In 2001 when Dil Chahta Hai released, it gave us characters we saw ourselves in, jokes that still get us laughing, and neverending love for Goa and road trips.
However, it also gave us a supporting character who, for years, has been at the receiving end of mockery and ridicule, when actually he deserves our love and appreciation. I am talking about 'time-table' aka Subodh (Asad Dadarkar).
Now, Subodh was treated like a 'third-wheel', though technically, he and Pooja (Sonali Kulkarni) were in a loving, committed relationship, when Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) came into the picture.
If you think about it, Sameer was the real third-wheel, who joined Pooja and Subodh on their lunch date and drives. And yet, Subodh never objected that his dates were being interrupted by Pooja's friend.
How rare was it for a male character, that too a boyfriend, from early 2000s movies, to accept his girlfriend's guy friend? Subodh was progressive and emotionally secure. Wow!
Secondly, all we know of Subodh is from Sameer's point of view. So, suffice to say, it's a biased perspective. If you actually look at Subodh, independently of Sameer's love story, you'd realize that Subodh is a pretty nice guy.
To start with, he was not shy about expressing his love for Pooja. And he cared enough to remember the tiny details - like buying her a balloon every day.
*I mean, if it were roses, we'd all be swooning, so why not for balloons?*
Subodh was also an amazing boyfriend who planned dates for Pooja. Yes, they could be a tad bit monotonous, but at least he always made time for Pooja.
To be fair, it was Sameer's snobbish attitude towards Subodh that made Pooja think she had something, or someone, to be embarrassed about.
And unlike Sameer, Subodh didn't need clever quips to win over Pooja. He won over Pooja through his actions (and great memory).
Honestly, Sameer's jealousy, and of course, Subodh's introduction as comic relief, blinded us from the fact that Subodh was a pretty amazing boyfriend.
Subodh was secure enough in his personality and didn't require external validation. Even Sameer's obvious attempt at cracking a joke on him was met with a straightforward answer.
Because Subodh didn't see anything wrong or funny in his actions, and he wasn't petty enough to call out Sameer's behavior.
Plus, in my honest opinion, he would have been one of those rare souls to actually manage the pandemic with ease. Because, he would make a schedule, and actually stick to it.
It may be coming a decade too late, but I think it's time we celebrate Subodh for being a progressive, loving boyfriend and stop viewing him through Sameer's jealous perspective.