We were in G S Medical College when this movie released. A low budget movie, no one must have ever thought it would end being the cult classic that it did.

I remember the winter evening on a Saturday when some of us were chatting outside the Pathology museum at the very end of the corridor in the college building when my classmate Abhay Dalvi burst amidst us and started gyrating much to our surprise and amusement. He was one of the best dancers in our class and went on to explain these were the groovy moves he had picked up from John Travolta from the movie he had seen the previous day, Saturday night fever.

Amazing name, we thought, as he went on to show us more of the same. We went ahead and saw the movie in a SoBo theatre . John Travolta was not such a famous star, but as Tony Manero, a young Italian-American man from Brooklyn whose idea of a good weekend is lots of dancing and drinking at a discotheque, while dealing with disillusionment with his own life, and feeling directionless and trapped amongst his lowbrow, working class neighbours. The story of the movie is based on an article from New York magazine, called “Tribal rites of the new Saturday Night” and was amazingly written as a feature by a music writer Nik Cohn. The film features music by the bucketful, and although the Bee Gees only contribute to 6 out of the 17 tracks, they got the maximum mileage out of the movie’s unimaginable success. It in a way acted as a brand ambassador of the disco era.

Amazingly, the article was written as one which was specifically commissioned by the editor of the magazine. Nik Cohn was of British origin and entrusted with the task. Initially presented as an account of factual reporting, Cohn acknowledged in the mid-1990s that he actually had fabricated most of the article. A newcomer to the United States and a total and complete stranger to the disco lifestyle, Cohn was unable to make any sense of the subculture he had been assigned to write about. So after a struggle with the theme, he wrote out of his imagination, the character who became Tony Manero was in reality based on an English acquaintance of Cohn. But the circumstances and accidental fiction led to a phenomenal success in the entertainment industry and SNF remains a unique movie, a flag bearer of a generation.

Stay safe, folks, dance your woes away. Enjoy the weekend and stay healthy and happy. I will go snort on Oxygen knowing Sameer Wankhede won’t take unkindly to my addiction.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

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