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Anurag on love, marriages and extra-marital affairs

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By: Anurag Basu (HT Cafe), IndiaFM
Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Relationships are getting as crowded as the city today. There's a virtual traffic jam of man-woman equations - some of them like cars are new and expensive... others are like old models - reliable but no longer workable.

By now, life in a Metropolis has become predictable - fleeting friends, fleeting loves... but if you ask me the most significant relationship is the one you have with yourself, First, you have to realize that the traffic will not move in the direction you want I to. If you find someone who loves what you are, that's just fabulous.

Trouble is that love is rare. All of us long for the right relationship only one in a hundred get there... and at the right time. Many of us tell ourselves that our marriages have gone wrong - somehow it's always the other one's fault. We look for soul mates, or office flings or a good old extra-marital affair.

Knotty business
Commitment to marriage? Just forget it. Beg, borrow or steal passion. Romance is good for teenagers... adults can blow their brains out with furtive relationships, drugs, booze, sleazy hotel rooms no bar.

In my film Life in a ... Metro, Ranjit (Kay Kay Menon) and Shikha (Shilpa Shetty) drifted apart because of stress at the workplace, lack of time with each other and sheer boredom. But Shikha stayed within a boundary and repaired her marriage. Some believe that 'going back' to an unfaithful one is 'dated'. I did get criticism about the way I had presented this relationship. From my perspective, I saw Shikha as the winner: She gave love... and marriage (in that order) another chance. If you see the characterizations, Shikha had patience, grit and self-pride. The man didn't.

She liked Akash (Shiny Ahuja) In return Akash liked her: Perhaps they were soul mates but what about those elements which go beyond? - togetherness, children and home. Today, you can find soul mates in abundance. They are like cabs... miss one another one comes alone. I may be crude but am I wrong? All I want to say is that an affair is serious business. If it is to be permanent, fine. It cannot be a one-night-stand.

Power of patience
At the end of the day, literally, it is about the threshold of tolerance, patience and acceptance. And loneliness. Although you are surrounded by hundreds of friends and acquaintances at any given time in Mumbai, there are times when you feel marooned... alone. Reach out to your best friend, when you need him or her the most, and you'll be met with an answering machine.

It's all about how much you mean to your friend or your colleague at that point of time. Mumbai should have a neon sign at Chowpatty, warning all of us, “Out of sight... out off mind here." Choices have to be weighed and rationalized. Happiness is not worth it at the cost of wounding others for like. In Murder, Simran (Mallika Sherawat) made a wrong choice in her marriage... and then hurtled into another wrong relationship. All this in pursuit of love which is finally beyond definition.

Role play
I wanted to portray Simran with empathy. She was a victim more than an offender. Because that's the way it is. No one wants to admit that they are not supremely happy, that they are doing the right thing. I see all around me young people who are embarrassed About being lonely... who are embarrassed about being resource less. At times, this culminates in violence. I wanted to devote an entire sequence to violence in Life in a ... Metro. I couldn't, because it would have shocked.

Perhaps it would not have been permitted by the censors. I wanted to underline the pervasive violence around us. In Gangster, Daya (Shiney Ahuja) wanted to quit violence... but it clung to his skin. He decided that he would embrace love, he would shun violence. But violence did not leave him. Violence, my friend, is everywhere... in video games, in religion and marriage.

Coming up... after Metro
I hope to make a film like Metro again. Probably a sequel. I feel like delving deeper into today's time and life. What if the happily married couple Debu (Irrfan Khan) and Shruti (Konkona Sen Sharma), are not 'happy' because of same stress? Can Rahul (Sharman Joshi) and Neha (Kangna Ranaut) come to terms with their ambitions? Can anyone stop being ambitious? I am not preaching but I need to know human behaviour and then make a film about it.

The complexities today are scary, frightful, exciting. For me that is good cinema material! But in between I might want to make a thriller!

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