Monday, January 6, 2014

Going back in time with your parents, Sholay style

For as long as I can remember, Sholay has been part of my life. Dad loves old movies and we would watch them together. Mum would roll her eyes when we would sit and watch Sholay for the "millionth time" and would shake her head and leave. When my grandparents were alive, my grandmother would sit in the corner and watch the movies along with us while pretending to pray and my grandfather would serenely sit on top of the divan and smile as I would react to every scene, every song. So, when I found out the movie was being screened in the big screen again I knew I had to drag my parents. Mum said no and then dad was worried about watching 3D with his glasses but then he changed his mind after watching all the promos and I booked tickets.

So, today, on a weekday evening, a boring Monday no else, the three of us walked down the street to the theatre to catch Sholay. I see my dad transform in front of my eyes. He goes from being just my dad to an excited young man. He is literally running because he is afraid of missing the first shot. He doesn't let my mom wear her shoes and even yells at me for messaging on the phone when I should have been hurrying after him. We enter the movie hall. There are about 15 other people along with us. Some of them young college kids and some my parents' age, eager to re-visit their past.

The movie begins. Mom and dad are completely engrossed. Dad leans over and whispers something to my mother. She giggles and whispers something back. He laughs hard when the jokes land and my mom shields her eyes when something bad happens. The two of them are lost. I feel like I am intruding into their space but they are lost in their own world. Amitabh Bachchan walks in, mom smiles despite herself. Hema Malini starts chatting too much and dad starts laughing harder. Both still remember the dialogues. Dad at one point yells the dialogue out loud unable to contain himself. The young college kids laugh and yell - "Uncle you're awesome". Dad laughs back in gratitude. I try to say something and mom shushes me. This scene is good, she sternly puts me down.

A pivotal flashback scene in the movie finds an entire family in peril in the hands of the famed dacoit, Gabbar Singh. Mom flinches and leans towards my dad. The scene plays out. They stare at the screen horrified, the way they probably were when they first saw the film. Dad looks at me and says - "When we first saw it, we just couldn't believe it. Nothing like this ever happened in Hindi films back then." Intermission time. Mum turns to me. She tells me how terrified she was when she first saw the movie. "It all felt so real. I felt so sad." Dad walks back with a glass of coffee. He seems to have forgotten to get me some water. Mom and dad share the same cup of coffee and whisper some more. I feel like I am by now forgotten.

Intermission ends. Enters the original item girl, Helen. Dad whispers something about Helen being hot to my mother. My mum in true mom style rolls her eyes and snorts. I laugh at the both of them, wondering how I hardly ever see this side of my parents anymore. They are oblivious to the rest of the world. The famous climax arrives. Mom sits there shivering. Dad is hugging himself, bracing for the one-two punch that the death of a major character brings. I am crying (I always cry at the end). Mum starts sniffing. Dad is just stoic and staring into the screen. I wonder how he felt when he saw it the first time. He after all practically hero-worshiped Amitabh Bachchan back in the day, long before I was even born. He doesn't speak a word.

The credits roll. We step out. I feel like I have never experienced a movie like this before. I ask one of the college kids to take a picture of me and my parents together. The kids look at my dad and ask him if he watched the movie in theatre when it released. "Yes," my father beams at them proudly. "It was nearly 40 years ago. I watched it in Bombay. I was a young man back then," he smiles nostalgically. Mom who is back in the real world, now drags him to the elevator before he launches on the story of how he watched Sholay for the first time. The three of us smile at each other. Dad thanks me for taking them. I say nothing. For some reason I am feeling emotional. I suddenly remember a conversation I had with someone my own age over the weekend. She said she judged my taste for wanting to watch the movie at all. She said her friends told her the movie was too boring and unrealistic. My parents' voices brings me back to the present time. Mum is telling my dad how authentic the movie felt. "Today everything is done on the computers. There are no real emotions. You just don't care when something happens on screen. Back then it was all so realistic. We felt every emotion. We were scared for the characters. They just don't make movies like that anymore." Dad nods his head vigorously in agreement. "They don't make movies like this anymore."

No comments:

Post a Comment