Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Movie Memories


Oh the stars in my eyes, the music on my brain, the life force toying with my soul 


Strings of colored lights up in the tree
Come down to make a canopy
The fresh mountain air by Nakki lake
The warmth of hot samosas under my nose
"Chalte chalte yunhi koi mil gaya tha ..." floating around on a lilting breeze
So sweet, so soft, like a plate of cool crisp dessert
Completely appropriate in a dhaba on a cool winter's night
We had just watched the movie in the theater across the street
One of the first movies in my memory 
All I could recall of the experience was a lady in a gorgeous orange and gold chudidar suit singing 
And me saying to my mother,"Mummy, kuch samajh mein nahin aa raha hai"
Mummy saying gently,"Koi baat nahin. Aaraam se baitho."

Oh the stars in my eyes, the music on my brain, the life force toying with my soul  

I hear I was smitten by a movie the year before 
But I don't remember that
I'm just regurgitating family folklore 
I'm told I came home from the cinema 
And announced to the clan I was Maria
Picked up my dad's guitar and pretended to play it
Making up songs as I went
I guess I was humored because I knew all the lyrics
From every song in the movie by the time I was seven 
The hills are alive ... Edelweiss ... So long, farewell ... and all the rest of them

Oh the stars in my eyes, the music on my brain, the life force toying with my soul   

The haitus between the memories of 1970 and 1976  
Probably reflects the fact that I wasn't one of Kaka's biggest fans 
The next 70mm forgetmenot scene in my mind is of Jai playing a soulful tune on a harmonica
Gabbar was the screen personification of the dacoits of Bhind-Morena we heard about every day
Living just a few hundred miles away in Hoshangabad that was too close for comfort
The music! It brought such adrenalin into our dreary lives
I remember my parents driving into town late one night for paan and returning with a 45rpm
"Mehbooba Mehbooba!" RD Burman at his best
Such a departure from the tame music of the past

Oh the stars in my eyes, the music on my brain, the life force toying with my soul    

Phir kya kehene, the decade of Big B came along
And nothing was ever the same again
Kya dialog
Kya dialog delivery
Kya naach
Kya gaanaa
Nothing was ever the same again
Indian cinema had found its voice 

Oh the stars in my eyes, the music on my brain, the life force toying with my soul  

Then the road split two ways
Art movies and the not so watchable Dada Kondke types
A Noorie then, a Qayamat Se Qayamt Tak came along every five years
And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse it did
To Bappi Lahiri's music
And other competitors'


Oh the stars in my eyes, the music on my brain, the life force toying with my soul   

Just when I gave up on Bollywood, along came Saregamapa
An Aishwarya and the other beauty queens and Manish Malhotra and Sanjay Leela Bhansali
A world that had been waiting to emerge showed up in technicolor and in perfect pitch
Our jaws dropped collectively
I couldn't get enough of the movies, the cinematography, the songs, Shreya's voice
Anurag Kashyap's style, and Gulzar sahib's new lyrics
The tapori of yore had rubbed off on him too
"Beedi jalayi le ....."

Oh the stars in my eyes, the music on my brain, the life force toying with my soul     

Then CGI happened, and I'm not watching those god awful crowd scenes
It gives the question "Kitne aadmi the?" a whole new look
I'll wait for a movie to come along that puts the stars back into my eyes
The music on my brain
And the life force compels me to drop everything and pay attention to the silver screen

                                                       -SDG

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