Despite mysterious back pains and hangovers that lasted for days rather than hours, I was unwilling to face the truth that I had grown old. Until I realized that it has been 20 freaking years since the romantic drama of my childhood, Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, released.
Yes, it's been 20 years since we saw Hrithik Roshan steal our heart as Rohit... and then our hormones as Raj. It's been 20 years since Ameesha Patel reminded us 'usko aur Hindi nahin aati.'
In the last two decades, we may have realized how forgettable the plot of the movie was, but the iconic hook step from the ultimate dance number, Ek Pal Ka Jeena still remains firmly lodged in our memories. Yes, the same dance step that you just recreated in your head while softly mumbling the lines, ae, aai, aa, oo, aai, aa.
I mean not like there were not dance numbers before Ek Pak Ka Jeena. And not like Bollywood did not have amazing dancers before Hrithik Roshan.
But somehow Hrithik, dressed in a netted vest, sporting a bandana and wearing glasses inside the club, still managed to make our heart sway with every beat.
And boy were they some great beats. That intro music was trance even before we knew what trance was - till of course, the actual tune started. Within the film, the reveal that Hrithik is playing a double character was just one of the reasons that made this song iconic. The real reason was, and will always be, the sheer swag of those dance steps.
For us single-digit-aged kids, it was the song that played at every birthday party, Diwali gathering and New Year eve scene for years to come. And we tried to copy the hook step every single time.
Of course, if you nailed the whole step, from the frantic hand movements to the quick-footed jumps, then you were a legend. And if you failed, then you had most of your friends giving you company.
We're no longer kids or teenagers. In fact, we're adults in our late 20s, struggling to pay bills and trying to understand why clubs are getting louder by the day (they aren't, we're just getting older). But, even today, be it at a house party, a disc, or hell, even a wedding, if this song plays then our inner kid comes to life. And once again, we imitate the hand movements, jump in our high heels, and belt out the words, ae mere dil tu gaaye ja...
You can revisit the song here: