Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

A day at the Jackson Tolaram Company doesn’t seem so bad. You arrive at 10 and punch out at 5. There is a long lunch break. And grade 2 promotions are a big deal. Everyone is happily married to the love of their life and they lead a comfortable life. And yet, Arun is unhappy because he is chasing his love. If there is anything that stands out in the movie – Choti Si Baat and of course, in all Basu Da’s movies is the simplicity of it all. 

Life in the city is hard, very hard. And yet the characters never seem to be complaining about that. They have bigger problems than the delayed trains and crowded buses. Life in the city can make you forget about the city herself. You go through days without ever visiting the sea, one redeeming feature which sets Bombay apart from many other metropolises across the world. 

A quiet walk by the beach is so rare that you have to schedule time for it. It is not part of the routine, unless you live by the sea. The same way you somehow sit through the traffic, jostle through the crowds, breathe the polluted air and wait under glaring sun as trees get cut down and there is no other shelter in sight. Because, you have bigger problems to deal with. 

What are some of these issues? It’s your work, your unfulfilled personal dreams, marital issues, office politics, family troubles, mounting loans, promotions, redevelopment issues – the list is endless. Which is why I like Basu da’s works, where he doesn’t make the city central to his films. The city exists in the backdrop while the characters come to the centre stage to enthral us, to make us laugh, to make us cry and for a moment makes us forget about the issues that exist in our own lives. 

Here’s to more nostalgic movie screenings at home. 

My friend Satya and I spoke about Basu da here: