Sunday, July 14, 2019

Mangoes in Films

Every summer, the king of fruit mango returns to satisfy the palate of the Indian people. Its return also restarts the debate on social media if it is overrated. Mangoes are quite popular in pop culture as well. They find a place in non-political interviews where Akshay Kumar asks the prime ministerial candidate about his preferred way of eating mangoes. Hari Kondabalu talks about the love Indians have for mangoes in his Netflix Specials. Katrina Kaif romances mangoes in her (K)amasutra ads in the gorgeous backdrop of Orchha. 
Like other things, Hindi cinema has also portrayed its love for mangoes in films. One of the earliest instances of mangoes in cinema is in Dadasaheb Phalke’s silent film Kaliya Mardan. The film depicted the story of Lord Krishna's victory over the snake god Kaliya. In a particular scene, a young Krishna is given a gift of mangoes which he gives them away to someone else. Thereafter, the screen shows a message that says that the particular act foreshadows Krishna's benevolent nature. The biographical film Mirza Ghalib showed the poet's immense love for mangoes. At one point in the film, Ghalib and his friends are discussing the merits of mangoes. Ghalib prefers them over sugarcane because they offer a contrasting tartness that balances the sweetness, while sugarcane is too sweet. He then goes on to speak a couplet in praise of the fruit. One of his friends points to a donkey who does not eat them when offered and says even a donkey does not eat mangoes. Ghalib cheekily replies that it is only the donkeys who do not eat mangoes.
In the iconic Sholay, Veeru (Dharmendra) teaches Basanti (Hema Malini) how to shoot mangoes in the grove as she needs them to make pickle as asked by her aunt. However, she realizes that he is more interested in physically harassing her and ends up admonishing him for his behavior. In Mere Apne, after the death of her husband, Anandi (Meena Kumari) lives a quiet life in her village. She has a small house and a mango orchard. When a relative asks her to move to the city, she refuses as she feels the mango trees have grown old with her and she does not want to leave them. 
Mangoes have been used to express love in many films. In Waqt: The Race Against Time, Ishwarchand Thakur (Amitabh Bachchan) tells his son Aditya (Akshay Kumar) that mangoes are known by their smell. At a later stage in their lives, Aditya is miffed with his parents as they want him to become responsible, so, he stops talking to them. Ishwarchand still sends mangoes to him through someone and tells them to not disclose the same to him. However, Aditya can easily guess that mangoes are sent by his father which he then goes to return to his father. Ayan Mukerji shares a particular fondness for mangoes. In both of his films, parents express love for children by bringing them mangoes. In Wake Up Sid, Sid (Ranbir Kapoor) loves mangoes. His mother (Supriya Pathak) brings a box of mangoes when she visits Aisha (Konkona Sensharma) when he starts living with her after a feud with his father. In Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) comes back late to his house again and his father (Farooq Sheikh) who was waiting for him says that he has bought mangoes for him.
In Qarib Qarib Singlle, Yogi (Irrfan Khan) asks Jaya (Parvathy) about her choice of mangoes, whether she likes Safeda or Dusehri. Safeda mangoes are eaten after cutting them in pieces, while Dusehri mangoes are eaten after squeezing and slurping. But his recommendation is that the opposite should be followed as Safeda mangoes when slurped, they become divine. He says that she is missing out on the enjoyment in life if she has not slurped the mangoes. In a way, he is making her aware of the things she is missing out in life. Thereafter, he gifts a box of mangoes from his home garden to her on their second date. In Secret Superstar, Chintan (Tirth Sharma) brings Insia (Zaira Wasim) to his home and his mother brings them mangoes to eat which they happily enjoy. 
