I grew up in the Eighties-Nineties, watching Bollywood movies like every other kids. In those days Love-Sex-Bollywood was quite an amusing combination. Romance has always been an integral part of Bollywood, and sex and romance is something that can’t remain in isolation for long. But there’s a problem. Bollywood firmly believed that a woman, particularly the heroine must be a virgin till she gets married. The romance between hero-heroine usually happened during songs at beautiful locations in the midst of greenery, hills, surrounding a lake or in a heavenly garden with flowers all around. But just when people expect their lips to meet the camera turns either focusing some beautiful flowers or the top of trees, and sometimes also at beautiful pair of birds doing similar act which our hero-heroine were expected to do.
I’m not a big fan of romantic movies to be very honest, but I’ve watched quite a few of them, and noticed the changes over the last few decades. Rajesh Khanna is considered as the initial king of romance. Rajesh Khanna had given many blockbusters including movies like Aradhana(1969) and Amar Prem(1972). I think romance those days were highly dramatized, far from reality. To cover up the lack of substance the director tried to put more sentiments and emotions in movies. In the seventies, rape scenes were in fact depicted more elaborately. I have no idea why rapes scenes were so common those days. Might be the director simply followed the pattern. Heroine getting raped by goons and hero saves her. Heroine falls in love with the hero, they both sing and dance. The particular pattern dominated Bollywood for a long time.
One thing that I found really funny those days was the depiction of sex in the Bollywood movies. Things were just fine as far as romance was concerned, Bollywood elegantly took care by showing flowers and birds. But there are stories where sex is inevitable. There are stories based on premarital/extramarital sex, and portraying those on screen was a challenge. Hero-heroines those days were ideal, they couldn’t do anything wrong. Particularly our heroines, who were very cultured, always wore traditional cloths, could never indulge in such activities. But there are stories, serious and emotional scripts and presenting the same to the audience was always a challenge. Things turn extremely difficult when Bollywood had to portray love making in the ultimate form, the act that was capable enough to produce babies. Well, illegitimate child was required to give an emotional angle to the story. But then Bollywood wasn’t prepared enough to depict our hero-heroines involving in such illegitimate acts. Now, there came the innovation. There were many tricks that Bollywood adopted to tackle such sensitive situations. I remember one such movie and the concept applied puzzled me for quite sometime.
There’s a classic movie named ‘Aa Gale Lag Jaa’, staring Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore. On a holiday to Simla, Sharmila Tagore meets Shashi Kapoor, an amateur skater. He immediately starts to tease her, flirt with her. It seems Sharmila Tagore is a medical student. Taking advantage of the situation she and her friends make Shashi Kapoor to volunteer for a medical experiment the next day.
Shashi Kapoor lay on ice, shivering with only one piece towel on his body. A senior doctor is giving a live demonstration, and some pretty looking doctors in their uniform are attentively listening to him.
"Today's experiment is about freezing cold vs human body. If the patient is suffering from freezing cold and no medicine is available, then we can apply body head. Take the patient in your arm and transfer your body heat to the patient. This is the ultimate treatment by which patient can be saved without any medicine." the doctor explained.
In their next encounter, Shashi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore sing and dance together in the Shimla snow. Suddenly she falls, rolls down the mountain and falls into a stream. Shashi Kapoor saves her, and takes her to a nearby place of shelter. Sharmila shivering, freezing, senseless, high fever. Without any medicine Shashi Kapoor seems to be quite helpless. He’s desperate to save her life. But how? He remembers the body heat experiment. He starts to undress her, but without looking at her. He feels very guilty doing the act, but he needs to save her. He only plays the role of a doctor.
Next scene, early morning. Shashi Kapoor says sorry to Sharmila Tagore for whatever happened. She understands the situation, falls in love and they both agree to marry each other. The amazing part is, soon Sharmila Tagore becomes pregnant. I found the concept very innovative. Without any controversy, without getting involved in any kind of sexual activity, the idea successfully able to produce an illegitimate child, which is the central point of the story.
During our schooldays Bollywood released two moves that changed the idea of romance as far as Bollywood is concerned. First "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" was released (1988), followed by "Maine Pyar Kiya" (1989). Both the movies successfully created a pattern in Bollywood that continued for more than a decade. Hero-heroine fall in love, but both the families are enemies to each other. Lovers elope, struggles to make a living, but they are very happy. Even though Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak is a good movie as a whole, but somehow the romance is very dramatized. Well, I’m a big fan of realistic movies, be it romance or in general.
Then came the era of SRK. Movies like "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge"(1995) and "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" (1998) again changed the idea of romance. This time it is more of friendship and fun oriented. The art of cinema making had changed over the years along with the changing technology. One good thing is, rape scene in Bollywood movies had drastically reduced in the nineties, and by now it has almost become extinct. The societal mindset has changed now, particularly in the cities. Pre-marital sex is not considered evil these days. Couples openly engage into casual or a live-in relationship. With changing mindset, Bollywood’s depiction of romance has also changed. But right from the seventies till now, one thing remained the same in Bollywood, romantic movies can’t be a blockbuster with good music and dance. Directors still give much importance to songs and dance rather than the content. Depiction of romance still remains unrealistic.
But in recent times there are some out of the box movies in the romance genre which I really liked. One such movie is “Inkaar” (2013). The movie revolves around the corporate world. Somehow I felt the depiction of love was kind of realistic. Then there’s “The Lunchbox”. My goodness, what an outstanding movie. Nice to see Bollywood maturing enough to make such realistic movie in the genre of romance.
Well, as far as sex is concerned Bollywood matured from the seventies. Even though it cannot reach far enough like Hollywood in the depiction of love making, particularly for General Category movies, but still Bollywood has changed over the years. Kissing scenes have become pretty common, they openly talk about sex and condoms in the movies. Homosexuality is also being talked openly in Bollywood these days. Recently I’ve watched “Aligarh”, totally out of the box movie. It stars Manoj Bajpai and Rajkummar Rao in the lead roles. The movie is based on true events. Aligarh has broken the stereotype by depicting homosexuality so realistically, without being vulgar. One more movie which had broken the stereotype of depicting sex is ‘Vicky Donor’. Even though it’s a commercial movie but it was bold enough. The movie is about a fertility clinic, a sperm bank and a healthy sperm donor. The good thing about the movie is that it has depicted such a sensitive issue which people usually find embarrassing, in such a elegant and artistic way with good sense of humor.
Recently the article got published in Uruli 2nd edition, in its Perspective section. Uruli is a biannual multilingual magazine published by Assam Association Bangalore. Actually, it is the uncut version, in the magazine some parts got eliminated by the editor.
Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.