Not a very long time ago, there used to be one channel on television. In fact, it has been that way for the major part of my life... if that doesn't say how old I am, nothing will! For a significantly long time, there were only two.
And this was the time when DD Metro was a Pandora's Box of forbidden pleasures, which the moral police used as a touchstone to prove the collapse of the country's moral fibre. These were the heady days of Superhit Muqabla, Baba Sehgal and (pssst...) Late Night movies on Fridays. (Or was it Thursdays?)
This was also the time when icons were all from TV. With VCRs ruling the roost, Rishi Kapoor's pullover-swathed obesity and the Khan-trio's cinematic infancy were quite unable to grab the attention of the ticket-paying public!
Speaking of the Khans, one remembers SRK's commando-turn in Fauji - where he was almost upstaged by this tall, baritone-voiced co-star whose signature line was "I say, chaps..." Rumours had it that he was a real-life fauji and he went back to the barracks immediately afterwards. Any idea where he would be now?
Of shooting stars, no better example than Ramanand Sagar's contribution to religiosity in India! The last page of India Today gleefully reported how Arun Govil (in blasphemous jeans!) and Deepika (thankfully, in salwar-kameez and nothing more scandalous!) were accosted in public places (can't be malls!) by hordes of blessing-seeking, feet-touching devotees! Deepika, when last heard, had become a BJP MP from Gujarat (I think)... whatever happened to Arun Govil?
While on the same tangent, Ravana - I forget his real name - also contested elections on a BJP ticket. All his campaign speeches apparently started with the same line, "In today's India, Ram is in such a bad state that even Ravana has to help him"!
Then there was this supremely precocious kid who went by the name of Baby Guddu.
In those days, she was the Asian-Paints-girl-Pepsi-boy-Rin-Boy-Maruti-Sardar-kid all rolled into one. She became so popular that she even played boy roles in movies! One role which I recall immediately is Amitabh's nephew in Aaj Ka Arjun! Her most regular role was in Rajni, where she played supposedly-cherubic daughter to Priya Tendulkar's vigilante housewife!
(The other most famous kid-star was the Vicks kid – the one who popped a tablet and winked! But she has grown up to be Ishita Arun. She is still Ila Arun’s daughter… but at least I know what she looks like!)
Guddu (can't call her baby anymore!) must also be in her early 20's now... so, isn't she trying to be an actress, beauty queen or Indian Idol?
Where is Lajo-ji of Buniyaad? Her husband (the eternal do-gooder Alok Nath) went from father to father of all the stars of the Hindi movie scene. But where did the mom vanish?
(BTW, just in case you were wondering, Baba Sehgal is edging towards a comeback… he is anchoring the Punjabi version of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa!)
Much earlier than these was Kumar Gaurav.
I (a life-long Bachchan devotee) was taken to a show of Love Story by my teen-aged aunts who predicted that I would forget AB once I saw this new kid on the block. I am reminded of this utterance every time I heard "Kaun Banega Crorepati Dwiteeeya" or saw him sipping tea in Sarkar or admired him in Reid & Taylor suits!
I read somewhere that Gaurav is playing an Indian bounty-hunter in some historical African film. I catch a glimpse of him in Sunil Dutt’s funeral. He passes me by in Kaante. But is that all that was there to him?
In the few films he did, he certainly showed more acting talent than most. His chocolate-boy looks then and his ruggedness now certainly makes him better looking (and more importantly, better ageing) than most. Including but not restricted to his own bro-in-law!
Of hit films, there cannot be a better example than Aashiqui.
Everybody associated with this two-decade-old film is doing well for themselves… including Nadeem who was wanted for murder and excluding Gulshan Kumar whose murder he is wanted for! Even the hero’s-friend Deepak Tijori is finding backers to make films with English sounding names.
Everyone… except the lead pair.
Rahul Roy had hair as bad (actually better!) as Salman in Tere Naam. He was brave enough not to shave it off!
Anu Agarwal did more 20 years back than what Mallika Sherawat does now… not only did she show more skin, she even acted opposite heroes from prehistoric times. While Mallika is being praised to the skies by her geriatric co-star (Anil Kapoor), Anu tried to seduce Jeetendra (no less!) with adequate displays of mammaries and pickaxes!
Surely, they could have stayed on for longer?
And as the dividing line between sports & showbiz blur to form an ‘entertainment space’, one thinks of gallant sporting heroes as well.
Where is Robin Singh, for example?
He took us on some terrific chases in one-days. He looked presentable. Spoke English well. Surely, he couldn’t have been a worse commentator than Sidhu or Srikkanth. Maybe, he couldn’t have been a judge on The Great Indian Laughter Challenge but then… he could have tried?
Now that we have meandered away from television to films to cricket… an uneasy thought comes to my mind.
Five years from now, will we not remember Sourav either?