So, late yesterday night, I was doing what I do best during exams (finals this time). Yes, that;s right, procrastinate. It was a sort of a bad day, I was kind of down. A lot of stuff happened. My best friend is probably falling into a major clinical depression and she has no one around there to talk to. It was a pretty crappy day as a whole.
So, to cheer myself up, I got into my guilty pleasure. Watching/reading light, fluffy and happy romantic comedies. Yes, I can’t believe I admitted that out loud. I put up a facade of reading only serious books, and being a feminist. Of course I am still a feminist, but that doesn’t stop me from being a hopeless romantic on the inside.
Midway through “You’ve got mail”, I wondered about this. Nearly every single watchable rom-coms are Hollywood movies. Why doesn’t India have proper rom-coms or even a good sappy romance which does not a. end tragically or b. have unnecessary drama?
As a matter of fact, I haven’t watched or even heard of one good Indian teen movie. No, I don’t mean those movies set in a college with a hero and unwanted masala scenes.
3 Idiots was as good a college story as was possible in India. And yes, there are others like that.
But, personally, I haven’t watched any movie set in a high school.
Where are the Mean Girls?
On talking about this with a friend, she told me that it might be because high school romances are frowned upon in India.
That made me wonder then, leave alone high school romances, we barely have proper romances in Indian films.
Oh, I don’t count those masala movies with unwanted drama and fight scenes as a happy romance.
Apart from those romances which might have actually progressed well, but ended tragically with either one/both of the protagonist’s death, we don’t have any in Indian cinema as far as I know.
And not those movies where the guy is a creepy stalker, who follows the girl around and irritates her in every possible manner, and magically, she falls in ‘love’ with him. If that isn’t Stockholm Syndrome, I don’t know what is. This is what is fed to us Indians as ‘entertainment’ and then we talk about women’s safety issues in the country.
What I would like to see is a romantic movie, maybe just one, where the lead couple shares a healthy relationship, which does not involve a creepy stalker-like romance or one where the heroine is nothing but eye-candy who changes her whole persona and gives up everything just because she likes the hero. I would like to see an Indian romantic movie that any self-respecting lady or girl can watch without being bogged down by the patriarchal approach.
Call the Tamil movie OK Kanmani cheesy, but it did have a strong woman protagonist. One who isn’t afraid to follow her dreams, or take her own decisions. That in itself is a quantum leap for Indian cinema, heroines who can think for themselves.
I remember reading about this thing called a Bechdel test for movies. That says that in a movie, there ought to be at least one scene where two female characters, preferably named, talk about something other than a man. The sad part was that a bare minimum of Indian movies actually pass this test.
Is that really something to be proud of? I think not.
P.S. I have written this post based on my knowledge about South Indian cinema. Honestly, I have no clue about Bengali or Marathi cinema, which are supposedly known for their stories.
What do you all think about this issue? Do we need good romances in Indian cinema? Do you think that this is a problem only in Indian movies or is it equally true in World Cinema as well?