I watch Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani at least once a year. It’s far from being the greatest piece of cinema. In fact, it reinforces gender biases that don’t belong in 2021. But somehow it’s comforting like the bright sun on a cold winter day. I think there are a few reasons for it.
The film released weeks before I was due to visit Ladakh. Visuals of the Himalayas and the accompanying music gave me a tingling feeling about what was due to hit me. Of course Ladakh was better, but the film’s scenes settled in my memory for good.
I had one thing in common with Naina – never being noticed or liked by the ‘cool kids’ in class. I used to indulge in the same self-pity as her; perhaps still do when I don’t get invited to parties hosted by similarly cool peers. It’s not just a fear of missing out, it’s a lot of unnecessary self-doubt too. Reality is that even when I do get invited, I feel terribly out of place. But I feel Naina in the first half.
I love the name, Kabir.
Kabir’s demeanour and words remind me of a similar character from the time when I was in Pune. I experienced the fragility that Naina did. Reminiscing that doesn’t bring back any memories now, but it does rekindle a soft feeling like the one when you realise someone saved you a seat on a crowded bus.
Living away from family tears you into two. Some moments and the music in the film do a great job of tenderly portraying that feeling. It’s impossible to not relate to every word of Kabira and experience a crippling sense of guilt and unfulfillment.
Avan got married the year the film released and so songs like Dilli wali girlfriend bring back a lot of happy memories for me (apart from leaving me in total awe of Deepika Padukone’s body).
Finally, the travel scenes in the film totally pander to my desire to see more places.
I think those are reasons enough to indulge in reconstructive consumption.