bowl, party, sing, dance, eat and then one of us would read out the notes while the rest would try to guess who had written them. A fitting end to every party.
And then Raj and Simran took the Euro Rail into our lives and everything changed. That evening we played Fish Pond as usual and note after note was read out – all addressed to Raj from Simran and from Simran to Raj. After the first note, I looked up and grinned at the childhood sweetheart thinking it was from him to me. The blank look on his face alerted me to the fact that it wasn’t. A look around the room showed similar looks. Only the person who wrote it knew who it was for – the intendeds were all confused. And so on it went. Thirty notes from and to Raj and Simran. After the first few minutes the humour of the situation sunk in and we roared with laughter. By the end it didn’t matter if the right person got the message. All that mattered was that we’d all imagined ourselves the love struck lead pair of the hit film.
*wipes tears* What’s your funniest Bolly real life moment? Aneela and Dipta are barred from participating. Oh what the hell, jee lo bachchon. Tell us about it.
I watched Delhi Belly and loved it. I promoted it loud and long on my Facebook page too. The music was fantastic and so was the movie. I know a lot of people took exception to the cursing but I felt right at home! They were talking about a certain section of society and the language was as authentic as it gets. You can’t come from Uttar Pradesh, study in Delhi University and work in media and be a stranger to abuse. I’ve heard the most creative and finally when I realised I wasn’t going to smoke, touch alcohol or play cards in this lifetime, I decided the least I could be an expert on was cuss words. A woman’s got to have some vices!
Two minutes into the movie and that could have been my life 10 years ago. Although a lot of it looked like it had been shot in Bombay or any other part of the country, definitely not Delhi. The bachelors in a filthy flat – check. My brother objects but I have a very clear memory of once walking into his flat and washing a bowl of something indescribable, other than the maggots crawling out of it. After that he and I moved in together because getting his flatmates (lovable though they were) to keep the place clean was a challenge. And we kept the barsati as clean as possible we could with no water -yes, water shortages and Delhi are synonymous. I recall buying 20ltr jars of mineral water to bathe in. I’d go to the parlour down the road and get them to shampoo my hair for Rs 50 once every week or so because I was sure I had layers of shampoo settled in there. Yes, short of washing our arses with OJ we did everything else.
Even if you’re not from Delhi but have watched Dilli 6 you’ll remember the terraces all cheek by jowl. Well, here’s a confession. At night we’d come back from work and prowl the terraces, jumping from one roof to another, hunting for a water tank that was open. And then we’d pass buckets and rob water for our early morning ablutions. The more adventurous would just stand right there and have a quick bath, dressed in shorts and vests as we all used to be. Once I remember the guys getting into the tank to rob the last couple of buckets at the bottom of the syntex tank and eventually just having a nice old tub bath inside it. I am horrified at the thought of anyone doing it to us today, but in those days, we were young and wild and everything was fair. Everything unacceptable was a dare and anyone who didn’t fall in with the plan, fell off the charts.
At night there’d be no electricity and we’d sleep out on the open terrace. Rows of bare mattresses and a guitar strumming softly under the night sky. Yes, the party shifted to our place. People would float in and out and bike and car keys passed around with no fear. One day I recall two guys walk in and sit in a corner, roll a joint and then leave after a while. Later we wondered aloud whose friends of friends they were, only to have everyone shrug. Apparently we’d just been used! This is around the time the whole Kala bandar scare happened and terrified of getting carried off by a monkey man, prone to hallucinating after a couple of bottles of rum, we all shifted back into the barsati, preferring the stifling heat to terror inflicted insomnia.
A few nights ago Dipta and wife, the OA and I and some other friends were lazing around after a potluck dinner. And we began to swap stories of our youthful misdemeanors. I waited for the boys all to hit me with their worst. And I kept waiting. Suddenly realised that I had the worst stories to tell, sweet innocent that I am, simply by virtue of the company I kept. Very few of the horror stories had me featuring in a starring role. Even so, it’s unnerving to realise that you have the most evil stories to relate compared to the others’ blameless, unblemished lives.
