I have been in nostalgia mode lately: perhaps, it's the end of the year that's put me into it? Anyhow, last week, I happened to catch Shah Rukh Khan's debut film, Deewana and then, spotted Filmfare's nostalgia issue, celebrating 60 years of Filmfare icons. While the issue itself was a treasure trove for Hindi film buffs, chronicling the icons, their stories, and exclusive photographs, what initially attracted me was the decision to use a 1995 joint portrait of Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan as the cover. When I first glimpsed the magazine, my mind immediately registered them as SRK and Amitabh Bachchan, their faces so firmly established in my visual memory...yet, it was only thirty seconds later that I realised they were younger versions of the present selves that I now associate them with. I thought it was a pretty good idea to use this image as the cover (although there is another one inside of a visibly more relaxed and smiling SRK with AB that I personally preferred to the cover image).
I have never really been a fangirl of the Khan triumvirate, I must say. Yes, if given a choice, I would usually prefer to see Aamir Khan's films but it is not as if I *have* to see them - and I am probably amongst the few people on the planet who honestly could not see what the fuss about 3 Idiots was all about, for example (I vastly preferred Raju Hirani's Lage Raho Munnabhai). In fact, my favorite AK movie happens to be Sarfarosh (1999). Similarly, in regard to Salman Khan, I would much rather read his interviews, than watch Bodyguard/Wanted (Dabang was an exception though!). However, when it comes to SRK, for some reason, I especially have a soft corner for his early films.
Unlike Aamir or Salman Khan, who debuted when I was too young to remember (or rather, could not appreciate the significance of), I distinctly remember watching Deewana with my late maternal grandmother and watching SRK's introductory song, 'Koi Na Koi Chaiye.' Growing up in Oman, we watched practically every single Hindi film that was available on video and as my grandmother became especially fond of Divya Bharati, we wound up watching Deewana more than once. After that, I recall watching Dil Aashna Hai, Chamatkar, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, which all represented SRK's pre-Baazigar filmography and reflected his pre-official stardom days. There was such raw, unadulterated energy to SRK then, which was such a departure from the established stars of those days and his contemporaries - and an undeniable freshness and newness to his persona, never mind if it was not in the chocolate box cuteness of say, Aamir Khan. (Interestingly, in the Filmfare issue mentioned above, this is what SRK had to say about his performance in Deewana: I am glad the film has done well but my performance was awful. I was vulgar, loud, and uncontrolled. I overacted and take full responsibility for it. I have saved copies of Filmfare from 1995 onwards and it's really interesting to chart the changes that have occurred in SRK's interviews since - I personally think he made much better copy in the 90s!)
I guess, my fondness for SRK's vintage days happens to coincide with a period when I was a huge Bollywood buff: I used to eagerly await for every movie, read all that I could about the stars, and one of my greatest wishes then was to witness a film shoot. Over the years (apart from still remaining clued in onto the gossip - old habits die hard!), though, I have been experiencing much disenchantment with Bollywood - the lens have become jaundiced, and thanks to their instant accessibility via Twitter/facebook /electronic media, the stars have stepped down to earth and become mortals. Bollywood albeit hasn't quite lost its masala - yet, there is something missing from its palate. Of course, I would be the last person to say that I am deeply apologetic that the era of the masala, formulaic Bollywood film is over...yet, even so, the so-bad-that-they-are-good 80s/early 90s films had a curious charm of their own and whenever I see glimpses of them, I can't help but be transported back to my childhood, that time where it was so easy to slip from the confines of your life and into the rambunctious energy of movies...
Well...before I become too maudlin, here's presenting few of my favorite vintage SRK songs - if you have any that you did like to share, please feel free to do so:)
Koi Na Koi Chaiye - Deewana (1992)
Kya Hua - Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1993)
Deewana Dil Deewana - Kabhie Haan Kabhie Naa (1993)
and just to indulge my love for early 90s kitschiness;)
I have a feeling one of my future posts will be dealing with 90s Bollywood fashion...! *rubs hands in glee*