I watched Bombay Talkies at Lightbox, which I am told is THE preview theatre of choice for Bollywood. The place was crammed.... not a seat to spare. Apart from Zoya Akhtar, the other three directors were present and seemed a little nervous! This was great, given their standing as film makers of repute. All four movies are superbly conceived and expertly directed.They are also twisted and somewhat sad. All four deal with identity and loss. Let me just say that Rani Mukherjee was luscious, ripe and ravishing. Her performance was intelligently nuanced and she stole the show from some of the other big ticket names in this unusual four-in-one movie that is off to Cannes next month.
This appeared in Mumbai Mirror...
BFFs and Chuddi-Buddies for life…
Go ahead. Call me Granny De. It’s official.Plus, I enjoy playing granny. Particularly with ajnabi bachchalog.Lots of really young people are asking me tricky questions. And like my friend Arnab would thunder, “The nation wants to know.” And India is a young nation.So, like him, I am taking a position on this vexing issue : Can a boy and girl be ‘buddies’? The jury may be out on this one. But I am not. The answer is a flat ‘No’! So, when young people (YP henceforth) wonder whether it was significantly different ‘in my time’ (pre-historic), I have to tell them the truth and nothing but – yes, it was! Being friends, just friends, with the opposite sex was never an option. Not even with ‘Bhaiyaa ke dost’ ( oh… come on… we know that story!).Today, there are so many bewildering layers and categories of boy-girl friendships, even I am lost. Let’s see this from a girl’s point of view…there are boy- friends, guy friends,work friends, gym friends, club friends,ex-es,flat mates, chuddie-buddies, bff’s and others who are merely addressed as ‘Bro’ or ‘Boss’ (no, Rahul Gandhi does not possess a patent on the word yet). These are all supposed to be gender neutral terms. But please note, they are in fact most gender specific. They are errr… unambiguously male! Fine. I really don’t see guys calling each other ‘Sister’ anytime soon.Nor does ‘Panties-Buddies’ work as a term of endearment. But here’s a warning, ladies: The minute you hear a guy you fancy address you as “Bro”, get the hint, read his lips and move on!Behind the ‘Bro’ talk, lies a subliminal message. Girls who want to hang with the guys and become one of them, will be treated likewise.If you want to go bowling, watch cricket, smoke, drink, cuss and talk dirty, know that you are sending out ‘Bro’ signals. Levels of physical intimacy are carefully calibrated by the YP as well. It doesn’t mean a thing to hug guy friends rather intimately during a night out and post those pictures on various sites. Apparently, YPs know how this complex grading process works, same as how expert pearl merchants know how to grade their Basras and South Sea strands. If someone you are fond of but not in love with, gets touchy-feely in public, it is okay, so long as you don’t kiss on the mouth. You can hold hands and cuddle openly, too. It just indicates closeness. It does not mean the couple is having sex. Being ‘in a relationship’ definitely means you are sleeping together. ‘Seeing each other’ is a little vague… it could mean you look but don’t touch… whatever. ‘Having a scene’ with someone, generally suggests that the someone is in a serious relationship with someone else, and you are casually and shamelessly poaching. “Hitting on someone’ is self –explanatory. ‘Dating’ makes everything much more official. And I recently discovered ‘Hooked up’ has a new connotation that is specifically sexual, and does not involve an engagement ring!
Wow! Is this a maze or is this a maze! But nobody’s head reels. It is pretty clear to theYP what all of this means. But to address the larger question of Buddies Vs. Boyfriends, it is still as big a mess as it was back in those Paleolithic times (mine!). Kaafi confusion hai, boss! If you communicate with someone 24x7, does it add up to something or not? But if that person claims to have zero romantic interest in you and vice-versa…. sorry, someone in this set up is lying.Can the dynamics of the sterile relationship change someday and turn romantic?It’s possible.But most times, after dozens of popcorn movie outings and Starbucks encounters, the rather sad truth has to be squarely faced when one of them chickens out and confesses all. The sham is suddenly over. Heartbreak follows. All that nonsense about being nothing more than chuddie-buddies is thrown out of the window.And life limps back to normal after much rona dhona and feelings of martyrdom.To all those out there who may be deluding themselves that such goody-goody relationships are possible forever and ever – bhool jao yeh bakwas.Bewakoof mat bano. The laws of attraction will tell you Plato was a liar. There is no such thing as a purely Platonic relationship. I am sure even Plato didn’t have one. I mean… come on… think of all those steamy saunas and Toga parties!