Bollywood for ages has fed us with the notion of women falling for “cool and carefree” men who love singing and dancing, and has portrayed working-class men with nine-to-five desk jobs as stereotypical supporting characters usually acting as just mere distractions or aids, helping the women realise their love for the male protagonists. A lot of movies have also followed the formula of the male protagonist being one such dull person in the beginning who ultimately has to transform into a loud Romeo-style character in order for the female protagonist to fall for him. Seldom do Hindi movies take into account the protagonists’ professional success, hard work, level of intellect or other such factors as things that can be seen as attractive. Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein is one of the few films that actually provided some depth to that “good boy” character, played brilliantly by Saif Ali Khan.
Similarly, two of the most loved love stories of recent times, Tamasha and Manmarziyaan explore this same storyline in different ways. Although Tamasha has an extra dimension, where the male protagonist rediscovers himself and focussed on his personal struggles, the movie again plays on the same note of “having to be a charmer to be a lover”. The movie follows the same storyline of the girl falling for the charmer, meeting the dull guy and finally realising her love for the charmer but with slight differences. The twist here is that the two personalities are of the same person and that instead of the girl being doubtful, here she actually helps the guy overcome his self-doubt. Although it might sound like an oversimplification of the movie, it perfectly employs the “Bollywoodised” idea of what a lover should be like. This difficulty of picturing these normal daily-life characters as loveable is what makes Hindi movie love stories magically unrealistic.
But then came a love story from the biggest rebel of the modern Hindi film industry, Anurag Kashyap. While a romantic movie felt totally out of his comfort zone for a director like Kashyap, it was interesting to see how he would present the most overused and “romanticised” genre of movies in India. And it was a pleasant surprise to see that the dull guy with a steady job and normal life style win the love of a crazy and bubbly female protagonist (i.e., the quintessential modern Hindi movie heroine). Although the movie suffers from its own problems regarding run time and some over-the-top moments, it successfully portrays the realism and much-needed depth in the character of Abhishek Bachchan. And thus serves as a perfect anti-story to Tamasha.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.