Chapter 6: Subodh
“Shayad uske bathroom jaane ka time hai.“
Anyone who has watched Dil Chahta Hai would remember the fantastic Subodh. He had only two scenes in the film, and yet he was able to achieve iconic status. His character also depicts the power of good writing. Whether it is a lead role or a minor role with a few scenes, a well-written character always manages to leave a significant impact.
Subodh was Pooja’s boyfriend. The first time we see him, he is going on a date with Pooja. While he is waiting for the elevator outside the apartment, he looks at his watch. This seemingly inconsequential detail turns out to be his defining character trait. Subodh is extremely particular in following his daily routine. He does not like deviating even one bit from it. When Sameer asks him to hang out after dinner, Subodh simply refuses because he has to sleep by ten in the night to get up early and do yoga the next day. Sameer nicknamed him ‘Time Table’ as he went to the loo only after checking the time on his watch.
The scene mentioned above at the restaurant also brings out the differences between the attitudes of Subodh and Sameer. Subodh is very well-mannered; on the other hand, Sameer is careless. When Sameer takes away a lady’s chair, he does not realize that he made her fall. I can picture Subodh would be pretty good at his work, meeting all his commitments on time. In today’s world, Subodh would be a perfect role model for his productivity. On the other hand, Sameer, as we saw, is quite forgetful. For instance, he forgets to call Priya when she gives him the deadline of 1 PM. Subodh wears a formal suit, while Sameer wears a casual sweatshirt. Even in his other scene in the car, Subodh dressed up in formals. It is these tiny details that help develop the character.
Despite all his eccentricities, Subodh is genuinely a nice guy. His name also means someone who is a good boy. He is a caring boyfriend. He buys a balloon for Pooja every single day. He remembers each little moment that he spends with Pooja. He plans his dates with her with clinical precision. Perhaps, this was the issue with him. He was far too nice, and as they say, ‘nice guys finish last.’ Subodh serves as a contrast to the toxic Rohit, the other third wheel in the film. Rohit is a possessive boyfriend who cannot stand Shalini talking to someone even for a minute. (Even the unseen ex-husband of Tara is highly obnoxious to her.) Subodh, however, was secure and comfortable with the friendship of Pooja and Sameer when it was clear that Sameer had other intentions.
Like Deepa, Subodh is laughed at and made fun of in the film. But, while Deepa gets a moment with Sid where she is given a more humane touch, Subodh does not get that. And, like Deepa, Subodh also disappears without any closure. But the most exciting fact about Subodh is that Asad Dadarkar plays it. He is one of Farhan Akhtar’s close friends in real life and was also the inspiration behind the character of Akash. As they say, truth is often stranger than fiction.