The title of this piece may come to you as a surprise since Bollywood is all about chick flicks. It is a cinema dedicated to chick flicks you may say. I beg to defer. What Indian cinema makes are not chick flicks but over dramatised and glamorised versions of chick flicks with barely any ounce of reality in either the storyline or the characterisations. So in a cinema full of such films, which one of these rises above all those titles to claim my crown of the “Ultimate Bollywood Chick Flick”? Well do not expect a title that you have heard of before because it is one film that came and went without anyone noticing. I also shamelessly can say I knew nothing about the film and watched it by chance. I will end the suspense and tell you that the films is…Rules – Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula. If you’ve heard of the name or even have seen it, then give yourselves a pat on the back for not being ignorant, in my opinion, to one of the most fine pieces of cinema that India has churned out.
It has no big stars, just the irresistible and supremely talented Milind Soman and the very classy Meera Vasudevan who acted for the first time on the big screen in a Hindi film. But the confidence and life she pumped into her character begs to defer that she’s merely a newcomer. You really wouldn’t guess it until told otherwise.
In a nutshell Rules – Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula is about Radha (Meera Vasudevan) who is hopelessly in love with a supermodel since the age of 14, like many of you probably are currently with stars like John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor & Imran Khan. Radha by profession is a photographer and the inspiration to this passionate career of hers is Vikram (Milind Soman). So when one day Vikram is signed on for a shoot that Radha is to assist with she looses total control. She stumbls, falls and makes a total fool of herself because facing the man of her dreams is simply harder and more unbelievable than she ever imagined. So to help the poor girl out her grandmother (Tanuja) tells her the 5 super hit formulas of attraction. Obediently Radha follows her daadi’s instructions to lead the man of her dreams to hopelessly be attracted to her, just as hopelessly as she is attracted to him, and in the process get him to fall in love with her. What happens next is for me to know and for you to find out.
Quite a simple storyline isn’t it? So why do I honour it with the crown of the Ultimate Bollywood Chick Flick? Well there are many reasons so I will try my best to keep them as succinct as possible. Firstly, Radha’s character. Which girl cannot relate to a girl hopelessly in a love with a celebrity icon? In my knowledge none that I know but feel free to enlighten me. Not only is she a realistic character but so are her surroundings, her lifestyles, her persona and even her outfits. Realistic outfits and decent amount of makeup are two things Bollywood claims to not know about 99% of the time but this film achieves the unimaginable.
Secondly, the beauty of the story lies in the fact that it is so 21st century and classy yet still has its Bollywood element firmly intact. Based in India and in particular Mumbai, home to the rich and famous, the film teaches makers a very valuable lesson – in order to make a film of the modern age with characters who think like the youth of today, you don’t have to take them across the seven sees to London, Paris or New York. (Karan Johar & Yash Raj are you listening?) It’s the events and the characterisations that created a girl of the 21st century like Radha, not her surroundings. She’s educated, fun, loving, empowered and yet naive. An absolute 21st century woman. She may come across as childish at the start just like many of us did in our teen or obsession days, but as the story matures so do her emotions.
Thirdly, the movie just like the ultimate chick flick, caters for all emotions. It has a family side to it, an emotional and romantic side and a comic angle. The cherry on top is the comic angle and how cleverly it has been incorporated into the storyline through various supporting characters who you take home with you after watching the film.
Lastly, the climax of the film remains simple and quintessential at the same time. So these were the major reasons but along with that you have a fantastic soundtrack by the amazingly talented and underused Sandesh Shandiliya. It has been very intelligently crafted into the film to match the situations but not take your attention away from the storyline. In particular ‘Its Only Love’ sung by Bombay Vikings is so beautifully brought into the scene with simple yet effective choreography. The most amazing thing about this song sequence is that the characters are choreographed in a dance routine very effectively yet aren’t made to lip sync like a normal Bollywood film. What makes all the above so perfect and enjoyable is the flawless and smoothly flowing screenplay which keeps the length to the bare minimum. Never do you feel bored or lost which not many films achieve!
Well I could go on for days about this film, but I think I’ll start to wrap up right here. I saw this film years ago and till now I am still amazed at how innovative and fresh and yet ordinary and simple a film could be. All at the same time! It’s a great film to kick back and relax with, perhaps with a bowl of popcorn and the company of your best mates (or not since I find that movies are best enjoyed solo!) This is truly a work of cinema that I believe has so much to teach our makers but sadly was lost in the wind and battle of big names and banners which is a never ending saga in Indian cinema.