Movies are about magical moments that linger on for years afterwards either bringing a smile on an otherwise humdrum day or suffusing you with sorrow when you are taking a walk by a seaside. Here are my ten favourite moments from ten favourite films.
1. ‘Hey Jude’ moment from ‘Coming Home’- This is an anti Vietnam film with Jane Fonda, Bruce Dern and Jon Voight. Fonda plays a young woman and Dern is her Marine husband. While he is fighting the war, Fonda volunteers in a hospital and falls in love with Voight who has come back from Vietnam a paraplegic. The most haunting moment in the film is when Dern is making love to Fonda before leaving for the front. It is a top angle shot. We see Dern’s back moving and Fonda staring expressionlessly at the whirring fan and the Beatles song ‘Hey Jude’ plays in the background. Guaranteed to give you goose pimples!
2. ‘Poetry belongs to those who need it’ moment from Il Postino- This one is about a fictional relationship between the poet Pablo Neruda and a simple postman Mario Puoppolo while Neruda is serving his exile in a small village in Italy. Mario becomes fascinated by Neruda and uses his poems to woo his sweetheart. The incensed aunt of the girl confronts Neruda who in turn takes Mario for a walk on the beach and scolds him for using his poems without his permission. Mario wants to know why and Neruda tells him because he wrote the poems. Maria retorts by saying poetry does not belong to those who write it but to those who need it leaving Neruda confounded. The simplicity of the scene makes it immortal.
3. ‘Women’s Space’ moment from ‘All about my mother’- This one by Pedro Almadovar is too complex and complicated to be packed in a single line synopsis. It has themes ranging from faith and existentialism to Aids and transvestites. A mother seeks closure after the death of her young son and travels to Barcelona to meet the transvestite who had fathered her son and who didn’t know of his existence. In Barcelona she makes friends with a pregnant nun and the female actor who indirectly caused her son’s death. On a particular day, the grieving mother, the pregnant nun, the prima donna actress and a wise cracking transvestite get together accidently to bitch and giggle, giving the otherwise sombre film one of its few light moments. Brilliant!
4. ‘Mrs Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?’ moment from ‘The Graduate.’ Dustin Hoffman in his film debut is Benjamin Braddock, a confused young man not quite sure whether he wants to join Graduate School. Mrs Robinson is the wife of his father’s partner and a shocked Benjamin doesn’t quite know how to deal with the older woman hitting on him. They are both very good in the scene...Hoffman with his astounded expression and Ann Bancroft who brings a believable pathos to her character. Captivating!
5. ‘Vaada na Tod’ moment in ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’- I am sure most people who have watched the film are confused about what I am talking about. But follow the film carefully and you will find Kate Winslet listening to this song in one of the initial scenes. I have always wondered why this song from a Kumar Gaurav- Rati Agnihotri flop and rewind to watch the scene whenever I watch the film. Intriguing!
6. ‘Promise me you will never forget this walk,’ moment from ‘Namesake’- This one owes more to the writer Jhumpa Lahiri than Mira Nair. But full marks to Nair for including this scene in the film and at such a poignant moment. Gogal goes for a holiday with his parents. While the mother waits for them at the beach, father and son go for a long walk and Gogol’s father makes this request to his young uncomprehending son. Gogol recalls this conversation after his father’s death. I always cry whenever I read this bit in the book or watch the film. And yes I have read the book and watched the movie more than once.
7.‘Kanto ko murjhane ka khauf nahin hota’ moment from Mughal- e- Azam. Prince Salim organizes a contest between the two resident courtesans of the palace- Heroine Madhubala and Vamp Nigar Sultana. After the singing is over, he rewards Nigar Sultana with a rose for her optimistic take on love while handing thorns to Madhubala for her bleak outlook only to have Madhubala throwing this immortal punch line at him. Wah!
8. ‘Mein aaj bhi phenke hue paise nahin utatha’ from ‘Deewar.’ The protagonist Vijay refuses to accept the coin gang lord Iffteqar throws at him after getting his shoes shined by him. When Vijay grows up and turns into a smuggler, the same gang lord throws a bundle of note for him and an intense Bachchan throws this line at him. Full Paisa Vasool.
9. ‘Maula Salim Chishti’ moment from Garam Hawa. The best film on Partition. The scene unfolds in Fathehpur Sikri. Even talking about the moment may spoil things so just watch the film to relish the scene with the kabutar followed by the haunting song.
10. “Keh do tum mujhse pyaaar nahin karti’ moment from ‘Dil to Pagal Hai.’ I am not ashamed to admit this remains my favourite romantic film and Shahrukh and Madhuri have such crackling chemistry between them that they burn the screen in this one.
Drop in anytime and I will watch any of these movies with you again. Just for the moments.