Something I wrote some time ago to the yahoo group to which I used to write my rants and reviews before I learned/started about blogging. The pat I received there was the only reason to fuel my continuation of writing the rants!
Today I would like to share a little happiness with you all. Because in a way, remotely, this group has a connection with it. Read on to know more.
Back in the days, in my early days at Mumbai, not only my Hindi was as bad as it could be but my knowledge about movies was also zero. I had heard of Hum Aapke Hain Koun but did not know what HAHK meant. Nor did I know the cast of it. And it was already running for 2 years or more in Liberty talkies in Mumbai. As an additional note, I did not even know the spelling of Kajol (who later became my one-n-only craze – in movies) and did not know the cast of DDLJ – which too I watched after 1 year of release !!
In the college, as usual with my life – the first friend I get at a new place will become good friend and will remain one at least till I remain there, I got acquainted with a Mallu guy -Arun Ganesh- who was a movie freak. Sometime later I realized that he was very close to being a walking encyclopedia of movies. Being a Mallu if you expected him to know less Hindi, you are wrong there. He came from Ahmedabad and knew better Hindi than the mixed Hindi some people speak in Mumbai. To me, speaking Hindi was not difficult but did not want to utter foolish stuff, he was my guru for my Hindi. Being in the Bollywood capital Mumbai, it is too rare to see someone not talking about movies or music. I clearly remember asking him what was the meaing of “pahad” and when he asked for context I quoted the song from Raja Hindustani “aaye ho zindagi mein tum pahad banke”. :))
Slowly I too started to watching movies more frequently. Bunked classes and watched movie. Skipped eating out and watched movies. Watched movies for the sake of watching. Sometimes with a group from college, sometimes with another group, sometimes with some other, sometimes alone. Good, bad, hit, flop I saw it all.
In parallel we started discussing movies. We had our own tastes but most of the times we shared the same opinion. In fact, I started viewing movies critically after taking first cues from him. He used to point out the mistakes (like the missing power chord from an electric guitar or the “readers dont digest” kind of stuff ). We used to analyse many scenes, how better things could have been or why something did make sense. The forthcoming movies, music (Arun is a big Rehman fan), the past hits – our discussion covered it all. To top it we had a French tuition teacher who was a film freak. She religiously read Filmfare and followed all gossips in filmdom. We used to fight for the filmfare when we used to go there for the class and we even dedicated additional 15 min for reading filmfare (not compensating for 1 hr class for which we were paying her!). She somedays used to get irritated that we read it and discuss it in the beginning itself, so she used to hide it till the end of the class!
Talking of analysis, we almost at the same time, hit upon Khalid Mohammed who used to write for Times of India. His language, his sharp merciless remarks as well as his knowledge about movie making as well as references to various other movies impressed us no end. Monday morning talking most compulsorily started with our take on his reviews that used to appear on Sunday Times. Even though initially we worshipped him and made his every opinion ours (shamelessly), slowly we started noticing our difference of opinions from him. Be it what it is, I still regard him the one to look upto.
Then I moved to Bangalore and Arun to Sangamner for studies. Occasionally when we mailed each other, it was mostly about movies. The movie watching also reduced somewhat when we were in Engg. The communication too reduced/stopped, due to various other reasons. It was DCH, the cult classic of our age, that moved me so much that I wrote about it to him and few of our close buddies. Though it was not written as a review at all but just as a salute to the times we had spent and to Farhan Akthar, I received good (unexpected) encouraging words and thus begun my experimentation with writing reviews. DCH, still one of the closest movies to my heart, had each of us (we were 3, like in the movie, in gang other than girls) in ample amount. As a tribute, I visited Mumbai and watched the movie with the group 🙂
Impressed by that feedback, I started noting down my thoughts after most of the movies I watched. I used to share with that select group of friends (and with the group I mentioned). After joining job our communication improved (thanks to always-on office email) and we started exchanging mails regularly. This was the time this group was also most important part of my life. My so called reviews got very good feedback and appreciation that I can never forget in my life. And hence review writing became a must for me after every movie.
