Romance Aaj Kal

Surprisingly, it's recent movies that rule all the rankings
Romance Aaj Kal
Romance Aaj Kal
In 1995, the year Outlook was launched, twentysomething Aditya Chopra’s maiden film stormed the Indian box office and made cinema-goers fall in love with an entirely new idea of love. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge reinvented Bollywood romances so decisively that we can neatly divide them into two eras—before DDLJ and after DDLJ. Till then, love in Hindi films had been all about change and defiance. DDLJ upheld peaceful negotiations over belligerent rebellion, and in doing so, instantly connected with both the young and the old. It bridged the generation gap that love stories are meant to widen.

Subsequent romantic films, be it Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dil To Pagal Hai or Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and Jab We Met have built on the DDLJ foundation. Love in Hindi cinema these days doesn’t seem to face external hindrances; it’s all about conquering your inner demons. Love as we once knew it—pure passion—has morphed into something fun and cool.

Fourteen years later, DDLJ retains its hold over audiences. It emerged as the all-time favourite romantic Bollywood film in a poll conducted across five cities—Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai and Bangalore—for Outlook by Marketing and Development Research Associates (MDRA). In fact, our poll was a clean sweep for DDLJ. Its yellow mustard-fields song, Tujhe dekha to ye jaana sanam, came up trumps as the favourite love song. Its leads, Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, scored well over all other romantic heroes and heroines.

Our poll revealed an almost unnerving indifference to the great romances of the past. Mughal-E-Azam, Pakeezah and Kaagaz Ke Phool seemed to have faded from public memory. Raj Kapoor and Nargis are the only romantic pair from their generation that managed to make it to the top 10. What does that say about us? After all, love is not just another four-letter word. Love is also about sociology, history, economy and politics; it is a marker of changing times and generational shifts. From the idealistic 1950s to the materialistic 2000s, we have come a long way. So have our on screen romances. The only certainty is that love will always flourish in Bollywood.

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