में यहाँ पे इतनी मोहब्बत (💩) भर दूंगा की अगले दस मिनटों तक आप उसे निकाल नहीं पाएंगे
The curve seems to have flattened down under, but the danger still looms. Today is day 17 of the isolated life in one of the most isolated cities of the world. I am bored of this humdrum life. A part of me wants to go out and help those scientists in putting an end to my agony, but I am stopped by my conscience. After all, I lack the science for it. All the science expects of me today is to stick my ass on to something and not venture outside of my house. I know it is difficult, but I will do it for science and, for you. But human mind works in mysterious ways. All the unread books on my shelf and the series on Netflix that I always wanted to watch, does not interest me anymore. A virus and I am sure it is not corona, has taken over my neural network. The virus feeds on old memories and things already experienced. This new mind cannot handle new information. In such circumstances, why on earth should Amazon Prime offer an old delicacy? My eyes saw it, so I couldn’t skip it. You guessed it right. Mohabbatein, the delectable shit.
Year 2000 was special for millennials born in the 80s like me. I was 16, going on 17. So, no reason why the heart wouldn’t beat. Sorry, if that did not make any sense. I just literally translated “दिल क्यों ना धक् धक् करे”. With the onset of 2000, we bade goodbye to our favorite decade, the 90s. We knew we are at the cusp of something special. Internet boom had just happened. For music lovers like me, it was a difficult choice between magnetic tapes and compact discs. The purists held on to their music cassettes, like it is a relic of past that they did not want to forego. Then boys like me had other bigger problems to deal with, testosterone. Our emaciated bodies were ill-equipped to deal with it. The youthful energy was showing up in all wrong places. Sorry, don’t conclude. I was talking about pimples. Yes, girls did interest us, but I for one, had just come out of a boys only residential school, devoid of inter-gender communication skills. My other lucky friends from co-ed schools lacked time for such things. No, time is just an excuse so, let’s settle for something else. Let’s say they lacked choices. It was difficult time for us. Balancing hormones and career for lower middle-class students like us was not an option. Career was the only choice.
It was during such a year that Bollywood tried to test our hormones with Mohabbatein and Kaho Naa.. Pyaar Hai (KNPH). This write-up is only about Mohabbatein. I cannot write anything on KNPH. It would be blasphemy to talk about the Greek Gods; Gods, because there were two different versions of Hrithik Roshan. Same-sex relationship was not decriminalized back then, otherwise I don’t know what would have become of my friends who looked at Hrithik in a different way. I hope they have figured out their true orientation; Amisha Patel ensured I had no such issues to deal with. Time to get back to shit.
In Bollywood, no one has experimented with love like the Chopras and Johars have. In fact, they have f’ed up love so much that its offspring are now showing up in Imtiaz Ali movies. Imtiaz was brilliant in the start though, but I guess he watched Mohabbatein somewhere in between.
The Johars and Chopras have no clue about poverty and education in India. Understandably. Gurukul, the name might sound Indian, is a Gothic building standing amidst lush green grasslands. If you are wondering which part of India comes close to this landscape, then you are not alone. Maybe it is a colonial legacy. But before any Christian missionary could take over, some Hindu organisation did. If you don’t believe me, then look at the college insignia. In fact, just look at the tilak wearing Principal who prefers black clothes all the time, as if he is part of a secret Hindu cult. There is a Goddess statue in the middle of nowhere where, the big-head introvert principal usually hangs out alone. It is a college mind you, where the upper age limit seems to be set a tad higher. The ages are not revealed but our guess is that most of the students are more than 25 years of age. Maybe admission to this institute is highly competitive and no one gets admission in the first attempt. You can easily say that the college is going through an identity crisis. It may look luxurious but attracts students from all sections of society. The three main protagonist students of this movie look like they belong to rich families. Looks are deceiving though. Vicky is a son of a bank accountant. May be his father was dealing with Nirav Modi’s file. The rich looking Sameer is so poor that he needs to go outside the campus to earn some extra bucks for his tuition fees. May be his parents lost all their investments in China. His equally poor love interest haggles for डेढ़ ढाई rupees. She also cannot find enough clothes to cover up her body. Poor girl and poor boy. Karan’s financial status is unknown.
