Getting old is often tough business. That is because all those old memories keep coming back to you. Think of all the movies you have watched since you were in school. How many of you remember Summer Holiday and Cliff Richard singing away in that Bachelor Boy mood? For many of us, it was our very first English movie and even today, every time we hear the old song, our eyes glaze over in ecstasy of remembrance.
There are then the movies which first made us feel that that there was something beautiful about tactility between man and woman. Think here of the James Bond movie From Russia With Love. That unforgettable scene of Sean Connery kissing the leading lady in ardent manner has stayed with us; and every time we think of passion, we wonder if can approximate Connery in our physical expressions of love for the women we desire, covertly or otherwise.
In his bachelor-based youth in the early 1950s, my father sat through three consecutive shows of the movie Aan in a cold cinema hall in a colder Quetta. He was mesmerized by the story and even more captivated by the songs lip-sung by Dilip Kumar. In the late 1960s, it was for me to watch the East Pakistan-based Urdu movie Chhote Saab thrice, though not in consecutive sessions. The reason for those three trips to the movie hall was a lilting number from Ahmed Rushdi --- jaane tamanna khat hai tumhara / pyaar bhara afsana / dil le lo nazrana. Every teenager imagined he was Nadeem, serenading his Shabana.
A particular movie you cannot forget is Sholay. The reason is of course Amjad Khan. That loaded dialogue, kitne aadmi thhe re, could only have been delivered by Khan. Speaking of dialogues, Raj Kumar's little note, left for a sleeping Meena Kumari in the film Pakeezah, is a classic in terms of an expression of early love: aap ke paer dekhe / bohot khubsoorat hain / inhe mitti mei mat lagaiye ga / maile ho jayenge. It is rare for a woman of beauty to be told of the seduction in her feet, but Pakeezah did that. And, of course, everything was beautiful about Meena Kumari.
You cannot but remember, every time talk of our very own Altaf is there, of the scene in Ato Tuku Aasha where he as a crippled young man struggling to keep his family together economically, sells newspapers on the streets through the heart-breaking song, tumi ki dekhechho kobhu / jiboner porajoy. Move on to that poignant scene in the late 1940s movie Hamlet, where Laurence Olivier, as an agitated prince, asks mother Gertrude to compare the nobility of his late father with the perfidy of her present husband, formerly her brother-in-law. A terror-stricken Gertrude recoils in shock.
And Meryl Streep in Out of Africa? Here's an actress who ages charmingly, a woman you fall in love with again and again and again.
The writer is Executive Editor,
The Daily Star