Life,Pyar& Celluloid

I wrote this incomplete anthology few years back when I was crazy about cinema. I tried hard to convert this into a book..however, it didnt fructify...Vinnai thaandi varuvaayaa movie kinda brought back this anthology to me.. Will be posting the two stories I wrote under this anthology here... When i read this today, few parts sound funny. However I didnt want to edit it..
You can read the stories I wrote under this column  here

I am one of those countless movie buffs living in a movie crazy nation called INDIA. Since time immemorial, Indians have been so fascinated by movies. The reasons are hard to find. May be it has been embedded in our genome. May be it’s because of the eternal Vedas. Puzzled? The ancient Vedanta Philosophy talks about living life in a detached way, akin to watching a movie. On the surface, you are attached to it experiencing a gamut of emotions. Yet, in your deep consciousness you know that you are a mere witness watching the whole movie objectively. As soon as the lights are turned on, you walk out of the theatre as if you have just come out of a dream. Though several Indians may not really practise this kind of living, they will definitely find it impossible to think of a life without movies. 

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[1]. 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 Hollywood movies. All the titles, including that of the anthology have been named from movies. The anthology has also been named that way as the seven stories, though might seem disparate, have been structured in such a way that they segue with the other, thus forming an invisible thread which connects them together to make one complete movie titled Life, Pyar &Celluloid . To conclude the synopsis, I assure that all the stories will be total paisa vasool, just like the movies are.

[1] Automated dialogue replacement- technique used in most of the Indian movies where the actor re-records the dialogues in the studio