Ek ladka aur ek ladki kabhi dost nahi ban sakte

It was just another Saturday, when I was lazing around flipping channels on my TV. And I happened to hear this epic dialogue from the blockbuster ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. Though I ended up watching something else, Mohnish Bahl kept reciting this line in my head.

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I thought to myself, “Seriously now, that’s not true. This film is more than 2 decades old (in fact precisely as old as me). Maybe it was true back then but now it’s not. Look at me; I have more male friends than females. And we’re only friends!”

Ideally it should have been over at that. But unconsciously it was running in my head. So I decided to sit and crack this! Was it true? Even 25 years later? In the 21st century?  That too in a developing country like ours?

Ohh, yes! India. I got a starting point.

Point 1: We live in India

So we’re a developing country. A near decent no. of women in the urban areas now work neck to neck with the male counterparts. And hence, the interactions are much healthier and so they are bound to become friends. A boy and girl, man and woman become friends like just the rest.

Just when we apply this equation practically it doesn’t seem to work. People approve of a man and woman being together only if the ‘relationship’ is defined as either a brother or a lover. There’s no space for a friend. Never.

This can be tested with your interactions between your parents. For instance, you interact with a particular male colleague/ classmate more than the rest. A volley of questions about the history and geographical roots of the person shall be asked, and verified. You’d be indirectly asked why you’re meeting him more often.

Solution: Tell them he is seeing someone and treats you more like a friend to help him out.

They’d be a lot more relaxed. Because now your ‘friend’ is already see in the ‘bro-zone’ (in their heads, of course). And the faith in you shall be restored.

Which brings me to Point 2: A recently caught up word – friendzone

Your parents’ bro-zone in between friends is called friendzone. This is what happened between Rahul & Anjali in Kuch kuch hota hai. Kajol got friendzoned, because Shahrukh could only get “But she’s your best friend yaar” : )

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Looking back at my experiences, I tried to identify this upcoming phenomenon called “friendzone”. And this is what it felt like in real life.

In most friendships between opposite sexes, over time either of the two develops feelings for the other. These feelings need not be “love” as largely assumed. These are just likings. Liking to spend time with the person; Going that extra mile for that person. Wanting to make sure the person is hale and hearty. These are the feelings. Sometimes though they are not only restricted to these. That’s where the ‘friendzone’ gets into the picture. One of the most influencing factors in this is the extras in your life who push you around into believing that spending time with a friend of the opposite sex is “love”. And that’s where we start to believe its love and complexities start. Because of course, being only friends for the basic reasons is ruled out.

And you get friendzoned. Your chances of a potential next step are ignored and you will be looked through. And of course as the term suggests, you’d be forever be stuck in the ‘friend’ ‘zone’

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Why does it reach this stage? Because we complicate simple things.  Only If Kajol would have mustered the courage to share her feelings, the movie could have been cut short and we would have been spared off many things!

Point 3: Friendship is the base of every other relationship.

Yes. Kuch kuch hota hai did help me through this also. Shahrukh’s “Agar vo meri sabse achi dost nahi ban sakti, toh vo mera pyar nahi ban sakti” did make a lot of sense.

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This is my version of the whole thing. It may or may not be applicable to all. But I’m more than sure it’ll be applicable to most people in their mid-twenties’ who are facing these issues and understand its impacts much better.

Why do we make friends?

I remember the line from my sociology books “Man is a social animal”. And this animal needs animals like himself to survive. And so we make friends so that we belong to a certain ‘group’ and represent a certain set of thoughts endorsed by his/her fellow group mates who are called “Friends”

Basic criteria’s we generally have to make friends

Generally we make friend’s basis the kind of choices they have. Most of your friends will have atleast 3-4 strong common points and hence you guys mingle better.

Friendship is thus most definitely the base of every next step that needs to be taken – You make him a brother, boyfriend or just ignore the person. You need to be friends with him first.

So it’s just that. And most often should be only that. Between all kinds of people – be it any gender.

Point 4: The science behind it

Ah, this is the fun part. Like Rahul & Nisha from Dil toh Pagal hai. Shahrukh & Karishma’s tuning was pitch perfect. But even there poor Nisha got friendzoned.

