(Almost) Everybody goes through a FAN-tastic phase in life. One, at least. Or several, as in my case. Over those awkward, gangly-gawky growing-up years, I have been a fan of several different people from several different professions. Actors, singers, authors, sportstars…you name them, and I have had them up on my walls or deep in my heart.
Sometimes the adulation-relation has been a lifelong one – I just can’t get enough of Mr Amitabh Bachchan, for example. Or Agatha Christie.
But sometimes, the passion has been short-lived. And the intensity has been completely inexplicable once the phase passed. (OH MY GOD, HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO-O-O CRAZY ABOUT SO AND SO?) I have done this from oooh-to-eeks deflating journey quite a few times, actually.
Take the eminently-nonentity Rahul Roy. When he first appeared in the movie AASHIQUI, strumming a guitar and lip-syncing to the nasal-but-memorable songs by Kumar Sanu, floppy hair hiding half his face (and covering up for his complete lack of expressions), it was fan-dom at first sight for me.
I was all of seventeen, living in a hostel with a gang of girls (all in their swoony-moony adolescence), and completely swept off my feet by this screen-hero who waited for his girl with a bunch of flowers outside her typing school, who came from a broken home and hated his dad, who cried like a child in his mum’s lap when love seemed to turn sour.
Teenage romantic filmy classics like BOBBY and JULIE were before my time. For me, and some of friends in Lady Brabourne College Hostel (Lopa, this is for you), it was this ordinary, sensitive and vulnerable hero of AASHIQUI, who believed in love, not violence, who ruled our hearts and raced our pulses. We bunked college several times to watch and re-watch the movie. In fact, I think we saw it seven times in all. Six times at the theatres. And one time in a riskily madcap adventure.
Around eight of us had slipped off from the hostel with no intention of attending classes, intent on catching the matinee show of AASHIQUI once again. But the show (at the now-defunct LOTUS cinema, I think) was, as the board proclaimed, HOUSEFULL. Then one of us said that we could go and ask the nearby video-cassette rental shop if we could hire the AASHIQUI cassette and watch it at their shop premises, since it was not possible to watch it at our hostel. But the shop-owner did not grant us our request.
Very dejected, we dragged our feet outside the college, unwilling to go in. We loitered outside the strangely-named stationery shop, DOLPHIN (located close to our hostel and much frequented by us) and poured out our woes to the sympathetic young (and nice-looking) owner.
The chivalrous fellow immediately offered to help us damsels in distress. He invited us to his house (a three storey mansion right behind his shop), sent someone to rent the cassette and showed us the movie on his drawing room television. He even treated us to colas, a luxury for us perpetually cash-strapped hostelites.
When we returned to the hostel, giddy with another dose of Rahul Roy’s maudlin heroics and the Dolphin-owner’s generosity, we were severely scolded by the rest of our friends for being foolish enough to enter a stranger’s house. “You could have been raped, or kidnapped! The cola could have been spiked, you idiots!" they scolded, and not without reason.
But, being fan-atics, we paid no attention. Head in the clouds, we wore our fan-dom badge proudly and loudly, defending Rahul Roy against charges of non-acting, silly-sissy hairstyle and suchlike.
Once, my friend Lopa and I, the giddiest-headed-ever fans of Rahul Roy, walked straight up to a BATA shoe-showroom glass door, kissed the life-size poster of Rahul Roy smack on the lips (he appeared in ads for North Star shoes and apparel) and walked off again, much to the open-mouthed incredulity of the security guard. But then, fans are supposed to be crazy.
Thankfully, though, the Rahul Roy phase soon wore off, although I valiantly tried to keep the flame alive by faithfully watching his next few quite-unwatchable movies, and I mourned (a little) his passing into obscurity. Imagine my embarrassment when he turned up decades later, chubbier-than-before but as wooden-as-ever, with the trademark floppy hair in place, in that terrible reality show for all kinds of has-beens and never-was-es – BIG BOSS. And he won it, too. Everybody teased me about my old and near-forgotten crush on the now-portly (non)actor. I almost died cringing.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FAN-MEMORIES WHICH NOW MAKE YOU CRINGE?