You cannot mask the smell of freshly baked Christmas plum cake loaded with rum, or chocolatey gooey fudgy brownies, can you? Ghadi. You cannot stop your eyes from sparkling at the sight of hot fluffy luchis and pooris and eat a little bit more of everything. Your home has fairy lights and surprisingly the family zoom calls end up in smiles instead of relief.
When you’re all mellowed down with food and festivities, you turn to the warmth of Amazon Prime Video and watch your favourites. Old favourites? Indeed!
There was a time when you went to the cinema for laughs without the accompanying warning, ‘Leave your brains behind’. These movies still have the power of making you laugh even though one has watched them again and again over the years. I have been lucky, I teach cinema appreciation to young minds who want to do something new. And now thanks to Amazon Prime Video, these films are a click away:
The star cast, the plot and its twists in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chupke Chupke are just incredible. Yes, I agree with this fast and furious generation that the movies used to be too long sometimes, but hey! Each time I see steps, I do tend to sing like Dharam and the Big B.
That’s not all, there’s the best satire with the most often quoted lines this side of the Mississippi, ‘Shaant Gadadhari Bheem, Shaant!’, ‘Draupadi ke cheer haran ka idea maine drop kar diya hai.’, ‘Yeh kya ho raha hai, Duryodhan?’ (all these and more are from one single scene in the film!). And to top them all, a line that inadvertently pops up in the collective heads of cinema loving generations when they see cake: Thoda khao, thoda phenko!
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron will remain one of the funniest films ever. The slapstick enactment of the Mahabharat with Om Puri in Ray Bans perhaps started a trend in movies where things go wrong during staged plays…
Who doesn’t remember Sholay? We used to say, ‘Dad is in Gabbar mode, don’t go in there…’ But who knew Amjad Khan had such great comic timing too? Watch Peechha Karo and you’ll soon be answering phones like he does: ‘Kutte ko billi ka salaam, meow, meow!’ Or think twice before plucking a flower from a plant… Peecha Karo has many a politically incorrect dialog, but to be able to watch the incredible talent of Ravi Baswani and Satish Shah play two bumbling cops trying to get to the bad guys is good fun.
And yes, even though I find Andaz Apna Apna irritating, thanks to Crime Master Gogo, the film remains one of the most loved comedy cult films. Speaking of cult, I belong to a generation that grew up watching older cousins fall off the sofa watching Black Adder and Monty Python. Became a demented fan much later, but am glad to see Monty Python’s Life Of Brian on Netflix. What better way to show your respect to Christmas?
While you are spewing tea all over your favourite shirt while watching Monty Python, and making the one tech savvy person in the house (could be you, could be you!) trawl the net to find Black Adder, everyone vetoes fun and insist that romance too should get a slot in the viewing.
But Christmas movies are so predictable, you’d rather snooze. But wait! Here’s a hidden gem. From the pen of Richard Curtis, who wrote Black Adder, Four Weddings and a Funeral and more has this absolutely different film called About Time which is on Netflix:
What do you do if your dad isn’t Bill Nighy and you’re suffering a childhood that is not funny at all? There’s a wonderful dad story that will make you laugh and cry and generally make you want to forget social distancing and hug everyone in the mad neighborhood (even though they forgot to send you a thank you for the cookies you sent them!). Ghadi may be a Lebanese film, but the neighborhood could be yours. Watch it on Netflix to warm the cockles of your heart:
What is a Christmas or year ending movie binge without John Maclaine yelling, ‘Yippee Ki Yay!’ and Alan Rickman in his inimitable voice threatening to kill everyone at Nakatomi Plaza? The original Die Hard is available on YouTube. So are Liam Neeson’s Taken (on YouTube) and Keanu Reeves in John Wick can be viewed on Netflix…
So many options are there for you to indulge, but do you want to know what’s happening inside your head when the family is back choosing between too many offerings and not being able to decide?
You choose Inside Out, a wonderful Oscar winning film that will make you want to choose your personal gifs…
The film is available on Disney+Hotstar and it will delight you in so many ways. But wait, there’s one more bit of awesomeness that’s just been released and it’s on Disney+Hotstar again. It’s called Soul. For someone who loves music, this need to find oneself made me play Highway to Hell on volumes that break windows instead of the usual mix of jazz and blues that is on my playlist.
The new year comes with a threat of mutated virus but then there is so much music and cinema and books (not necessarily in that order!) and poetry and life to live! Respect to all those working on the front lines of this seemingly never ending pandemic and for those creating vaccines for us. And a shoutout to us, who stayed home, worked harder than ever, and were exemplary citizens. So get a mask that says,‘it's me!’ if you must step out, and indulge in some kheer kodom or malpua and wine…
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication.