Valentine’s Day 2019: 9 Bollywood films, TV series that showed love like we have never seen it before
The year 2018 was great for Hindi entertainment. It gave few of the most well made, well told stories in the form of big commercial blockbusters and also smaller, unexpectedly good web series. However, another thing to notice about last year’s movies was the great variety of films and series that told stories of love in Bollywood like we had never seen before.
From love shared by two women in secret to that shared by an elderly couple, films and television embraced the most sincere stories with open arms, as did the audience. On Valentine’s Day, here are 10 movies/TV series that reminded us once again that love comes in more forms than one. Sometimes it is easy as breathing, other times it’s more complicated than an impossible puzzle. However, it always deserves to be told.
It’s not often that Bollywood shows us the love story of a middle-aged couple but Amit Sharma’s film did just that. Badhaai Ho was a comedy starring Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao as the aging couple with active sex life, albeit behind close doors. However, their healthy sex life reaps an unplanned fruit when she gets pregnant, much to the embarrassment of her sons and mother-in-law.
While their cheeky secret does lead to many hilarious moments in the film, it also brings to forefront what we have always tried to brush away: that our parents too need intimacy in their lives. There is something so utterly wholesome that a couple cherishes each other physically even when the world expects them to have grown bored of each others’ bodies. If only we could be half as lucky in life as Mr and Mrs Kaushik (except the unplanned pregnancy bit).
With Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, Bollywood got one of its rare portrayals of same-sex love in commercial cinema. After the monumental decriminalisation of homosexuality by the Supreme Court in 2018, it was only expected that Bollywood should deliver an ode to a love that filmmakers have so far shied away from.
In the film, Sonam plays a Punjabi girl whose family is looking for a suitable groom for her. However, she cannot say yes to any of the men as she always dreamt of a bride for herself. While her family is not ready to accept her truth, a friend gives her the support she has always needed.
While far from the most realistic or nuanced portrayals of the challenges that the LGBTQ community faces in the Indian society, the film was still a bold step taken by the filmmakers.Hopefully, the acceptance that the film received will encourage other filmmakers to tell love stories of more same-sex couples.
A modern day love story with the girl caught between matters of heart and mind that is close to reality. Vicky Kaushal loves Taapsee Pannu but is not ready to commit. Abhishek Bachchan’s suitable groom says I do but can love blossom between the two? After waiting for Vicky for a long time, Taapsee’s character is eventually forced to take practical decisions. The film is a much more complex love story with the husband coming to terms with his wife’s infidelity while struggling to decide on their relationship.
One of the most underappreciated aspects of a loving relationship is the partnership between two people. In Sui Dhaaga, Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan’s characters are not just a married couple in a traditional, small town set-up but also friends and partners for life. They are with each other through thick and thin, supporting the other, encouraging them to do their best and leading by their own example. The respect they have for each other’s hard work and a recognition of their sacrifices make them relatable to so many couples across the country. These are the couples who work together to make ends meet and find happiness and security in each other.
Alia Bhatt’s Raazi was a game changer in many ways. With it, Meghna Gulzar showed us the personal costs of war and how ultimately, no one is the winner. However, it also showed us there are good people on both sides of the border and how one cannot always afford to reject love in a hopeless place, no matter how certain you are that it will eventually fall apart.
In Raazi, Sehmat is snooping on the Pakistani family she is wedded in. The young girl has to make sure there are no mistakes. She cannot leave a wire hanging out, have anyone follow her in the street and also, cannot fall in love. But when a man says all the right things, shows her kindness like she had never expected, she cannot help but give her heart to him. However, their love can’t be because there is something else that comes before him, her duty for the country. Raazi asks some very difficult questions but offers very few answers.
In Netflix’s first Indian original, Ganesh Gaitonde is a man who portrays the dark side. He kills, butchers, destroys anything and everything that doesn’t let him feel like a god. But when Kuku and her magic enter his life, he finally shows us that momentary sliver of hope and belonging. He had craved that love all his life and now that he has it, he knew he has to let her know, by giving her diamonds or just by holding her when she ‘reveals’ she isn’t the ‘perfect girl’ he thinks she is. She is a transgender.
Sacred Games showed us that beautiful love can exist in any relationship. The trans community and their stories of love, loss, shame, had been kept away from our screens long enough. It was encouraging to finally see Kuku and Gaitonde’s love, even if (or specially because) it was surrounded by moral corruption and violence.
Dan (Varun Dhawan) and Shiuli (Banita Sandhu) never exchange a word or gesture of love -- their story begins where most romances end. They are just colleagues till Shiuli ends up in coma, her last words about Dan. As he tries to find why she asked for him, an unlikely romance begins between the two -- more elevated and engaging because there is no chance for happily ever after. Their most touching moments happen over grunts and a fluttering eyelash as he helps her recover from the coma, and are all the more poignant for it.
Mukkabaaz opens with a scene in which gau rakshaks lynch a group of men and ends with a bare knuckle beat down. How’s that for unconventional? But the politics of Anurag Kashyap’s little-seen boxing drama isn’t even the best thing about it. It’s mainly love story about a mute girl and a low-caste boxer, two people who have no business being together but are pulled towards each other by love and movie magic. It has way too many endings and goes off on too many tangents, but the relationship between Shravan and Sunaina carries it through.
This Netflix film is perfect for when you crave a cosy and warm corner on a cold day. Love Per Square Foot stars Vicky Kaushal and Angira Dhar as two young people in Mumbai, looking for their perfect home.
For them, while getting an apartment is top priority, a loving marriage is not. They decide to get married--without love--to be able to afford an apartment together. Sure, like the romcoms have taught us so many times already, the two do eventually fall in love. However, Bollywood rarely feels benevolent enough to reward its fans with a wholesome, actually funny romcom. So when it does, one should jump at the opportunity to grab it.
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