At the National Film Festival 2014 in Delhi, they played sagas of love, sacrifice, struggle and jest. There's some flavour for every tongue. What is a magazine intern doing here? Watching films? Of course, not! I was watching the audience. And while we hate stereotyping, every single person here fell under one of these categories.
The rainbow boy and junkie girl
He's in orange pants, a black V-neck T-shirt and loafers. She's in Puskhar pyjamas, a distressed T-shirt and dishevelled hair. They are an observant metrosexual-man-hippie-woman couple. They LOVED Miss Lovely. They're here on weekdays because they're totally devoted to culture.
The senior citizens
Retirement in Delhi seems like fun. I saw so many happy-looking elderly people, flocking from film to film almost like children. They were looking for masala, comedy and a good time. "Maza nahi aya," they grumbled after watching films with serious or sad endings.
The media types
Kurta-clad journalists trying to cover the event. And many who're not covering it. I found three from my office here. The women usually work in pairs, the men go solo. Trailing these guys were The Publicists: trying to make 'contacts' and promoting this new "very young, but so talented" filmmaker on the scene.
The Bengali culture vultures
Thou shalt drop these names: Rituparno Ghosh, Bimal da, Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray. And you have to make sure everybody notices that you're the intellectual from the Motherland.
The singles bag
Big bunches of single men who judge the portrayal of women in every film very carefully. They're here to check out women.
The hot girl and her average-looking friend
The hot girl always has a reticent friend who dutifully tags along. They're quiet mostly, but in the presence of a journalist's voice recorder, they get all intellectual.
That '70s feminist
That strong-looking woman huddling with others like herself and talking of liberation. They all know the filmmakers (obviously!). It's a small world. And everybody wants a feminist around.
From HT Brunch, July 13
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