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Cinematic Ties: Manisha Lakhe

Verve People

The only consistent connection I’ve had in my life is with food. It has always been so satisfying, I weep each time I discover new flavours to savour. Eat the Japanese Raindrop cake with kuromitsu to say you are happy, a Colombian cholado while watching Netflix, and when you are seeking comfort, dahi-bhaat with deep-fried masala and mirchi…each marvellous. People on the other hand….

I celebrate others’ relationships in the forgiving darkness of a movie theatre. And I passed tissues to my ma when I watched the multiplex relationship bible called Baghban (2003) with her (dad as always had refused to accompany us). But that was then.

In real life, I observe how Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013), Moonlight (2016) and Call Me By Your Name (2017) are being watched by my students, by some on the internet because these films will never find a release in India. These are films that explore relationships and force you to look at your own again. Remember the ‘Am cooking for you’ scene in Moonlight? It is perhaps the highest homage you can pay to your first and lost love. Yes, there’s food involved.

And when you get to my age, you think, you’ve lived it all, you’ve seen it all. But the universe had a different game plan. It served up an all-you-can-eat buffet of heartbreak, betrayal from ‘friends’, an empty nest, poverty…. But Meg Ryan gets advice from Tom Hanks online (You’ve Got Mail, 1998), and Cameron Diaz meets Arthur (Eli Wallach) in The Holiday (2006); the universe wants you to grow up and learn new things, learn to survive…. No, to thrive. These things take time, and you emerge sharper and stronger and in love with life once again.

I now listen with quiet amusement when people talk about being broken because they were swiped left on dating apps, when they write poetry about hating mankind or leave everything to join spiritual groups. I want to tell them to dig in their heels and learn. The tea in my cupped hand is just perfect. The rains are like in the movies and my heart is singing with abandon about silver showers, like Nayanthara (Chaaral in Kuselan, 2008) and not Zindagi ka safar…koi samjha nahin, koi jaanaa nahin.

Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller and the founder of Caferati — an online writers forum which hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic event. She also teaches communication theory, theories of cinema and technology trends in cinema.

Read part 1 here

Read part 2 here

Read part 3 here

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