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Why is it that friendship between a guy and a girl is better? Obviously there’s a lot more to it than only the run of the mill theories like – Its lesser drama, less bitching and of course more fun (all of which is cent percent true). But there’s more to it than what meets the eye.

When it comes to friendship between a guy and a girl, all criteria’s to become friend remain the same. What changes but is the elicit response to the same things. If both of you like Bollywood films, you’ll have extreme set of reasoning to like the same thing. This extremeness is a fundamental difference between the way you are wired and way you think. History says, “Opposites attract” and yes they totally do. That’s why a boy & a girl connect much better on the same topics of liking despite strikingly opposite reasons. That’s where a bond is created and the friendship is set apart from the rest.

Apart from this, the tension of being judged is far less. As both of you know each other well enough and their choices. Unlike between girls, it’s far less complicated. You can call a spade a spade and be sure it wouldn’t be a topic of discussion once you leave. Of course, you’ll become one of them and at a lot of instances, feel the need to remind them about you being a girl.

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Contrary to popular belief, the emotional impact is far greater than between girls. It is very simple, either you connect or you don’t. And if you don’t you don’t have to fake it. And so when you have a guy friend who is close to you, he’ll know exactly what must be disturbing you t what point because he can see what you cannot. He can look at things in ways you cannot. I can vouch for this, if you really need a person to stand by you through thick & thin. Make sure it’s of the opposite sex.

Like Aditi in Yeh Jawani hai Deewani said, “Kuch logo ke saath sirf waqt bitakar hi sab thik ho jata hai”. That’s where they fit in.

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Point 5: So where’s the issue? And what’s the solution?

The solution is in one of my previous mentions. Nisha from Dil toh pagal hai is the solution. She faced the problem with all she had. And not only she saved a friend for life but also helped sort out Rahul’s life.

The issue is when the basic rules of friendship are compromised for. When the very reasons why it was fun to share your real feelings, your real problems becomes the real issue. When you start thinking before sharing, there’s a relationship you’ll compromise. This comes straight from personal experiences. You can save a friendship without being friendzoned or friendzoning somebody by just following one simple funda – Honesty & Transparency. If you trust the other person enough all you need is to be clear about everything you feel & think and life will be simpler. What is meant to be will anyway fall in place irrespective of what you want.

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And one of the reasons is also our films – I do not have any Bollywood example to support my case here. All our films are about Love, none about friendship. The ones that come the closest are about Bro-mance and nothing else. Guess, it’s time we evolve.

Only if it was as simple to follow as it was to arrive at this, I would have far more friends than I currently have! Having made these mistakes over the last 20 odd years, I still have managed to have some friends with whom I can be myself – Needless to say they are mostly guys! And my buddies! And they are not FRIENDZONED. (Most of us are each others’ potential backups 😉 Officially!)

Decoding how to make “Yeh Jawani (hai) Deewani”

Decoding how to make “Yeh Jawani (hai) Deewani”

This article is a weird mix of a wannabe Planners approach to watching movie – be prepared for some clustering of the “TG” basis different elements.

People my age can be easily divided into 2 segments
People who enjoy Bollywood flicks and people who don’t.

I very proudly belong to the former and urge all others who belong to the clan to read this.

Statutory Warning: Since this comes from a highly involved Bollywood buff, certain logical elements have been conveniently ignored (It’s only fair to judge the films basis how they are made). Please go ahead and read keeping the Bollywood lens on!

Let’s start with some hard-hitting facts. From the people who like Bollywood flicks, there are many (MANY) who are obsessively star struck. These people watch films for the stars it has. They more often than not do not even bother about the subject of the film and spend a good fortune on watching films which is a solid explanation for the humungous box office collections the films boasts of.

I like to believe I belong to the opposite of these people, who watch Bollywood films for the more real stuff with a hint of drama, wit, sometimes an interesting subject, the performers. The overarching thought though is definitely to entertain oneself and yes of course to entertain oneself. But not through the stars for sure.

