I love re-watching movies and TV shows because it allows me to meet my favourite on-screen characters. My top five include the ones I first watched during my childhood. I’ve loved them from the beginning but as I grew up, my understanding of them evolved and I now see them in a different light. Earlier, they were just funny and entertaining. Now, I yearn for their presence in my life.
Chhoti Si Baat directed by Basu Chatterjee is a love story between two ordinary working-class people. Arun (Amol Palekar) falls in love with Prabha (Vidya Sinha) but is unable to get her attention. Further, he is not the only suitor. Nagesh (Govardhan Asrani) also likes Prabha and is more confident than Arun, who makes several attempts to gain Prabha’s love but fails miserably. Finally, he takes the help of Col. Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh, a retired officer who is always keen to offer guidance. He not only helps Arun improve his self-image but also gives him love lessons.
There are a plethora of movies showing makeovers of lead characters but they limit themselves to change of clothes, glasses, or perhaps their carriage. However, Colonel Julius actually hands out life lessons on how a person’s grip should be firm while shaking hands with someone, and how one can change to reach the top. An image consultant in disguise, he is capable of transforming one’s outlook on life and the self.
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story directed by Neeraj Pandey, is a biopic on one of the most successful Indian cricket team captains: Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In the movie, Sushant Singh Rajput who has enacted the role with éclat. His performance was and is still greatly appreciated. The journey of Dhoni from a small-town boy to the captain has been truly inspiring but it would remain incomplete without the support of his friends who stood by him through his successes and failures.
There are several poignant scenes in the film which exhibit the strong bond between Dhoni and his friends. Dhoni’s friends Chittu (Alok Pandey), Chotu bhaiya (Sandeep Nahar), Gautam (Jitin Gulati), and Santosh (Kranti Prakash Jha) are not fair-weather friends. They overcome every obstacle with him. Even when sometimes, Dhoni’s father (Anupam Kher) doubts his decision to play cricket over a government job, his friends never lose hope and continue to be his anchor. Further, it is imperative to mention a celebratory scene in which all of them bike to a dhaba giving us major squad goals. Dhoni's trademark 'helicopter shot' is actually taught to him by his friend, Santosh, without any hesitation. In fact, he ensures that Dhoni perfects the shot. The Untold Story is not Captain Cool’s solitary journey but is a collaborative effort of his family and friends who propelled him towards success.
Khosla ka Ghosla! directed by Dibakar Banerjee is about Kamal Khosla (Anupam Kher) who invests all his life’s savings in a plot that is illegally grabbed by Kishan Khurana (Boman Irani). Cherry (Parvin Dabas) and Asif (Vinay Pathak) hatch a plan to con Khurana and get the plot back. Bapu (Navin Nischol) agrees to help the Khosla family at the insistence of Meghna (Tara Sharma) because “Apne bachchon ki baaton mein aane ki koi umar nahi hoti!".
Asif trains him to become Sethi, a Dubai-based businessman who sets out to scam the devious Khurana. He is nervous but his experience as a veteran theatre actor enables him to stand his ground. He improvises on the go, making Khurana eat out of his hand by the end of the film. The best scene for me is the first meeting between Sethi and Khurana. Sethi is irritated by Vijayender’s (Rajendra Sethi) rambling and annoyingly tells him, "Aap chup hone ka kya lenge?" There is utter silence for a few seconds. Khurana is amused and suddenly starts laughing. Others who are present follow him but there is a difference in how each of them laugh. While Khurana lets out a cruel laugh, Vijayender and Munjal (Rajesh Sharma) laugh awkwardly, Mani’s (Nitesh Pandey) laugh is nervous and Sethi just smirks.
Maya Sarabhai is the epitome of sophistication. She is a socialite who does 'aamaran anshan' (fast unto death) from 9 am to 12 am, followed by cocktails and a salad lunch at Zodiac Bistro. Maya is rich and a queen. She enjoys criticizing her daughter-in-law, Monisha (Rupali Ganguly), and is perpetually complaining about her ‘middle-class antics’. Despite being a snob, Maya is an immensely loved character. She is not the evil, scheming mother-in-law shown in soaps. At a time when women were portrayed as one-dimensional, Maya’s character was a breath of fresh air. She is intelligent, sarcastic, and unafraid of speaking her mind. In one episode, her husband Indravadan (Satish Shah) tells her, “Tum mujhe doodh ki jagah zeher kyun nahi de deti?” (Why don’t you give me poison instead of milk?) Maya replies, “Kyunki tumhari body mein zeher ki kami nahi hai!” (Because there is no dearth of that in your body.) Moreover, despite her aversion towards Monisha, she does pardon her careless behaviour. She tries to make her worldly, gives her the recipe to pacify Sahil (Sumeet Raghavan), and even helps her out when Monisha hesitatingly tells her about Sahil’s ‘sexual problems’.
Indravadan Sarabhai is the figurative head of the Sarabhai family, and his wife, Maya is the one wielding the power. He is funny and a prankster, the only one who can mess with Maya and sabotage her plans. Indravadan shares a great dynamic with his daughter-in-law and is her ‘eklauta supporter’ (sole supporter). Indravadan is a firecracker with impeccable comic timing. One of the most memorable episodes circles around the death of Popat kaka, where he converts movie songs into bhajans. While he despises his son Rosesh’s (Rajesh Kumar) poems, it is actually a hobby that he has passed down to his son. When he was younger, Indravadan was known as ‘Kavi Dracula’. The man is jovial, hates exercise, loves street food, and is gossipy – making him one of the most relatable and memorable characters of Indian television.