Some time last year,a pulsating nightclub emerged and sank back into the dust just outside the city. The rave party bust at Maya RLC was big news. Embarrassing pictures appeared in the newspapers and public sentiment seemed to firmly back the party poopers. Those unfortunate youngsters caught in the crossfire gave the impression of being a minority in a straitlaced town.
But public sentiment is a slippery concept,something you dont fully grasp until youve segued between various social groups and their habitats. One such habitat is the cinema. Well never know for sure if art imitates life or if its the other way around,but after watching Go Goa Gone in a hall packed with young people,I get the feeling its the former.
The success of movies such as Dev D and Delhi Belly revealed an urban audience that could digest realistic portrayals of young adults indulging in black humour,casual relationships and guilt-free vices such as alcohol and natural intoxicants. Even the act of buying a ticket for one of these new age youth films can be an insight into their world,as demonstrated by a young woman standing in the queue for the 11.30 pm show,candidly asking the cashier to give her two corner seats and turning to her boyfriend in unconcealed disappointment when she couldnt get them.
Two minutes into the movie,it became clear that tolerance levels have stretched admirably both among the raucous gangs of mixed gender who probably identified with the actors escapades on a personal level,and in the clean kids tittering into their popcorn tubs. Clean kids are the ones who know how to roll but dont partake; the agony aunts and designated drivers who do their best not to judge their crazy friends,but who were grinning throughout the movie despite themselves.
Regardless of the social message at the end,Go Goa Gone still qualifies as a quasi-stoner comedy and its enthusiastic multiplex reception shows that Punes current under-30 population is on a wavelength which is very different from what it was a few years ago.
Whats noteworthy is that one can now laugh at inappropriate jokes and morally profligate themes without those two hours of amusement destroying the moral fabric of society. No offence taken,none given. Its one of the promising indicators of a maturing city. I find it quite paradoxical that a juvenile film like this actually conveys respect for adult intelligence,because the filmmakers know their audience can handle the controversial content.
And obviously,the audience also warmed to the film because of its location. Any plot related to beachy Goa is a sure hit with folks in this region,as the name of the state is synonymous with shenanigans,life-changing experiences and coming of age. The first shot of the three protagonists cruising down the Mumbai-Goa highway in their car was met with loud cheers and calls of Dil Chahta Hai!
You could just sense the memories of many such road trips clouding the faces in various corners of the hall. Some things dont change.
The writer is a former national chess champion.