October 26, 2007

"Tota-maina ki kahani," Fakira (1976)

I am in my office doing some research, and I have some music playing quietly in the background. This song came on, and it made me think - it's Friday, I haven't done a Shabana-gaana in a while, and it will only take a couple of minutes to find the song on YouTube and post it. So here you go: "Tota-maina ki kahanai," from Fakira, in which an almost impossibly young Shabana Azmi romps in a meadow with a plaid-jacketed, airplane-collared Shashi Kapoor and declares: "Main Fakire ki rani ho gayi" - I have become Fakira's queen.

I love Shabana ji's mainstream juvenilia. I love the trademark hairstyle she wore through the 70s, with those short bits curling down the sides. I love her bashful non-smile, betraying self-consciousness about her teeth. I love her youthfulness, lean and strong but awkward, and really not much of a dancer. I just love the roughness of the whole package, and the air that Post-Punk Cinema Club interprets as "What the hell am I doing in this film?" There may be no film that embodies this spirit better than Fakira. Of course I know what the hell she's doing in this film - if you're 25, and trying to establish yourself as an actor, do you turn down the chance to star opposite one of the biggest heroes of the era, and your girlhood crush to boot? But that doesn't make it any less endearing to watch this somewhat nervous and slightly unsteady proto-Shabana, still figuring out who she is and where she's headed.

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