Friday, September 07, 2007

Ek Ka Do: Films I Have Watched Twice in Theatres

Films you watch twice in a theatre are oddities. Sometimes they do not have to be exceptionally good. Sometimes, they just have to be there. Or, sometimes you have to have a large group of friends – all of whom have similar tastes but at different times!
I – despite being a bit of a movie buff – can count on the fingers of one hand the number of films I have watched more than once in a theatre. The last one is obviously the one which triggered this post.

There comes a time in your life when the person you envy most is the guy who can speak to a girl without stammering.
Saajan released at the time when our generation was going through this phase. All of us were utterly convinced that only if the girls from Modern High knew how talented we were, they would choose us as their life partners for the next seven births and wear even shorter skirts for the Xavotsav finale night.
Sanjay Dutt was the talented, tongue-tied guy. Salman Khan was the smooth-talking flirt. Between the two of them, our entire class stood divided. And we had to watch the film again and again to be sure whom we wanted to be like. I watched it only twice – because I figured out I was Yunus Parvez by then!
And as it turned out, it ran for some 50 weeks at Priya. If the combined attendance of St Lawrence students were taken, we would have accounted for at least 10 of those 50.
In hindsight, Saajan is tacky, badly acted, sketchily scripted and obviously shot in a hurry. But it became the iconic film for a generation of people who either did not have the courage to profess their love or professed it to too many!

Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan
In b-school, I hung around with a guy who is Amitabh Bachchan’s greatest fan. He was the President of the Bachchan Fans’ Association of the institute. I was his official hanger-on.
When BMCM was about to release, we planned a special screening for the institute and spoke to Payal Cinema for blocking out one section of the balcony. As part of the advanced recce, we went first day first show and watched the movie. The special show could not be this one because the sissies of our batch were taking some class tests or some such piffling matter.
Anyway, on the designated day, we landed up in large numbers with posters, banners, whistles and gargled throats. It’s a good thing I watched the movie earlier because I did not catch a single dialogue that day!
Now that I am an old man, I wonder if BMCM was really such an enjoyable flick that one can watch it on consecutive days. With my newfound objectivity, I have to agree that its mediocrity would have alleviated manifold if that David Dhawan had not given all the punchy dialogues to paunchy Govinda.

Kal Ho Na Ho
This was the typical situation where you watch a movie before your friends and then they force you to watch it again with them. It was not a painful experience, though. On the second viewing, I sneaked out after the Mahi Ve song but it wasn’t a drag.
Actually, Nikhil Advani’s directorial debut was laced with great songs, some cool jokes, interesting set pieces (despite a hackneyed plot) and above all, the dimples of Shah Rukh Khan. It also had Saif’s Superman undies but the less said of that, the better!
Of all the politically incorrect jokes in movies, this one from KHNH is probably the subtlest (For the want of a better word)…
SRK (handing over an earphone): Isse apni kaan mein ghusa le.
Saif (shocked): Kahan ghusa loo?
SRK: Kaan mein.
Knowing sniggers.

I watched Sarkar thrice – and that too, in three different cities.
The first time was on the very first day in Calcutta, with Mom (AB fan, who thinks SRK is catching up), Dad (who still thinks Deewaar is AB’s best film) and Wife (who thinks how fast can we get to dinner at Oh Calcutta). After the film, it was Mom (oh God, where were you all this while?), Dad (okay, this is probably as good as Deewaar) and Wife (we will watch it again in Hyderabad).
We went back, gathered around all our friends and convinced them that this is a rather worthy remake of Godfather. Sceptics all – they sneered all the way to the multiplex. The sneers stopped at the first close-up of his clenched jaw.
The third time was in Bangalore with a lady friend of mine, who breathlessly commented about Junior B, “My god – he runs even better than his dad!” and tried to take pictures with her phone camera.
Genius must be a seasonal phenomenon because one friend messaged me in utter incredulity last Friday – “How can the same man who made Sarkar make Aag?”
Ramu – we want an answer to that question.

Chak De India
Did anyone think that the gang of girls would NOT win the World Cup? Obviously not, because when SRK puts on Aviators along with white shirts and jeans, there is nothing he can’t do! He can even tear off a bhnais ki poochh with his left hand.
This is archetypal ‘repeat’ movie. One huge star, patriotism, action, emotion, politically correct messages, politically incorrect stereotypes, deadly dialogues, one villain who turns good in the end, one cute Sardar and 16 babes in sleeveless vests and short skirts! And if that was not enough, we beat the Australians in a World Cup final…
Can we make Shah Rukh the coach of the cricket team? No? Oh damn!

These are the Hindi films. I guess in all languages, I can add Nayak, Agantuk, Meghey Dhaka Tara, Bicycle Thieves and Modern Times to the list. And there is one more film (Alai Payuthey - Tamil) which I have seen in two different languages - Saathiya (Hindi) and Sakhi (Telugu).
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