Indian cinema is always good inspiration when one is trying to be romantic or lovey-dovey towards that special someone. Bollywood is romance by definition na? Having said that, it can also be seen by some to give those who consider themselves part of the “filmi” clan aka Bollywood fans a very extraordinary and unrealistic perspective of love and of a soulmate. Many a girl and boy has fallen in love through Bollywood but there are also the ones that look at the prem kahanis and say… now come on. To explore this a little further, we put two of our writers, with opposing views, inside a room (thankfully not literally) and sat back to witness their use of Bollywood characters and movies to argue their cases. So here’s to the dreamy girl and to the realist lady! Let the discussion commence…
Amrita: (Sings) “Mere sapno ka woh raja, mere dil ka woh rajkumar… main toh uski deewani banoogi…”
Rima: What are you so happily singing about?
Amrita: Ainvayi! Just thinking how wonderful it would be if, just like in the movies, a cute guy would waltz into my life and sweep me off my feet. *Sigh*
Rima: Are you for real? These movie-types don’t really exist in the real world, you do know that don’t you? That kind of perfection is not real!
Amrita: I beg to differ. How great would it be to be surprised with a perfect date like Kunal (John Abraham) plans for Neha (Priyanka Chopra) in Dostana? You cook together, you eat together and then he puts on your favourite film just for you. The icing on the cake of the date would come when he invites you to re-enact a romantic scene from the film. Divine eh?
There is also the setting in Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi, which sees the handsome Rohit (Jimmy Shergill) organise a romantic meal for his fiancée Sanjana (Tulip Joshi) amidst the greenery of a park complete with flowing white fabric to add the right wow-factor. As if this isn’t enough of a surprise, Rohit then goes on to sing the very amorous “Resham si hai yeh hawaaein sanam…” – Very idealistic, but I’m sure it’s a reality for a few ladies out there!
Rima: Ever heard the saying ‘too much of a good thing never lasts.’ If you want examples I can give examples of romance overkill too. Let’s start with Dil Chahta Hai. Remember Subodh? Pooja’s (Sonali Kulkarni) boyfriend who would bring home a heart shaped balloon every day? Please don’t tell me that you did not at some point want to burst that very balloon! And what about him remembering everything and I mean everything!
“On 12th March 2000 I first saw Pooja at this bus stop, on 15th March I spoke to her for the first time, on 18th March we went for a coffee at 19:00hrs”
Please get me a bucket! If not a bucket then at least a pin to pop the balloon!
Amrita: Love can make you do funny things and one of those things would be to become as desirable as possible for your love. This could mean changing yourself to impress the other person much like Rohan (Shahid Kapoor) and Veera (Rani Mukerjee) do for each other in Dil Bole Hadippa. Their first date consists of Rohan, a London-based non-resident Indian, getting in touch with his Indian roots to astound Veera who also turns up at the date leaving her traditional wear at home but instead, adorning a western outfit. How awesome would it be if my dream guy, upon seeing that I had changed myself for him said like Rohan does to Veera, “India is India ji and Veera is Veera… Dono special, dono sab se alag, dono one and only. Dono ko kisike liye badalne ki zaroorat nahin…”
Our very own Surinder (Shah Rukh Khan) of Rab Ne Bana Do Jodi is also a prime example of a man in love who goes to great lengths to change the way he is in order to win the heart of his love, Taani (Anushka Sharma). Whether it be changing his character to make his wife laugh and find a place in her heart or whether it be stay as himself and give her all of life’s little luxuries, this is one love story that truly touches the heart. With the simplicity of Suri’s character and the pureness of his feelings, it gives every girl the hope that love can bloom with the most unlikely person, albeit your husband of circumstances. *Sighhh*
Rima: *Sighhh* Yes, that is perfect – only it isn’t reality. Want a dose of reality – you don’t have to go far, I am sitting right here to provide it. Changing yourself to become desirable to your other half/potential other half has consequences. Everything does not always go to plan. Let’s look at a perfect example from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. The scene where reserved schoolteacher Maya (Rani Mukerjee) decides she wants to do something to spice up her marriage and does something that isn’t in her nature by dressing up as a dominatrix to surprise her husband Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan). And what happens? She embarrasses herself. Her ‘spectacular’ entry is right in the middle of a house party! Love isn’t about changing yourself or your partner. It is about accepting your partner and being accepted by your partner for who you are the way you are flaws and all. As said by Sameer (Jugal Hansraj) in Mohabbatein to his lady love Sanjana (Kim Sharma), (who incidentally also changed herself for the person she thought she loved only to be disrespected by being chucked into a pool), ‘Koi pyar kare, to tumse kare. Tum jaise ho, waise kare. Koi tumhe badal ke pyaar kare, to woh pyar nahin, woh sauda kare. Aur sahiba, pyar mein sauda nahin hota hai.’
