I am a movie buff. To be precise: Hindi movie buff. I have been watching movies since very young age – remember from age 5.

In late 80’s and early 90’s, before the satellite television came, all movies used to get released on Video cassette/tapes – not few weeks later, but almost immediately. In villages and towns there used to be “video parlours” which would host private/limited screening of movies. My mother’s native place had many such video parlours whoch would show movies at a nominal ticket price of Rupee 1! So when I used to go to my mom’s native place (आजोळ), I used to watch at least one movie per day – sometimes 2-3 per day!

This was between 1985 and 1992 or so. I remember so many movies from that period! There was no quality filter. There was no preference or favorite genre. Just experience of going to movie was enough.

As a 7-8-9 year old I would try to draw parallels with the movie plot; identify with some character or actor. I find it funny now, but it was great amusement then!

The reason I remembered this and thought of writing about it was a couple of tweets I saw yesterday.

A totally filmy and belowe average movie called Jeete Hai Shaan Se was released on 4th August 1988 (completed 31 years yesterday). The movie was a multi-starrer of that period – Mithun, Sanjay Dutt, Govinda, Mandakini etc – and had a very popular song, “Julie Julie, Johney Ka Dil Tum Pe Aaya Julie”. I was 8 years then, and remember watching the movie in video parlour!

The movie had three heroes from three different religions – Sanjay Dutt was Hindu, Mithun was Christian (Johnie) and Govinda was Muslim (reminded me of Amar Akbar Anthony which I had watched few weeks before). I watched it with 1 cousin and a friend – both my age. After the movie, I had assigned characters to three of us. Cousin (slightly younger than me) was Govinda. Friend (taller and slightly elder) was Sanjay Dutt and I was Mithun! It was also because Mithun was paired opposite Mandakini…and I now feel that I had liked Mandakini! 😎 I had seen her in Ram Teri Ganga Maili and Tezaab. And as Julie, she was too hot!

Anyways, the point is, in hindsight, I remember my feelings then and how my mind worked. How I was able to recognize patterns and understand movie plots. The movie poster had two heroines alonside two heroes and third hero positioned at the center alone. By then (age 8) I had enough movies to predict that the third hero would die and hence he didn’t need a heroine. I was absolutely right! Govinda died in the movie…

That was 4th August 1988, 31 years ago!

Fast forward 6 years…on 5th August 1994, one of the biggest blockbusters of Hindi cinema was released – Hum Aapke Hain Koun!

Yes, today is 25th anniversary of the release of HAHK!

I still remember HAHK like it was yesterday! By then I had moved on from Mandakini and had become Madhuri Dixit fan! And I was in 10th standard when HAHK released. It didn’t stop me from watching the movie in theatre in Pune (not video parlour) 5 times. The ticket rate at that time was Rs 16 for stalls and Rs 25 for Balcony. When I watched it fifth time, the Balcony ticket had surged to Rs 32! Song “Chocolate Lime Juice…” which was not there earlier was added later on…

The movie was such a great blockbuster that it completely overshadowed another classic movie Andaz Apna Apna (which released in Nov 1994)…but more about it in another blog post.

Today movie success is measured in Crores. But I feel that’s a wrong measure, because over period ticket prices will keep on growing. Comparable measure could be the number of tickets sold or footfall. Again that’s not a very good measure because now there are so many ways of watching movies (online streaming etc) and also movies are competing with so many avenues of emtertainment which didn’t exist earlier in 1990’s – TV shows, Internet, web series, Youtube or even IPL/ T20 cricket (which competes with movies). But tickets sold is still a robust measure.

So here’s some statistics I found about various movies:

So by this yardstick HAHK is truly among the all time hits! I still remember the audio cassette of the movie and all the posters and songs which used to be part of Philips Top 10.

Here is a nice picture which Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit clicked last year on ocassion of completing 24 years – posing exactly like the pose on audio cassette.

Anyways, all this also means that I am getting too old – and hence nostalgic.

Bye the way, another all time classic Mughal-E-Azam also released on this day – 5th August 1960! And no, I am not old enough to have witnessed that ☺️

P.S.: I am not yet done with nostalgia about Hindi movies. I wanted to write a blog on music of 90’s for quite some time. Will write soon…

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