For those of you who are familiar with Bollywood movies the omnipresent Bachhans will practically be a household name. Of course there is the original first family, the Kapoors, which produced a steady line of handsome men and a steady stream of women who looked just like the men. Lost in all this are the lesser families. Like the one founded by Dharma paaji. The rule of the thumb has always been that the Deol men will down litres of creamy lassi, slap their thighs and enter into fights that will give them a good opportunity to flex those muscles. So it was indeed a surprise when one found out that Abhay Deol comes from this very line. For those of you who have ignored his career with great interest, here a couple of his movies that deserve a good word
Socha Na Tha begins like the typical 90s college flick. The young and impressionable rich Hindu hero is in love with his middle class Christian girlfriend. His parents naturally put their silver feet down. However instead of following the steady route of vicious dialogues by hero’s papa, sentimental dialogues by heroine’s dada, country bombs everywhere and love conquering all, the movie changes track. The hero’s parents come around but meanwhile the hero himself is discovering that he might actually be in love with Girl B (Ayesha Takia) and not Girl A (aforementioned Catholic girl). After some general soul searching and guilt tripping, the movie is sorted out in a slightly Bollywoodish manner. Abhay Deol fits in very well in the role of a confused young man who realizes first love is not everything. Ayesha Takia is cute. Most important of all, the hero and heroines have real conversations. Now we all know why today’s men suck at having decently entertaining date conversations. Having been brought up on a diet of Hindi movies most of them assume the path to true love involves fluttering of eyes, song with funny dance steps, marriage ceremony with coy blushing bride and the happy ending of a suhaag raat. I am yet to come across a Hindi movie where you can see the hero and heroine enjoy chatting with each other. For all its flaws, Socha Na Tha actually is unique in this one respect.
Abhay Deol’s second movie, which I watched was ‘Ahista Ahista’. Himesh Bhai’s long nasal howl was the only thing that became popular in a movie that had worthier claims. Abhay Deol is a tapori well ensconced in his career as a witness for marriages at the Delhi Registrar’s office. Soha Ali Khan appears there one fine morning and as the day progresses, it is obvious that her lover has abandoned her. Abhay tries to help her. As the days go by, their relationship grows and spurred by her love, Abhay gradually discovers bigger dreams and moves past an economic barrier into the middle class. Soha’s former lover however appears again and she has to choose between the two. The movie was pretty muted and low key throughout, sometimes wandering into boring. The sincerity and freshness of the lead couple however kept up interest levels. The characters were threshed out reasonably well and you could fully understand why the story ended the way it did.
Both movies are definitely not theatre material but worth a watch on a lazy Saturday afternoon on DVD.