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Notes on 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha'

What a nice ode to the Nineties 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha' is. Recording favourite songs on cassettes, sometimes re-recording on them, retrieving stuck tapes from the recorder/player, the whole works...Growing up, I remember how the person with the most tapes was always looked upon reverentially. I also remember using some of my parents' old cassettes to record, re-record and re-re-record. The Nineties were when we took our Hindi movies quite seriously and even watched terrible ones like 'Waqt Hamara Hain' in a theatre.

My only quarrel with the movie is the manner in which it ends (over-simplistic, I felt). Suddenly, thanks to a local contest, the wrinkles are ironed out, and everything is sweet, and all is well that ends well. For a film that has managed to look at small-town Indian society and arranged marriages from a realistic perspective, the manner in which it ends is much like any other Hindi movie

Also, take away the last device of the contest, and there is no plot. Think deeper though, and you could argue that the plot is not the point of this film at all. You could also argue that the device, a contest called 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha', is indeed a metaphor. A metaphor for marriage. A metaphor which tells you that every relationship needs work. You cannot make relationships work without putting in the hard work. The movie is a winner because of the atmospherics, detailing, nuance and commentary on marriage, relationships, family and Indian society. And who doesn't like a bit of nostalgia from time to time! So we have references to Hindi films we grew up on, the Kumar Sanu-T Series era music, the video and audio shops we have all made trips to, the music of 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara', the advent of CD-quality music, the actor writing a note to the examiner in his SSLC answer-sheets, all so familiar and the way we once were. 

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