Monday, July 13, 2009


(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-esBIG 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.



Aleta said...

Lol. I loved reading this post. I could picture you and your friends, but yes, that was dangerous and something I would hope most women wouldn't do in this day and age.

For me, no, I was never really "fan crazy" like that. I had friends who went into fan frenzy over actors, but I just didn't get it.

Nona said...

Very nice post. Rahul Roy and Anu Agrawal(Hope I got the name correct!) faded away so quickly!

Rahul Roy was not my favourite for the reasons your friends said about him. Yes, I was surprised to find him in "Big Boss". Finally, the show is rigged in IMO. :)

Rahul, while walking into the "house" confidently talked about his preparation for Big Boss. He has watched the episodes aired in other countries and he has figured out the game! So I guess he deserved to win if he had prepared well.

Wasn't he married or engaged to Suman Ranganath a while back? And in the 90's there was buzz about him going to Hollywood!!!

Kavi said...

Makes me cringe. Yes.

But then, it does not match to awing the security gaurd by kissing a poster !

You do have some colourful stories to tell. And i have SOME talking to do with you at the next meeting !

:) Hmm

Priya said...

hahahhahhahhahaha...Rahul Roy fan...but an amazing took me back to my hostel days....i think "Going Crazy" gets heightened and remain at its peak with many people around thinking and "plunging" into similar fantasies.

Aparna said...

Rahul Roy?? Eeesh, Sucharita, how could you?? But I guess I understand, When I was 12 or so, Love Story was released and all my friends went a little crazy over Kumar Gaurav.( I know, a little precocious)and we just went crazy everytime his name was mentioned and his photos published in those rags.Eeesh, now I cringe too.

Peter Rozovsky said...

I wonder if cringe-making fandom is more a province of young girls than of boys. I don't think I ever did anything worse than order some pictures of Meredith McRae of Petticoat Junction when I was about 12 years old.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

ZiLliOnBiG said...

Rahul Roy, my dad used to grumble in anger every time his face came on or Solidaire TV.He used to say, whats happening to Cinema, if they were so desperate they would have taken Kuttappan ( a guy of 50 who came to pluck coconuts for us) in their movies. We used to chuckle on his comments.

I didt find him hero like, i was all for Anu agarwal. Aamir khan and salman were our matinee idols. i was 12- 13 and crazy times they were. Thanks for bringing the nostalgia.:))

SGD said...

RAHUL ROY!!!!!!!! I just cant stop laughing!!!! How could you????
But can totally understand ...because your over-the-top FAN-aticism was soooo sooo similar to my v. good friend's behaviour!!

I was afflicted by KHAN-ism...first IMRAN KHAN(even supported Pakis during his tenure!!!!...and my dada-didis used to call be a TRAITOR of the nation!!!) and then SRK & Amir!

Did you ever play the game FLAMES??
In school during lunchtime, we used to scribble our names & the respective hero's (who's fan we were!!) on the blackboard and play the stupid game!!!

sujata said...

I am the branded loser in the family, I fell for Marc Robinson big time, and then for jacki shroff, and then forhritik roshan and some where in between toppled over for arvind swamy(roja!!) I had huge posters stuck with toothpaste of george michael and Tom cruise on my walls!! loved this post brought back so many memories

Miss M said...

No worries Sucharita. I'm with you. I too fell for Rahul Roy quite badly after watching Aashiqui. And I was much younger than what you were at that time. Though the craze was quite short-lived.

I had this huge crush on Jas arora when i saw him for the first time in this music video with Malaika arora. And everytime I spotted someone who merely resembled him I would go all "AAAAAAA HE LOOKS LIKE JAS ARORA!"

So one day I am out shopping with Ma (in singapore) and I spot THE Jas arora shopping shopping too. I calm my nerves, walk past him, swiftly turn and start walking behind him...and Ma is now standing in front of him. Ma is aware of my craze for this handsome man and i really want her to notice him, but she is busy looking at some shampoo or conditioner..things that are obviously less important than Jas arora. :P

So imagine this- I am behind him, ma is in front of him, and from behind I try to mouth the words 'JAS ARORA' (JA) to mom all the while pointing at him.

