19th October 2013, Kolkata witnessed an event of its kind, when the City of Joy proudly celebrated the 10th Anniversary of a film that is considered to be a cult movie by all the genuine movie lovers across the globe. It is Director Sudhir Mishra’s “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi”, which was produced by Pritwish Nandy Communications. Purple Film City, Kolkata and the Society for Alternative Films jointly organized a Film Screening & Interactive Chat Show to celebrate this milestone. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi is an off beat Bollywood film directed by Sudhir Mishra during 2003, but it was officially released in 2005. Set against the backdrop of the Indian Emergency, the film narrates the story of three youngsters in the 70’s, when India was undergoing massive social and political transformations. The movie title is adopted from the couplet of the famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi traveled to Twelve National & International Film Festivals in six months, which included Turkey, Estonia, Florence, Berlin, Edinburgh, Washington, Goa, Bradford, Manchester, Los Angeles, California and Dallas. The film won the Filmfare Best Story Award while Shiney Ahuja won the Best Debut (Male) award for his brilliant acting in his Bollywood debut.
The function was hosted by the renowned Tollywood Producer-Actor-Director Arindam Sil and the occasion was graced by honorable guests like Director Sudhir Mishra, Pritwish Nandy (Head of PNC), the gorgeous & sexy Chitrangada Singh and also by the versatile Bollywood actor Kay Kay Menon. The gathering also marked the presences of veteran Naxalite leader Azizul Haque, Congress MP Omprakash Mishra. After a brief session of introductions and felicitations, Mr. Sil handed over the proceedings to Director Sudhir Mishra. Sudhir spoke at length about the background of the film and its journey till now. Kay Kay Menon arrived much later due to his busy late night shooting schedule. Then a special screening of “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi” was done for the guests, which included a chunk of brilliant & enthusiastic young minds from SRFTI.
The film opens in Delhi University in Hindu College with the story of three students, Kay Kay Menon (as Siddharth Tyabji), Chitrangada Singh (as Geeta Rao) and Shiney Ahuja (as Vikram Malhotra). It follows their lives over the next five years in a story of politics, love, and ambition. Shiney Ahuja’s role has him as a pining lover one moment and a political fixer and a wheeler-dealer the next. The movie deals with the aspirations of three protagonists – Siddharth, Vikram and Geeta. Siddharth is a driven revolutionary who dreams of bringing a revolution in the state of Bhojpur, Bihar that will end the caste -based discrimination there; bring social justice, and, change the society for the better. Vikram is the son of a Congress politician who has grown up in less comfort than Siddharth and Geeta but wants to climb the social ladder no matter what the cost is. Geeta is portrayed as a London returned, South Indian girl in love with the firebrand Siddharth. She has led a very sheltered life thus far, and is yet to explore the terrain of the Indian socio-political landscape. While she finds Siddharth’s Naxalite rhetoric attractive, she is not sure if she can whole-heartedly subscribe to it. And every time they come to a point of choice, Siddharth chooses his ideology over his love for her thus breaking her heart time and again. Vikram is a middle-class boy who dreams of making it big, whatever the cost. He is particularly afflicted by his father’s Gandhian ideas, but irritated and frustrated at the same time, seeing his father’s way of life as ineffective in bringing about a change.
The movie begins with the three protagonists leaving college and heading towards their respective goals. Siddharth leaves for Bihar to bring about a revolution; Geeta leaves for Oxford to get a degree, and Vikram sets up an office in Delhi.
A few years later, Vikram is a fixer in the power corridors of government, Geeta is married to a promising IAS Officer Arun Mehta (played by TV actor Ram Kapoor) who, as Geeta says ” has it all “, and Siddharth is still trying to foment a revolution. But all is not as it seems. Below the mask of happiness, each is quite unhappy. Vikram has ‘made it’, but he still cannot get Geeta, the love of his life. Geeta is married, but she still meets Siddharth on the sly, cheating on her husband. Eventually, Geeta gets a divorce from her husband because of her love for Siddharth, even though she does not want to hurt her husband’s feelings.
Geeta joins Siddharth in the village where she starts to teach the children of the village, whilst the police repeatedly try to hunt down her now husband, Siddharth. She bears a child with Siddharth whom she sends to London to her parents since she believes he deserves more than to grow up in the remote village. The state police force rounds up the entire village, capturing Siddharth and Geeta for intent to cause unrest and brutally assaults them both, fabricating a story of a villagers’ riot to explain their injuries. Geeta is soon bailed out of prison by her now influential ex-husband, while Siddharth, on the run is shot by the police and admitted to a local hospital and is placed under arrest while Geeta believes him to have been killed. Vikram, who has been consoling Geeta and taking care of her during the absence of her ex-husband and of Siddharth, is informed that Siddharth is still alive. Vikram travels to meet Siddharth and release him through the use of his influential contacts; however he has an accident on the way and is admitted to the same hospital as Siddharth. During the night, local Naxalites break into the crude hospital and free Siddharth while Vikram still lays there.
The next morning, the policemen in charge of guarding Siddharth, frustrated, accuse Vikram of having conspired to free Siddharth and beat him up further. After discovering that he is a man of influence, they resolve to kill him and throw away his body to make it unrecognizable. Vikram, terrified, attempts to escape but is chased down, however the policeman finds that the Naxalites have emptied his revolver, and they beat Vikram up with an iron rod. Soon, the police chief and a local politician come looking for Vikram and are able to stop the policemen from killing him. Vikram suffers heavy brain damage and is rendered handicapped, while Siddharth tells Geeta that he intends to leave but Geeta refuses to accompany him. Siddharth has moved beyond simply trying to foment a revolution, and is prepared to delay it because he feels that the people are not ready in spite of their saying otherwise. He goes to London for studying medicine and through a letter, Siddharth voices his anguish and his disillusionment with the idea of revolution, he writes saying “I hope the mysteries of the human body will be less confusing” (in reference to his studying medicine and quitting the revolution).The last scene shows Geeta going back to working in the village and taking care of the handicapped Vikram, who can no longer speak. The movie ends with Vikram having written “I love you Geeta” on the rock with brick, as they both sit by a quiet lake and watch the sunset.
After the movie was screened, the guests and the dignitaries dispersed for lunch. And during the post lunch interactive session the audiences interacted with the dignitaries and shot their questions. Their questions were elaborately answered by Sudhir Mishra, Pritwish Nandy, Chitrangada Singh and Kay Kay Menon. Then a special 10 year Anniversary cake was cut by the dignitaries in order to commemorate this auspicious occasion.