When you watch a movie that was made some 25 years back, you cannot possibly come out and talk about it, can you? I've been catching up on old Hindi movies over the last couple of weeks and somehow feel I should be writing about them now. It's all about falling in love with Sabana Azmi and Hema Malini and Mousumi Chatterjee all over again. How could I miss them when I was young? Was it because we Bengalis did not like anything from Bollywood? Like we liked everything French as opposed to anything from Hollywood. Hollywood, after the stiff guys like Anthony Quinn and Gregory Peck, was unacceptable to Bengalis. They looked for Eisenstein and Kurosawa and Ray. And in that process, the younger generation missed out on a wealth of beautiful Bollywood movies that dwelt on another unreal plane. A plane of black and white characters, of evil versus good, of unnatural strength, and love everlasting. And the towering Amitabh Bachhan. If he is on screen, you will willingly gloss over the technical flaws and bad scripting without blinking an eyelid. You will happily allow yourself to be transported to this world of the absurd, which you so wished were true.
And then came Naseeruddin Shah. Despite being kinda nondescript to look at, he equalled or perhaps surpassed Tom Hanks in diversity of roles. So real, you could almost feel him breathe in the theater. I watched Masoom yesterday. Yes, almost 25 years late, you can say, although I had heard the soulful songs.
And when I watched Being Cyrus last night, which too has a middle-aged Naseer and happens to be a very contemporary movie, I found a new hero: Saif Ali Khan.
I hope the Bengalis are watching Hindi movies too these days and are not as stuck up as I can remember them from the late eighties. I am watching and am enjoying every moment.