I have always been a sucker for stories. Stories in all forms – books, movies, even songs – hold a fascination for me like none other. I don’t know whether this habit was the result of growing up in a family of readers and movie buffs, but it definitely helped being surrounded by people who knew to appreciate a good story. Needless to say, being married to a man who doesn’t read fiction and considers movies as something to help wind down at the end of a hectic day, took some getting used to, no, a lot of getting used to.
I remember spending countless hours watching movies when I was a child or sometimes just watching songs on Rangoli or Chayageet or Chitrahaar on Doordarshan. Each of these songs, especially the ones from the movies I hadn’t seen, led me to ask my parents about the movie and if we could watch it. My Dad was of the opinion that the Bollywood movies of his time (the ‘70s and before and some from the early part of the ‘80s) were and always will be the best! And he never failed to tell us how insignificant and lame our (‘90s) movies seemed to him, because he was used to the real deal! And he would always follow it up by showing us some very interesting movies of his time which ranged from comic capers to serious mind boggling stories.
One thing was sure – we never watched anything that had fights or crying children or sad families; but always went for the ‘food for thought’ or even “P.G.Wodehouse brand humour’ kind of movies – basically, as a child I never saw the revered Agneepath or Shahenshah but definitely saw countless re-runs of Golmaal, Chupke Chupke and Gharonda!
When I got married, I found out my husband was a huge fan of Amitabh Bachchan! And that had watched all his movies from Toofaan to Shahenshaah so many times, that he knew the dialogues by heart. He also liked a few other actors of that time, but what appalled me, was that he loved Agneepath but had never seen Silsila; he had seen Namak Haram but not Bawarchi! This wasn’t only limited to Hindi movies, mind you; we both had grown up in the ‘90s and had been bombarded with enough HBO when Cable TV was introduced in our young lives to have seen, liked and formed opinions about English movies too – obviously, with our preferences glaringly standing out there too! Of course, that didn’t stop us from having our weekend movie marathons. Our choice of movies was dramatically different from each other, but instead of squabbling over what to watch, we just took it as a chance to explore and discover more movies that we were happy to be newly acquainted with!
I found I quite liked how cute the young Sylvester Stallone looked as ‘The Italian Stallion’ Rocky Balboa; and he took to the charming Tom Hanks from You’ve Got Mail. I charmed him with Pretty Woman and he won me over with Con Air. We extended this relationship to our Hindi movies too. Initially I did try to be brave and pretend I could cope with Agneepath; but even before the movie reached the halfway mark, I had my eyes tightly shut and was begging my husband to stop!
Thankfully after that, he has never insisted I watch the movie; and I am possibly the one person who has never seen that movie completely, no, not once! I rather prefer the charming Amit of Silsia or the ‘angry with fate’ Amit of Kabhi Kabhi; or the Vijay in Trishul who is in a hurry to achieve in a few years what others have taken decades to achieve; or the Vijay in Shakti who is so misguided and blinded by a childhood memory that he can never see eye to eye with his father ever in his life!
I always went for the charm, the polish, the humor; and more often than not, intellectually and emotionally challenging stories; while my husband considered watching movies as an escape after a hectic day and wouldn’t mind a mindless dhishum-dhishum caper. But soon, I saw him adapting, just like I was trying to. I saw him giving the remote to me and letting me watch what I felt like – even if it was the hundredth re-run of One Fine Day or Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge; just like I conceded to let him watch back to back movie marathons of Rocky I thru V or Don (the old one, with Big B, of course)!
Over the years, we developed a mutual interest for movies and actors that we both liked; as well as a respect for the movies and actors that the other liked. When our little one was born, animated movies and fairy tales got added to the mix. There have been several nights where we started Finding Nemo or Aladin and our little one slept off mid-movie and we both saw it to the end!
Sometimes, when I work late, my husband stays awake, just to give me company, watching some mindless flick; and I do the same when he works late. One thing that has happened over the years is that we never rejected the other’s choice, instead we tried to see if we would like what the other liked and when we didn’t, we let the other know. It’s the same with IPL teams, tennis stars, even movie stars!
Today, when I talk to friends who are hot on the dating circle looking for soulmates, I often find them comparing their choice of movies, books, food and what not. And I seriously feel does that really matter? At the risk of sounding condescending, I would seriously tell them that these are superficial things. All you need to do, is just see if you can get along with the other person, on a personal level – if you like the person, you will either like his/her likes or learn to ‘put up with it,’ or even be able to tell the other you just can't stand their choices and they won't mind. Either ways, proving my point, that each person is different – that doesn’t make them right, or wrong – just different!