Bollywood`s dream merchants have traditionally sold young chocolaty romances, complete with pink roses. But in the last 10 years, a lot of unusual love stories have made their way to the silver screen, be it ‘Mr and Mrs Iyer’, or ‘Cheeni Kum’ or ‘Wake Up Sid’.
So this Valentine`s Day, here`s remembering some unconventional relationships on screen like a 60-plus confirmed bachelor being bowled over by a 35-year-old woman or a married woman being drawn towards her co-passenger during a riot.
‘Mr and Mrs. Iyer’ (2002): Aparna Sen is different, so it was obvious that the love track in her movie ‘Mr and Mrs. Iyer’ would not be run-of-the-mill. The director finely wove a love story between a conservative Tamilian Brahmin housewife, Meenakshi Iyer, and a Muslim wildlife photographer, Raja Chowdhury, during a fateful bus journey. The lead pair of Konkona Sen Sharma and Rahul Bose carried their roles so beautifully that it set new rules for on-screen romance.
‘Socha Na Tha’ (2005): Made by first-timer Imtiaz Ali who teamed up with debutant Abhay Deol and newcomer Ayesha Takia, the young romance saga about a confused young guy exuded freshness in every department - the concept was new, the treatment was fresh, the dialogues were not mushy, the acting was not over the top and the story gelled with the lifestyle of restless GenY.
‘Salaam Namaste’ (2005): Yash Raj Films, known for creating larger than life love stories, broke the tradition with a live-in relationship story in ‘Salaam Namaste’. In the film, Melbourne-based Indians, played by Preity Zitna and Saif Ali Khan, decide to have a no-strings-attached relationship. The audiences welcomed director Siddharth Anand`s concept and thronged the hall.
‘Main, Meri Patni Aur Who’ (2005): In the same year came a simple story about simple people. Directed by Chandan Arora, the medium- budget movie revolved around a short middle-class small town simpleton, played by Rajpal Yadav, whose marriage proposal is accepted by a glamorous and highly educated woman, Rituparna Sengupta, and how his insecurities surfaces as soon as he marries her. It`s narrated so deftly that you are hooked to it from the first to the last scene.
‘Cheeni Kum’ (2007): Hindi movie audiences have seen the salt-and-pepper generation getting infatuated with a young girl in ‘Shaukeen’, but R. Balakrishnan took the concept forward with his directorial debut ‘Cheeni Kum’ by building a fruitful romance between a 60-plus chef and a 35-year-old computer expert. Amitabh Bachchan and Tabu`s flawless performances and crackling chemistry made it a good watch. It was a bold attempt, but it couldn`t stump the box office.
‘Dev D’ (2009): Anurag Kashyap`s reinvented take on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay`s novel ‘Devdas’ in ‘Dev D’ saw protagonist Dev (Abhay Deol) being presented as arrogant and impulsive. The two women in his life are a departure from the women in previous movies. Paro (Mahie Gill) is so bindaas that she uses foul language and even breaks into a gig on her wedding, while Chandramukhi (Kalki Koechlin), a girl from a well-to-do family, gets into prostitution after getting involved in an MMS scandal. In short, it was a raunchy romance full of steamy scenes and sexual innuendos.
‘Wake Up Sid’ (2009): Nobody would have ever thought of casting Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma to play a pair, but first time director Ayan Mukerji did it for ‘Wake Up Sid’ and the risk paid off as everyone lapped up the story of a young boy falling in love with a simple looking older girl who is trying to make a future for herself in his city.
‘My Name Is Khan’ (2010): This was a never before seen love story. A man suffering from Asperger`s Syndrome reaches New York and falls in love with a single mother and manages to convince her to marry him. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol`s mature performances made it believable.
‘Love Sex Aur Dhokha’ (2010): What love - for the soul, for the body or for money - means for the young generation is shown in this film. Violence, foul language, sex scenes, ‘Love Sex Aur Dhokha’ is as explicit as it gets here.
‘Yeh Saali Zindaagi’ (2011): How a Delhi-Haryana gangster - in a departure from the Mumbai mafia guy - falls head over heels for a singer, who he knows is using him for money and two-timing him, sets this saga apart. While the underplaying Irrfan Khan slips into the role of the gangster with characteristic ease, Chitrangada Singh looks quite believable as the girl who sings at a pub.