Wife Swapping! That’s the word. Actually, the phrase. That very phrase that’s hideous for starters, immoral in entirety and immediately evokes devilish adjectives and there are little surprises about it.
Though, the first time India heard about the term was from a Bollywood movie, which was a shocker given the subject the film highlighted was presumably so western that there was no chance that people hailing from the land of god-fearing people would even know of it.
That’s how Ajnabi, the 2001-release was and is remembered, other than the fact that it was a wild movie besides the drama and thriller element thrown in, particularly to make movies of that era enticing.
The multi-starrer featuring Bobby Deol, Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Bipasha Basu was received well on the box office but was anything but a smash hit. There was intrigue surrounding the film’s characters, the rather bold storyline, the climax and in particular, the songs. But it failed to garner a massive audience.
Not that the movie was made in any nuanced way since its aim was to cater to the urban, party going, ‘drenched-in-entertainment,’ thrill-seeking audience, yet, there’s something about the film that’s stuck, if not in a necessarily flattering way.
What is it? What was about Ajnabi and the tale it highlighted that’s garnered it, if not anything else, then a place among the people’s mind, if not heart?
Now, having completed 20 years since its release, the Neeraj Vora-written film has found Bobby Deol reveal something that doesn’t sound untrue or irrational.
As a matter of fact, what Bobby Deol had to say about one of the most controversial movies of its time makes much sense:
“First of all, it doesn’t feel 20 years since it was released. It feels like it was yesterday that we got together and shot this film. It was such a great experience working with everyone,” shared the famous Deol.
But he’d add, “When I was working with Abbas-Mustan on Soldier (1998), at that point they thought of me giving the character, which Akshay essayed, and eventually, they thought I was better suited for another character, which I ended up playing. And Akshay did a great job.”
Furthermore, here’s what according to Bobby Deol made the movie interesting:
“At that point when it released, the film was actually ahead of its time. But now, things have changed. Now, we see a lot of different subjects being explored on screen. (There is no denying) Ajnabee was not just a movie, it changed a lot of things.”
Today, as the world, not that it has moved on, become more aware than it was before on adulterous and controversial subjects such as the one Ajnabi highlighted, it can be said with certainty, that had the film released today, it may not have failed to garner an audience.
Though this wasn’t the case back then. Since people, in stark contrast to when the film was released, would have seen it to accept that such things happen, instead of passing lewd remarks, which was the case, on the sensitive subject the film highlighted.