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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Bollywood romances small towns

Prashant Singh, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 27, 2013
First Published: 12:58 IST(27/7/2013) | Last Updated: 17:29 IST(31/7/2013)

Since the mid-’90s, Bollywood’s romantic films have been set around big cities, colleges and foreign locales. Now, the trend seems to be changing as an increasing number of filmmakers are turning to smaller towns as the setting for their love stories.

Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra’s Ishaqzaade (2012) was set in the quaint town of Almora, while Dhanush and Sonam Kapoor feel in love in Benares. Just-released Issaq is based in the bylanes of an Uttar Pradesh town. The latest on the list is Yash Raj Film’s (YRF) Shuddh Desi Romance (SDR) that’s set in Jaipur.

“A lot of filmmakers have personal exposure to small cities. And the charm of romance still exists in the hinterland, unlike in big cities, where it comes with a lot of cynicism,” says Issaq director Manish Tiwary. In fact, YRF has even gone a step ahead to conduct a 30-city research across the country, to study changing romantic behaviour in small towns. SDR writer Jaideep Sahni even spent time in Jaipur to pen the script, so that he could see the city and be inspired by his experiences there.

In the past few years, a handful of films have been set in smaller cities. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (200), Ishqiya (2010) and Tanu Weds Manu (2011) are a few examples. “Our audiences have had enough of stories set in UK, US and Switzerland. At one point it was a big trend, but why won’t we watch stories of our own soil,” opines trade analyst Taran Adarsh.

And the trend is here to stay. In the coming months, films like  Tiger Shroff’s debut, Heropanti, Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Milan Talkies starring Priyanka Chopra and Imran Khan, and Karan Johar’s Gori Tere Pyaar Mein will all have small towns as backdrops. Dhulia puts it aptly: “Where is the conflict in love in a big city like Mumbai? Love is still difficult for those living in small cities.”

Romance to hit screens a week early
Maneesh Sharma’s Shuddh Desi Romance (SDR), which was to release on September 13, will now hit theatres a week early. The film, which stars Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor, has been selected for screening at The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Since that screening is on September 11, the makers, Yash Raj Films (YRF) have brought forward the theatrical release so that the stars can attend the festival.

“None of the cast and crew would have been able to attend the screening on September 11 since they would have had to be in town for the release of the film,” says an insider from the production. When contacted, Rafiq Gangjee, vice president marketing and communications, YRF, confirms the news.

He says, “SDR has been invited to TIFF for a gala red carpet premiere, which takes place on September 11. It will be attended by the stars of the movie, so we have decided to prepone the release September 6. That way, the film can have a Shuddh Desi release first in India. It’s only befitting.”

The grand screening at TIFF will be held at Roy Thomson Hall, which has a capacity of 2,000, with the entire cast and crew in attendance.

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