Hang over of the past

I belong to the generation that saw in its youth the superstar Rajesh Khanna fade into oblivion and Amitabh Bacchan emerge as the angry young man of the silver screen. As a teenager,I was mesmerized by the beauty of Hema Malini but was  a Jaya Bhaduri fan. Charming Rakhee and gorgeous Rekha impressed me but the dazzling star who enthralled the audience in the prime of my youth was, undoubtedly, Sridevi. Unlike today when the young and fresh heroines starve and strive for ‘size zero,’ the well -fed actresses of those times used to flaunt figure ‘eight’.

As I go down the memory lane, I recall ‘Dosti’, the first movie that I saw as a kid. It was a story of friendship between a lame and a blind man but the character that fascinated the child in me the most, though, was a cute little white Pomeranian dog in the movie. Family movie outings in our times were rare. Majority of the films that I watched as a child were with the school mates as a part of the school outing. Adjacent to Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jalandhar Cantt., was a dilapidated cinema hall named Defence Theatre. Whenever a patriotic film or a movie with a social message was on, the school would book a show. It was in the jam-packed auditorium filled with school children that I watched Shaheed, Haqiqat and classics like Benhur. Never mind the rickety chairs and poor audio-video quality; movie outings were our all- time favourite.

As a teenager, I was permitted to go for movies with my friends only occasionally. However, my brother, who is younger to me by exactly a year, would invariably accompany the girls. I remember we got the permission from mother to see ‘Daag’, a Rajesh Khanna- Sharmila- Rakhee starrer, but my father was quite upset when he got to know from my aunt that there were some ‘objectionable’ scenes in the movie.

It was in this conservative atmosphere that television came into our home. Unlike today when television is kept in the bedroom, back then T.V. occupied a place of pride in the drawing room and the entire family would sit together to watch the programs. These days we are spoilt for choice. There are dozens of movies being shown every day on various television channels but 80s was the era of Doordarshan’s monopoly. The weekly quota of movies was limited to one. The whole family would sit glued to the T. V. to watch Sunday movie. It was then I discovered that I had the sixth sense. I could almost sense that there was going to be a hot scene (of course, nothing in comparison to explicit scenes on television these days) and would walk out of the room on one or the other pretext. The times have changed now. I am much older and the scenes are bolder now but I continue to have the hangover of the past. Even today while watching the programmes with my children, it is  I who  start feeling uncomfortable, change the channel or move out of  the room while the children are quite at ease and have no qualm about watching the adult content on the screen.


(Published in Hindustan Times on Dec  7, 2015)

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