This was the poster that continually caught my eye while watching Mere Apne the other day. This poster of the movie Anand would appear repeatedly in the background on increasingly dilapidated walls throughout the movie. The only reason that this held any significance was because Anand was the movie that preceded Mere Apne on my watchlist.
Mere Apne was like a Moral Science lesson cum the travails of every youth in India. Anand, on the other hand, was a movie I had avoided watching for the longest time because everyone kept asking me to give it a go. I always watch movies alone at home, and the treatment given to Anand was no different. I don't know what made me decide I was ready to watch the movie but I decided it was high time. The movie was perfect. A simple story of a simple emotion, Anand, happiness. Anand's character, played by Rajesh Khanna, was the first optimistic character of mainstream cinema who managed to not grate my nerves to breaking point. In fact I felt not a prick of annoyance. I'm not one who takes too kindly to people asking me to look at the glass as half full, and that's exactly why I fell in love with Anand. He knows he's dying, he's knows there' is no looking back but decides to be find joy in every moment than dread the passing of each one. There must be a whole lot of characters similar to Anand in the history of literature and films, the first of which I can recollect is Pollyanna. But none can hold a candle to Anand for the simple fact that he never comes across as preachy in the slightest bit. In fact, he takes joy in playing around with words and confusing the miserable into believing that they're happy. His chatter, although incessant is never inane. Although quite a ray of sunshine myself, I find constant, uncalled for chirpiness extremely put on and quite unbearable. However, with Anand it never felt that way. He breezed through the movie like the rain bearing winds of our country, bringing limitless unspoken joy to all without expecting any returns.
Another reason that Anand will always be close to my heart is that the song, "kahin duur jab din dhal jaaye..." always reminds me, for some inexplicable reason, of my paternal grandfather. It reminds me of evenings spent with him and my sister, my senior by 6 years, when I was a little tyke of 3. The swings and slides of Shivaji Park, the vegetable sandwich from the roadside vendor with that spicy green chutney that was always too hot for me, raspberry and vanilla ice cream would follow or maybe a pepsi. The beach with it's thick familiar scent that will always say home to me, how much ever I may detest it sometimes. The sun, a large red fireball, 'going to sleep' in the blankets of the ocean. The feel of sand, dry and wet, as we would dig and dig endlessly, looking for unknown treasures or maybe just a pool.
It was surprising to note that, the movie, Anand, has been dedicated to the city of Bombay and the people who live here. Everytime the song plays I conjure a mental image of dada, his face unclear, silhouetted against the evening light. These memories that convince me that despite all it's faults, Bombay will always be home. The city, however ravaged, will eternally hold my childhood.