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100 years of Bollywood!

From Aashiqui 2 and 25 years of QSQT to Amitabh Bachchan and 100 years of Bollywood!

How vividly I remember that summer day — during the start of our summer vacations in class eleventh — when I went to watch this iconic film called QSQT.

All alone. All because of Juhi Chawla, as I had become a fan of hers ever since she became Miss India! For the next seven days, I kept going back to see the same movie with a different set of friends each time. By the 8th day, QSQT was on its way to become one of the biggest blockbusters ever of Bollywood! QSQT was a pure love story in its true sense — as pure as the emotions of love could get — conveyed through a clean and beautiful film with great direction, music and acting. Those indeed were amazing days.

While getting nostalgic one recent evening reading about QSQT’s 25 year celebrations, I wondered whether a QSQT will work again in today’s times. Coincidentally, after hearing praise aplenty from the student community, I went to see Aashiqui 2 the same evening and got my answer.

Aashiqui 2 is a Mahesh Bhatt film. He necessarily is someone who finds his place in the top 25 all-time influencers from the world of Bollywood – even if his films are often nowadays branded on the borderline of soft porn. After initially making great art-house movies, he and his extremely bold and talented family members decided to make films largely on some of the most real passions of humanity — sex and crime. Mahesh Bhatt is someone who can claim that he never made popcorn movies that looked unreal! So I went to see Aashiqui 2 expecting a lot of passion and realism.

The film didn’t betray my expectations, though a tacky first fifteen minutes and below average acting by the hero (due to lack of dialogue-delivering ability, something that ails most of our new breed of heroes) did rob me of the initial excitement. Yet, thanks to the incredibly fresh and sweet impact of Shraddha Kapoor, I stuck on to this story of a girl hopelessly in love with a drunkard and loser. And it kept growing on me. When finally the loser commits suicide just before the end of the film, I realised why the movie has become such a rage amongst the youth! It hit me hard. I could hear myself saying, “What?! The hero of a film called Aashiqui can actually be such a loser so as to commit suicide just because he can’t leave alcohol?” And I realised, yes, these are different times. These aren’t really those times when parents in cities oppose love marriages. These are times when fame is what the aimless youth aspires for, and having a content of character isn’t the most important thing for fame. The hero of the film symbolises it all. Had fame. Has hardly any substance. And most importantly, he drinks aimlessly.

To me, that marks 25 years of QSQT. Yes, Aamir is still around and doing one wonderful film after the other. Yet, times have changed. Gone are the days of QSQT sensibilities. These are times when we commit suicide, live on Facebook, with an alcohol bottle beside us. It’s not a suicide due to rejection, mind you! It’s a suicide for love! An extreme sense of instant self-gratification and a deeply distorted definition of selfishness is at the core of our existence. Yes, QSQT had a superior script and Aditya Roy Kapoor’s acting prowess is not anywhere close to that of Aamir Khan’s – so Aashiqui 2 isn’t going to become as big a blockbuster as QSQT was. But somehow, it looks like a perfect film to mark QSQT’s 25th anniversary and reflect on the changing times!
Talking about anniversaries, the bigger anniversary of course has been Bollywood’s hundred years. Bollywood, to many of us, is almost one man – Amitabh Bachchan, the God of Bollywood, and the man voted by a BBC survey as the greatest actor of the last millennium! And Anurag Kashyap, through Murabba (one of the four short films featured in the recently released Bombay Talkies), has made a tribute to Amitabh Bachchan that perhaps only he, with his deep rooted Indianness, could have made. I suspect it is Anurag’s best work till date. Like the beautiful short stories of Premchand, in a few minutes, Anurag makes us go through varied emotions, makes us laugh and cry, and above everything else, tells us a story about the inner desire of every Big B fan and his impact on our lives! Anurag Kashyap’s work is worth celebrating the hundredth anniversary of Bollywood with! For time may change the way we love, but one thing has remained a constant. That’s our love for Amitabh Bachchan, exemplified by the fanatic Amitabh Bachchan fan inside most of us and the way we express our love for him — through sheer irrational obsession! You can see first hand glimpses of this on Amitabh Bachchan’s Facebook page through the pictures capturing the madness that occurs outside his house every Sunday, where masses throng just to see a glimpse of him! Long live Bollywood!

— Author is a Management Guru and Honorary Director of IIPM Think tank

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