Not only in my childhood but also larger part of youth, Hindi movies were the only source of entertainment. Going to theatre was a big event and it required good deal of planning, because for any good movie released fresh, tickets were seldom available across the counter and seats had to be reversed in advance, once the booking opened on Monday of the week during which the new movie was to be released on Friday.
I was just thinking about the grandiose movies, watching which was almost aspirational! Lot of names come to mind and as my prime movie going time coincided with Amitabh’s reign of stardom, these were mainly his movies – Trishul, Namak Halal, Sharabi, Amar Akbar Anthony, Shakti and an odd non Amitabh movie such as Karz, Chacha Bhatija or Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin. In fact, Sharabi and Shakti were two movies that I watched the second time, a rarity of my lifetime. But the biggest event as I recollect was watching Sholay for my father stood in queue for 2 hours to get tickets for two weeks after, when the movie had already run for almost 6 months! By that time, everyone knew each and every dialogue of this all time classic!
And then suddenly the standard and the content of Hindi movies deteriorated and so did the musical score and with so much alternate content available on cable TV, channels and now of course internet, the attraction of Bollywood faded. Of course, earlier elegant and well laid out theatres ( Plaza, Odeon, Chanakya, Sangam, Priya in Delhi and Sterling, Eros, Regal, Minerva, Metro in Mumbai) also shut down their doors replaced by very neat and clean with great acoustics but clinical Multiplexes!
Does it mean, I have no interest in any Bollywood movie? No, exception is always there. There’s one film maker for whose movies I wait eagerly, for his movies are based on rock solid scripts on which he spends lots of time along with his co-writer! He’s Rajkumar Hirani, the maker of two Munnabhai franchises and classics such as 3 Idiots, Peekay and Sanju! I look forward to his next though I don’t know whether his dream project , “ Munnabhai Chale America “ or for that any other Munnabhai franchise movie will see the light of the day for Sanjay Dutt is growing in years, though he seems to have conquered cancer.
More Hiranis can bring reluctant ( I won’t use the word discerning for that may sound needlessly egoistic) cinema goers like me back to the theatres, even if it means going to a multiplex and eating popcorn for Rs250 !