It’s 3 am in the morning. I just danced to ‘Kaho na Pyaar hai’, watching my pajama clad self perform the hook steps in the dirty mirror in my room. To some people, this may sound weird, even lunatic; to me, it’s a routine. Hook steps, expressions, painfully unrealistic love encounters, the drama, the songs, the Slow Mo shots, the dialogues- Bollywood is a routine for me, and I am not the only one for sure.
Okay, let’s start with my first crush. Even before I was old enough to understand what crush meant, I would find myself watching Rahul from ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ with dreamiest eyes. The nuances and subtleties of his actions and his tactics were treats to my heart. Growing up, I moved on to Rohit from ‘Kaho na Pyaar hai’, to Major Ram from ‘Mai Hoon Na’ to Akash from ‘Andhadhun’, to Iqbal from ‘Raazi’ and currently I am stuck on Ayush from ‘Ludo’. And then there is the story and some painfully unrealistic scenes that nevertheless succeed in giving me some hopelessly romantic expectations. I mean, can I see myself dancing to ‘Kaho na pyaar hai’ in the beach with the love of my life? Totally. Do I expect my shawl to get caught in some handsome guy’s bracelet in a wedding? Sure, who doesn’t? Do I expect a dude to show up at my front door with a CD player and cue cards to declare his love for me? Yes? Oh wait, that’s Hollywood, a completely different story, but you get the point, right? With some background dancers discounted, and a teeny bit of drama excluded, Bollywood scenes really do make the moment of my dreams.
But is it all romantic? Of course not. Apart from giving me some beautiful, yet painstakingly impractical expectations, Bollywood, I believe has helped me express myself. On happy days, I dance in front of my mirror to my favorite Bollywood songs until I struggle to catch my breath. On the days I feel low, I try to channel my Pooh energy, and if that doesn’t work, I cry to the rhythm of some Bollywood classics. And on days when I feel truly lost, I wish to have the ‘Dear Jindagi’ moment of clarification and realization by the beaches in Goa. Okay, I went overboard again, but you get what I mean, right? I have laughed my heart out with some fictional characters, and I have cried my eyes out too. I would have it no other way.
In recent years, Bollywood has undergone some major changes and meaningful, content- driven movies have come to the forefront. I am truly grateful for movies like ‘Kapoor and Sons’, ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’, ‘Dear Zindagi’ and so many others that depict, not an ornately decorated perfect being, but a dysfunctional life that so many of us can relate to. That being, said, I will always be obsessed with the classics for sure. They are imperfect, sometimes controversial. But I literally grew up dancing to ‘Ek Do Teen’, brewing the dream of visiting Europe like Simran did, to ultimately find the love of my life Rahul, who will one day follow me to the airport to confess his undying love for me. Oh my god, that’s it. I need to stop writing.