With the Toronto International Film Festival starting this week, I’ve been thinking about some of my favourite movies, especially the ones I loved growing up.
Story by Daniel Ashwin Pillai
Now, I’ve seen many, many films throughout my 28 years of existence, but it’s the films from my childhood that hold the fondest memories. Each film, special in its own way, soothed and encouraged my cinematic development and growth as a child. All Bollywood. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I discovered Hollywood films, many of which I love dearly. But Bollywood…it’s just what made me, me!
1. Tezaab (When I learned how to count) Tezaab was the first film that I ever saw. At three years old, I couldn’t understand a complex storyline, but I could pick up on a good groove and dance to it non-stop. Oh the joy of that iconic dance number Ek Do Teen, which also taught me how to count in Hindi. This film was extra special because it’s when my love for Madhuri Dixit first started…and it’s never ended.
2. Hum Aapke Hain Koun (When I discovered the movie theatre) The first film I ever saw a film in a movie theatre – how can one not cherish it? I remember watching this film over and over again – not for it’s storyline (who cares, really?) but for its music and song sequences. Each song more catchy than the one before, with my favourite being Joote Do Paise Lo. The film scorched with Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit’s sizzling chemistry – my favourite on screen jodi (couple) of all time.
3. Zamane Se Kya Darna (When I realized that Raveena Tandon was great!) Everyone knows that my life’s inspiration is Madhuri Dixit, but there was a time when I was obsessed with Raveena Tandon, much before her star soared with Mohra and Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast. I found Raveena Tandon to be endearing, and there was this cutesy quality to her performances which was relatable. Zamane Se Kya Darna came at a time when I was into rustic Bollywood beats. You know, the songs where the love birds would dance around a fire, and shake their hips sharply to drum beats that only the musically inclined could here. Tauba Jawani was one of those songs.
4. Khal Nayak (When I realized that I too yearned to wear a choli) Once Choli Ke Peeche hit the airwaves, a few things were definite:
- I was deeply in awe and had nothing but admiration for the great Madhuri Dixit;
- I wanted a red ghagra choli for my birthday; and
- I was determined to be the next big Bollywood heroine.
I felt all of this was certain (still is to this day!) because of one song. I always wonder what it is about Madhuri and this song that drives me wild, but I can tell you one thing…I love performing to this in front of the mirror every few months. It just makes me feel good, and I burn a calorie or two doing it. It’s that simple!
5. Eena Meena Deeka (When I discovered that only Juhi Chawla could make me laugh) When I look back at Eena Meena Deeka, I cannot help but marvel at my love for this film. All the songs in the film were fabulous, especially, Saiyaan Ke Saath, but a good dose of cheezy humour and over-acting was essential from time to time. The 90s were this time for me. Juhi Chawla in many ways is the queen of comedy in my eyes. She was sincere, she was funny, she was quirky and she was believable while doing all of it.
6. Dil To Pagal Hai (When I solidified the hope that one day, I would meet my Prince Charming) “Someone, somewhere, is made for you!” This was the tagline of Dil To Pagal Hai and is a life mantra of mine in many ways. Excuse me while I become a bit sentimental here, but I truly believe that each person that has entered my life at some point, for however long it was, was someone I was meant to meet. This just solidifies my belief that Prince Charming is somewhere, waiting to whisk me away with a slice of cheesecake, a glass of wine and some really, really good french fries. Yum!
7. Khuddar (When I realized that I too wanted to be sexy) Who couldn’t feel sexy after watching Karisma Kapoor strut her stuff in Sexy, Sexy, Sexy Mujhe Log Bole. I didn’t know what it was to be sexy when I heard this song (I was too young to know), but I just knew that I wanted to be it…sexy!
8. Saajan (When I heard my fave long song of all time!) Arguably one of the biggest hit films of the 1990s, Saajan was a pivotal moment in my life. I loved Bollywood cinema, and I loved everything about it…especially it’s love stories. But what about the love songs, you ask? Look no further, my fave love song of all time is Dekha Hai Pehli Baar. It’s the best, and you know it! End of story.