In Yes Boss, Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) hatches a plan to spend time with Seema (Juhi Chawla) in Switzerland where he entices his boss Siddharth (Aditya Pancholi) with a lucrative business deal. He calls his boss and pretends to be a big mango businessman named Abus Aamwala looking for advertising agencies. He calls him for a meeting where they will identify each other by carrying two mangoes in their hands. Siddharth turns up with mangoes on the streets but Abus Aamwala never shows up and Rahul's plan, like always, succeeds. In Dabangg, Makhanchan Pandey (Arbaaz Khan) agrees to do anything for Chedi Singh (Sonu Sood) to get money for his father's treatment. Chedi Singh orders him to deliver a crate of mangoes to Dayal Babu (Anupam Kher). But, unknown to Makhanchan, there is a bomb in it. After he leaves the house, the bomb explodes, killing Dayal Babu and his workers.
In Badhaai Ho, Jeetender Kaushik (Gajraj Rao) brings a box of mangoes for his family which he does not share with either his neighbors or subordinates. His family members enjoy the mangoes while praising the Langra variety of mangoes. In Aashayein, a cancer-stricken Rahul (John Abraham) meets people from different backgrounds in the rehabilitation center. One of them is a young boy named Govinda (Ashwin Chitale) who loves comics and mangoes. After a health incident, Govinda offers Rahul mangoes becomes his aam vale dostIn Ishaqzaade, Zoya (Parineeti Chopra) loves to eat mangoes and calls her smile mango-sweet when she wants to something from her father. Himesh Reshammiya gave us a song Mango in the film Damadamm!. In the said song, he claims that he misses his lover like mango. 
Jab tum jaati ho,
I miss you, Baby, 
Like mango,
Oh ho, 
Like mango.
In the upcoming Meghna Gulzar film Chhapaak, Deepika Padukone will portray the role of acid-attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. Reports say Deepika jokes that she agreed to do the film because of a scene where she gets to eat kairi (raw mangoes) with salt and red chilli powder in the film.
Mangoes have been used in films where they have been exported to other countries. In Cocktail, Meera (Diana Penty) arrives in London along with a box of mangoes. In Parmanu, the Indian bureaucrats advise the minister to stop the export of Alphonso mangoes to China after the neighboring country conducts another advanced nuclear test. Happy Bhaag Jayegi opens with an India-Pakistan conference where it is announced that India will start exporting mangoes to Pakistan. 
The town of Malihabad is internationally renowned for its mango plantations. There have been many instances where films talked about the mangoes from there. In Lakshya, Captain Jalal Akbar (Sushant Singh) is from Malihabad and asks Karan (Hrithik Roshan) if he likes mangoes. As per him, one can really enjoy eating mangoes only in a mango orchard. Akbar asks Karan and his friend Captain Sudhir Mishra (Abir Goswami) to visit his mango orchard. Fate, however, had different plans as Akbar dies in the war. Dhobi Ghat opens with Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra) introducing herself to a taxi driver where she says she is from Malihabad, the place known for its mangoes. Although it is not shown in the theatrical version, the film's script mentions that Arun (Aamir Khan) decides to visit Malihabad after he learns about Yasmin's identity. Shyam Benegal's Junoon was shot extensively in Malihabad and in the song Sawan Ki Aai Bahar Re, the women sing about rain and love while surrounded by the mango trees.
There have been other mentions of mango as well in films. In many films, a woman asking for raw mangoes was construed as a sign of pregnancy. In Love Aaj Kal, Jai (Saif Ali Khan) says that the lovers of today are the mango people, another term for aam aadmi, and their love stories are not immortal. These mango people want to live with their lovers in this lifetime. In Piku, Bhaskor Banerji (Amitabh Bachchan) compares the color of his shit with that of the mango pulp. In Bajirao Mastani, Maa Saheb (Tanvi Azmi) compares the life of royals to a mango tree. She remarks that even though mango might be the king of fruits, but it is the one that has to bear the most stones. In Bunty Aur Babli, Vimmi (Rani Mukerji) wants to run away from her house because she does not want to make mango pickle all her life. Films, such as Kairi and Mango SoufflĂ©, have been titled after mangoes. Other films, such as Quick Gun Murugan, Out of Control, and Paying Guest, have characters named after mangoes.
The above were only a few instances of mangoes from films. I am sure I am missing a large swathe of other such instances from films, especially, those from the seventies and the eighties. If there are any of the memorable mango moments, write about them in the comments. Till then, keep eating more mangoes and eat one more on my behalf.

