The 90s defined crazy like no other. As a transition phase from the sober yet stark serious 80s and the presently dopey millennia, Bollywood went berserk with new ideas juxtaposed with tried and tested storylines. Characters were as colourful as they came and songs were a bit formulaic, yet having the essence of their predecessors. If you are a 90s kid, there will be at least one Govinda song which will make your neck sway in rhythm! Every guy was one of the Khans and every girl a vivacious Madhuri or a winsome Juhi Chawla. Even the wardrobe was influenced by characters on the silver screen. Loose trousers, cap and sweater tied across the waist, youngsters were as loyal to their demi Gods as their dads were to the long locks of Amitabh or the unruffled well-oiled hair of Shashi Kapoor.
In this write up, we analyse few vital characters/ ingredients, apart from the lead couple, which became indispensable in the making of a standard Bollywood movie of the 90s—
- The goofball/staunch patriarch—
Let me guess, the first two names which came to your mind after reading this title were, Anupam Kher and Amrish Puri. Both signified the two extremes of the spectrum. On one hand, Anupam Kher was the quintessential doting father who understands the flight of youth which fills the hearts of the young protagonists, on the other hand there is Amrish Puri, who epitomizes values and rules and makes no exception to those, not even for his children. Reference points—Amrish Puri in Pardes & Anupam Kher in Hum Aapke Hain Koun!
- The ‘Takraar’…’Ikraar’….’Pyaar’—
Pahlaj Nihalani would have been jobless during the 90s! No kissing, no sexual innuendos and no women centric stories, we fear his job would have been reduced to being a signature on the Certification document. As an audience we loved the sexual tension between two really attractive individuals without much into the monotonous daily routine of college or career, but devoting their valuable time to the person of interest! As we munch on our popcorn and for a few minutes see ourselves as the charming Prem/Raj, we are transported to the imaginary world of the lovebirds. The love-hate relation at the beginning of the movie, the slow but steady attraction blossoming throughout the middle portion and the inevitable slight inconvenience in the form of social stigma or a doomed bad guy, made up most of the 90s movies.
Mohnish Behl and Alok Nath made careers out of playing the sanskaari elder brother and father during the 90s. Once we see them on screen we know we will see the such-values-much-wow faces after regular intervals. They epitomized what an ideal household should be. Girls used to swoon over Salman Khan but eventually want a guy like Mohnish Behl who earns for the family, respects his elders and cares for his family above all. Alok Nath similarly made our moms judge our fathers, as he was the reference point of an ideal patriarch. Again, Mr Nihalani would have approved!
- ‘Dil’, ‘Pyaar’, ‘Jaan’, ‘ishq’—
Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik had copyrighted these words during the 90s. Almost every movie had at least one song from these legends and mostly talked about the love in the air and hearts. The heroes owed a lot of their success to these crooners. Songs were melodious and the 90s generation was the last one which focused mostly on the meaning of the songs rather than the beats. 90s kids partied too, but didn’t have to say it out loud using lyrics like “Party ho rahi bohut bhayankar, party ke hain gajab nazaare” (Party scenes are fierce and remarkable). Instead, they partied in the rain singing “Tip Tip Barse paani” and making the family audience a tad uncomfortable with the mushy scenes.
90s movies have been etched in our minds like no other. They were clichéd at times, but had unforgettable characters and songs. They made our teenage great and allowed us the option to revisit them every time a Kya Kool Hain Hum comes our way now. Here’s ‘Obla di di di’ to the ‘pak chik pak Raja Babu’ who made our hearts go ‘dhak dhak’ .