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Saturday, Dec 04, 2021
Outlook.com
a typical romance

Up To All Coquetry

Bollywood isn't shy when it comes to exploring taboo love

Up To All Coquetry
Up To All Coquetry
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

'There is an extraordinary love story in every jodi' proclaimed the publicity for Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Aditya Chopra's box-office winner, which marked his return as the high priest of Hindi film romance -- a position he first won with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Jodi broke the mould in more ways than one; and sometimes disturbingly so. Anushka Sharma is forced into a marriage with well-meaning dweeb Shah Rukh Khan, but cannot bring herself to love him, thus prompting him to get an alpha male alter ego who sweeps the girl off her feet. Alas, Khan's character is so disturbed by this that he develops a feeling that his wife is cheating on him with another man, conveniently forgetting that his wife's lover is none other than he himself. If we factor in the fact that Anoushka's character is fooled by the removal of spectacles, a moustache and the addition of hair gel and gaudy T-shirts into believing that her lover is a different man, we have here a couple who would keep an army of shrinks in business for years.

The annals of Hindi popular cinema are littered with romances that are atypical, if not quite reaching the bizarre heights of Jodi. Given the history of the subcontinent, one of the fascinations for filmmakers has been the Hindu-Muslim romance, a subject forbidden enough for directors to turn to again and again. While films like Anil Sharma's Gadar, Yash Chopra's Veer-Zaara and Randhir Kapoor's Henna took the safe way out and made the male Sikh/Hindu and the female Muslim (and Pakistani to boot), Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, using Amrita Pritam's excellent novel as a base, turned the tables in Pinjar and made the male protagonist (Manoj Bajpai) a Muslim whilst Urmila Matondkar played the Hindu female. Recently, Ashutosh Gowariker followed suit with Jodhaa Akbar where the Muslim emperor Akbar (Hrithik Roshan) marries the Hindu princess Jodhaa (Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan) in a strategic alliance. Interestingly, while the Chopra and Kapoor films are treated as straightforward romances, with the protagonists swearing undying love for each other fairly quickly, in Sharma's, Dwivedi's and Gowariker's films at least one half of the couple has to learn how to love the other over some period of time.


Hrithik and Aishwarya in Jodhaa Akbar

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