I am a child of the movies. My father has bequeathed this love to me. Of course all Indians are movie-buffs but my Dad has somehow managed to instil a love in me for movies like Boot Polish, Awaara, Half-Ticket, Chalti ka Naam Gaadi and Jaal (Dev Anand.)
My morals are movie morals. My Dad suffered many losses early in his life because he followed the honest innocence of Hindi Movie heroes of the fifties and sixties. He trusted everyone. He learned the difficult way that the silent suffering hero who does not speak much will never win in real life. In the movies the heroine goes for the Awaara or Shri 420 but in real life girls go for the man with the gift of the gab and the latest model Audi. The silent type and the party wallflower is the loser.
Can you believe that in the north there are some people who have not seen Sholay? I would say you have to have seen Angoor, Pyaasa, Sabib Bibi aur Ghulam, Junglee(Shammi Kapoor) and Waqt to know your movie roots. We have an iconic silent type in Manoj Kumar and Dharmender—Poorab aur Paschim and Anupama (Dharmender and Sharmila Tagore). Dharmender of course morphed into the jovial (and well dressed in Blackmail) Punjabi hero who will always get the girl and has all the funny punch lines-remember in Sholay-(mausi say kaun shaadi karega saalo?)
Of course my dad still is a big Amitabh Bachhan; I am too by default but the Daddy-O of Bollywood has oversold himself in television ads—I still can’t figure out his biscuit line—‘badiya hair aur behtar bhi’—somehow it makes me laugh every time at the additional behtar. Behtar than what?
I would put Jaagte Raho right up there in classic black and white Hindi movies with Raj Kapoor searching for a drink of water throughout the night and inadvertently revealing the nefarious activities in a Mumbai building. His simpleton version of a Sardarjee and the two songs ‘Zindagi Khaab hai’ and ‘ teh ki main koi jhooth boliya –Aawon oohoon, aawon oohoon.’ I love the lines, ‘Dekhe pandit gyani thyani daya dharam dey bunde, raam naam japdey tey khaande gau shaala dey chande—tey ki mai jhooth boliya?’