In the city of dreams, there are hundreds, perhaps, thousands of people who after having spent long hours at their respective workplace or having dealt with the fuzzy, furious boss, a nagging spouse and wailing children (if they have any), turn to television/70mm for some entertainment. Mumbaiyya of Mumbai Nagariya has some definite traits which makes him/her a movie buff. Not that they know each and every dialogue by heart, but for them dialogues are meant for much more than just mugging up. As a Mumbaikar, I know, we feel ‘Cinemaa’. It is inherently present in us and we feel it in our blood. Here, in Mumbai we respect our ‘Maa’ and then ‘Cinemaa’. It is here that Bollywood breeds. Every nook and corner of the city has all sizes of movie posters adorning its walls and then there are some who even offer holy water to these posters! (*cringes*)
But apart from such habits, we Mumbaikars love crowding movie theaters as much as we love to buy a pirated CD and watch a film in the comforts of our home. Each one of us wants to relive the ‘romaantik’ moment and so, rewind and pause, is what we do, till we are satisfied enough. We love to shun the remakes and glorify the biopics. If the film is made tax-free we go watch it over and over again. In spite of being a regional film, we still go watch it, hoping that subtitles will help us understand it. And, well, if there aren’t any subtitles then the fight sequences give us enough boost to blow whistles. We also love to ogle at the couples booking a corner seat in the Balcony category for the morning show of a flop film.
We are so into films that we know, only by so much as a glance at a film’s poster, if it is going to be a superhit, hit or a superflop (we do not have a flop category). We are brutal to grimy films and courteous towards pristine films. Be it Red Chillies or YRF, we spare none if they make a mistake to un-entertain us. Even Big B wasn’t spared when he tried to shove a “Boom”, or KJO, when he pushed a rather controversial “KANK” in our face. Even though we are brutal, we forgive the culprits easily looking at their abilities to entertain us; which is why Katrina is still looming in the industry for her “spirit-ful” (read, lifeless, ghost-like) acting (?) abilities. We even know that Kat is in the industry not because we love her, more out of our love for Salman, but we refrain from speaking it out aloud. Katrina’s item song “Chikni Chameli” became a massive hit because we showered our love more on “Kombadi”, from where it was, well, copy-pasted. We are fully aware who’s dating whom and do not hesitate gossiping during our office lunch hours.
We come from a city where encouraging a rickshaw-wala playing a Bhojpuri film song is a common sight. And then humming the tone to entertain our friends is… well, more common. We love original films rather than the remakes. We give full attendance when a film’s remake releases across the country, then we discuss it with our peers so that we rip it to pieces. You see, we are only avenging for the love of Hindi cinema. Taking a badla, to be more precise. Mumbaikars feel proud to include hobbies like “watching films” (stressing on Hindi cinema) in their CVs. Often, while travelling via the (local transport) Mumbai local we spot a group of commuters who love playing antakshari and singing Hindi film songs in their rather hoarse voices creating more cacophony than symphony.
For us Mumbaikars, old item songs like Choli Ke Peeche are a great source of entertainment and we love singing it in chorus. We know where every film studio in the city is located and we often like to brag about the shooting we were witness to, even if it was a decade ago. Speaking of shooting, Mumbai, has seen been witness to many gangwars and therefore, the glorification of dons on celluliod, seems a tad bit unreal.
Even before multiplex culture could take over the country, Mumbai had its multiplexes – Gaiety, Galaxy and Glamour- and glimpses of which you can see in film Rangeela. We all have, at least once, seen DDLJ at Maratha Mandi and been to Pratiksha, Mannat or Galaxy apartments. We know that Salman Khan wakes up at 5 am to go cycling, at times he is even spotted driving a rickshaw at night and is often sighted near St. Andrews College, Bandra. We also know that Mr. Bachchan gives his darshan to his fans on every Sunday, if he is in town as much as we know how many properties he and other film stars own across the globe.
The city of dreams is the abode for the Hindi film industry. Entertainment breathes in the city as much as the city and the residents of the city find solace in entertainment, like conjoined twins.