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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ta Ra Rum Pum – Movie

What better way to escape from the grind of the city, as and to apply balm to my shaken spirit, traumatized as I was from the trip back from Matheran, than with the magic and make believe world that is a refuge for me and more than a billion other souls: Bollywood movie, and a Class A production to boot. Ta Ra Rum Pum, starring the ever-suave Saif Ali Khan and the eternally beautiful Rani Mukherjee, had a huge promotion budget. I had seen the posters. I had watched the trailers. And I was to see it on no less than opening night at the Regal Cinema in Colaba.

Wikipedia’s synopsis is as follows:

Rajveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan) has an immense passion for driving and dreams of making it big on the racecourse. He is discovered by his manager Harry (Jaaved Jaffrey). In a sudden twist of fate, he meets Radhika Shekar Rai Banerjee (Rani Mukerji) and instantly falls for her. He joins Speeding Saddles - a failing race team and transforms from Rajveer Singh to RV the race car driver.

What started as an innocent love blossoms into a serious relationship as months pass by. Radhika is a great pianist, majoring in music at
Columbia University, whereas Rajveer has no degree or any educational background. His lack of education instantly earns the disapproval of Radhika's father, Subho Shekar Roy Banerjee (Victor Banerjee). Radhika walks out of her big mansion and marries RV. She forgets about her degree and takes on her job as a housewife therefore Radhika Shekar Rai Banerjee turns into Shona. Their family is complete with the birth of two children - Priya (Angelina Idnani) and Ranveer (Ali Haji). Luck follows him as RV and he is soon proclaimed the number one race
car driver in the USA.

However tragedy strikes when RV is involved in an accident whilst racing and he is hospitalized for a few months. He tries to make a comeback but the trauma of the accident mentally scars him. After a string of failures, he is forced to auction his house and move with his family to a run-down Bronx-style neighborhood. RV and Radhika decide to hide the terrible truth from their children by saying that they are part of a reality television show where they have to live a poor life in order to win a mythical grand prize.

The family struggle with their new lifestyle but stick together by using a mixture of fantasy and cheerfulness to pull through. However an incident forces RV to make a decision and reclaim the life that was taken away from him.
The loss of everything struck a resonant chord with me on that day. Indeed, one of my perhaps irrational but nonetheless longstanding and persistent fears was that I would somehow, but a twist of fate, one day end up in penury. While that may seem far-fetched, I had once been flat broke in Sao Paulo, of all places, which was pretty scary. Another adventure, after ownership of a successful translation business, also in Brazil, brought me to a dead end punching holes in paper in Miami. So it was in the realm of my experience.

Nevertheless, life skills that come with maturity, helped by a successful career in Israeli hi-tech, calmed such dread in recent years. Life is a series of cycles. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. The only defeat from which you cannot recover is a defeat of the spirit.

On the day I had picked up my new passport at the American Consulate, I met an older gentleman, who was a senior executive at a US oil company. He was of the Jain faith, and after a bit of line-up banter, I asked him if he could give me any words of wisdom on this very topic.

“I could sleep on the floor without any complaints if I lost everything. I have myself.” More food for thought.

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