Student of the Year released in the month of October, also the month of mid term holidays. I started pestering my mother to take me to a multiplex in Belgaum, a couple of hours from my place. Anytime a good movie released, we went there to watch, because mumma was not used to paan filled air and creaky fans in theatres of my town. So a trip to Belgaum meant watching movies in AC halls, walking in the crowded lanes of Khade Bazar for kurtas, encountering marathi speaking tongue at each footstep, eating vada pav and misal pav, and finishing off with ice cream at Naturals opposite the KLE campus while papa narrated stories of how he too wanted to study medicine at KLE after seeing a bunch of foreign students in white coats emerging from the campus. Papa tells me Pizza Huts, malls, supermarkets and PVRs came in only after KLE started admitting foreign students in large numbers, turning out to be blessing for S and I.
Mumma agreed to take me for the movie, that day she bought her mandatory kurtas and chappals, some olives from Big Bazaar, we ate pizza in the newly opened Dominos and left, a heart was bruised. I kept looking at the watch, for 12pm was the show which mumma had promised to take me, each second felt longer, but nothing happened. I got in the car. I don’t remember anything about that ride to home, except for the fact that it rained, water sprawled across the windows. Vodka like smell filled the car every time wipers sprang open on the glass. May be she didn’t take me because according to her school students didn’t hug each other, spent more time in canteen than the class and most importantly didn’t have the money to spend on girlfriends and boyfriends.
But it was shattering as in one of the advertisements of Monte Carlo sweaters, I had chanced upon Alia Bhatt in a red dress — as fresh as the snow she was standing in, and the two heroes of the movie smiling softly and whispering the lyrics had caught my attention. I was gaping at the screen, did not move my eyes and immediately googled who these people were? I wanted to watch the movie no matter what. Pyar ho gaya tha mujhe, with them, their looks. I wanted to go to college in those dresses as hers and meet Mr. Malhotra atleast once, hug him maybe. This opened gates for me to an entirely new world, world of Bollywood — of drama, glamour and getting attached to the fictional characters. Chak De India was the only movie I had watched previously which was also my first in a theatre and I had almost walked out of the hall during intermission thinking the movie was over!
Had I known the power of piracy, I would have watched the movie by myself. But still managed to get one CD through dad’s students, was now ready to watch at 3 in the noon, when nobody was at home. Made the home theatre ready, it creaked initially but I inserted the CD again, wiped off the dust on woofer, bought Rs .5 Haldirams, filled papa’s whiskey glass with water, darkened the hall by putting old bedsheet over curtains and finally made myself comfortable on a gymkhana (carpet) and wrapped in a chadar (quilt). I was smiling. Perhaps, it did not last long because Shanaya’s frocks were seen, her face was blurred out and audio was jumbled. I turned it off and ate haldirams, emptied the glass and my sorrows in the sink, Wiped the glass clean and placed it back in the showcase. Folded everything on the floor and went out to play. Did I play? I forgot.
The tv telecast of the movie was on Republic Day. After the parade and cultural activities, I rushed home that day, ate lunch and started looking at the watch again, it was at 4 this time. The power was cut. I started praying to lord, sat cross legged and chanted mantras I had known, “om namah shivay”, “sri krishnai namaha” and almost chewed my finger nails. It was 3.55, no signs of power yet. I went out, ran down the stairs checked the meter. Somebody had turned it off, all other meters were working. I suspect if it was my neighbour who fought for a seat with me in school bus and knew I loved Siddarth Malhotra dearly yet did it intentionally.
I started watching it at 4, phew. The power went off again at 4.15, no neighbour at fault this time.
I completed the movie 3 years later on Gandhi Jayanti, because Sony TV was tired of telecasting Crime Patrol on holidays.