by Nitia Catherine and Adarsh Rary
What does the word ‘Area Bois’ mean? For someone on the outside, it is the sight of boys huddled in a corner doing a little bit of this and that. For the area bois themselves, it is the simple act of spending time together and having fun.
On 18th of October 2022, a group of people found themselves huddled in A-209 of the Arrupe block of St. Josephs’ University, in anticipation of first Nous Showing of the semester: Area Bois. Nous Showing began in 2019 as a way of engaging with films that weren’t easily available on online platforms. As a way of bringing back a culture of watching films in a classroom and talking about it with teachers, with students.
“A memorable Nous Showing was in August, 2019 where we hosted a couple of Katherine Hepburn screenings,” says Prof. Vijeta Kumar. “It allowed us to revisit the idea of watching a powerful moment in a black white Hollywood film.”
In attendance for the Area Bois screening were Director Mahisha and the cast of the short film: Aashith K., Sachin Sreenath, and Mohammed Affan Pasha a.k.a Pasha Bhai; surprise guest attendees also included filmmakers Suneel Raghuvendra and Naveen Tejaswi, professors from the Department of English, and students from various courses, seated on steel chairs and mats spread across the floor.
Gayathri Lakshmi, the convenor of the SJC literary society, introduced filmmaker Mahisha before inviting him onto the dais. He expressed his gratitude at being given such an opportunity and proceeded to present a short video compiled by him. It featured Dr. B.R Ambedkar through statues and pictures, in and around Bangalore.
The screening of Area Bois followed soon after, depicting the usual scene in a group of three where one is in love, another providing false hope, and the third giving him reality as it is. We see the familiar act of a boy putting his hand in his pocket while on call, the swearing that comes with the frustration of a forever late friend, and a missing bat replaced with bhutta.
Area Bois brings us the sounds of lo, maga, maccha, football and cricket references in the background of cars, buses, and static. The audience giggled at the sight of Aashith with a lollipop in his mouth while the other two smoked. It was nice to see a friendship being rekindled by something as simple as lighting up a cigarette for another person. To see bonds being strengthened over kushka and beef, both sponsored by Aashith.
In the panel discussion with Prof. Nikitha Thomas and III CPE student Vijay Kumar, the cast and crew revealed that the film was basically a representation of their daily lives. Being unemployed, they would often find themselves in that one kushka-kabab shop, not being able to afford anything else. Even the unrequited love experience was a testament to Aashith’s own. Having to it act out made him experience multiple war-flashbacks.
Pasha Bhai coming late in the film was Pasha Bhai coming late to the shoot. “Mahisha asked me to come at 8,” he said. “I was like ‘this fellow is mad, there’s no way we’d start so early. I came to the set at 12 and the shoot was almost over.”
The three of them humming to kumbhakarna in sync was impromptu just like the rest of the dialogues. The only thing planned was the primary colours of their shirt and the spot where Aashith got rejected, the latter being symbolic of the place where Mahisha’s own sister got asked out. She referred to the guy as Koramangala, prompting Mahisha to refer to Aashith’s love interest as ‘Malleshwaramu.’
Their friendship in the film was the same as it was in real life, with their constant bantering and nudging of the others to reveal embarrassing stories, ones that the audience could not stop laughing at. There was this lazy way in which they spoke to each other, coming to college not as actors of a film but as a group of friends. The bigness of their names hadn’t gotten to them.
Further excitement was caused by Pasha Bhai rapping kumbhakarna, prompting the audience to start clapping to the rhythm.
Towards the end of Nous Showing, Dr. Arul Mani, the Dean of the School of Languages, handed out Engster magazines to the cast and crew of Area Bois. It was easy to talk to them over cups of chai because they spoke like us, college students. Everyone conversed with smiles on their faces and paper cups in their hands, content with the experience.
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