I hate idle worship, firecrackers and family get-togethers where everyone feels the need to dress “Indian”. The only thing that comes between me and Death by Diwali is the season’s big-budget film releases.
In 2004, the biggest Diwali clash in recent times, I saw Veer Zaara, Mughal-e-Azam and Naach in that order (and on the same day).
In last October’s Diwali Dhamaka, I opted for Salman over Shah Rukh i.e. Jaan-e-Mann over Don. I’m sorry, I draw the line at remakes. Although, I confess, I broke my rule when Umrao Jaan was released the following month and barely survived to tell the tale.
Saawariya: Bhansali’s true ‘blue’ inspiration
But the worst Diwali in recent times was in 2005—the choice was between Garam Masala and Shaadi No. 1 (I wish the Censor Board would ban the release of comedies during this period. Films are serious business).
Now, I’m worried about next week’s releases. So worried, in fact, that there will be no issue of Lounge on 10 November as I spend all my time wondering which film to see first—Saawariya or Om Shanti Om.
If the fate of 2007’s biggies thus far is any indication, it’s not looking good. This year has been bleak. I just have to flip the Yash Raj Films calendar on my desk for confirmation. Three of their four releases (Chak De India was the exception) bombed.
I usually watch all their films but after those scathing reviews (yes, unlike Jaya Bachchan, I respect film reviews), I couldn’t bring myself to watch Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. That is, until my favourite aunt from London landed in town last week and insisted I accompany her.
I learnt a lot about Indian women from the film.
That women from Mumbai have curly hair, smoke, drink and wear pink lacy underwear that’s visible every time they bend. That sharp MBAs can actually be quite stupid. Actor Konkana Sen Sharma, who plays a management trainee who reads income-tax books in bed, doesn’t for a second think that her sister is a prostitute. It never occurs to her that Rani Mukerji (who wears sexy designer outfits, full make-up and departs for work at night) doesn’t exactly lead the life of an “event manager”. Even the paanwalas in this city know that a one-bedroom sea-facing hole in Mumbai can cost more than a million dollars. But not the female MBAs in Yash Raj movies. I also learnt that prostitute or not, a woman can snag her true love if she knows how to turn him on by chanting the Hanuman Chalisa. Luckily, this knowledge comes late in life, years after I met my true love (without any help from Hanuman).
Anyway, to go back to the choice at hand—Om Shanti Om or Saawariya? I’m not sure I want to see SRK’s defined abs. But then again, I’m not sure I want to watch a ‘blue’ saga inspired by one of my favourite directors, Krzysztof Kieslowski.
I think this Diwali, I’ll place my bets on the power/pain of disco.
PS: Enjoy our festive issue. If, like me, you dislike noise and sweets, go angling (we have a great guide on Page 12). We also have a rare printing holiday on Diwali so there really won’t be an issue of Mint or Lounge next Saturday. Hang in there!