(i had planned to password protect this post but decided against it. if i wrote it, i should be brave enough to show it to the world. Heck, why should i care what anyone else thinks?)
A kiss is still a kiss in Casablanca
Until I watched Casablanca I believed that nothing was worth half the hype surrounding it. Living in Karachi as long as I have, I’ve learned that Karachiwale will wax eloquent about everything under the sun and when you go check it out you’ll realize that it’s exactly like everything else under the sun and you’ve been taken for a ride. Be it Dhoraji’s golagunda or Jiwani’s sunset (which though beautiful, was a bit of a let down- I had expected the sun to melt into the ocean like it does in Karachi), Karachiwale have the bad habit of turning tolerably good things into “jis ne dekha, khaya, khareeda, pehna, uthaya, sulaya, khela, khilaya nahi us ne kuch dekha, khaya etc etc nahi” levels. The minute someone says “Oh, you haven’t seen that? You’re truly missing out” I understand that it’s probably quite average but that person needs some reason to feel superior and is using the one thing I haven’t seen as a way of getting the upper hand. Which is why I shall see Vicky Christina Barcelona though I do not like Woody Allen, and watching Scarlett Johansen talk makes me think of the Zombie Barbie of my nightmares and I shall have Zameer whatsisface’s boti kabab though I have an infinite fear of cholera germs.
I’ve digressed. This wasn’t meant as a rant against the strange people inhabiting the city I love and live in. It was supposed to be an ode to the movie that reminded me I used to be a romantic once.
It feels strange feeling so…sensitive. It feels strange feeling. I usually try not to do that very often.
So it was worth it. Worth the hype, and the frequent remarks of various Hollywood celebrities as the most ‘romantic film of all time’; and when I broke down and got weepy (shut up Farooq. Just. Shut. Up) at Rick’s parting dialogue with Ilsa I joined the ranks of countless women who have watched Casablanca all by their lonesome and wished for a love that would stay this vivid even as time goes by:
ILSA: But what about us?
RICK: We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have, we’d lost it, until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
ILSA: And I said I would never leave you.
RICK: And you never will. But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. Now, now…
Ilsa’s eyes well up with tears. Rick puts his hand to her chin and raises her face to meet his own.
RICK: Here’s looking at you, kid.
And I cried. As cheesy as all of this sounds on paper (or typeface whatever) it’s the most moving scene I’ve watched in a long time. Maybe ever. And I’ve watched an unbelievable amount of romantic movies- courtesy my cousins and sisters.
Or maybe I’m getting softer. Oh hell, no.
Though I wonder, had everything worked out between Rick and Ilsa in Paris, and they did get married on the way to Marseilles, would they still be this crazy about each other so many years down the road? Not-having aggravates obsession, as love usually is, and who knows that better than I do?