Amrita: How about a guy who declares his love in a style unlike any other? One of the sweetest onscreen declarations of pyaar is in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi when Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) proclaims his love for Taani (Anushka Sharma) by taking her to a high point overlooking the city and using his connections with “Punjab Power” to light up the words “I Love You”. Although a little too extravagant, I’m sure there are men out there who would declare their love in a way similar to this to win a girl’s heart!
There is also a preppy scene in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai when Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), after climbing a ladder to get to Tina’s (Rani Mukerji) room, declares his love for her in the completion of his story, which started at the temple. He says that a man should only bow down to three women; their mother, Durga Maa and he then bows his head for Tina. Hai hai… if this isn’t perfect then what would you say it is?
Rima: Yeeeeeeaaaaaaah… perfect. There is another side to this declaration of love as well. The acceptance. And what happens if that acceptance doesn’t materialise and turns into rejection – a la I Hate Luv Storys with Jai’s (Imran Khan) declaration of love to Simran (Sonam Kapoor). There was a perfect setting there too. Simran’s favourite colour – red, is everywhere. There is food, music, flowers, a gentle breeze toying with yards of red fabric. There is also a big fat no. Perfect right?
And who says that all declarations are romantic? Shah Rukh Khan’s Rahul Mehra in Darr was not romantic though he made his declaration numerous times. Psychopathic, obsessive and scary are the words that come to mind. Who can forget his final declaration? Did it not chill you to the core?
Remember – there is a fine line between being romantic and being mentally unstable.
Amrita: Perhaps my prince charming is already part of my life and I don’t know it. Perhaps he’s been around for some time and I just haven’t noticed. This thought reminds me of Jab We Met where Geet (Kareena Kapoor) only has eyes for Anshuman (Tarun Arora). When she meets Aditya (Shahid Kapoor), she talks her way into his heart without him even noticing. It’s so romantic that only when their “episode” comes to an end does Adi realise how much he feels for Geet. He then brings her characteristics into his own personality. Now that, my dear, is a true love story. It’s as real as a love story can get!
Rima: A real love story huh? I agree that it isn’t necessary that you realise when you fall in love – but the whole adopting characteristics thing is a bit much. I mean can you imagine Kajol’s Simran adopting Shah Rukh Khan’s personality traits in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge? It would change the whole film!
The only true love story I can think of in recent times is Jodhaa Akbar. A marriage that took place purely for the sake of convenience saw Jodhaa (played by Aishwariya Rai Bachchan), being reduced to a mere political pawn thus causing great resentment. In an environment that was steeped in prejudice Hrithik Roshan’s Akbar won Jodhaa over by staying true to himself, and I guess this was a cause of appreciation for Jodhaa. Yes, there were instances that caused misunderstanding but they were resolved by the reel jodi in their own sweet way like every real jodi. A story that grew into a love story like most real life stories – now that is what I call a love story…
Amrita: Rima, no matter what it is you say and how many opposing arguments you put across, I think I’m always going to be that girl who believes in the essence of Dil To Pagal Hai’s Maya. Yes, although she was a figment of Rahul’s (Shah Rukh Khan) imagination for his play, I believe her thoughts about love are what make the film one of my favourites. Maya believed that “Someone somewhere is made for you…” and that’s exactly my sentiment.
Rima: I agree that there is someone out there for everyone. I just believe that the film world presents love stories to the audience so that they can escape for a couple of hours. Everything is seen through rose tinted glasses and is perfect, and if it isn’t perfect initially everything somehow falls into place to become perfect. Life isn’t quite like that. There isn’t going to be a light breeze to catch hold of your dupatta and make it conveniently land on the head of your future partner.
A relationship takes time. It needs attention and love and care and has to be nurtured. No Hindi film shows that aspect and very few films show the reality of a relationship after the honeymoon period comes to an end. I can only think of a handful of films like Shah Rukh and Rani starrer Chalte Chalte where they show the misunderstandings post honeymoon, Rajpal Yadav and Rituparna Sen starrer Main Meri Patni Aur Woh also had an element of truth by highlighting the insecurities that a partner may feel.
Love in the reel world is perfect because it is scripted to be. Love in the real world though inspired by the film world at times is perfect because it isn’t scripted. It is just 100% true unadulterated emotion. And that my dear is where the perfection lies.
Amrita: *Sighhh* Well, I can’t disagree with any of that but a girl can dream can’t she?
Well, there we have it. Is Bollywood to blame for our searching for the perfect heroine or hero and then then non-acceptance of someone who doesn’t fit in with the romantic characters we all know and love? Or should we take every chocolate-boy hero or marriage-material heroine and put them under intense scrutiny? One will never know but some dreams will always dreams and even reality won’t be able to do them justice! One thing that is for sure is that no matter if you are a realist or a dreamer we all love to watch the pyaar, prem, ishq and mohabbat of Bollywood films!