2017 is half gone and one trend that has ruled the charts in Bollywood is the concept of easy-breezy romance. Taking the genre of romance on a more relatable and less intense route, the makers have proved that it's time to shed the intense 'mohabbat' aside and go with the more relaxed, youthful love stories, where neither characters lose their self-worth. While the trend started a while back with stories like Wake Up Sid, Ye Jawani Hai Deewani, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and I Hate Love Stories, this year has seen the trend in its full swing.
From a millennial romance in OK Jaanu to unrequited love in Meri Pyaari Bindu, romance in 2017 has been subtle, relatable and digestively dramatic. Unlike the romance of the 90s, there is no 'lusty' villain or an aggressive father to shatter her daughter's love-life, instead, it's their own demons that the characters have to fight in order to profess their love.
2017 began with an easy-breezy tale of romance in OK Jaanu. An official remake of Mani Ratnam's much-appreciated Tamil film O Kandal Kanmani, OK Jaanu brought the melodramatic pair of Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor from Aashiqui 2 and placed them in a more subtle, millennial romance. Directed by Shaad Ali, the coming of age romance drama was a story about a young couple who live-in together and figure out life as it comes. Their perception about love and commitment change when they face situations involving an elderly married couple. OK Jaanu fits the bill of the kind of love-stories Bollywood makers are now keen on presenting.
After OK Jaanu, Running Shadi followed the same route of presenting love-stories in an unconventional Bollywood style. Unlike, the usual guy meets girl, falls in love formula- the Shoojit Sircar production looked into the eloping aspect of Indian romance. Less of a love story and more of a business venture, the film took a comical take on romance and how it can prove to be a good business for innovative people. Starring Amit Sad and Taapsee Pannu, the inter and intra-character romance was quirky, light and humorous, giving a hint that it's time to grow over heavy-duty love that makes you cry.
Meri Pyaari Bindu
Another unusual love-story from YRF- the banner that actually cultivated romance as a genre in Bollywood- Meri Pyaari Bindu was a refreshing love story of Abhi and Bindu, who become friends, best friends, lovers and then total strangers to each other. Exploring the pains and pangs of unrequited love and made on the message of 'life goes on', the film beautifully captured the essence of romance without going overboard with emotion. This Akshay Roy directorial kept is flexible, relatable, humorous and easy for the viewers, even with a complex emotion of heartbreak, as its central theme.
Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Badrinath Ki Dulhania had all the elements in it that a 90s film had, a stalker-ish romance, strict father of the hero and a submissive bridal side, however, what made the film edgy and more '2017' was the self-esteem of central character Kavya. Starring Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt, the film was a love story of an obedient son who falls in love with a rebellious soul. Kavya doesn't fit the bill of an ideal daughter-in-law because she has her own happiness and dreams to cater to. How two different people come together, fighting for their own ambitions and still adjusting for love, made BKD a relatable watch. While the romance was the central theme of the film, it also dealt a lot with self-worth and being selfish for one's ambition, just what the 2017 generation looks forward to being.
Overall, the year till now has revolutionised in a way how Bollywood perceives romance and has made it more millennial-oriented. The rest of the year, too, will follow this trend with Imtiaz Ali's Jab Harry Met Sejal, Akshay Kumar's Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Ashwini Iyer's Bareilly Ki Barfi.