Only 90s Kids will Remember: Sumeet Saigal, Avinash Wadhawan, and 50 Shades of Hamming from Forgotten Heroes

Bollywood

Only 90s Kids will Remember: Sumeet Saigal, Avinash Wadhawan, and 50 Shades of Hamming from Forgotten Heroes

Illustration: Akshita Monga

R

ecently, I watched Loveyatri. No, I wouldn’t risk going to a multiplex, standing up for the national anthem and then sitting for a film where Aayush Sharma – Bollywood’s latest nepotistic offering – is fondly called “Susu”. And has to travel abroad to win his love by displaying his garba skills. But I do have an Amazon Prime subscription and suffer from morbid curiosity. I couldn’t stop wondering if Aayush Sharma would be better than Atul Agnihotri, Salman Khan’s other brother-in-law and charity subject. Remember the ’90s hustler who was recognisable by his wooden cuteness and for being a part of several Hindi film outings like Sir, Krantiveer, Veergati and Aatish?

I didn’t have to wait long to have my answer: Aayush Sharma easily left behind Katrina Kaif and Amy Jackson in moonlighting as a statue. But Loveyatri had all the makings of a guilty pleasure; it proudly over-abuses all ’90s film tropes. What it was missing was a stock ’90s hero – someone who was a non-Khan, non-Dutt, non-Kumar and had the inherent talent of hamming. That ’90s hero who could champion patriarchy while celebrating matriarchy; could flex muscles as well as emotions; and become taller, sharper and stronger as the narrative progressed.

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