Anyone who knows me KNOWS I’m a HUGE Bollywood fan. Not just a fan…a freaky fan! In fact, for me, Bollywood romance is right up there with Bonnet movies (Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, usually BBCs). But, did you KNOW that Bollywood actors can’t kiss onscreen? It’s some cinematic rule they have. And still they have the best romances. Why? Well, I want to know! I write romance, and so I’m fascinated when I find romantic stories that work this well. And yes…I want to steal their secrets.
So late last night as I watched ‘I Hate Luv Stories’ on Netflix, I noticed something; the directors make up for their restrictions. More than make up for it. In fact, I’d argue that the story is great ‘because’ of it. Instead of depending solely on a ‘make-out session’ to deepen the romance, Bollywood characters fall in love for strong and valid reasons. The directors actually focus on their characters and plot and dialogue. Well, that and the fantastic love montages (okay, normally that would be a jest, but these are seriously good love montages with mob dancing and you just can’t beat a good mob dance).
Wouldn’t it be nice if Hollywood took notes and put more thought into their romances too? Right now, romantic comedies have dwindled to love/ hate relationships that end up abusive, boy gets girl briefly only because they’re attracted to each other and nothing else, then they lose each other through some stupid misunderstanding that normal people would never have. And then when the main characters finally get together in the end–nobody cares because nobody cares about them. We end up caring more about the side characters.
Bollywood, on the other hand, takes this same formula and puts heart in it. Sure, they’re super cheesy, but that’s their charm. YES! I LIKE formulaic if it’s done right–IF I care about the characters! The writers can’t be lazy about good characterization and relationship building; the romance of the story depends largely on it. I mean, did you SEE the way Imran looked at Sonam in the end? He looked at her like Darcy looked at Elizabeth. Here was a man who would love and respect his woman until the end of his days…and you believe him. You saw it in the story.
And if a character was a jerk in the beginning? Oh, Bollywood makes that jerk pay and pay…and pay until even the most burnt and jaded audience member begs for Sonam to give Imran another chance. Let me make this clear, I have NEVER rooted for the ‘reformed’ jerk (EXCEPT Willow…and I don’t know if that’s because I was a child when I watched it) because I’ve never believed the jerk is ever really reformed, but no one, and I submit no one, redeems a character like Bollywood…except maybe really long series and Bonnet movies…
Of course Bollywood has three hours to do it, but I promise those three hours are super fun! If you’re a writer and want to see how good romance is done or you’re just looking for a good romance to watch, check out ‘I Hate Luv Stories.’ It’s worth it…if only for the luv montages.