You ask, Auntyji answers!
My Bollywood vintage is 1980s, which was dominated by Padmini Kohlapure, Poonam Dhillon, Tina Munim, Rati Agnihotri etc. They must all be in their early 50s like me now. But I find they haven’t aged gracefully at all – I feel like my idols have let me down. And some of them, like Anita Raaj, Mandakini, Farah, Sonu Walia, Sonam have actually become recluses, as though life ends post-50. What do you think, Auntyji? Did I idealise the wrong people in my youth?
What? Kya baat kar rahi ho? Tina Munim is over 50? When did this happen and why didn’t anyone inform me? Wasn’t it just a few years ago that she was romancing Sanjay Dutt in Rocky and asking all of us Kya yahee pyar hai? This is what happens – one day we are watching a nadaan si, komal si, nazook si ladki singing Zindagi pyaar ka geet hai and then the next day we are forced to remember Amitabh’s line from Muqaddar Ka Sikandar where he sings that zindagi to bewafa hai, ek din thukrayegi. Well, this is what happens. Even our heroes age, because they too, like us, are insaan. Who says they should have aged gracefully? That is placing a demand on them that we have no right doing. What you should be thinking instead, is this: These heroines brought us joy, happiness and entertainment in our youth. They made us happy by their sheer being, and by the work they did. We owe them for the happiness they brought into our lives and the memories they left us with. But, what we should remember is that having done their duty, their work, they are now entitled to live life any way they choose, even if it means they age as hideosly as they please. These stars owe us nothing more. What we owe them is to acknowledge the joys they brought to our lives, and we should offer them our blessings for a healthy and happy life.
Now to answer your question about whether you idealised the wrong people in your youth. Well, to idealise people is to set ourselves for a fall. But in youth, how can we know better? It is better to have ideals, and these ideals never age. So if you had an ideal to live honestly, and be nice to people, then today, you would not be disappointed. But to be youthful is to know such folly. So, you can’t say your idols are letting you down. You have let yourself down by idolising human beings, and what’s worse is that you have disrespected people who gave you happiness in the past.
I suggest you go and watch Rocky and again, and then do a pooja for all these heroines who made you smile and laugh.
Recently Google honoured India’s most venerated actress Nargis on her 86th birth anniversary by dedicating the Google doodle to her for a day. A young 20-something girl in my office was like, “Is Nargis Fakhri so famous?” We were shocked she did not even know Nargis Dutt – had to tell her she is Sanjay Dutt’s mother! Today’s youth have no sense of our history, Auntyji, do you agree?
The truth of the matter is this. Every generation spends its first 20 years thinking everything before their time was rubbish and that they are the hippest and coolest things around. Then another 20 years later, they realise the folly of their ways and look before their time to see that their parents and grandparents were far ahead of them in just about everything. Take your littlest friend in the office. Today, she thinks that Nargis Fakhri is the epitome of chic. But give her some time, and of her own volition, if she has any measure of an intellect, she will come across some Raj Kapoor or Asha Parekh or Amitabh film, and she will be a convert. She will start loving the way things were done in “the olden days” and before you know it, the circle will repeat itself, with her kids having even less culture than a Petri dish.
So yes, I am quite appalled at what I see coming out of Bollywood – with tenuous story lines, plot meanderings that were compiled by someone who was stoned off his face and songs that barely classify as such. As I keep saying to anyone who will listen, we all know that the golden years of Bollywood was from the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, and there was a distinct demarcation at the end of the ‘70s, when nothing good came out of Bollywood in the ‘80s and beyond except for Silsila and one or two Karishma Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan films. We are in the dark ages of Bollywood when the heroines neither have the grace nor the charms to capture our interest, the heroes are often prettier and daintier than the girls and the songs are so ho-hum one can’t even recall them a season later. Meanwhile, Baharon phool barsao and Ajeeb dastan hai ye still do the rounds at gatherings. So, leave your young friend in her youthful stupor. She will see the light one day.