Bollywood films have often been criticised for their unrealistic portrayal of love and romance. Many romantic Hindi movies offer a simplistic view of romantic relationships and several promote odd behaviour patterns -- such as stalking and obsessiveness with the loved one -- as attractive and acceptable. The romantic pairs of Hindi cinema often fall in love based on physical attractiveness, provocative dance moves or in order to rebel against family or society, rather than any deeper feelings or real compatibility. However, a few modern filmmakers have ventured towards more realistic and relatable love stories. Here’s a list of recent movies which have given us a fresh perspective on love, dating and marriage:
1. Qarib Qarib Singlle (2017)
This romantic-comedy, co-written and directed by Tanuja Chandra, stars Parvathy Thiruvothu as a workaholic widow, Jaya Shashidharan, who wants to find a new life partner and signs up to an online dating site. She meets Yogi (Irrfan Khan), a poet, through the website but is put off by him initially due to his unimpressive appearance and lack of refinement. However, on Yogi’s insistence and due to his friendly nature, Jaya agrees to accompany him on a trip during which he reconnects with his three ex-girlfriends and Jaya starts seeing him in a new light.
2. Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015)
This film, directed by Sharat Katariya, is the story of Prem Prakash Tiwari (Ayushmann Khurrana) who faces parental pressure to enter an arranged marriage with an educated but overweight girl Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar). However, due to her obesity, Prem is unable to accept her as his wife and the two file a divorce case, but have to live together for six months before the final decision has been made. The film explores how the young couple discovers that true love is not skin deep.
3. Piku (2015)
Directed by Shoojit Sircar, Piku stars Deepika as the titular protagonist, a Bengali architect living in Delhi with her 70-year-old eccentric father, Bhashkor (Amitabh Bachchan). Piku is unable to form a romantic relationship and is irritated most of the time due to her volatile relationship with her father, who suffers from chronic constipation and keeps throwing tantrums. She meets Rana Chaudhary (Irrfan Khan), the owner of a taxi business, when the latter’s drivers refuse to take Piku and her father to Kolkata as they feel intimidated by her. During the trip, the three form a close bond and Piku and Rana start developing feelings for one another.
4. Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007)
Helmed by Reema Kagti, this is the story of six newly married couples, who embark on a four-day trip to Goa to celebrate their honeymoon. While there are several stories in the film, the most relatable one was of Oscar Fernandes (Boman Irani) and Naheed (Shabana Azmi), a middle-aged couple, who have recently tied the knot and are ridiculed because of this. Oscar’s first wife committed suicide and Naheed’s first husband and two children died in an accident. However, the two are determined to have a good time on the trip, even while grieving over their past.
5. Lunchbox (2013)
Written and directed by Ritesh Batra, Lunchbox is the story of Ila (Nimrat Kaur), a lonely housewife trying to win her husband’s (Nakul Vaid) affection by cooking delicious food for him. However, the lunchbox she prepares for him gets delivered to Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan), a widower about to retire from his job in accounting. Saajan really enjoys the food and Ila, despite realising the mistake, sends him more food along with a note informing him of the mistake. The two then start exchanging messages and a unique friendship blossoms, which helps Ila face the reality of her unhappy marriage.
6. Wake Up Sid (2009)
Ayan Mukerji’s film revolves around Sidharth "Sid" Mehra (Ranbir Kapoor), the carefree son of a wealthy businessman, who starts living with his new and older friend, Ayesha (Kon Kona Sen Sharma), following a heated argument with his father. Ayesha, who is an aspiring writer, likes Sid but is focused on finding a mature and sophisticated man (such as her boss Kabir, played by Rahul Khanna) and initially does not see Sid as more than a friend and flatmate. However, as Sid starts building his photography career and becomes more responsible, Ayesha realises that she has more chemistry with him than with Kabir.
Though it's fun to indulge in the unrealistic romantic standards of traditional Bollywood every once in a while, it's also nice to see that Indian cinema is coming out with more and more accurate portrayals of relationships! Which of these films is your favourite romance?