The film I start my experiment with is Ayan Mukherji’s second outing as a director “Yeh Jawani hai Deewani”

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When I watched the trailers of this film, I was sure the star struck fanatics will definitely flock the theatres for the casting coup Ayan Mukherji had managed by getting Ranbir Kapoor & Deepika Padukone to act together, not to forget the trailer ending with Deepika sobbing ‘Mujhe tumse pyar ho jaega, phir se’. The opening weekend figures were already alarming so half the battle was won then and there. I pushed my plan to watch the film to the 3rd week from its release (still contemplating whether should I watch it in the theatre). And even when I did watch it, I wasn’t particularly impressed. Someone who made Wake up Sid, made this! Why? Is the Box Office lure beyond your innate sensibilities? I did like the film in bits and parts but it wasn’t anywhere close to my favourites.

But my perspective began to change when I happened to watch this movie for the 5th time; it was slowly growing on me. This film was not about one particular characters life story, like Wake up Sid was, it was every character’s story. And looking at each one closely (each time I watched the film) made me realize how deep the film really was. Though not at par with Siddy, Bunny did manage to shake our heads.

Here’s my take of each one:

Bunny – Kabir Thapar (Ranbir Kapoor)

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A boy from a modest background with big dreams!
Simple things like working as an Intern to fetch himself money for the trip he’s been longing for – go on to set his seriousness towards his dream. He has a fancy nick name which sets him apart from his middle class name-values. His equation with his dad which is like a friend and step-mom only go on to fuel his desire to follow his heart. He doesn’t want to hurt his dad, even if it means giving up on his dream. Such was the balance he wished to keep between his life and his dad’s expectation.

He lives for his friends – can go to any extent to make sure they do well, his offering monetary assistance to Avi time and again. But has a lot in his mind which he doesn’t express with his close buds also – something most of us go through, like us he also finds that one person with whom he can say all that he has in mind… A friend who pushes the basic rules of friendship, someone who can go that extra mile, hear you out without asking why.

His equation with Avi and Aditi was fun; they are always there for each other and very possessive about each other. As the distance increases, the bond loosens but not the love and care. He is averse of relationships, believes they tie you down. As he puts it, ‘Dal chawal for 50 yrs till u die.’ He’s a loner on the inside who wants no strings attached. And hence is ignorant of the fact the bond he shares with Naina is special and what she feels.  ‘Tu sahi nahi hai, bas mujhse bohot alag hai’ aptly summarizes their equation.

Like most situations in real life too, the realization seeps in when a third person enters and his possessiveness takes over. The fact that he has to choose between his dream job and the girl he loves is a fantastic capture of every relationship’s dilemma. The end couldn’t have been better when he’s not giving up on his dream, but wishes to live his dream with the girl he loves. As cheesy as it may sound, but this is for the Bunny within each of us.
‘Mai bhagna chahta hu, girna bhi chahta hu, bas rukna nahi chahta’

Naina Talwar (Deepika Padukone)

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Naina is a typical first bencher from school for who rules, ideals and therefore studies are the only important things. With not many friends, there’s no excitement in her life and studying medicine only adds to the monotony. But truly she’s someone who is spirited, competitive and adventurous – only that all of this is unexplored and not expected of her.

The fact that she heads to a trip impulsively all on her own just adds quirkiness to her character. She knows she’s a misfit and is very conscious of it; she is carrying her books at the trip. Though she wants to belong, she’s apprehensive of what people think of her and not abiding by her set of ‘life rules’ is a big deal! She finds support from Bunny who makes her comfortable with herself. In fact he reassures her it’s more difficult being the way she is – and the rest are mediocre.

She’s a smart girl who is very observant of everyone around her – be it Bunny, the Chiclets or Aditi’s feelings for Avi. Her love for challenges and the adventurous streak slips in with the fight at the bazar and is even more evident when she sets to trek the topmost point. The monologue there actually adds depth to her character showing how she will explore and be herself if she’s comfortable with you.

