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Movie memories-3, Shanku Sharma's mohabbat with "Mohabbatein" during his bicycle rides!

It all started with bicycle rides with my bosom Satyajit Roy Choudhury. We were in the Xth standard and he used to take me on his bicycle to our school, which was not very far. The year was 2003. Being a diehard fan of Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), I used to take keen interest in knowing about his movies and life as well. Satyajit, also an ardent fan of the Bollywood Baadshah, used to tell me about SRK’s best mentionable movies, hummable songs, and romantic dialogues. One particular film that he used to like (in fact he likes it even now) was Mohabbatein (2000), Aditya Chopra’s second directorial after the blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenga (1995).

One fine day, while going to our school, he assured me he would narrate Mohabbatein in detail, without leaving a single dialogue and scene. In the next few days, we remained busy in discussing Mohabbatein. From the morning hours till the afternoon, we would discuss Mohabbatein in the free time. He used to narrate all the dialogues and scenes. The confrontation scenes between Amitabh Bachchan and SRK, SRK’s romantic gestures, melodious songs of the movie, and the scenes shared by six young actors, Jimmy Shergill, Jugal Hansraj, Uday Chopra, Preeti Jhangiani, Kim Sharma and Shamita Shetty. He assured me that I would find the dialogues brilliant, poetic, and powerful. It had to be, since Aditya Chopra is a brilliant dialogue writer .

The next day and the days that followed, Mohabbatein was all over us. We ate, drank, slept, and dreamt Mohabbhatein. His scene-by-scene detailing of the film along with post analysis and dialogues (he remembers Mohabbatein’s dialogues and scenes till date) made me grow eager to watch the movie, which I finally did in the month of May in 2003. Satyajit begun with describing the opening shots of Mohabbatein where Amitabh Bachchan as Narayan Shankar, a strict principal of a prestigious all-boys school, ‘Gurukul’ addresses the freshers (Pratishta, Parampara Aur Anushsan…).

Narayan Shankar believes that love has no place in the education system. However, Raj Aryan, a music teacher by profession, arrives at the school and challenges Narayan Shankar’s beliefs, leading to a clash of ideologies. Satyajit used to say that an overpowering and a romantic Raj Aryan Malhotra (SRK) made Mohabbatein a must-watch film. The confrontation scenes featuring Raj, a high neck, thin-rimmed spectacles, violin in hand, smile on the lips (haathon mein violin aur chehre pe muskurahat…) and Narayan Shankar’s baritone voice and strict rules and regulations are a treat to watch. He was indeed right. He also shed light on the exquisite Aishwarya and her character, Megha (daughter of Narayan Shankar and Raj Aryan’s lover).

Before, detailing about the scenes and dialogues of Mohabbatein, Satyajit also made me fall in love with the film’s melodious soundtrack, which was composed by the duo Jatin-Lalit, and written by the great Anand Bakshi. The songs, such as ‘Humko Humise Chura Lo’, ‘Chalte Chalte’ and ‘Ankhein Khuli Ho’, continue to be popular among Bollywood fans even today. Mohabbatein was a commercial success and was praised for its performances and direction. It also won several awards, including five Filmfare Awards. Satyajit Roy Choudhury stressed the film's message for me. For him, it was of the importance of love and the power of music that clicked with the people. Mohabbatein’s forte lies in the strong performances by Amitabh Bachchan and SRK.

Other underlying theme in Mohabbatein is the clash between traditional and modern values. The narrative of the film is structured around the conflict between Raj Aryan and Narayan Shankar, and their respective beliefs. There is family, loyalty, and friendship. Cinema definitely forms an integral part of our childhood.

Shanku Sharma is a Silchar based journalist & film buff.

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