I am a movie buff. If I was as prolific with words as Mr. Shashi Tharoor, I would have called myself a “cinephile”. Since I’m not, I’ll go with a mediocre sibling of cinephile, i.e. a movie buff.
I have been watching movies in theatres since ages! Recently I came across the following tweet – Tezaab recently completed 32 years of its theatrical release.
With this, I really started thinking about the first movie I could remember watching in theatre.
I vaguely remember watching in theatres the marathi comedy movies, which later became cult classics, Dhum Dhadaka (1985), De Dana Dan (1987) and Gammat Jammat (1987).
I also remember watching Mr. India (1987) in theatre. That would be the first Hindi movie which I clearly remember watching in theatre. Please note that I am only considering the movies which I watched in theatre. Those were the days of Video Cassette Players, and almost all movies would release on Video Cassette immediately after the theatrical release. I have watched many of them which I am not counting here. For example, hindi movie Saagar (1985) and Marathi movie Navri Mile Navaryala (1984) – which I must have watched on video cassette sometime in 1986-87 (during Munja of my cousin brother).
However, even for the above mentioned early movies, I only vaguely remember that experience. I remember myself sitting in theatre and watching those movies on big screen. Maybe that’s the image I have built in my mind, since I don’t remember anything else related to those movies. When you have familiar memories of a routine experience such as going to theatre, you can superimpose any movie on that and feel that you have actually experienced it. I’m not sure if that’s the case with the movies I talked about. Maybe I really watched and my memories are really real. Not sure. However, what I am sure about is everything related to watching Tezaab in theatre. I was 8 years old by then. And I remember listening to songs of that movie during Ganesh Festival, seeing ads of the movie in newspaper and then going to cinema hall to watch that movie. And later, watching it multiple times on Video Cassette player.
In that sense, Tezaab is my first complete movie experience which I vividly remember. The other would be Marathi movie “Ashi Hi Banwa Banwi” which also released in 1988. With Tezaab, it was a memorable experience. When the movie released in Nov 1988, we were in Delhi for Diwali vacation. My father, younger brother, uncle (who lived in Delhi at that time) and cousin (4 years older than me) had gone to cinema hall. What we didn’t realise at that time was that Tezaab was given “A” certificate – because of violence and action scenes. My cousin, my brother and I were not allowed to go inside the cinema hall and we had to return back with heavy heart 😦
The movie was house full! I remember seeing the “black market” of movie tickets for the first time!
In a week or so we were back home and surprisingly in my city/state the cinema halls did allow kids, thankfully! So, just before our Diwali vacations ended we went and watched that movie! And that was the beginning of my movie journey!
And that was the best period for developing a taste for movies – there were so many Masala entertainers, musicals and stereotypical Hindi movies which defined 90’s decade.
Immediately after Tezaab I watched Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. Though it had released earlier that year, I hadn’t watched it till then (I was too young for a romantic love story). I watched QSQT and didn’t like much.
But 1989 was a watershed year in my journey as a movie buff! So many memorable movies – and trust me, I’m mentioning these from memory, not by Googling – which were released in 1989 and which I watched in theatre. Tridev, Ram Lakhan, Parinda, Maine Pyar Kiya, Chandni, and Chaalbaaz to name a few. In fact I can tell some of the top popular movies for each of the years between 1985 till date!
A classic art film like Ek Din Achaanak also released in 1989. But I watched it only a few years back. And that’s a very important point to ponder.
If I had watched such heavy, artistic movies (Ek Din Achanak, Ek Doctor Ki Maut or Lekin etc which released around the same period) at age 8/9, I might not have developed interest in movies. It was Masala entertainers which got me interested in watching movies. If I draw parallels, it’s the same with reading. I developed my passion for reading by consuming junk, or strictly non-classic stuff. It was Chandoba, Kishor, Thakthak magazines and books such as Jaducha Kandil, Udata Galicha etc which got me interested in reading! It was only then that I graduated to more serious and meaningful reading.
So the role of Masala entertainers (in case of movies), or the silly story books (in case of reading) is immensely important!
Maybe the influence on me was a bit too much 🙂 I still like those kind of movies, and that’s why I rush to watch Salman’s Dabangg on first day. More than the actual movie, it’s the nostalgia that makes me watch such movies even today.
One of my friends often tells me this: “It’s difficult to digest that you like someone like Salman Khan. Your taste in other fields is so much different and so “rich”, I can’t reconcile how you could tolerate Salman Khan’s movies.”
Well, my friend should read this post! It’s the same 8/9 year old who is watching those types of movies, even today. I’m not 40 years old. I’m a 9/10 years old with 30 years of experience of being a 9/10 year old!
P.S.: For me, One of the great discoveries of 2020, thanks to pandemic, has been the regional cinema. I have watched so many movies in Mallyalam, Tamil, Telugu in last 8-10 months! I wonder why did it take so long for me to explore that world. More about it in future blog…