The Romantics Is An Ode To The 90s Era And A Treat For YRF Fans!

Chopra decked up his heroines in chiffons, gyrating to beautiful melodies in the Swiss valley. But a closer look will reveal that he talked about issues that were hitherto never spoken of.

Watched ‘The Romantics’ yesterday and since then have been itching to pen down my thoughts on the same. As a hard-core movie buff watching this four-episode documentary was a treat to my soul which probably is still stuck somewhere amidst the by lanes of the dreamy 90s.

Well, back in the day actors and directors were akin to some mythical creatures whom we ogled at only onscreen. We did not picture them sans the signature arm open pose. I think this is something which reaffirmed their larger-than-life persona. We saw them onscreen doing all kinds of incredulous stuff yet once the curtains were drawn, we went on with our lives rejuvenated to the brim.

I went down memory lane watching The Romantics

Coming back to ‘The Romantics‘ it takes you down the memory lane and you see how YRF came to be. It was a nostalgia ride for me. As someone who grew up on a steady diet of Hindi films, these movies and songs are like time capsules which fling me back to my adolescent years and how.

Yes, many of these movies were problematic, they were viciously melodramatic, they had patriarchal undercurrents, they romanticized many vile aspects. Yet I am sure many like me would still be able to mouth dialogues of these films along with the actors with equal panache. We know those songs by heart and even the travails of time have not obliterated them from our memory. Can we say the same about movies made in the last ten years or so?

Aditya Chopra the reclusive and reticent honcho of YRF made a rather rare appearance and boy how articulate is he? I was smiling from ear to ear as the untold stories of all the movies I have grown up watching, unfolded.

Yash Chopra’s career track

It was interesting to know that Yash Chopra started off his film career with a film like ‘Dhool Ka Phool’ which was a message driven social commentary of sorts. It is hard to believe that in the year 1959, Chopra had the sensibility to talk about something as taboo as pre-marital sex through his directorial debut ‘Dhool Ka Phool’. When a Hindu girl abandons her child as it is born out of wedlock, a kind Muslim man brings up the child. In a country reeling under the wounds given by partition, it was heartening to hear the song, ‘Tu Hindu Banega na Musalman Banega, Insaan ki aulad hai insaan banega

But despite an array of films with social messages at the heart of it, we mostly attribute Yash Chopra as someone who presented his heroines beautifully. His wife Pamela Chopra was his muse and confidante, and she was someone who lent her voice in his movies, conceptualized the stories and was his constant companion in the film making business.

Problematic films, yet they dealt with some important issues

Yes, Chopra did deck up his heroines in chiffons, gyrating to beautiful melodies in the Swiss valley. But a closer look will reveal that he talked about issues that were hitherto never spoken of. For example, for the eponymous heroine of the movie ‘Chandni’, Chopra had envisaged an all-white ethereal persona. His wife speaks of how he had pictured the actress in white. And what a rage that look had become.

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There is no denying the fact that Yash Chopra’s movies were aspirational but I feel that they never aimed to objectify women. They celebrated them. And if one looks closely, amidst the snowy Swiss mountains and tulip fields, so many issues are brought to the fore.

Yash Chopra checking framing angle in Silsila

He talked about infidelity in ‘Daag’. ‘Lamhe’ which is often deemed to be way ahead of its time, touched upon the topic of marrying a man much older than you. In the movie ‘Deewar’ he presented Parveen Babi as someone with mental health issues, and as someone who could drink and smoke just like men breaking the image of a ‘sanskari’ Hindi film heroine.

Then the baton passed on to Aditya Chopra

Later as he passed on the baton of Yashraj Films to his son, an astute filmmaker Aditya Chopra, we saw a shift in the kind of movies that were made under the banner.

Aditya believed in reading the pulse of the ever-evolving audiences and backing content that appeased his sensibility. But we still have movies like ‘Chak De’ which brought forth the much-needed discussion on why we need to back women in sports.

The Romantics’ does a wonderful job of making one appreciate the 90s film industry wherein we yearned to see Yashraj heroines in all their scintillating glory.

‘The Romantics’ is not just a tribute to the king of romance Mr. Yash Chopra but it is a sort of kaleidoscope of all the sappy yet fun cinema we have grown up watching. It made me nostalgic and emotional as for those few minutes I was back in the 90s wherein these movies were a sweet escape, wherein all our worries were lost for those few hours as ‘Bade bade desho me aisi chhoti chhoti baatein hoti rehti hain’

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About the Author

Meha Sharma

Meha has worked as a Business Analyst in an elite IT firm and as a full time professor in management colleges. Having earned an MBA degree in Human Resource Management and an MA degree in read more...

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