Recently, I had the utmost pleasure of attending the screening of “Hyderabad Blues” at Lamakaan, an open cultural centre based in Hyderabad, to celebrate this landmark film’s 20th anniversary. To add to the glitz, the main cast and crew was also present during the screening, which included Nagesh Kukunoor, Rajshri Nair, Elahe Hiptoola and Vikram Inamdar.
At a time, when terms like “independent filmmaker”, “off-beat” or “meaty” were hardly present in the popular lingo, this little indie film came as a refreshing getaway from those out-and-out commercial films that Bollywood was obsessed with. Directed by Kukunoor himself (this was his first film), it stood out as an accurate cinematic portrayal of the socio-economic and cultural changes India underwent in the 90’s (this is definitely the TISS student in me talking :P).
A precursor to films like “Swades”, “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” etc, it is the story of an NRI who experiences cultural shock and still manages to find love amidst hilarious situations. With a simple tale to tell, the film touched many hearts with its simplistic portrayal, natural acting, and more importantly, honesty, which makes it highly relatable.
The screening was then followed by an interesting Q & A session. On much prodding, Mr Kukunoor shared many of his experiences, about his struggles, and tales about what happened behind-the-scenes. He also discussed about the various styles of filmmaking and stressed on the fact that filmmaking is a tough job. Ms Rajshri, who played the lead, talked about the famous kissing scene and the funny story behind it, leaving us in fits of laughter. However, on a serious note, she added, “Had it not been passed, it could have brought things to a grinding halt. The film wouldn’t have been the same.”
The whole cast seemed to be nostalgic at the event. Each of their words emanated a sense of going down the memory lane. In their words, “the screening served as the first reunion for us in 20 years.”
Those who haven’t watched it, don’t worry. Efforts are being taken to bring it on a digital platform very soon so that you guys can just Netflix and Chill. *wink* *wink*