It is a norm today, we do not like to sound regressive! By definition all things regressive work the opposite of anything progressive, so while the whole of Bollywood is trying to be synonymous with progressive, all things regressive just have to go… God forbid someone walks out of the theatres calling us archaic! Latest example being Luka Chuppi, it does seem like the saath pheras of marriage have been tossed to the seventh ring of Saturn by our filmwallahs, so much so when we see Kartik Aryan propose to Kriti Sanon (in Luka Chuppi), we are on her side. We are cool with her calling her boyfriend, bhaisaab, we are totally cool with her suggestion that instead of getting married, why don’t they just move into together! A sensible suggestion, but she wasn’t the first in B-town to say it. Here’s a throwback on the trend and the trendsetters…
GUIDE: The relationship between the smooth-talking Raju guide (Dev Anand), and the much-married dancer, Rosy (Waheeda Rehman) was truly ahead of its time. Their relationships had sexual overtones and yet, nothing was ever spelt out. Those who understood, factored their relationship in comfortably, despite the fact that it was so out of the league for circa 1965. Even after that, commercial filmmakers insisted that there be the pheras whenever, wherever possible. Be it even burning furniture and walking around it seven times (Dil, starring Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit).
Today the ratio of couples in a live-in seem much greater than those who are rushing to the printers to get their wedding invites in place… Who wears the crown for this trend?
Despite not being the first film to showcase this fad, being the first film to publicize itself as a live-in love story wins ‘Salaam Namaste’ the coveted title. The Preity Zinta-Saif Ali Khan starrer definitely turned the tables on how acceptable or unacceptable live-in relationships can be for Hindi film viewers. Of course, they conveniently shifted the couple overseas, because Indians don’t do live-ins, until and unless they are living overseas and are influenced by the ways of the west. This, despite the fact that there have been many filmmakers who worked on parallel platforms of Bollywood, depicting live-in relationships rather casually.
One of the most talked about and commercially successful ventures was ‘Arth’. While the film was amongst the first, of many, to be publicized as a true-story by its director Mahesh Bhatt and remains one of his best works till date, there are others who managed a decent job at it…
Coming back to the fact, that live-in relationships in Bollywood films often had the filmmakers sending the couple away for an overseas sojourn, the trend was effectively put to an end by YRF’s ‘Shudh Desi Romance’, starring the very earthy Sushant Singh Rajput and Parineeti Chopra. Of course, with ‘Befikre’, they went back to the overseas norm but their job was effectively done with Shudh Desi… despite the off-circuit film ‘Pyaar Ka Punchanama’ doing very well commercially, two years before Shudh Desi… came around. It is the certification of a big banner like YRF that made ‘Shudh Desi Romance’, an iconic film for the millennials.
What followed suit were films like ‘Katti Batti’, ‘Cocktail’, ‘Love Aaj Kal’, etc making sure that the biggest banners endorsed this as a norm. Voila! suddenly, you weren’t cool enough if you hadn’t tried a live-in!
Who did it best?
While many hopped onto the bandwagon most unnecessarily, there are some who managed it with sensitivity. Two films that particularly come to mind are ‘Wake Up Sid’ and ‘Aashiqui 2’. Both the films depicted the middle-class and the battle between what’s ingrained by the culture/tradition and what their heart told them to do. Be it, Aisha Bannerji (Konkona Sen Sharma) haltingly explaining to Sarita (Supriya Pathak who played Ranbir Kapoor’s mother) that they aren’t having an affair. Or Aarohi (Shraddha Kapoor) telling her mother (Shubhangi Latkar) that no matter what society thinks, it is a small price to pay for what she feels for her man (Aditya Roy Kapoor) echoing the words of Shri Shri Jon Bon Jovi, “Is it you and me Or just this world we live in…I say we are living on love… They say we are living in sin”!