1. Kaliya Mardan (D.G. Phalke, 1919)—Link
2. Ten memorable food scenes from Hindi cinema—Link

Other Reading:
1. On Elevators In Films—Link
2. On Autorickshaws In Films—Link
3. On Gifts In Films—Link
4. On Diaries In Films—Link
5. On Books In Films—Link

Dialogue of the Day:
"Kehne ke toh aam phalon ka raja, lekin sabse zyada pathar sehna usi ke naseeb me hota hai."
—Maa Saheb, Bajirao Mastani

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Long Time No See

I was thinking that earlier I used to write on different topics from daily life in general. Somehow, today, I started missing having that conversation. These days, I feel like I have nothing to write on or when I have something, I forget what I was supposed to write on. They say in The Lunchbox that we forget the things if we have no one to tell them to. I guess that is another reason that I have not much to share here as I have noticed a general decline in interest in reading here. Also, there are other things which I am going through but am not able to share here for the fear of being judged. In Jab We Met, Geet says, "Kitni badi bevkoof thi main," when she thinks about her life when she was young and did what whatever her heart told her. I feel the same if I write about them. Showing vulnerability is a difficult trait these days. 

Life has changed a lot in the last few months. It has been quite eventful. I visited India in January of this year for sister's wedding. I met all the relatives after almost seven years. I was a little excited to meet them but you know I felt no one was as excited to meet me. My cousins and others, everybody formed their own groups and they were busy on their own. Almost all of them have got married and are busy in their lives. Once you are away from people, they learn to live without you. It was the instance I actually realized that a lot has changed. I did not enjoy the trip as much as I had hoped I would. I really started missing Seattle though I have nothing exciting there as well, except for my routine life. Not many friends are left in Delhi. The ones that are left were not there. Additionally, my family has moved to a new house and it was the first time, I saw the house. Even that felt new. We had been staying in the old house for nearly thirty-five years and I saw that old house from the outside. I felt that some part of my childhood memories is gone forever. I almost had tears in my eyes when I came back because the trip changed everything. People. Friends. Houses. And my own self. And, there is so much pressure to get married now. I don't see myself in that stage but the everyday pressure is a lot. Really.

I completed five years at my work. Five years is a long time. It has not been easy for an introverted person like me as every day requires a lot of stepping out of comfort zone. When I joined, I thought I won't survive for five weeks. For my future, I have taken another risk by moving to a slightly different role. It involves a lot of traveling and it is making me scared again on whether this thing will work for me. But I will do my best. I really hope the reason I took this works out. 

I was talking to someone recently about the craving for physical desire. This was not a cheap conversation. I have been reading and thinking about it as well. I feel that nature has created this whole aspect in its living creations that they crave someone else's body. Desire is such a strong feeling that it makes one weak. The whole act of sex is beautiful in its conception. Two bodies form the most intimate bond. It is fascinating to me. Seeking out mates. Pheromones. 

In terms of movies, there have been so few movies this year that I want to write on. They are all making biopics these days. And, the ones I end up watching are really overhyped. Like Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota. I miss watching a good romantic melodrama with the colors and the emotions. There is no excitement at all given the kind of movies that are coming in the remaining part of this year. Also, not many people are reading my posts of movies. At least two years ago, there were many hits even on average movies. But these days, the number of hits is so low which further reduces the motivation to write. Of course, it also points out that my writing quality has declined as well :( I almost decided to not write anymore. What is the point? Crippling self-doubt is the worst feeling. I had hoped to do so much with writing but alas! People are not reading posts of unknown bloggers these days.

Sharda Ugra wrote a piece on being single by choice. It is written wonderfully. Do read it. 

I was feeling a bit lonely today. I did not know whom to talk to so wrote this. Might delete this later as I said earlier, vulnerability is not easy these days. Hopefully, someone will understand. Will write more later. 

Prayers and wishes for everyone. 

Dialogue of the Day:
"Tum to life me bahut serious they. Kya fayda hua. Bahut bade problem me toh tum bhi phas gaye na."
—Geet, Jab We Met