Monday, October 16, 2006

Chiraunji Lal Khosla

The realization dawned on me with my first mouthful of popcorn. Why was I avoiding "Khosla Ka Ghosla" till now even after hearing countless positive reviews? It’s simply because the movie was being advertised as a "slice of Delhi life”!! With that kind of promise, you can't blame me much for thinking it would have the following elements:

1. The Delhi lingo consisting of "Beh^$#@" as every third word.
2. Youngsters wearing designer clothes loafing around in Gurgaon / Noida malls.
3. Real estate barons in flashy suits showing off their latest designer watches and Mercedes'.
4. Endless driving around posh South Delhi localities.
5. One-two obligatory shots of the Qutub Minar / Red Fort / India Gate.

This is a Delhi which I don't know much about. And coming to think of it, don't want to know much of either. It’s that part of the city which is continuously running from its past. And the past is what makes Delhi, Dilli!

The movie pleasantly surprised me, through its sarcastic look at the numerous quirks and idiosyncrasies which make the city. And its examination of the actual Delhi middle class. The ones who work in all those Government offices.

It was not only the popular Delhi stereotypes, which caught the eye …

1. The corrupt cops asking for their cut.
2. Rajma chawal (causing gastroentric disasters).
3. Jat musclemen on loan from the neighbouring state.
4. Larger than life land shark rushing to Vaishno Devi at the drop of a hat.

But those understated things in almost every frame, which are so quintessentially Delhi ...

1. The red Rooh-Afza bottle at the centre of the dining table. The Hamdard syrup which has been recommended as a counter to the harsh summer loo by countless Delhi mothers.
2. The fixation of owning a South Delhi house (even if it’s almost in Rajasthan) by the "service" class. The envy apparent in the dialogue, “Abhi to aap South Delhi-wale ho gaye, Khosla saab.”
3. The various levels of fixers. Typified by the statement - "Aap broker ho ya party?"
4. Tara Sharma's ethnic handicraft (all purchased at Cottage Emporium, I would presume) heavy flat.
5. The naiveté underlying Delhi aspirations, "World Famous Estate Agents" / "A-1 Agency"
6. The clichéd though real penniless Art / Theatre / Cuture-wallahs
7. The chartered buses carrying officers from Mukerji Nagar to CP. An understated comment on the Public Transport.
8. Collapsible gates / queues and shouting at Delhi booze shops. For those who do not know, Delhi booze shops are controlled by the Government and stay shut on 1st and 7th of every month, because monthly wages are dispensed on those days!
9. The Delhi spirit characterized succinctly by the statement, “Kya Kar Loge Tum?”
10. Khadi wearing NGOs looking out for their next donation cheque.
11. Horribly ostentatious Sadar Bazaar type tabletop / wall decorations.
12. The routine power cuts.

Now these are parts of Delhi I can recognize. Shows just one single fact. The indelible marks left by a city where I have spent some of the most glorious moments of my life.

No place (where you have spent significant time) ever really goes out of your system. Those memories are just lying there somewhere.

And no, to long for something which you never missed in the first place, is not stupid at all.

2 comments:

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

Incidentally, the director of KkG is one Dibakar Banerjee. And he stays is Shiva's neighbour and good friend.
Shiva wanted me to meet him because we are very similar. Apparently.

So, why don't you go and take his autograph?

Anonymous said...

For someone who has most of hıs relatıves comıng from that background . cant help but agree that the movıe gıves a taste of the typıcal Delhıte