Popcorn with Sultan’s brother


So, I go for ‘Sultan’ with a friend. We have the tickets at the rear end of the theatre. The seating arrangement for our row is such that there are two seats, a gap and then a solo seat. We settle down in our seats. As the lights go out, a lady accompanied by a man walks in and occupies the solo seat next to us. The man looks around and then plops on the floor (in the gap). I look at him and battle between gasping at the blatant rebellious (free?) behaviour of this man and pretending to be cool about his choice of seat for the movie. I do the latter. Who wants to be a stuck up person anyway?

As the lights flash on the screen, I look at the guy, albeit a little slyly. I don’t want to stare at this person whom I am suddenly feeling compelled to admire for his oblivion to society’s rights, wrongs and blah.

I tap on my friend’s shoulder and exclaim (although not too loudly, since I am still pretending to be cool) – ‘Is this Arbaaz Khan?’

My friend also stares at him and nods. Celebrities have to resort to such extreme measures to keep their lives private, I conclude. He must have wanted to watch his brother’s movie with no one staring at him; hence he chose to sit in the last row of the theatre. Plus sitting on the floor makes this a perfect place for him to hide from the public eye and watch the movie in peace.

The dilemma begins when the movie begins. I take the whole walking-in-other-people’s-shoes thing a bit too seriously. I am hypersensitive to what might offend Arbaaz, and of course all criticism of the film and Sallu bhai tops the chart in terms of what might offend him.

We appropriately laugh at the punch lines and my friend comments loudly as to how Salman doesn’t look 50 years old. I also nod along vigorously, adding in my expert comments on how much effort it must take for him to maintain a body like that. Of course, being on the wrong side of the Khan family is something that every Indian wants to avoid, unless one wants to increase the probability of being run over by their vehicle, while sitting on a guava tree branch.

Arbaaz seems lost in the film and has no time for our overenthusiastic-walking-in-other-people’s-shoes phenomenon. Of course, as a director, his job is to watch movies from a professional angle. We decide to take a selfie with him after the film. As soon as the movie finishes, he gets up and starts walking fast. At that moment, I discover that my friend is also a swift walker, in fact slightly swifter than him. She manages to overtake him and look at his face.

Then with an air of disappointment, she says-‘This is not Arbaaz’. I wonder if my perception of the film would have been different if this guy walking around, looking like Arbaaz Khan hadn’t biased my opinions. No more walking around in other people’s shoes. I also Whatsapp the half dozen people that I had already informed about Arbaaz walking around breathing the same theatre air as us, that it a false alarm.

Well, at least we got to stuff popcorn down our throats, while this side show was going on.

Image Credits- etsy.com