Tax-free entertainment

  • Rajbir Deswal, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 20, 2014 08:58 IST

While on our way back from school, we indulged in a kind of luxury, availing it free of cost, as also partly fulfilling our desire to watch movies in those days, when they came with an impassioned beseeching of parents, guardians and seniors. We parked our bicycles right in from of a cinema hall, keenly had a 'dekho' and commented on the stills, showcased in the main lounge. These photos depicted the main action or melodrama at their height. Love scenes, fights, courtrooms etc. dominated them.

I always liked freeze-frames of facial expression, or obvious gestures, like the one pointing a finger, or flaunting a fist. Ashok Kumar removing his glasses or Meena Kumari holding the two corners of the spread of her sari and asking either forgiveness, or being granted something; Pran looking through the corners of his big eyes and Helen in her paraphernalia of feathers and frills; Dev Anand smiling from under his bushy moustache and Sharmila Tagore stilling her quivering lips; Dharmendra with his Casanova looks and Asha Parekh with her girlish naivety; Manoj Kumar with his brand-pose hiding his face with his hand and Sadhna in her quintessential haircut; Dilip Kumar playing piano and Nargis leaning on him from behind. O' my God! It all came gratis.

Various other occasions offering free entertainment can be countless. A bull chasing another bull and people running helter-skelter is a scene keenly watched. Cock fights and those of goats have the respective competition charged groups left animatedly excited. Street fights are always interesting to watch. Generally they are with the same set of people. On the same issues. And people know their outcome too. Not much for those who expected some real action. Some other people 'oil' their quiescent fists and just join the fight for the heck of it. By the way I have only seen in films that the fighters roll their sleeves up. Sometimes the one who intervenes gets beaten up and reaches home with swollen red eyes, punched nose and torn clothes.

Some people do tip the juggler in his hat, or on an extended palm, but some others move away the moment the show is over. They are though challenged by the smart trickster, into making some commitment before they leave, binding them into tipping. This bind comes from a well calculated insult, or a prediction, that none dares to take on, in the assembly of the fun watchers.

Some situational humorous happenings too are good fun that come handy and in abundance. For example, if someone is chased by say, a monkey or a dog; if someone receives a tight one on his face, after having teased a woman in a bus; or if someone loses his headgear, or an umbrella, due to the strong winds, and runs after it to grab it, and so on.

Once a bridegroom wasn't able to reach the wedding venue on time, having been surrounded by his friends, who were dancing. Suddenly, heavy rain began to pour. The mare felt uneasy and started trotting and reached the welcome gate put up by the bride's side amid peals of laughter.

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