My journey with films started in 1987 when my parents took me to the theater for the first time . They had purposely bought tickets to the night show because it would be easy to manage with a 3 yr old when he is asleep. As soon as the screen lit up I got up on my seat, eyes wide open in amazement and asked my parents “Itna bada T.V., yeh chalta kahan se hai??” and my parents pointed upwards to the projector room from where a faint glare was coming into the large theater. Sleep was nowhere to be seen in my eyes that night, only the joy of watching something magical. My mom kept trying to force a milk bottle in my mouth and I kept pushing it away with all my might, eyes glued to the giant screen. Maybe if the film had been boring my enthusiasm would have died down, but how could it be, after all it was Mr. India, one of the finest films in Indian Cinema.
From that point on I was hooked to the world of cinema and could never get enough of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get too many chances as going to the theater was rare at that time and my dad got posted to Baroda which meant even fewer films. So whenever I traveled back to Delhi to visit my relatives I would try my best to watch as many films as possible. I was particularly interested in going to my grandmother’s house because there was a video library downstairs. It was at my grandmother’s place that my love for cinema reached new heights and I discovered my first idol. 1991 saw me go crazy over two Amitabh Bachchan films, Ajooba (my first superhero film) & Hum . I would watch these films back to back the entire day and fight with anyone who wanted to watch something different. I would even enact scenes like running in slow-motion, jumping from the bed, shouting, and so on. Amitabh became my idol and I saw every movie which he was in. I distinctly remember a 1983 film called Pukar featuring Amitabh which I was watching with my parents on TV. In the climax of the film Amitabh gets shot and probably dies. As soon as I saw him dying on screen, tears started rolling down my eyes and I started howling (not crying). Bollywood had totally taken over me, Hollywood was next.
I got my first taste of Hollywood and Steven Spielberg in 1993 with Jurrasic Park. It was an extraordinary film and simply blew me away. I was a 9 yr old boy with a powerful imagination but this film was beyond anything I could ever imagine. It was all I talked about for so many days, at home, with other kids at school, narrating to those who had not seen it in back in Baroda.
Then came the age where I could start understanding love stories somewhat and think of the girl in class I had a crush on. I am sure we all have done that at some point during that age. 1994 was Hum Aapke Hain Kaun which I saw 3-4 months after the release as it was running house-full all the time. One year later in 1995 I saw Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and just like every other guy I wanted to be like Shahrukh Khan. He was my next superstar, one I followed to the extent of buying & wearing the stupid ‘Cool’ neck chain he wore in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I went on to do some more crazy stuff like exploding imaginary bombs after watching Border & wearing powerless glasses after watching Kaho Na Pyaar Hai.
My hysteria went to an all time high with The Matrix in 1999 which influenced me to the extent of getting me interested in computers and technology. My email ids, my computer, my hard drives, everything was derived from the film. I even bought the original soundtrack which made me fall in love with rock music. It is this film that made me call myself a film buff because I have probably seen it more than 100 times and there was a point when I could narrate the lines of the entire film. (Have stopped doing that coz people started suggesting that I needed professional help)
Last but not the least by any means are Lagaan in 2001 & Haasil in 2003 which are two of my all-time favorite films (Haasil taking the top slot). These were the films that made me appreciate the nuances and subtlety of acting and cinema. I love cricket and I love films, It was only logical that I would go crazy about Lagaan. However, it was not just the cricket that I loved, it was the manner in which it was portrayed. In comparison, Haasil is special for a very different reason, It was the first time that I realized that there can be good films without big stars, there is acting without shouting and a film can also tell realistic stories and still entertain. For me Haasil is one of the finest pieces of acting I had ever seen. Instantly Irfaan Khan became my favorite Khan and Haasil became my favorite Hindi film.
This love continues with Wall-E, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Rush, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Argo, Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity, Gangs of Wasseypur, Do Dooni Chaar, Udaan, Inception, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Peepli Live, Talaash, Queen…………and so many more. Each one leaving a mark on my life, each one having its own signature.