Readers Write In #154: To stay in one place or to keep moving: Lessons from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)

Posted on April 10, 2020

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(by Harish Prakash)

Amid lockdown, shut inside our houses, it is probably not surprising that some of us are contemplating our career choices and how we used to go about our lives before a virus decided to show up uninvited. Some of those thoughts interrupted me when I was watching Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)streaming on Netflix. Maybe Bollywood is the last place to look for life lessons and epiphanies, but then, one truly sees only what one wishes to see.

I will probably not discuss Ranbir Kapoor’s most mature man-child-requiring-to-be-saved role as Kabir, or Deepika Padukone’s most dignified Bollywood-level-career-defying role as Naina. Let’s keep those aside. But just in case you decide to catch the movie, watch out for those scenes in which Naina has tears filled in her eyes.

Anyway, Kabir and Naina meet after 8 years at a common friend’s destination wedding in Udaipur. Kabir has travelled all over the world working for a travel show, and Naina is a doctor practicing in India. As they are roaming in the streets of Udaipur, Kabir boasts about what it is to sit with a family of strangers and hear their life stories, while Naina counters this by saying, you know nothing about what it is to sit with old friends reminiscing old stories. He says, one day I will buy you mutton burger from San Francisco and you will go mental. She says, one day I will feed you the mutton biriyani I cook, and you will forget the burger.

They go on to compare experiencing Paris with a child being born, world cup football goal in Johannesburg with Dhoni’s world cup sixer in Wankhede, California’s sunlight (I can vouch for that) with Mumbai’s rain. Blueberry cheesecake with Gajar ka halwa and so on. In the end, they agree that both aren’t right about their preferences, they are just different. In this day and age of trolling, this is probably a valuable lesson – to respect an individual’s preference and also agree that no one person’s experience can outweigh the others.

Later in the evening, Kabir says, let’s hurry or we will miss the Sound and Light show. Naina says you can’t see everything in a day. Kabir argues and asks, what if we miss the show and find out it was spectacular (case of FOMO). Naina replies, maybe, but if you leave then we will miss this spectacular sunset. And then Naina spells out what I consider is a solid epiphany – how much ever we try, we are eventually going to miss out on something or the other. Wherever you are, enjoy the moment. I know, I know, this is a solid WhatsApp forward material. But it rings a bell. At least for me, it does, until some other life lesson or epiphany triggers a fancy from a different movie in different circumstances.