Monday, October 2


On a day that intersects Durga Puja, Ramadan, Gandhi Jayanti and Yom Kippur, I am reflecting on live-and-let-live; but one must say that living on top of everyone else as one does here, the comic possibilities arising from intersection in everyday life are considerable. In spite of some of the cosmopolitan classes in evidence, Bangalore is still a small-minded town with the typical regional spats; the non-Kannadigas are up in arms over the de-certification of schools which do not offer instruction in Kannada at the primary level, and every morning at the entrance to PG D'Souza layout the Sawhneys stare down the Pillais as part of an ongoing 4000-year North-South cold war.

One is reminded of Padosan, the 1968 movie based on Arun Chowdhury's Bengali story Pasher Bari, about the three suitors of fire-and-ice-maiden Bindu (Saira Bano). Bindu is described by one of the characters in the film as "Ladki modern aur forward hai, par hai thori khandani." The crew of the enamored consists of a besotted-though-married Kunwarji (Om Prakash), his simpleton nephew Bhola (Sunil Dutt), and Bindu's dance master Pillai (Mehmood). Bhola has taken a vow to act according to the shashtras, which dictate that a man must marry when he is of the right age (25), and he finds he is running late. Foutunately, he meets the lovely Bindu and falls head-over-heels in love. When Bindu moves in next to his house, Bhola is at first thrilled, but soon despairs when it appears that the strongest suit is held by Master Pillai, since the maiden will only yield her heart to someone who can sing. Bhola's friends Vidyapati aka Guruji (Kishore Kumar), Banarasi (Mukri), and others belonging to an acting troupe assist in hoodwinking Bindu through lip-synching to get attracted to Bhola; but there are twists and turns, and finally Bhola's lies are exposed, making Bindu return to her plans to marry Master Pillai.

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