vijay sethupathi kareena kapoor shah rukh khan

Think of some of your favourite movie characters – people who have entertained you on screen and maybe given you company when you’re bored at home. Now imagine being stuck alone with them for 21 days with nowhere to go – are you still feeling the love? The Covid-19 pandemic that has placed us all under house arrest has got us thinking about the ideal isolation partner. Team Film Companion looked at movie characters who would not make the cut. Here’s why –

Vijay Sethupathi’s Ram in 96

No, don’t get me wrong. I love the character (Ram). I admire and adore the torch he holds for his Janu. I even like the idea of him refusing to move on. I just don’t want to be stuck with him during a lockdown. I can imagine conversations like this. Me: Ram, I’m bored. Let’s play cards. Ram: No, I’m just going to think about my Queen of Hearts. Me: Ram, I’m hungry. Why don’t you whip something up? Ram: I’m full, actually. I just keep listening to S Janaki songs… because… you know… music is the food of love. Me: Ram, why are you stepping out without a face mask? Ram: I never catch a cold, man. The thoughts of her keep me warm inside. So, no! Thanks, but not thanks! PS: Love the film, which may actually be a metaphor for our times. It makes you long for the good, old days. – Baradwaj Rangan 

Kareena Kapoor’s Geet from the first half of Jab We Met

While self-imposed isolation threw me into a spiral, the last thing that would have helped is a motor-mouth. The things I appreciate most about this time is the silence that helps me recover. While an occasional conversation helps, Geet is anything but occasional. She’s the background score of a Rohit Shetty film, the serial conspiracy theorist, the woke WhatsApp relative who won’t stop sending you jokes (some of which might be funny) or setting you up with someone. No Geet, stop trying to shack me up with Roop! – Prathyush Parusuraman 

arjun reddy

Vijay Deverakonda’s Arjun from Arjun Reddy

It’s Arjun Reddy. First of all, he’d dig into the liquor stash and polish it off in less than 24 hours. And, then, he’d make me sit – against my will – and painfully describe what went wrong in his love life. Although, I wouldn’t mind his squeals in the first week, he’d go on and on, like a broken record. The numbness would gradually grow, for me. And if we, God forbid, ran out of supplies, he’d start shouting and breaking things, and maybe even run after me with a weapon of his choice. – Karthik Keramalu 

Mammooty’s Azhagappan in Azhagan

You can ooh and aah over them on reel, but perfect characters are so difficult to deal with in real life. Take, Azhagappan, for instance. Firstly, it is played by an actor who can sell you ‘niceness’ even on a rusty iron platter. Second, the character loves his upma and is a master of all trades. He raises four children single-handedly, runs a hotel, is a perfect taster, sings like a dream and speaks eloquently. The only area he stumbles is in when he falls in love with a dancer. Imagine being stuck in a room with someone who can never get angry, someone who always understands the other person, and gives them the benefit of doubt. Most importantly, someone who wears white and pastel shirts often? I happen to be married to a Mr White Shirt, and I can call myself the world’s best white-shirt washer. Who’s that actor who wears colourful shirts on screen, now? – Subha J Rao


Shah Rukh Khan’s Raj Aryan Malhotra in Mohabbatein

I wore his “zero-numbered” glasses, faked his “middle-parting” haircut and learned to (almost) play the violin in my childhood, but I’d hate to be stuck with Mohabbatein‘s Raj Aryan Malhotra (SRK) in a lockdown. He would speak to me only in heavy Hindi metaphors (“Kyuki jahaan se main dekh raha hu, mujhe ek jawaan batnaseeb aadmi dikh raha hai, jo khada hai peeth utaar ke…”), use the air conditioner and ceiling fan to recreate the windy campus of Gurukul college so that he can justify his polo-neck sweaters, and perform the Mohabbatein theme at my window (customized to the “Go Corona gooooo” tune) to inspire my housing society to defeat the coldness of science with the warmth of romance by breaking down the main gate. You must understand: I simply cannot afford to be evicted in the middle of a global curfew. – Rahul Desai 

Kareena Kapoor’s Poo from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham

As much as I love Poo on screen, she would be painful to be isolated with! Can you imagine the conversation – boys, fashion, make-up and good looks, good looks, good looks. She would use me as a guinea pig because I really need a make-over, judge my pedestrian fashion sense and insist that I use more make-up. And if I tried to change the topic, she would say, in Poo style: “Whatever.”  In short, a complete nightmare! – Anupama Chopra 

Kamal Haasan’s Nallasivam from Anbe Sivam

If I am stuck in isolation with comrade Nallasivam, I would diligently practice socialist distancing. I admit that there’s a lot to admire in the self-absorbed Marxist. He’s a fun conversationalist, especially when you’re not the one having that conversation with him. Every discussion escalates into one about the reality of class struggle or the unreality of god. If you do get stuck with him, here’s are some survival tips. Confine your discussion to the weather. Don’t use words like ‘god’ or ‘Russia’ in conversation. If he gets started on Marx, just let him finish. You can’t stop him. He has Engels singing in his head. – Ashutosh Mohan 

ronit roy in udaan

Ronit Roy’s character from Udaan

When the lockdown was being enforced, I saw a number of posts reaching out to those with abusive family members/partners: a genuine concern. Imagine being stuck at home with the Ronit Roy character from Udaan: a toxic, authoritarian person who can turn your quarantine into a nightmare. And god forbid, the withdrawal symptoms when the alcohol runs out…  – Sankhayan Ghoshsanj

Ranbir Kapoor’s Sanjay Dutt from Sanju

A young, mid-20s Sanju from Sanju, because I’ll just constantly be cleaning up after that giant man-baby, without a chance to escape. – Sucharita Tyagi 

Nazriya’s characters 

Nazriya’s characters from either Raja Rani, Koode or Om Shanti Oshana, because who would want to get locked-up in a closed space with this part manic-pixie dream girl, part Ranveer-Singh-on-Redbull and part crazy-ball-bouncing-off-metal-walls? I’d rather the world end a tad sooner than spend months with all the unlimited optimism from the loosest ponnu of them all.  – Vishal Menon

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