Yes the title of this write-up is inspired by the SRK-Saif-Kareena ad for Airtel ( popular some time ago ), but I am not going to be writing anything about the ad here. Often at times either while watching some movie or generally thinking aloud I suddenly realize as to how I miss someone/something so badly. I’m sure at times most of you also must have experienced similar thoughts. So let me share with you some of the things that I really miss a lot about Indian Cinema (mostly Bollywood) .
At the very outset let me tell you the list is not exhaustive & I would try to keep updating this list as often as possible ( in fact it would be great if the comments section could capture some more points ). For the moment here is a list of what I seem to be missing so far- The joy of watching movies like in the earlier days. No other distractions- look forward to your weekend movie on Doordarshan & the visits to theatres (of course single screen) with family or otherwise.I miss the “superstar” movies of Big B. Yes no doubt he is still acting and doing good movies too. But I still yearn to see the star in him once in a while.The last glimpse of that was probably in Khakee & Ek Ajnabee, of course till we recently saw him again in style in Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap.
There used to be a time when I used to relish the bollywood countdowns ( songs) which started with Amin Sayani’s Binaca ( later Cibaca) Sangeet Mala on Vividhbharati and then got captured with visuals on Philips Top 10 ( Zee TV) & Superhit Muqabla ( D.D.Metro) . But today it has become an overkill and so I do miss the earlier days. The comedian in bollywood is almost a dying species. Right from the past be it an I.S.Johar,Mehmood,Johny Walker, Rajendranath, Asrani, Deven Verma etc to the Laxmikant Berde & Johny Lever days, there used to be a special place for comedians in hindi cinema.A place that is kind of getting extinct. In the recent years you either had people like Shakti Kapoor ,Paresh Rawal, Kadar Khan etc who also don the role at times ( and do a good job of it) or the lead actor himself takes on the mantle.
The “ vamp” has vanished.What earlier a Helen, Aruna Irani, Bindu etc used to do Gracefully, its now been done by the heroines themselves plus a whole host of “item girls”. Definitely not the same thing!!! Cheap ticket rates- earlier it used to be hardly an expensive indulgence. But now both in multiplexes and (in some) single screens, the ticket rates these days have sky rocketed. No, this is not a function of inflation alone.
Evergreen music- does it still get made? All of us know that the music of the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s were magical & we keep listening to it actively even now. For that matter I still dig out my cd of soundtracks like an Aashiqui or a QSQT once in a while. But what about the music of these days? Yes there are hits getting generated even today, but will we keep listening them at least a decade from now? Of course I also miss all those in the industry who made a mark on us & are no more. I will not take names here, as the list is completely exhaustive.
Another thing which I’ve been missing of late is the 100 days,silver jubilees & golden jubilee celebrations for successful films. In the earlier days it was very common to see an above average film completing its 100 day run in multiple centres too. The dynamics of the industry were a lot different in those days. It was not always about the opening weekend as it is now, word of mouth was probably more prominent. Usually the family audiences preferred to wait for a week or so for 2 reasons- first for understanding if the film was worth watching and second because it was perceived that the initial days would see more of the male audience and the college going crowd.
In fact in 1994 Rajshri Films certainly created ripples in the industry by having a staggered release for HAHK as the film opened in very few centres with not more than 1 theatre per centre. The movie kept spreading to locations across the country based on positive word of mouth well after the completion of 1 year of release as well. Nowadays the trend has completely changed and its common to see campaigns saying 2500 + screens during the release and 100 + crores of business after the 1st week of theatrical release. But how many films even cross 2 weeks of stay at the theatres/multiplexes these days?
Give it a thought my friends, I am sure you might also be missing some of these points right? I guess its time to say “those were the best days of my life”.
P.S – As I post this I notice Rajshri Films trying to repeat their oft repeated ( and successful ) strategy of their past by releasing ‘Jaana Pehchaana‘ ( the sequel to their yesteryear hit Akhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se ) in only 1 screen in Mumbai ( Liberty ). While I am very skeptical of their strategy this time around, I must admit that it did make me nostalgic though.