What is Bollywood’s obsession with half-baked relationships? This concept has been seen in films such as Shudh Desi Romance, Ok Jaanu, and Befikre. Why be boyfriend and girlfriend when you can be free, date others but still come home to a guy or girl and have the benefits of a relationship? Most recently the just released Half Girlfriend is also going along with this new “trend”. The title says it all: Dost Se Zyada, Girlfriend Se Kam (Something more than a friend but less than a girlfriend) so basically a friend with benefits.
Bollywood is worldwide known for it’s deep love stories in which the feeling of love is portrayed so beautifully. The longing for each other, the feeling you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, the need for the other. Ram Leela is just one such example of recent years. But with urbanization, relationships obviously change as well. Filmmakers are trying to explore these other views on love. But this ‘friends with benefits’ concept ends up being a gimmick and is used to keep the viewer glued somehow to an otherwise empty script.
When I watch these films, I also can’t help but wonder: Are Indian youngsters these days really jumping on this trend-train? Or is there still some respect for emotions and feelings? Do filmmakers actually know what is happening in society or is their imagination going wild? Or do they just want to copy things they have seen in Hollywood? The only problem is that in Hollywood it forms the bases of the story. Bollywood just glamorizes it by getting stars, don’t emphasize the feelings, wave a story around it, put some songs in it and there you have your Bollywood version of Friends with Benefits.
I think what filmmakers are forgetting is what poet and writer Javed Akhtar recently put so well.
“In an average Indian city, by the time a boy becomes 20 or 21, he has not spoken to a girl who is not his sister for more than five minutes in his whole life.”
Even though Akhtar was referring to why men rape, what happens in the mind of these men, it is something to think about. For a country that is known for its religions, traditions and family values, this is quite the change… don’t you think?