Now let’s see what Hindi movies I’ve watched so far, as directed by the careful hand of Sayesha. In order of screening:
1. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) — aw … and watching the ‘Making of’ always makes me appreciate things more
2. Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) — argh … I love it, I hate it, I love it (and definitely adore the soundtrack)
3. Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham (2001) — tear-stained glasses are no fun to watch a finale through … bless you, Karan Johar (or should I say … Johor)
4. Hum Tum (2004) — not ham tam, but you’ll definitely get all tickled watching this
5. Dil Chahta Hai (2001) — had to make up 70% of the dialogue through imagination and online plot summaries, but good show nonetheless (will be looking out for Aamir Khan movies, definitely)
6. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995) — a fond reunion with a half-forgotten but endearing, adorable acquaintance (though had a run-in with a traffic cop on the way to the screening, ARGH, why can’t you stop doing your jobs, misters!)
7. Main Hoon Na (2004) — woof! hot hot hot! (hope to ripen so juicily too)
8. Pardes (1997) — details follow
All well and good — thanks to Sayesha’s ‘vetting’, there was nary a wrong note in the lot. No ‘avoid!’ here. But Pardes — Pardes is the one that has shaken me out of my blogging inanimation. I was hugging myself with delight in the middle of the film, it was that good. It was bl**dy good! Granted, there was obvious hurrah-ing and pressing of right buttons, but powerful stuff too — there is a real soul to this film.
Perhaps it is because of the vivacious Mahima Chaudhary or the killer Subhash Ghai script. But I suspect it also has something to do with how Goodness Gracious Me opened up so many talking points and broadened not a few minds.
Just as GGM rocketed with the universality, the sheer versatility of its humour and talent, while being arrow-straight and true to its British Indian self, Pardes, while celebrating all that is deemed good and great about Mother India (“Yeh Mera India”, no less), even if it is a romanticised celebration (it’s a movie!), raps resoundingly on the door to every feeling person’s private thoughts and dreams. At least, that’s what I think.
Righteousness, earthy yet ethereal love, selflessness. These are not the sole preserve of India or Indians, but are made unique in their likeness. Wonderful, wise, marvellous.
That’s not to say Pardes is self-glorification. Self-righteousness, jealousy, selfishness — these have their wormholed place too (and that’s a disservice to any can of worms). I must say I felt real shock and anger at the father’s reaction to his friend’s side of the story — to be able to raise a blade in anger and bring it down on any person, kith, kin or foe — I cannot abide with this. Is this the other extreme of fathomless fatherly love?
And as with DDLJ, with all my heart I empathise with the struggle against ‘fake customs’ (from Nai Hona Tha …) that continue to shackle women and bind them to fates that would be deemed monstrous for any man to bear. This is not militant feminism, but basic humanism.
In any case, the good and the bad, they lie exposed, and this truth (however well-lit and in soft focus) has a terrifying beauty. A different kind of beauty from the clean and cool dreamworld of Karan Johar. I’m just thankful I am able to partake of such sustenance (from more than one world).
And Sayesha, I think I realise how awful Bollywood can be — the intro to the Pardes video has the cheesiest trailers ever! Just you watch.
Looking forward to Swades now and whatever else I can get my mitts on. And I trust a few repeat screenings lie in wait.
And speaking of waiting … waiting … waiting … June 23rd, come come come!