Six realistic love stories that remind you that love is more than just song and dance
For the longest time cinematic romance was an escape from the real world but certain films in the past and in recent times have shown us the complicated, messy and often challenging side of love. This Valentine's Day, discover some true-to-life stories with protagonists that are less like heroes and heroines and more like people we know and can relate with.
Music Teacher: This Yoodlee film is a tribute to lost love and steeped in the regret of what could have been. The Sarthak Dasgupta directorial is set not in a glittering city but a small town forgotten by time and its protagonists are ordinary people brought together and pulled apart by circumstances. The story is similar to 'A Star Is Born' and yet distinctly different because it is uniquely Indian. The hero is weighed down by familial responsibilities and is forced to sacrifice his ambition while his student who he was in love with, grows beyond his reach and achieves incredible success. He is torn between his love for her and his frustration with his own unfulfilling life. There is unresolved regret, anger, heart-break and pain on both sides and the film reminds us of the many situations in life that remain open-ended. The film has sensitive performances by Manav Kaul, Divya Dutta, Neena Gupta and Amrita Bagchi.
Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui: When was the last time you saw a Hindi film featuring a trans woman? This 2021 Abhishek Kapoor directorial was a huge step towards normalising the idea of a gender identity that has not been mainstreamed in cinema or popular. The film produced by T-Series in collaboration with Guy In The Sky Pictures starred Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor in lead roles and started a conversation about a romance that is not normative and challenges our notion of what a 'normal' relationship feels like. This love story between Manu and Maanvi will be remembered as a pathbreaker even years from now.
Kuch Bheege Alfaaz: This Yoodlee production and Onir directorial was a near perfect exploration of all the reasons that keep perfectly compatible people apart – guilt and the burden of past mistakes as well as real or imagined imperfections. As a leukodermic girl and a radio jockey with a troubled past gravitate towards each other, they realise that they are perfect together and that true love is all about accepting each other without filters. The film starred Geetanjali Thapa, Zain Khan Durrani and Shray Rai Tiwari. The film is also remembered for its subtle, poetic writing that beautifully expressed the longings of the human heart. It also had beautiful recreation of the evergreen Pehla Nasha rendered by Jubin Nautiyal and Palak Muchhal.
Wake Up Sid: This Ayan Mukerji directorial was produced by Dharma Productions and subtly portrayed the existential confusion of a young, privileged urban youth whose aimless life collides with the dreams of a self-motivated young woman. As he helps her to settle down in Mumbai, he discovers the joy of chasing a dream, building a life and making a living. Their love story is not based on romance but conversations, shared chores, mutual affection and trust. In each other, they find the freedom to be themselves and also the safety and warmth of mutual dependence. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma in acclaimed performances.
Comedy Couple: This Yoodlee production is a millennial love story about two aspiring comics and uniquely different individuals who are trying to build a life and a career. Their personal and professional lives intersect as they experience many challenges and triumphs together. The film also addresses how even comedy is no longer safe from controversy, bigotry and fundamentalism. This Nachiket Samant directorial starred Saqib Saleem and Shweta Basu Prasad and is a relevant take on love and creativity thriving amid regressive notions.
Vicky Donor: This 2012 Shoojit Sircar directorial took on a taboo subject and wove an unusual love story around it with great critical and commercial acclaim. This John Abraham, Eros International and Rising Sun Films production brought instant success to Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam and explored a modern relationship against the background of sperm donation and infertility. The film demonstrated how an unconventional theme when treated with sensitivity and humour can score big at the box office.