Friday, March 25, 2011

Do you remember that movie?

(This is for my sister, Motiya, and at her own suggestion too…:-))

When we were small, there was no easy way to refer or search for information about the movies, actors, musicians, directors or lyricists. There was no easy way to get the lyrics of the songs you liked. It was almost impossible to listen to your favorite songs as and when you liked. The only radio stations that played movie songs were Vividh Bharati and Radio Ceylon.  We tried and listened to Vividh Bharati as much as we could. And when it played a song we loved, we wrote down the lyrics!! And if there were 2 of you writing the lyrics together, then it was better – then you could get most of the lyrics down in one go!!

So many times we wrote down the lyrics, but didn’t quite remember which movie the song was from. And many times we knew all the songs from a movie, but didn’t know who were the lead actors in that movie or the situation in the movie a particular song was for.

And the avenues to watch movies were very few.  There was only one TV channel, Door Darshan and there was only one movie shown on TV every week. So, on Sunday evening we watched the movie on TV, if and when we weren’t doing anything else like playing outside with friends or made to do something else by parents like study, especially when exams were approaching. And if the movie was not “censored” by the parents. Oh AND if we had electricity at the time of the movie!!
We went to movie hall to watch a movie very few times.We would go to the movie hall hardly ever when school session was on and just once or twice in holidays. I remember in one summer vacation I had felt really privileged because we had watched all of THREE movies in the movie hall.

Going beyond all these restrictions when we were able to watch a movie, we weren’t too choosy. We were happy to watch whatever movie was on the TV any given Sunday. And we mostly went for whatever movies my parents let us go to or took us along with them. (Well, of course except for a phase when I just HATED all the movies, and didn't want to go watch any movie!! ).

We told stories of the movies that we watched. And this story telling could go on for hours – because you had to explain things in detail – like the kind of saree the heroine was wearing for a particular scene or the jacket the hero wore, the facial expressions of the comedian – oh and the “adda” or den of the bad guy, which had all sorts of mind boggling instruments and contraption for torturing the "good people".  And we also had to tell our understanding of why characters were acting in a particular way. Many times this was not explained in the movies – it was our interpretation and COMPLETELY off the mark. When you watch the same movies after many years, you very strikingly realize this.

Then sometimes, when you were trying to remember a movie, you asked each other “What was that movie in which blah blah blah happens?”  And if your sister or mother or friend could not place the movie, you gave more hints – like who was the hero or a song from the movie you remembered or a little bit of the plot….

My sister, had a unique “gift” shall we say, in this game of “Do you remember that movie”. Here is how the dialog with her will go on –

Motiya:   What movie is that, do you remember?
Me:         Which one?
Motiya:   You know in which the hero is very poor and his mother is always smiling?

Now that described more than half the movies shown on Door Darshan in that period! Most times the Hero was poor and struggling and his mother was unusually “nice”, always smiling, even in hard times.

Me:        What else?
Motiya:   And his mother makes “Gajar ka halwa” for him, because he loves it?!

Again, every poor hero liked “Gajar ka halwa” and his wonderful mom always managed to make that for her beloved son even in dire poverty!!

Me:        Who is the hero?
Motiya:   Don’t remember. It could be Dilip Kumar or Rajesh Khanna oh, or maybe Kishore Kumar?!

Now this was really going across generations of heroes, and different types of movies!! And of course there was a very good chance that the actual hero was someone else altogether!!
But we still continue our efforts to figure out…

Me:        Who is the heroine?
Motiya:   She was someone, I don’t know at all…

Now that really helps, right??

Me:         So what else do you remember?
Motiya:   Well, towards the end, the hero drives a car on a mountain road, very fast!!
Me:         And?
Motiya:   Then there is a fight at the villain’s den!!


Me:         Do you remember any songs?
Motiya:   Yes!! There is a song sung by Asha Bhosale! Or maybe it is Lata Mangeshakar.

In those days, I think about 95% songs for women actors were sung by one of these 2 sisters. It was like there was no other female singer around!!

Me:         Do you remember the song?
Motiya:    I don’t remember the words, but it is something about “pyaar” and “duniya”… But I remember the tune!!!

Now "remembering a tune" and being able to reproduce it correctly are two different things!!

Thinking that she was humming the tune currectly, my sistent then started to hum the “tune”.  And that really  sounded like a mosquito’s humming to me!!! “Hmmmm hmmm hm hmm hmmmmmmm hm hm hm”

I just gave up all the effort to figure out the movie, at this point!!!!
And anyway, by the time we reached this point, we both were really angry with each other.

One outcome of this was that we didn’t talk to each other for quite a while. Which I am sure, my parents thought was a blessing!!!

Of course, needless to say, we would repeat this game again and again every few days!!! And everytime it would go like this with exact same results!!! :-)

Now I really miss those days......


  1. Sounds like my story too .... except my sis would think talking about movies and listening to songs were a waste of time ... (she preferred dolls instead). But the simplicity of those days ... 70s mainly and partly 80s ... I could count the no. of Hindi movies and songs I could see in any given year. There was 1 hindi movie on DD in a week, 1 hindi movie in our club every 2 weeks, 1 chitrahaar (with 5-6 songs) in a month (living in Madras), and 3 hindi movies in the theatres in a year.. one during each term break. I somehow remember those movies much more clearly and vividly than the movies I got to see the past decade. And yes, if I was lucky and got to spend the summer vacation in Delhi, wow they had 2 hindi movies a week! And 2 chitrahaars every week! And then they added DD2 which showed that many more! A summer well spent, I would say :)

    And I'm trying to guess the movie Motiya was talking about ... will get back to you ;) watch this space!

  2. I never went to Delhi for any holidays...!!! Wow!! 2 movies a week? And 2 Chitrahaars too??? I think in late 70s/ early 80s that would have been a dream come true!!

    You are right about remembering those movies better, BTW.

    And let me know if you can guess the movie!! If you can, then you deserve some sort of an award for sure!!! :-):-)

  3. "And anyway, by the time we reached this point, we both were really angry with each other. " That made me laugh out loud. Very funny! Lovely post about childhood days. :))