Indian cinema has drawn inspiration from various subjects, both natural and man-made. The recently released Manjhi is the narration of a man waging war against a mountain, a beautifully depicted bout between mankind and nature. Another off-beat biopic Gour Hari Dastaan documents the struggle of a man, who in a very subtle manner, battles society, politics, and time for 30 years to get recognized as a freedom fighter.
Simply speaking, cinema uses subjects as a fulcrum to propel ideas among the masses. Another central and somewhat unavoidable subject to almost every product of world cinema has been weather. The countless shades of weather have been utilized by filmmakers in different ways. As we dig deeper, we find that rain as a background and at times as a subject has been exploited by one and all.
Indian cinema too learned to use the rain to depict a scene; choreograph a song; create a build-up; and at times even as an integral part of the storyline. Of course it started with numerous songs being filmed with artificial rain. Some of the most memorable songs which used rain to perfection are worth mentioning. Madhubala and Kishore Kumar remain etched in our memories with the song ‘Ik Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si’. Here, rain orchestrates romance with a tone of poetic embrace to it. Also, the classic ‘Pyaar Hua Ikraar Hua’ has become a rain and romance icon for generations. Another beautiful composition being ‘Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Me’ where Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman seduce each other thereby exposing the naughty aspect of a rainy day.
Rain has been romantic, it has been naughty, and it has also been sensuous and seductive. A ravishingly hot Raveena Tandon dances away in a yellow saree in ‘Tip Tip Barsa Paani’ with Akshay Kumar. The song’s melody is one of a kind and the way the two characters bring out the sensuous side of rain is truly happening to see here. Years later, a similar and steamy remake with Katrina also fetched great response.
But rain has also been viewed with the spectacle of hope. In Aamir Khan’s ‘Lagaan’, farmers sing songs and dance about hoping for rain clouds to open up. Towards the end, when the British leave the village and the lady with the lamp bids farewell to Bhuvan and Co., rain comes down outlining the settling blues and the incomplete nature of a love story seldom acknowledged. Lastly, rain as a liberating force can be felt in Kareena Kapoor’s ‘Bhaage Re Mann’, where she actually dances like nobody is watching. Rain here acts as a motivation to run free, as an inspiration to break free, and as a reason to finally let go.
In 2011, veteran actor Pankaj Kapur wrote and directed a romantic drama called ‘Mausam’. The movie did not fetch a good response despite an impressive glamour quotient of Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor. But for those who did watch the movie with an open mind would agree that the metaphorical usage of weather was simply too impressive for the Indian audience. The movie featured every season there is to see and the drama takes place in different seasons of life. Barring the ready to consume complexity and run-time, the movie used weather as a subject to the fullest and was a treat for every weather-wise soul.
There are so many references to weather and rain in particular that perhaps even a book would only remotely suffice. The wintry set-ups in Delhi-6 and Rockstar; Monsoon in Mumbai during the concluding scene of Wake Up Sid; chilly grasp of the hills in Fanaa and the clear blue skies of Goa in Dil Chahta Hai; it’s all happening. The prepossessing nature of weather, coupled with the inevitability of ignoring it, clearly dictate the terms for a cinematic masterpiece. If you get the weather right, there’s a very good chance that you will get everything right.
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