Me (pointing at JA)- JAS ARORA!
Ma- Ki?
Me (Still pointing at JA)- JAS. ARORA!
Ma- Ki?? Jas Arora?

By this time I just want to knock my head on the wall, but I dont give up. So I keep going.

Me (slaps forehead, still points)- JAS ARORA!
Ma- Ki Jas arora Jas arora korchish?! Kothaye Jas arora?!!***

Jas arora turns and looks at me, smiles at me, smiles at my mom, nods at us and walks away.

Ma stares in shock and says "Was I just shouting out Jas arora's name IN FRONT OF JAS ARORA?!"

I just shook my head and said "Yes ma, you were!"

***"what jas arora jas arora you're doing. Where is Jas arora?!"

Miss M said...

Super long comment!

But you asked for it! :P

lopamudra said...

I relived our crazy moments! Those were the days! Do you remember, how we used to go to " buromeo's" house to watch the 'chitrahaar' for the ashiqui songs in time of power-cuts? We were so 'bindaas'! I cherish those childish euphoric memories.

seanag said...

Oh, no, Miss M--not too long. That was fantastic. Even though I don't know any of the stars mentioned, I think that the behavior of teenage girls and their celebrity crushes may be universal, and so in a way, your nostalgia is my nostalgia. And Jas Arora sounds very understanding.

The only thing I would say is that though crushes do fade, I do still retain a soft spot for mine. Lee Majors from Big Valley for me. Heath Barkley,illegitimate son of a wealthy Stockton rancher--with Barbara Stanwyck playing the rancher's widow, Victoria Barkley? It was inevitable. Majors later went on to play the Six Million Dollar Man, which was probably a wise career move, but not the kind of thing that teenage crushes grow out of probably.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy!!!Don't remind me. My first ever crush was Jughal Hansraj in Masoom. We were the same age when the movie released. But I am glad I grew out of it soon and was a huge fan of Govinda(Imagine!!!)...

Anonymous said...

Sri Devi - yes, little bit.

Rajesh said...

Very interesting. Fans are crazy everywhere. Rajni fans are most crazier lot. He has a fan base among the Japanese also, who barely understand Tamil.

The Scatterbrain said...

I had a HUUUUUUUUUUGe crush on Aravind Swami of Roja. I think I was 10 or 11 years old when the movie came out and I was madly in love.

At the hospital where my parents worked a junior doctor Dr.SJ who looked very much like Aravind Swami would have wondered why this little 10 year old was giving him coy smiles!!

Years and years since, I cringe when I look at pictures of portly Aravind Swamy now or even Dr.SJ who now looks more like a barrel with a face!

Sakshi said...

I cannot say I had a huge crush on any stars during my teenage years but of lately am developing a maddening crush for Johnny Depp and that too after watching Pirates of Caribbean to the utter disgust of my husband (coz I always cribbed and wailed when I had to watch action movies with him).

I am hoping this crush for Johnny boy is due to the fact that I am yearning for some violent love story after the thing called marriage??

Loved your post although the mention of Rahul Roy made me call out to jesus H Christ... :)

seanag said...

Reading through these posts, I find myself thinking that we do get crushes throughout life, and that's all to the good. But what touches me is the sheer abandonment of youthful passions. I suppose it is one of the ways we get beyond our own small world egos. Later on, we become more commonsensical, which is a gain in a way, but also a loss in another.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks, again, everybody, for taking out all these silly skeletons from your cupboard. At least I was not alone, although it seemed as if I was definitely the silliest.

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

Absolutely hilarious and a delightfully straight narration, Sucharita. We have all had our little flings! For me it was Dev Anand. I bunked school to watch Teen Devian, got nearly caught and was saved by the skin of my teeth (if that is the expression).

When my children were small, long before they started watching movies, I used to tell them about Dev Anand and what a super hero he had been.

Later, when they were in their teens, there was a nondescript Dev Anand film on TV. When the movie ended, my daughter looked at me with bulging eyes and said, 'Baba! You worship this joker?' That evening, I went down several notches in her eyes. (Fortunately, my son was still at an age when fathers are normally considered infallible by sons.)

Moushumi said...

This post definitely brought back so many LBCH memories.