Over at BethLovesBollywood, Beth has been running some hilarious clips from the Bachchan stable circa late 1980s – early 1990s. Otherwise known as my childhood. Which is why I’ve actually seen all the stuff she’s put up and more – courtesy my neighborhood cablewala and video shopwala (remember those? The true victims of internet piracy, I believe), of course. There was no way anybody in my household was going to take me to the theater to watch such stellar work as Ajooba, Toofan, Jaadugar or Ganga Jamuna Saraswati, to name a few.
In her Toofan post, she mentions that the movie was apparently a childhood favorite of some of her readers (unspecified to spare them the taunts of snobs such as I) and Sanket responded that it was probably because that was their intro to the awesomeness that is The Bachchan. For example, he first fell for Alec Guinness in Star Wars, completely unaware of his main body of work. I think that’s a fair point – James McAvoy (my latest crush, his movie Atonement is up for Best Picture tomorrow and he has a new movie coming out called Penelope that I really want to see), for example, has often mentioned his deep and abiding love for The Goonies, which starred No Country for Old Men‘s Josh Brolin among others.
It made me try to remember the first time I’d ever seen my favorite actors in and I found that it was a little difficult. There were some people whose roles leaped immediately to mind but some of them, I remembered for the context rather than the role. For example:
Aamir Khan / Juhi Chawla – Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. My cousin sister loved this movie. She was an 80s teen. I think that explains it all. The audio cassette was all but erased by the time summer got over. She even had posters on the walls! For some reason, I found her obsession very attractive and desperately wanted to become a teenage immediately so I too could cut pictures out of Stardust and sigh romantically. I gave it a shot back then but the performance lacked sincerity and my mother laughed at me. Oh, and she’d practice saying namaste the way Juhi said it at the Miss Universe (?) contest. Lord, she’d going to kill me if she finds out I spilled the beans. Hee.
Shahrukh Khan – Fauji. I don’t remember the series very well but I remember him. And I remember him telling my best friend to stop watching TV and pay more attention to school when she went up to him for an autograph.
Kajol – Baazigar. There’s this shot of her with an upswept hairdo, in a blue dress, on a yacht. And she turns to the camera, beetled unibrow and all, and blows SRK a kiss. She totally owned it. I had absolutely no idea who this woman was or her name or whether she was anything other than an extra. But you just couldn’t (or at least, I couldn’t) tear my eyes away.
Akshay Kumar – Mr. Bond. I swear to God. I checked it up on IMDB (update: and Youtube!) and I’m not making it up: there really is such a film and it even costars Sheeba (whom I’ll always remember for Baba Sehgal and Aaja meri gaadi mein baithja). I don’t remember any of it but the name and that there was this nightclub-ish song in which he sort of groped a lot of women. There might also have been a poolside scene in a speedo although that could totally be my imagination. And you know what? That totally colored my perception of him for a long, long time. (I don’t care if you never watch videos on the internet – you have to see that clip above! It comes with subtitles, so you really have no excuse!)
Peter O’Toole – Lawrence of Arabia. This is one of my father’s favorite movies of all time and he would make a big family night of watching it once every year. Which is great if you’re older than, oh, four. Which is when my memory of this movie begins. I saw it when I was much older and I liked it but I can never love it because somewhere inside of me is a little four-year-old whimpering at the thought of once again sitting through “Daddy’s movie”. I nearly keeled over from shock when I saw him with Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million – one of my favorite romcom capers – and recognized ol’ Larry in those beautiful blue eyes.
Julie Andrews – The Sound of Music. Obviously.
Omar Sharif / Julie Christie – Dr. Zhivago. My parents really love this kind of movie. And my mother is completely nuts about Omar Sharif (and Robert Redford – I guess she doesn’t have a ‘type’) so once we were done with Daddy’s movie, we got to watch Mama’s movie. Yippee. I fully intend making a Lara joke to my mom if Christie wins tomorrow for Away From Her.
Clark Gable / Vivien Leigh – It should be Gone with the Wind, right? I was obsessed with the book when I was about eight. It’s a long story but suffice it to say it was all my brother’s fault. And I think GWTW was the first time I saw Leigh act. But for Gable, I think I saw It Happened One Night first. How adorable were he and Claudette Colbert in that?
Nargis / Raj Kapoor – Talking of It Happened One Night… I can’t remember the first movie of theirs that I saw (I think it was Shree 420) but I remember the songs from Chori Chori with dazzling clarity as my introduction to their movies. My mother adored them and would play them all the time.
Zeenat Aman – Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Consequently, it took me a long time to get on the Zeenie love train. That aborted fetus they plastered to her face was ridiculous but it did the job in grossing me out. Plus Shashi Kapoor was a total dick in that movie – a big no-no! I have loved Shashi Kapoor all my life and I know this is irrational but if you try and make me hate my adorable Shashi, you are dead to me. No excuses! But once Yaadon ki Baarat and Don had had their way with me, I too was enslaved. Long live Zeenie!
I realize I could go on and on, so I think I’ll just stop here for now. But do tell me about yourselves.