5 old and new films that bring me joy
Bringing some Diwali cheer from the newsroom.
- Total Shares
There are umpteen reasons why we go to the movies every now and then. Some do it to take a much-needed break from the harsh realities of life – the work, the commute, the responsibilities. Some do it to bunk classes, some to seek privacy and quiet in the chaos and some to spend time with family beyond the dining table.
Some just want to be transported to an unknown territory in those two-plus hours. Most often we just want to have a laugh and live vicariously through others.
There are films that I can watch again and again, and I have realised that these are films where it’s the characters and their journeys that are most appealing.
1) Andaz Apna Apna
Long before 3 Idiots! there were two namely Amar (Aamir Khan) and Prem (Salman Khan, in his best performance to-date) whose misadventures leave you with tears of joy.
Rajkumar Santoshi’s film packs a punch – there’s the Shashi Tharoor lookalike on the back of the bus who I discovered only in my thirtieth-plus viewing; the OP Nayyar-like sweet melodies (“Yeh Raat Aur Ye Doori” is a classic), legendary loony characters like Crime Master Gogo (Shakti Kapoor), Teja (Paresh Rawal), Robert (Viju Khote) and Bhalla (Shehzad Khan) whose presence ensures that the laughs never stop.
It’s a ritual now to watch it once every year so as to remind yourself that this is what it is like to actually enjoy the movies.
2) Chunking Express
The second part of Wong Kar Wai’s film is my favourite feel-good love story. Tony Leung is cast perfectly as the “it guy” – the police officer secretly desired by a young woman (Faye Wong) still trying to figure her life out.
While he is sulking over a break-up, she is busy breaking into his house and cleaning it and stocking it with better food. He talks to a teddy bear about heartbreak. She admires him from afar while he is on duty.
It is a quirky romance with Wong as the adorable, love-struck young woman and Leung whose eyes and smile, and melancholic soliloquies make for a deadly combination.
3) Teesri Manzil
22 years after its release, I came across Teesri Manzil and it is a film that has stayed with me. It’s the first film that got me on my feet to wriggle (“Aaja Aaja”, “O Haseena”), which made me realise that love can make people sad (“Tumne Mujhe Dekha”) and that a song is a perfect way to pacify someone you love (“O Mere Sona Re” and “Main Inpe Marta Hoon”). I was five.
Later, it made me realise that a hero need not be brawny but someone who dances like nobody’s watching (I Shammi Kapoor) and that wearing glittering pink top with was fashionable (costume designer Leena Daru for the win).
Simply put, a better musical thriller hasn’t been made yet.
4) The Sound of Music
A singing-and-dancing governess. Seven energetic kids. A dapper but stern naval officer-father. A grand house by the waterfront with a ballroom and a gazebo. A beautiful landscape with trouble brewing. So many great songs. There is little that is wrong with The Sound of Music.
5) Modern Times
I have to admit I only recently discovered Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times and was blown away by his genius.
Only Chaplin can find humour in the perils of industrialisation and the woes of a hero who believes staying in jail is more comforting than living in the real world.
But that moment of sheer ecstasy comes when you hear Chaplin's voice for the first time when he sings - in gibberish - The Nonsense Song. It is a master displaying his full range of expressions.