So ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ made a 100+ crores this week, of which 98.3 came from Ranbir fans who have heartgasms every time he does something awesome, such as appear on screen. The rest came from the coffers of The Gentleman’s Society For Appreciation of Slow-Mo Champagne Spray On Deepika.
YJHD is the story of Kabir aka Bunny, who sets out to forge his own path, makes mistakes and discovers true love in the end. This is different from Ranbir in Wake Up Sid, where he sets out to forge his own path, makes mistakes and discovers true love in the end, and of course, that was nothing like Rockstar, where he sets out to forge his own path and then puts Nargis Fakhri in a coma by having sex with her. (Although with her range of expressions, it’s hard to tell exactly when she went comatose.)
This isn’t to say that YJHD is a terrible film. It’s not. It’s basic “dal-chawal”, except it’s being described in the way five-star hotels do it, i.e. “Steamed fine long grain white rice hand-picked in the emerald green lap of the Vindhyas, accompanied by a golden lentil soup that was gently simmered over the smouldering kisses of angels.”
It says a lot when, in a youth film, the only character that makes a mark is the father (played endearingly by Farooque Shaikh.) I just wanted to reach out and give the poor man a hug. The last time I felt so bad for Farooque Shaikh was when David Dhawan dropped a giant, steaming Pile No.1 on Chashme Buddoor.
There are currently two major entities that try and define the youth of India. One is Chetan Bhagat, whose characters exist in easily marketable groups and talk in the most badly grammar you will finding anywhere Orkut roxxx. The second is Bollywood, which, on occasion, does a great job, and on another occasion, tried to convince us that Shahrukh was a college student by dressing him up in a blue-green Polo Sport condom.
One film that worked for my generation was Dil Chahta Hai, which was slick and funny enough for us to ignore the fact that Aamir Khan had been celebrating the end of college since QSQT in 1988. Then there was Lakshya, where Hrithik Roshan did a fine job of portraying angst, especially when his jiggly facial muscles kicked in. Seriously, just look at any Hrithik film. At some point during intense emotional scenes, a continuous wave of ripples starts dancing across his face, as if he just swallowed a vibrator.
There are some tropes that Bollywood loves to use. For example, the modern-yet-sufficiently-pious-for-family-crowd heroine, who loves going to the temple. Deepika is super religious for the first half of YJHD, only to have that trait disappear in the second half, probably because she realised that she was a hottie and did not want to be godblocked by religion. Kajol sang bhajans to impress Amrish Puri in DDLJ, which was weird:
Kajol: Dad, I want to travel around Europe with my girlfriends.
Dad: That’s crazy. Now go spend the rest of your life with some gaonwala that you’ve never met.
Kajol: <insert bhajan>
Dad: Aww. Mogambo melt hua. Okay, go. Just don’t sleep with strangers. That’s what arranged marriages are for.
Then there’s the concept of eternal, undying love, which young characters in Bollywood seem to possess in copious amounts. We fell for it as kids, but it doesn’t hold up now. Again, take DDLJ – one of the most romantic films ever, about an aimless rich kid who falls for Ms. Goody Two Chappals even though he barely knows her, chases her across continents, befriends her family and finally, some blood and punches later, asks for her hand. This is also the story of Darr.
And hey, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai fans, if you stay hung up on your college friend for ten years, then you should just marry your basketball. Even during YJHD, when the rest of the theatre was ooh-ing and aah-ing over Ranbir’s decision to put the brakes on his dream to marry Deepika, people like me were thinking, “OK, so they’re happy now, but soon enough, he’ll start resenting her. He’ll feel stifled, they’ll grow distant, one or both of them will have affairs and then end up battling each other over curtains and shared lip gloss.”
Then again, people like me aren’t really the target audience for such films. YJHD will end up being DCH-meets-DDLJ for a lot of people, which is natural. Meanwhile, we’ll be judging silently in the corner. It’s easy to spot us. We’re the ones in Polo Sport.
(Note: This is my HT humour column dated 9th June 2013.)