For the last few days, I have repeatedly been getting thoughts about my first ever brush with the movies. Maybe turning 40 does that to you as reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ suddenly becomes an integral part of your life.
As per my memory, I was all of 3 and was taken by my grandmother and relatives to see Dev Anand’s Hare Rama Hare Krishna somewhere in Delhi. This was sometime in 1971. The darkening of the lights didn’t affect me (to everyone’s relief) but minutes into the film, seeing how indifferent the parents (Kishore Sahu and Achala Sachdev) were to poor Jasbir and Prashant, the floodgates of my ‘sensitive’ side burst open. This, even as Prashant was gamely trying to comfort his little sister with the beautifully composed ditty, Phoolon Ka Taaron Ka. I howled and howled and just wouldn’t stop. With angry tch tching in the audience, my grandmother had to take me out of the theatre to calm me down. Thereafter, any effort to get me back into the darkened auditorium was only met with even louder bawling on my side. And I’m sure my grandmother, having seen my ‘softer’ side, too wondered if I would be able to sit through as traumatic an event as Janice’s tragic death. So wisely, she ensured we both sat out the film in the theatre foyer so that the others could watch the movie undisturbed.
It would take my grandmother a good two whole years before she would venture to take me to see a film with her in the theatre again, this time Raj Kapoor’s Bobby. Happily, her fears were unfounded as I sat through the entire movie this time and what’s more, enjoyed the entire experience.
PS: I have seen Hare Rama Hare Krishna quite a few times since then. There’s something about that first film memory that makes me watch the entire film whenever I catch the film playing on TV while channel surfing; no matter even if I’ve caught the film from the middle. Not only have I (always) found it an extremely entertaining watch, to me, it’s probably the only decent film Dev Saab has directed.