At our neighbourhood DVD place this afternoon. I went and returned DVD and paid and turned back to find Bill intently staring at a shelf. I walk slowly towards him, puzzled. He is beaming for some reason. The shelf says "Top Titles".
"Why are you looking at the Top Titles shelf?"
"You have become some popular movie watcher nowadays"
"I said look"
So I looked. Mish mash. Some chick flick (tagline reads "Better than Sex and the City"), Persepolis, Atonement, The Lives of Others, The Kite Runner, and ..wait.
"Its a mistake"
"Of course its not"
"Of course it is. I think we should let the counter people know that they have it here by mistake"
"You are evil"
"This is nothing to do with evil. I think its an honest mistake"
"Honest mistake? You mean you don't think that's a top title?"
"Not in this part of the world, it ain't"
"I really think we should let the people at the counter know"
"People might rent it by mistake"
"And end up loving it. Moreover, I don't understand why you think its not popular here"
"You can't possibly tell me that one of the top titles in this neighbourhood is Joi Baba Felunath?"
"Why can't it be? Just this Friday, I met this guy in the elevator at the tube station"
"He is like the Chief Curator at the National Gallery"
"Right. And he just started talking to you"
"I am not kidding"
"Whatever. What's him got to do with Joi Baba Felunath?
"People like him and our landlady understand art. They live in this neighbourhood. So this is a top title. There is no mistake. The odd person out who lives here is you"
"I see. Actually you know what? I wouldn't mind moving out. You should be able to take care of the rent, I am sure"
"Do you think of anything besides money? Does art mean anything to you?"
"Wrong questions. Should I move out or not?"
Though you probably have to be Bong or to have grown up with only DD to get the joke.
So this DVD store, its actually pretty cool. They have this whole section which has a good subset of the Artifical Eye titles. Among other directors, they do have a Ray collection so we overdosed on it a bit over the last few days. So this morning, we were watching Charulata with the subtitles turned off . As we got to the song that everyone who grew up in DD times should know by heart, I suddenly realised that this was the first time I am watching this with a Bong in the room. Which meant that I could clear all my doubts.
"This is a Tagore song no?"
"Written like way back"
"But I never knew he was into China and stuff"
"And Gobi for that matter"
"Gobi? Dude, I think you have been reading too much about the silk road"
"No, no. This has got nothing to do with that. I always wondered what this song meant"
"This song? What the hell are you talking about?"
"Why does he sing about some woman from Gobi?"
"And where does Chini come in? I mean, this was Tagore. Not like he had any special affinity with China. If this was like in the 60s, one could say its all the communist comedy"
"Dude, I have no idea what you are talking about"
"Ok, pause. Now sing the song"
"Ami Chini Go Chini tomare O Gobideshini.."
"Chini, Gobideshini. What does it mean?"
Bill laughed for like ever. Then refused to explain.
PS: For the younger generation of non-Bongs who did not grow up on DD, here's the song.
 Part of a running bet on whether I understand Bong better or Bill Tam. I should understand Bong better considering that you just change the shs and bs from Hindi but since my Hindi is really bad, it doesn't help. Plus anyway, since we all have watched these movies, one could argue that one is not missing anything by turning subtitles off.