1988, maybe 1989. Anand was to be shown on Doordarshan. I was so frustrated with its hero because of all the trash I had seen so far that and so angry at my mom asking me to see this film that I left the house when the film was to be aired and like any typical teenager would, spent the evening in a library. (What do you mean that’s not where teenagers typically hangout?)
Stubborn behavior is inherited it seems, and mom had it too. She recorded the whole film, using up a whole VHS cassette in the process. A few days later, I found myself choked as Johnny Walker stumbled out of a room crying at the imminent loss of a man he hardly knew. Anand has been with me ever since- the character as well as the film. And I just couldn’t bring myself to actively dislike the guy who played him, no matter how hard I tried, and no matter how hard he tried.
A few years later, I watched his golden years films, this time open to like them. And I did, sort of. No matter how much I saw the traces of his later overacting, I also saw a guy with style and some charisma. Watch Amar Prem, for instance. The narrative lights up whenever he’s on screen. Even when he is overacting to heavens and beyond, telling Pushpa about he hates tears.
No one can dispute his flaws. He is the one actor my generation loves to hate, and not without reason. But he is also the first superstar. I find them hard to fathom the reason for that most of the times, but sometimes catch a glimpse when watching him sing ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’ with that weird combination of restrain, enthusiasm, charm, hamming and good looks.
PS: Miss you mummy. And amongst the million other things, we can now add Anand and Bawarchi to thank you for.