Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Wonder Years

Every generation has a golden era. For my generation, it was the 90's. Most kids on the cusp of adoloscence found their calling in the eventful period that preceded the Y2K euphoria.

As a bunch of early teens just discovering the birds and the bees, the 90's heralded an exciting phase in our boyz-to-men journey. Coupled with the changing political and economical situation in the country, the period was significant for the various influences it had on us.

As India, under the able yet eventually discredited P.V. Narasimha Rao, opened its doors to the world in a clear cry of capitalism, the first noticeable change in our lives was the advent of satellite TV. For a bunch that found its entertainment in a single channel on the state run Doordarshan for years, the sudden exposure to a variety of international channels, and the liberal dose of skinshow that they brought along, was a shock that took a while to adjust to. The influences of those early days, after a long period of latency, is now clearly seen in the way the youth of today dress.

The exposure to Satellite channels also opened the doors to international pop music, and as we later found out, so many other genres of music that we had previously never known to exist and had therefore, grouped under the convenient umbrella of Pop music. Out went the tapes of Mukesh, Rafi, Latha, Kishore etc, and in came the likes of Michael Jackson, GNR, Def Leppard, Eric Clapton, Bryan Adams etc. The period also saw the advent of the Remix music. Old Hindi classics, that had lost ground to the more appealing International music genres, resurfaced in a new remixed avatar, the most notable being Bally Sagoo's remixed version of "Chura Liya" which became a rage during the times.

This period during the early 90s is also memorable, for my generation, for the adoloscent crushes and the experience of first-love. The song "Pehla Nasha", from the classic JJWS, could not have come at a more apt time and became the anthem for all kids my age. The song, till date, continues to be the perfect ode to teenagers experiencing the magical sensations of first love.

The mid 90s heralded the beginning of a new wave of Bollywood movies. The industry had already started to move away from the abhorable stereotypes of the 80s, thanks to movies such as QSQT, Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun etc. The baton had already been passed from the previous generation of superstars to the new one. In 1995, when Shah Rukh Khan played his now legendary character of Raj in DDLJ against Kajol's Simran, the Bollywood transformation was complete. SRK became the superstar and Yashraj films found their formula to a fortune.

In 1998, when a debutante director Karan Johar announced his arrival with "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai", made clearly using the Yashraj formula, the whole country laughed and cried with SRK, Kajol and Rani. With a generous dose of heavy duty emotions, and a world devoid of petty issues such as poverty and crime, the Yashraj- Johar formula offered the audience a chance to dream of a world that they would love to be a part of. The formula was used over and over again, and continues to be used, mostly to great effect since the movie going majority in India and the NRI population abroad just don't seem to tire watching rich people and their merry making, with a dash of tragedy and romance, and embellished with melodious music and fashionable clothes that also facilitate liberal skin show.

As the decade came to a close, my generation had also completed the metamorphosis from the excitable kid to the cynical adult. Student life had given way to professional life, and the innocent dinners at roadside dhabas had been replaced by expensive parties at exotic restaurants and nightclubs. Money and ambition had started to drive our lives, and we had no time for the simple joys anymore.

As the nineties gave in to the new Millennium, it also marked the end of an era- of innocence, romance, passion and self-discovery. Fond memories and strong influences of the era continue to shape our lives even today, and as an entire generation that found its calling in the 90s will agree with me, those were the days of our lives. For us, those were the "Wonder Years".


Fire.Bird said...

Yeah sure the 90s was the transformative era...the lost era of innocence and peace

Fire.Bird said...

Yes indeed the 90s was the era of (now) lost innocence and peace