Which is why I watched Delhi Belly with something akin to relief. So we were not the worst. There were people who had obviously done some terrible things in their own time which is where the idea came from. Walk into any media house and the photographers will be rather like Kunaal Roy Kapur. Irreverent (except for the guy who almost dropped his camera when a celeb we were interviewing let her dress slip down to give us an eyeful of err.. you know), wicked sense of humour and always sleepy or hungry! Imran reminds me of my ex, again, a media guy who was freaked out by the thought of me actually being serious enough to want to get hitched! And Vir Das was well… Vir Das.
Some of the humour was slapstick, some of it was totally lost on the junta around us, like the one about the banana looking happy because it was about to be eaten and the earring being an accessory.
I am also amazed by the number of people who actually called/mailed me to ask me what the big deal with the Bhaag DK Bose song was. How many of you really didn’t get it? And no, I am not explaining on the great wide web. I have to draw the line somewhere!
The line is an old schoolboy joke in UP. The original line going Bhaag *beep* ke, aandhi aayi. I recall school friends saying it to this particular friend who was the butt of every joke. Funny, crass, brash, big built, pistol wielding, he was my favourite champion. Once I lost my temper with the boyfriend and this guy looks at me and goes – Want me to throw him in the fish pond?
Yes, I nod, spoilt brat that I am.
He promptly grabs him and throws him into the pool, headfirst. Thankfully Ma walked out right then or the poor boyfriend might not have lived to tell that tale. So our pal stops mid-throw in shock and hangs on to him by the legs. And there is the boyfriend, hanging upside down, head inside the pond, choking and spluttering. Me glaring balefully and believing that he is getting his due. Ma screaming in terror and scared of grabbing in case friend loses balance and lets go. And friend looking at me and saying – I threw him in because you said, I’ll yank him out only if you want, never mind if Aunty kills me after this.
Ma came at me with the fury of a 1000 snakes and I reluctantly told him to pull the boyfriend out. Boyfriend came out soaked from head to chest, spluttering and choking. And this friend pats him on the back and says genially, in lieu of an apology, “Never mind yaar, you’re a Bengali; you should have just eaten some fish.” And all this while the rest of our gang sitting around watching and splitting their sides laughing. Happy days. And yes, the boyfriend continued to date me inspite of that episode. I’m lovable and forgivable like that.
Anyhow, some years ago that madcap friend of mine fell out of the second floor of a building and is in a wheelchair now. As the hall around me was exploding with laughter when the song started all I could think of, wiping tears away, is how time has passed and how he will never again bhaago, aandhi or no aandhi, wheelchair bound as he is. The song was not so funny anymore.
I also watched Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Another three young men, except this time so out of my realm. Making big bucks, deep sea diving, buying their wives Hermes bags. The movie had everything it takes to be a hit – decent music, interesting locales, eye candy (I got my money’s worth the moment Hrithik took off his shirt) and emotion, drama and romance. But it didn’t hit home the way Delhi Belly did for me. Gross, scatalogical, crazy, avenging boyfriends, crazy media parties, makes ups and break ups, communication breakdowns, love, fights, misunderstandings, pranks, that was the story of my youth. Not this sanitised, privileged, landscaped, clean story. Our friends were more likely to wash their butts with your orange juice than screw your girlfriend.
Even so, I am currently listening to this song from the movie on repeat. How can you not? The words are beautiful and Mohit, the true love of my life is singing it while Farhan and Hrithik, the other true loves of my life gladden the eye. As for Abhay, he needs to rethink his roles. He came across as annoying, effeminate and witless. Even his hairy chest couldn’t redeem him. His voice was the most annoying aspect and that is saying something when you’re sharing screen time with Farhan.
Anyhow, paisa vasool on both counts. Delhi Belly for taking me down memory lane and ZNMD for letting me aankh seko as the UP term goes. I leave you with my current favourite item number. Ignore the tacky video and just get up, push your chair away from your desk and shake your booty! Goodnight folks.