Cinemania 5: Birthday Movies (1980)


The year was an eventful one for me. For one, this was the year when I took my Std 12 exam and it was time to bid adieu to Nagpur where I was studying for “plus two”.

The end of the exam, like all other exam-ends was marked by a movie. This was an Amitabh-Shashi starrer “Do aur do Paanch”. What a movie it was! I desperately want my kids to see the movie but I have not been able to get a copy of the DVD, pirated or otherwise. Do help in case you have this movie with you. This film will certainly find a place in my list of 7 most under-rated movies of AB when I do get around to writing a post as mentioned earlier. For now, I go ahead with my piece but not before leaving you with the mukhda of the wonderful title song: “Tooney abhi jaana nahin, jaana hai to maana nahin, mujhey pehchana nahin, duniya deewani meri, meerey peechhey-peechhey bhaagey..…… Hum who hain jo do aur do paanch banaa dein…

What was even more remarkable was that in April 1980 I did not see a single movie. Not one! This was a blemish on my otherwise impeccable record of seeing at least one movie (several movies, actually) every month on-a-trot for 36 months- April ’77 to March ’80. This blemish on my record was due to the IIT-JEE irritant. The JEE exams were due in the 1st week of May and I decided to do something about it soon after my Std 12 exam. (I had missed qualifying the previous year.)

I did make amends for this lapse very quickly after the JEE; on 9th May I saw two movies on the same day, a re-run of Rajesh Khanna/ Mumtaz starrer “Do Raaste” and  anew movie, Reena Roy’s “Asha”. Remember the song “Sheesha ho ya dil ho, toot jaata hai”?

Probably this 7-week abstinence from movies helped me to qualify in the JEE. And I was on my way to study Metallurgical Engineering at the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU for short)!

The only thing remarkable about the birthday movie that year was the circumstances in which it was seen. I was pretty ill in the days preceding my birthday. I had a severe stomach infection which was taking its own time to go away. In fact, I had to skip my classes for a few days. I was weak and I could barely walk. Let alone cycle a few kilometers to see a movie.

I had nearly given up on the birthday movie ritual, there was no way I could see a movie.

My room partner for 3 months who had become a very good friend of mine (he still remains a great friend over the last few decades despite separations in time and geography) would have none of it. The disciplined sportsman (university champion in javelin-throw and an ace half-back for our football team) that he was, he knew the importance of adhering to a regular exercise routine. To his mind, there was no way I could skip watching a movie on my birthday! No way!

So off we were, yours truly “double-riding” on his Hercules cycle, all the way to Deepak Cinema. We watched, well you have guessed it right, yet another forgettable movie. This was a re-re-run of “International Crook” starring Dharmendra.

Deepak Cinema was typical of cinemas in Varanasi. People smoking inside the cinema halls. People putting their feet up on the back-rest of the seats ahead of them. Stinking and over-flowing urinals. Paan stains all around. Seats missing, sometimes only the back-rest remained. Loud whistles at all inopportune times.  But we would take all that in our stride. Banaras is Banaras.

And yes, I did enjoy the movie all right, after all it was my birthday! Patrons’ good health or not. The show must go on!



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