Good characters make great movies. What you watch early in life keeps coming back to you. The faces you see in childhood or teenage are the ones that stay with you all your life, becoming your yardstick for the things to come. Maybe that's the reason my high-fives are the ones from the movies and the TV series that I watched in the pre-smartphone era (or the time when I didn't have one yet).
While Omkara set the spotlight on Langada Tyagi, it was Konkona that had a catalytic streak. She is playful and wacky. When she sees Dolly (a demure Kareena) making halwa for her husband because 'pati ke dil ka rasta pet se hokar jata hai' (way to husband's heart is through the stomach), Indu cheekily replies she thought it went slightly lower than the stomach. In the end, when she realizes her own husband has wreaked havoc, she takes a scythe to him.
What was a sacred boundary, a never-to-be-crossed lakshman rekha for Simran and Raj from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), was a cakewalk for Geet. "Main toh bhaagne wali hu bahut tez," she tells a perplexed Aditya. Geet is bubbly-done-best by director Imtiaz Ali. Like a solid glass base for Kareena's cola-esque effervescence, Shahid provides a calm bedrock against which Kareena sparkles in a once-in-a-lifetime performance. She made missing the train an in-thing and girls all over India suddenly wanted to wear Mughal-E-Azam tees. But her performance perhaps wouldn't have been possible if Shahid weren't so good in the film too, complimenting her energy with subtlety.
He has a favourite spot to sit on a couch and explains why to a character in intricate detail, has days earmarked to eat different cuisines, doesn't know how to drive and doesn't want to learn, has 'coitus' once (or twice if he is feeling celebratory) in a year and has a rock-solid belief in winning a Nobel Prize. In Physics, what else?
How can you not fall in love with him?
Before Veronica, Tara and Piku, there was Meera. She is scintillating in the scenes where she wordlessly eats, adjusts furniture and goes through the rigamarole of a breakup. And when she speaks and tells her one-night-old husband that she made a mistake, her voice breaks, making your heart break with it.
“The shoes aren't orange,” a composed Khan explains to the baffled girl his mother has chosen to be his date, “they are tangerine”. Rahul is one of mainstream Hindi movies' first queer characters. He is suave, a successful writer and struggling to get into good books of his younger brother one more time. This journey from a cool, basketball-playing youngster to a man who wields a pen took 18 years and Khan shoulders every year upon his shoulders with charm and skill.