17 June, 2021

Big B Stole My Cinema

When Amitabh's characters started leaving him in the '80s, I stopped crying for films

Big B Stole My Cinema
As early as my childhood memory leads me back in time, it is the picture and sound of Hindi films that seem to be the earliest influence on my mind, my clothes, my physical grooming, morality and aesthetics. So much for having parents whose passion was academics and red flag politics. Today, it belatedly puzzles me just as it alarmed and made my parents anxious then. Sadhana was the high priestess of fashion and for me continues to be the enduring star through decades of my cinematic enchantment and disenchantment.

Even then it kind of worried me: why does the "projected" life seem more real than life itself? Why did I so frequently throw tantrums and cry myself silly to see a film? Why did Chitra Cinema, Shyam Talkies and Deepak Cinema Hall have a greater magnetic pull than my school, my books, Sheopoojanji's music classes, Mandira Di's dance classes—all those that were so carefully chosen to work on me as shaping influences, as opposed to Cinema that I had chosen as company?

Why do I remember Jahanara as the first film I saw? Was it really the first film I...

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