Within the course of the trip, she grows as a person and is comfortable in her own skin. The fact that she doesn’t confess her love for Bunny on learning his Chicago plans, gives a feeling that most of us have gone through at some or the other point – the feeling of letting go someone you love without even that person knowing (Oh the teens!). But of course over time you realize that this can be done only if you are strong and really love that person. She let go of Bunny because she knew his dream is important for him!

Naina’s competitiveness comes through every argument she has with Bunny – be it at the trek where she wants to be first, the Sangeet performance or the Jugal bandi while site seeing. She thoroughly believes in the values she has and will not give up or give in to something she doesn’t believe in.

While emotionally she’s vulnerable – spending time with Bunny just proves that her feelings never really died down.

Adi – Aditi (Kalki Koechlin)

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Aditi is that one friend we all have who is a total tomboy so much so that she’s always included with the guys. But deep inside she is a girl, and a very sensitive one at that. Her tomboy, care-a-damn attitude is a camouflage for her feelings which do not suit her image.

She’s possessive about her friends – the fight that she takes up at the bazar and the jealous encounters with Avi and the chicklets are instances.  She believes if they’re together they can fight anything. Her sensitive side is at display with her reaction to Bunny’s Chicago trip. She’s practical but only for the outer world. She’s someone who genuinely gels with people who she likes. From the first meeting with Naina at the super-bazar to the trip and thereon shows how she understands that Naina is a different person but still goes on to become a best friend.

In her mind, she’s in a relationship with her best friend Avi. Things like picking her up for the trip, getting his favourite sandwiches are her expressions of love. But this is only in her world. Avi doesn’t seem to even understand it, forget reciprocating it.

Her maturity is at clear display when she transforms from the boyish Adi to the svelte Aditi with long tresses. From someone who responds with an ‘obvio’ on being asked about love marriage to someone who actually happily settles for an arranged marriage with someone who is exactly opposite of her, this is one transformation which is definite in each of our lifetimes.

You ultimately understand Aditi clearly when she tells Bunny how Taran is perfect for her, how she’s happy with him, herself with him. A first of sorts confrontation about Avi to Bunny, only substantiates their friendship as strong and Aditi as someone who has genuinely grown as a person.

Avi – (Aditya Roy Kapoor)

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He’s a ‘charsi’ as we call them in Bombay. From betting, daaru and girls he can’t get enough of life with only friendship being above and within all these. He’s extremely aware of his habits and ‘khuddaar’ in many ways – he won’t take money from Bunny – because it’s his hard earned money. And he’s a man! There’s a subtle man to man competition that’s between Bunny and him. Both being the leaders of each group for the trek or he wanting to apply for the Chicago scholarship because Bunny had.

He loves his friends – they’re his world. He wants to move in with Bunny once they finish college and live all his fantasies ‘like the TV series FRIENDS’. The trio is quite his lifeline in many ways as he always falls back on them. But in Aditi’s case, he fails to realize her feelings because friendship is all that he can see.

Even 8 years later, his love for alcohol, betting and cards is at clear display with him gulping down alcohol almost in every frame of the wedding sequence, his bill being sky rocket and of course the cards and poker. His addiction leads to his business also not working out well. What also stays is his love for his friends which for Aditi is displayed by constantly warning her that getting married is a wrong decision and with Bunny through the outrage for him not being in touch over the years. He is emotionally challenged with a not-so-good equation with his father also. But he’s a boy at heart who loves bunny. Though on the face of it, he shows disinterest in bunny’s work. He’s closely followed his work and remembers each episode. Avi is like most guys who don’t know how to express.

However broke he might be, his khuddari is evident as he shuns Bunny’s offer for money to run his Bar.

This is what ‘Yeh Jawani hai Deewani’ taught me that you need to make your Jawani a little Deewani to actually live those moments. Bunny lived his dream and gave it up for his love, Naina came out of her shell, Adi transformed herself and learnt to be happy and Avi had the guts to shut his Bar down only for his khuddari, and of course that alchohol is good J

Not to forget the amazing songs which encompass the whole meaning quite truthfully.

Hoping I can apply atleast some of these learnings in my life to enjoy my bachi-kuchi jawani 😉