THERE WAS once a princess, who serendipitously encounters a frog in a pond. She didn’t know that it would transform into a young and handsome prince, if she kissed it. The frog didn’t tell her so – it wasn’t part of the deal. But, if I remember the fairy tale vaguely, the unrelenting frog managed to befriend the reluctant damsel and seal a magical, happily ever after for both of them. Right now, heady from the after effects of watching the lovely-in-bits film Simran, this story just came to mind and how.
While everyone is going hammer and tongs about Kangana Ranaut, who undeniably stole the show with her jaw-drapping portrayal of the gambling addict Guju girl Praful Patel, I went home feeling good about one more character – her love interest Sameer, played by the uncoventionally-striking Sohum Shah.
Sameer’s character, which my friend aptly described as being very loose and artless on paper, came to life with Sohum’s startling rendition. It brings to mind a man, I would love to know.
The fault in our stars is that we so very often don’t take to such men. Bollywood has taught us to find hope in the glowing, loud, witty, often commitment-phobic, sometimes boorish, and handsomely cut, who can strike a conversation effortlessly and break into a dance to woo the woman he fantasizes. But, what about the man, we’d define as being too simple to make an impression on the 70 mm screen? He is ambitious, but not greedily so. He wants a well-paying job, a suitable career, a home of his own and a lover, whom he knows he’d marry someday. He understands love, not like we know it – to him, it’s an amalgamation of great conversation, warm company and a person, to come back to. He can’t dance to save his life, and isn’t someone, who writes fabulous poetry. He is god-fearing, disciplined and makes no bones about hiding it. Overall, there is zero pretense about the way he lives. And, because of all this, and more, he comes across as boring. Sameer is real, because he exists, and we don’t want to find him because it’s easier to not give him a chance, than creating the snazzy, smacking-of-intelligence, pelvic-thrusting guy. And, we don’t like easy right. At least, Bollywood doesn’t. Machismo wins, hands down any day.
Thanks to Sameer, I found some break from this clutter. Sameer is the frog to our Simran. Even in the prim and proper image of the innocent (aka paavam) guy-next-door, you see traits of infectious charm and intelligence. He makes the lady smile, not because he is flirtatious or feeding her with his wit, but because he is a good observer of her. He pursues, without being too pushy. He cares, without judging. And, most importantly, he sees the wings that make her fly (remember, the river scene), and doesn’t mind being the wind beneath them. There is a moment in the film, where you see his heroism, and it becomes too difficult even for our protagonist to handle. And, all I want to know is why.