For a generation born in the '70s something died with your demise, perhaps the celluloid dreams you made us live had made our mundane lives so much more special that we had started believing in our infallibility.
You made my mother appreciate sarees, and my sister sing Hawa Hawai in the shower. You made my wife discover that women could laugh and put on funny faces! To me, you eternally made me hum Surmai aankhiyon mein...I hope somewhere, someone is singing you that lullaby in heave for the cacophony surrounding your demise on earth is the worst turn a movie plot could take.
You, who stole our hearts and ruled our minds, are giving sleepless nights to the media. Each is trying to outdo the other with conspiracy theories, simulated graphics and subject experts who don't know you from Eve! I wonder if this is what we have come to. Are creations made of the media cursed to go through their X-ray vision, or be put on trial by them? But let that be a question of our own conscience. All I want to do is celebrate you and what you did for an India that was discovering itself. A generation that got its fashion sense from you, that saved up money to see the celluloid dream you sold us. You of the chiffon saree, the Swiss alp sensuality, you gave us dream endings that we could aspire for and dream destinations that were still a few years' savings away for us.
But you helped us dream. Of wedding dances and Charlie Chaplin talent showcases, of mythological snakes taking revenge and dacoit dramas with female protagonists. You were as painfully reclusive and shy as most Indians of that time, but how you shine on screen! In your final act you've robbed us of our childhood, of the angel we all dreamt of! And for those trying to re-script our romance with you with their convoluted news hour specials, what has died is our faith in them, not you. Never you!
(as told to Ruhail Amin)
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