Daal mein Kuchh kala hai is a terrible movie but it brought to me the realisation that Hindi cinema is alive and kicking and so long as we have the great Indian masses, kuchh bhi chalega.
I assume Veena Malik is more popular in the suburbs in Mumbai which is why it was being screened only in theatres there. So it was that I landed up at the Gaiety -Galaxy complex in Bandra on an overcast breezy afternoon to watch this movie.
First, I was taken aback by the crowds milling around outside the complex. It took me back to the time when I went to see Amar Akbar Anthony at the old Opera House theatre and the energy and enthusiasm of the public outside sent a shiver of anticipation inside me as to what was to come.
The ticket brought on another wave of nostalgia. Just holding that flimsy piece of green paper with the seat number written by hand reminded me of Saturday mornings at Apsara theatre with my mum and aunt and I found myself humming "sheesha ho ya dil ho, akhir toot jata hai"( that itself was a seminal experience of my childhood. Iwill forever love shararas )
But all that romance evaporated when I saw my fellow movie watchers. The entire tapori population of Bandra had turned up to see Veena Malik do her thing on screen and I was the only woman in that theatre. Of course,I got strange looks. I see movies alone regularly but I normally sit in solitary splendour at the PVR on a Friday morning. Looking at Ms.Malik's well toned legs while sandwiched between two smelly fat men was not whatI had bargained for.
I squirmed a bit, covered my nose with my scarf and settled down to an experience I had traded in for the sanitised multiplex environment. The boys looked ready to be entertained by anything. So there was Ms.Malik frightened by a mouse in her kitchen? Ha ha ha. A midget falling in the mud? Ho ho ho. A bhoot bangla? "Wah kya banayela hai! " And dialogues like "Jeetendra ke chhote bhai" are met with guffaws of approval. That we are all in it together for the evening like a large extended joint family was obvious when someone read Malai (Ms.Malik's name in the movie) as Maldi and was corrected by a few people from the other side of the theatre.
I did not care for the movie. It has no story, terrible production values, no acting skills from anyone save Vijay Raaz whom I nearly wept for and terrible item numbers. My fellow viewers actually went for a loo break in them!
But mera toh bhidu full time pass ho gaya. The wisecracks made me feel lighter and more inclined to be happy in spite of the tripe the screen was dishing out. What this means for the future of Indian cinema is a topic for discussion with my discerning multiplex audience. But yesterday I learnt my lesson on how to find happiness in what you have and I did not have to pay a bomb to a Zen teacher to find out. An 80 buck green piece of paper did it for me.