Now reviews too became a part of mails with Arun. Partly motivated/encouraged by my acts, he too started responding by reviews. There was even few times, we fought who would review the movie. Or skip reviewing a movie so that other can do. Sometimes we decided not to read each other’s reviews but wrote one each (Lakshya, Black were such). And during somewhat that time I feel now that I had peaked (bcoz these days I am not happy with my writing). But he kept on improving.
Those were days before blogging and blogging opened a new world for us. I created a blog and soon followed it up with our combined site on movie reviews.He was so glad. In fact I started the review blog only to make sure he gets some recognition and fame, and by which I knew he would keep doing it! As far as me, I was losing the grip and as well was getting not too affected by the feedback. The hits came coming and I left no opportunity to publicize our site. The hits came, the comments came and we were feeling good. He sent his black review to filmfare and it got published in readers review section.
Things did not remain all good all the time. The work started eating our time. Weeks used to go by and the reviews did not happen. In fact we did not get time to watch movies. Sometimes I used to get busy that time he used to fill up. And sometimes otherwise. But sometimes both of us got so busy and felt bad for our pet – our site. Yet we kept hung to it. We approached few friends to fill in during our absence. Some of them agreed and filled up (fill up even now) and we are glad to be a part of creative circle. And we knew that many times, we watched movies only to write reviews, we wrote reviews only to keep our site updated!!
While about reviews let me capture another funny event. There was a guy (lets say X) in Arun’s organisation who was observing the fame Arun was getting for writing reviews. So X too started sending his reviews to a girl (Y) whom he was trying to impress. Y was in Aruns list of pals receiving movie review updates and X was a TL to Y. Y sent X’s reviews to Arun asking us to have a look and publish it on our site. X’s reviews were very difficult to understand and we withheld before posting. It so happened that, Arun investigated on the reviews and found they were all from a rottentomatoes. X had intelligently(?) clubbed many reviews and hence there was no continuity nor any sense and it was all too tough to follow. A clear copy paste. Arun exposed this and sent out a mail to all his buddies including Y. Not to mention they broke up soon and everyone was staring at him funnily after that incident!!
If you ever have a pet, you understand my feeling towards my site. Its a cute thing to own and to show to the world. But the rare updates is always a problem.
Thankfully he has moved to a different organisation where supposedly the work load is less and has moved out of city. So like me, all he has to pass time, is to watch movies.
Then recently icing on the cake happened. Much anticipated fame arrived. It started with KANK. He had his ticket booked for first day. He had read up Taran Adarsh’s review. I also had planned for a second day show. I could not do much due to work load and jotted down few thoughts on KANK but Arun, declining to read my views before he jotted down his (like the earlier days!) detailed review. Incidentally rediff announced a contest asking for reviews from readers. Arun sent his entry (and asked me to do, but I let it go. I felt my review was incomplete and was also pressed for time. Also had no belief in my effort). Now KANK is every movie reviewer’s delight and many responses must have come. Nevertheless his review was one of the best 10 reviews and he got to be a part of rediff reviewers group. What an achievement ! I hadn’t been many times as happy as this recognition. I know its his review but I shall take some claim and happiness for that fame 🙂 His achievement is mine and his fame is mine :))
His organisation had an all employee movie watching event and they saw KANK. (No this has nothing to do with his review…his review appeared on rediff much later). Then he sent his reviews and its being published on rediff to his colleagues. Not to mention appreciation and wishes followed. It took few days before he got back to normal self 🙂 If plagiarism is flattery, he got that too – someone even plagiarized his review!
Being in rediff critic group, Arun got to review Don for rediff. And when it appeared on rediff main page, not to mention that Arun was on cloud nine for few days :))
It is an interesting parallel we have shared with Farhan Akthar – that first movie of Farhan Akthar (DCH) had started me on writing reviews and for the second we both competed to write and each one wrote one and for the third one Arun’s review got published in a leading online news site.
And thus ends my intention of sharing my happiness with you all. Without your encouragement and feedback I would not have attempted to write and without me he would not have continued to write. So in a sense, this happiness finds its root in you, in this group (and the blog readers/commenters ). Thank you friends.
All the above talked about reviews could be found at 70mm