The 1972 Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz, Meena Kumari superhit movie Dushman (Enemy) makes it to the billboard of my A2Z list for the letter D today.
This one was the highest boxoffice grosser for Rajesh Khanna that year. It is a story of a driver who accidentally kills a farmer while driving drunk. The court rules that instead of prison, he must be given the task of looking after the farmer’s family as a punishment. So, our driver comes to the village to meet an angry and belligerent family. How this man, who has no idea about farming takes on the task and wins over the family and the village forms the story.
So, why is this film in my list, ahead of better films like Dunkirk (one of the best WWII movies that I have seen), DDLJ (one we saw on my birthday with a big gang of friends), Do aur do paanch (which makes me laugh every time I see it) and a score of others?
Well, that is because, Dushman is the first Hindi movie I understood completely!
I can see this requires a few foot notes. Ok, here they are.
Though ours is a Telugu speaking family settled in Karnataka, all of us at home speak very good Hindi. That is mainly because, my maternal grandparents lived in now Jharkhand (then Bihar) and my mom and all her siblings grew up there and so, Hindi is a another mother tongue of sorts. I have studied Hindi as a first language in school. So spoken, written Hindi is something that I knew very well. Or so I thought! 😀
If you have read my earlier post for the letter B, you will know that as kids we waited for the Sunday Hindi movie on Doordarshan at 5.30 pm. When my dad first bought the black and white TV, for the first 4 weeks straight, the Sunday specials were movies made by Sohrab Modi. Sohrab Modi was a film maker who made historical movies. These black and white movies had many songs and cryptic dialogues. None of these movies had any actors that I knew. The worst part of this whole thing was that I did not understand even a single line of dialogue in all the movies! Not one. I could not understand the story either! Everyone else in my family seemed to understand everything! I did not share my predicament with anyone lest they thought I was trying to be funny or something!
That was so humiliating and also equally demoralising! I thought that all the Hindi I knew was nothing but a sham. Here I was claiming to read and write Hindi and also studying Hindi as a first language and there I was totally clueless about what people are speaking on the screen!
I was devastated! And this happened week after week for 4 straight weeks. It did not get any better too. All four weeks I was lost in the morass of incomprehensible words!
And then the 5th week rolled in with Dushman. I sat in front of the TV fearing the worst. But, to my great relief, I understood each and every conversation in the movie. It was one of those moments when rainbows appear in the background, because everything made sense! This was such a reassurance that I cannot describe in words.
Even though the movie was just average in terms of story, acting and songs, this one is a bit special to me.
Now, when I think back, it is so funny to recall the amount of consolation this movie gave me when I thought I did not know Hindi at all. That is why this one gets the honour to be on this list!
The A2Z challenge 2019 is going to be all the movies that have left an impact on me someway or the other. Some have made me think. Some that I like a lot, some that I really hated. But all of them have left a memory behind which makes the movie more special than the rest. They may not be all classics or iconic but they are close to my heart.
A is for Andhadhun
B is for Bazaar
C is for Conan, the Barbarian