The school or rather college is standing on three pillars: परंपरा, प्रतिष्ठा, अनुशासन. Amitabh Bachhan is its Principal emeritus with immense powers. Gurukul is his fiefdom. He has been running it on those pillars for 25 years now. His charisma drowns all other teachers as they are nowhere to be seen, except for the first and last few minutes where Narayan Shankar ji passes on the baton to a 40 something under educated college drop-out violin player. Remember, once rusticated from Gurukul you don’t get admission anywhere else, not even the supreme court can help you. The teachers stand as mute spectators and clap for Raj Aryan when he is made Narayan Shankar’s successor. Maybe, they are happy that Narayan Shankar is finally gone or maybe, they have realized their time is up. In this new age school of love, their subjects are of no use. It’s not biochemistry, it is “love” 😍 stupid. प्यार, इश्क़, मोहब्बत will be its new pillars. Karthik Aryan will easily get a teaching assignment here. It is a pity that GOI opened so many new IITs, IIM, AIIMs but not a single IIL (Indian Institute of Love).
Raj Aryan is played by the king of romance, Shahrukh Khan. His sole motto is to fill the campus with love, love and more love. After all, love is the most important subject to teach. For that he will go to great extents: bend his knees, spread his arms, hallucinate, dance with Salman’s mom, wake up early to do surya namaskar and, most importantly, challenge the indefatigable Narayan Shankar. He gets to play his natural romantic self. He picked love over basic education in DDLJ, picked love over parents and country in Veer Zaara and finally, in Mohabbatein he gets to play a scholar but yet again picks love over academics. Raj gets the beautiful girl Megha to date. We could not complain. We knew the losers get the best girls. Salman and Vivek are not losers after all.
Aishwarya Rai the beautiful, the graceful and the beauty with brains is told not to be her true self, so she acts as a dumb cow in this movie. She jumps of her terrace for his 30 years old looking college boyfriend. I am sure she was an arts student otherwise she wouldn’t give up her life for mere X and Y chromosomes. Despite her death she keeps her screen presence by appearing in Raj’s “love” hallucinations. We cannot complain. She is a good excuse from the other six lead actors. Chopra did a tremendous job in picking up those six actors.
Yes, Uday Chopra is in the movie. If you are wondering what is a guy like him is doing in the movie? Remember as a kid, the one who owned the bat got to bat first? He doesn’t get to bat first though but does gets to play a few balls. His brother wanted a girl who could match up to his bulging biceps so Shamita Shetty gets to be his love interest. I don’t know whether I should feel sorry for him or her. Ishika tries her best by dressing up as scantily as she could, but acting, grace and oomph eludes her. Jimmy Shergill is the guy who was destined to never be someone’s first love. Or maybe we are judging him. What if he prefers experience in love? I have a soft corner for this chap though. He warns the other two to correct their ways but as they say, never get into a company of bad friends. He was the best of the three and deservingly gets the best of three girls, the pretty cow Preeti Jhangiani. But she is a smart cow. She goes to the station every night in search of a lover and the stupid society thinks this poor girl is longing for his presumably dead husband. Her efforts bear fruits and she finds a new young suitor in Jimmy. Hang on, you cannot get a pretty girl just like that so, you must overcome a pesky father-in-law, played by late Amrish Puri, to handle. You look at him and wonder, “Can Major Generals be like him?” But then you look at the current Chief of Defence Staff of India and nod, “yes, maybe”. Jugal Hansraj gets to play his natural self, the innocent. Kim Sharma is the dumb girl he falls for.
Despite all these shady characters and a lofty script, Mohabbatein is an inseparable part of our adolescence. People like me have given it a rating of more than 7 on IMDB. Yes, take that shit. If you think it does not deserve this rating then I must tell you, it was a movie ahead of its time. Each of the melodious songs by Jatin-Lalit has deep meanings in its lyrics but only if you had a liberal mind to fathom.
When Ishika and Sanjana sing, “इतनी जल्दी लाज का घूँघट न खोलूंगी”, you know they want to tell us, don’t equate लाज with what we wear. लाज is a state of mind. Hats off to Aditya’s vision.
Then there is a point been made on consent. “चुटकी भर सिन्दूर से तुम अब यह मांग मेरी भर लो … कल क्या हो किसने देखा, सब कुछ आज अभी कर दो”. Two consenting adult individuals can do whatever they want. It cannot be constrained by a marriage contract. The courts are happy. Bravo Aditya!
Finally look at the premonition. 20 years before the COVID-19 lockdown, Aditya had a vision, “बंद गलियों से चुप चुप के हम गुजरने लगे.. सारी दुनिया से रेह रेह कर हम तो डरने लगे”. You are a legend Aditya!
To wrap up, all those born in the 90s and 2000s, you may have your “Befikre”, but remember …. Love is the nectar of life…