Though 2013 in Bollywood will see several high-octane action films and remakes, the new theme-to-bank-on seems to be that of male bonding, or bromance. And Kai Po Che, this week's release, and upcoming film Chashme Baddoor, are kicking off the trend this year.
Back in 1975, Sholay played on the friendship of Jai and Veeru to create one of the most popular duos in the history of Bollywood. In 2001, the success of Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai showed that bromance makes for interesting and profitable storylines. Farhan's production house has since explored male bonding in films like Rock On!! (2008) and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011). "Friendship is a theme that everyone can easily relate to. It immediately takes you down memory lane. It strikes a chord instantly," says filmmaker Rohan Sippy, whose father Ramesh directed Sholay.
Why the theme works
Rohan's next, Nautanki Saala, supposedly revolves around an unusual bond between characters played by Ayushmann Khurrana and Kunal Roy Kapur. "I can state that my family has had a strong hold on such stories (of friendship)," says Rohan, adding, "My father directed Sholay. We also made Bluffmaster (the 2005 film stars Abhishek Bachchan and Riteish Deshmukh) followed by Taxi No 9211 (in 2006, starring John Abraham and Nana Patekar)."
Abhishek Kapoor's (who directed Rock On!!) Kai Po Che also deals with male bonding. He says that friendship is the core of every cherished relationship. "The story and dynamics between characters (in Kai Po Che) are so radically different from what I tackled in Rock On!! that I had to make it," says Abhishek.
Another film that also deals with bromance is David Dhawan's remake of yesteryear hit Chashme Baddoor. "Friendship as a theme has always been special to filmmakers. I passed out of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) several years ago, but even today, if I come across someone from the institute, it immediately leads to feelings of camaraderie," says David, whose film stars three boys in the lead.
This year will also see the release of Priyadarshan's Rangrezz with Jackky Bhagnani in the lead, and director duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK's Go Goa Gone (both films deal with male bonding).
It makes business sense
Filmmakers agree that a bromance makes for a profitable storyline as it attracts the younger crowd. "Today, a film's success depends on youngsters between 15-35 years of age. And since the youth is high on values such as friendship and companionship, they relate to these films readily. So it can be called a safe bet at the box office," says David.