We all love Pyar Mohabbat and Ishq in films but several viewers must be sick of those ‘star-crossed’ lovers, in films from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s era, who drowned their sorrows in songs and worked off their calories by running around trees.
Haai Re Kambakht Ishk! Take teenage romance for starters which has tremendous potential. Even Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a teenage romance. But in our phillums through the years, coming of age love stories are as predictable as a debtor’s bank statement, with every film short on assets, balance and credits. In old films, the young calf-lovers had mature faces that looked as though they were already tired of life, whereas they should have looked fresh, like Paris in spring, while cooing to each other like two pigeons in Trafalgar Square. For example: Think of Rajendra Kumar and Mala Sinha as collegians singing, ‘Tere Pyar Ka Aasra Chahata Hoon’ in ‘Dhool Ka Phool’. In the 70’s, Raj Kapoor’s ‘Bobby’ came in like a breath of fresh air in the teenage romance genre, after which again it was the SOS (Same Old Stuff) of the apres-forty ‘college-boy’ serenading his lady love by running round every tree in sight, until the viewers became cock-eyed! The heroine, hiding under six inches of make-up and two kilos of powder and eye-liner going right up to her hair-line with a huge topla hair-style played hard to get, saying “shut-up, you fool” – think Asha Parekh and Saira Banu. At times, the heroine lowered her thicker-than-Venetian-blinds eye-lashes, mouthing stupid one-liners like, “Aap bade voh hain, ji! (whatever that means!!)
In the past, somehow our hero managed to be beastly without being biological, unless the director yelled, “Lady willing, rain please”. And you had the studio rain drenching the lady’s ‘waste-line’ and her wall-to-wall hips while she vamped all over the hero under the guise of a song. With all the drenching, they never caught a cold (move over Vicks)! At the most, the heroine became pregnant after the ‘rain sequence’, but no kissing please – we’re Indian, was the motto those days! It’s another matter that our population has doubled and trippled over the years without any kissing!
When our hero and heroine fell in love, flowers bloomed, a grand piano or thousands of matkas accompanied by a hundred extras doing ‘jhatkas’ appeared on a deserted sea-shore – think Jumping Jack Jeetendra and Sridevi. Hearts stopped, fluttered, pounded and heaved without any coronary ill-effects. Stars dazzled, the studio full moon shone brightly, the heroine’s eyes sparkled like laser beams ready to scorch a hole through the screen and the love-scene went way beyond the boundaries of mere time, space, grammar or logic. Instead of mouthing those three little words, the hero had verbal haemorrhage and if you were unlucky, he burst out into another song! When he touched the heroine’s little finger, she gave an orgasmic sigh, raved and ranted in delirium, burning in love as though she’s sitting on the equator! What pests these lovers were!
Things are very different now! In the past, the guys used to chase the ladies, but today, the girl chases the hero, at times, almost molesting him in the process! Romance is no longer slower-than-a good’s-train, but ‘instant’ like the hero singing, ‘Aati Hai Kya Nau Se Barah’. Previously, romance was depicted by showing the hero’s eyes, a shot of the heroin’s eyes and then, two flowers touching each other as symbolism. Today, the male and the female protagonists just jump into bed instantly, like instant coffee. Where’s the romance? Where is that Aankhon ka milan, Sharmana, Chori-chori milna etc.? Like everything else in life, love ‘a la’ Hindi films, has changed – and not necessarily for the better. What do you think?