Stars

I find myself flipping through TV channels on Sunday evening. It’s been a while since I actually watched traditional TV. For the past year, I’ve only been consuming content digitally. I often find myself clueless when someone asks, “Hey did you see that Ad? It’s so funny!” I always revert with haughtiness on the inside, and a smirk on the outside that screams, “I’ve moved beyond TV commercials!”

But the broadband connection is down. Life does indeed come to a standstill without it. Though my phone has plenty of cheap data, cell reception inside my living room is pathetic and I’m too lazy to climb up to my room upstairs which I affectionately call “the no-buffering zone”.  

So I guess, a friend in need is a friend indeed! The Tata Sky set-top box is my only relief today evening. It’s gotten better with time. 10 years ago, the rains would play spoilsport and distort the airwaves for hours on a stretch. It’s almost the end of October and it’s still raining. But Tata Sky and Rains are no longer mutually exclusive phenomena. But the rains are still spoiling a lot of fun.

I finally stop pressing the next button on the remote. It’s DeepVeer dressed in fancy clothes sitting in the front row at the IIFA Awards. I really love how Ranveer’s quirky fashion sensibilities have rubbed off on his wife so beautifully. Every Instagram picture that pops up in my feed from her account is more fabulous than the previous one. I remember her quote from a Cannes interview with Anupama Chopra early this year, “It’s all about having fun!”

My parents are watching with me. Ayushman Khurana and his brother are hosting and they crack a joke. It’s silly, even cringy perhaps.

I think to myself, “Thank God for YouTube and the explosion of the stand-up comedy scene post the 2014 Roast. Else I’d really find myself laughing on whatever this was supposed to mean!”

There’s a smile on my mom’s face. She stares at the screen with appreciation in her eyes as the camera pans to capture Rekha reacting to the joke.

Vicky Kaushal wins Best Actor in a supporting role as Kamli in Sanju. I remind myself of the white-washing exercise this movie was for Sanjay Dutt’s life after jail. There’s legal justice, poetic justice and then there’s cinematic justice. I think it’s just the viewers who get the raw deal in the last one.

He gives a really emotional speech thanking his parents. His father’s eyes are filled with joy watching his son blossom into a movie-star of repute. In my living room, my father’s visibly moved too by the speech chronicling how an action director’s son has moved up the ladder and made his father proud. But for some reason, the only thing that flashes across my mind as the camera zooms on Shyam Kaushal’s face is the fact that this guy’s part of the #metoo accused brigade.

There’s a Sara Ali Khan performance: her first. It’s fun to watch her have fun to the fun tunes of the fun song from Simba. My mother exclaims, “She looks so much like her mother.” I nod in agreement.

I look at the wall clock. I need to leave for my late-night Maleficent screening.

As I’m on my way to the theatre, memories of me watching award shows with my parents and brother over the years flash by. Those were simpler times, innocent too. Social Media wasn’t as pervasive & all-consuming like it is today. And they were truly “Stars”- Distant, Elusive, Awe-inspiring, Aspirational.

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