Movies have been the warp and woof in the fabric of Indian ness, binding people beyond caste, religion, language and economic well being within the sub continent and across the borders. Millions of globe-trotting Indians felt the pangs of missing one’s mathru bhumi when they heard AR Rahman swooning Yeh Jo des hai tera for the NRIs in the Pan-Indian Identity Saga Swades. For most of the NRIs living several million kilometers away from their mother land, it took them only a typical Bollywood song-replete with dancing around trees, glitz and lots of bright colours -lasting four minutes to go on a nostalgic memory (bullet huh??) train back home. Movies communicate differently across various people. For the elite, movies are expressions of art, whereas for the middle class, they are visual expressions of their collective aspirations and for those who live in the fringes, they are sedatives giving them temporary reprieve from the cruel machinations of the society. Amongst these millions of movie lovers, few however stand above the average, making a special group of movie freaks who literally breathe, eat and sleep with movies. Yours truly belongs to that category.
I was born in Tamil Nadu, a state where movie stars are revered as Gods. It is the only state which boasts of electing three people from the film fraternity to the chief minister’s chair. Scenes of devoted fans pouring milk on the mighty towering cut outs of their stars, similar to the abhishekam- a Hindu ritual where Gods are bathed with milk and various liquids- can be seen only below the Vindhyas. As far as I can remember, I had been a fan of Tamil matinee Idol Rajini Kanth. When I was a kid of about 7 years old, I remember posing in front of a camera, sporting a thick, big, square ,photo chromatic glass, typical of the 80s after a partly successful attempt to twirl it between both hands and land it up in my face like the way my super star does in his movies. Though I grew up to be a timid young chap, I discovered the tough guy within me seething with rage whenever I watched my hero kicked the butts of the villains accompanied with sounds of whooshing wind and techno frippery dishooom dishooom.
During my school days, I didn’t really notice that obsessive movie maniac in me until I went to college. In my college when I began to woo a girl, I realized that I was wooing her a’ la typical Mani Ratnam’s style -forming a rapport that’s built on utter disdain for conventional romantic gooeyness. My train journeys were mostly deluged with flashback sequences. However the epiphany occurred in the holy precincts of IIM Ahmedabad. I had been there to submit my CAT form. The moment I entered the sprawling campus with its towering baked brick structures, I could feel something rising within me. All of a sudden, from nowhere I could hear the inspiring blow of trumpets in the delectable instrumental track of the movie Lakshya, raising my freckles, playing in DTS surround system. It was incredible. The moment dawned as the ephemeral union between real and reel world. For some timeless moments, I was no longer I thought I was. My identity had been merged with the protagonist. I was Hrithik Roshan, entering for the first time in my life the campus of my dreams, where Thou doth destined to realize Thy lakshya.
Since then, several moments of my life have been captured with panache in my mind’s celluloid with an aspect ratio of 2:20. After all, what constitutes life/film? Nothing but moments. In this anthology, I have strived to recreate those celluloid reels in paper, blurring the distinction between fiction and reality. I am the narrator and the protagonist in all these stories. Several fragments of my identity helped me to identify with the archetypal protagonist of Indian Cinema. Reminiscent of the age old tradition of Bollywood where the protagonists have been singing stars like K.L.Saigal, Suraiya and Kishore Kumar, I was also one. Following the canons of Tamil cinema heroes, I had a little paunch and was pathetic in dancing.
Most of the stories in this anthology have been shot using sync sound unlike Indian Cinema’s hereditary obsession with ADR. This anthology consists of seven short stories contributing to 70 mm filmy entertainment. All the seven stories portray various genres of movies. Each story has been crafted with several Bollywood elements like dreamy sequences, songs, chick flick moments and inspirational stuff from