Is romance no longer a bankable genre or does the audience simply have more on their plate to choose from? This week, we pit action and comedy against eternal love
“Romance ka toh zamaana hi nahi raha aaj kal,” says Manoj Desai, Executive Director of G-7 and Maratha Mandir cinemas. He should know, for Maratha Mandir, one of the oldest cinema halls in Mumbai, holds the record for screening Yash Chopra’s eternal love story Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ). No wonder the exhibitor is dejected about the “dying” genre of romance in Hindi films.
Opinions like Desai’s beg the question: Has Cupid hung up his bow? Or, with the passage of time, is he aiming for more than just love?
Desai points out that the ‘70s and ‘80s were the Golden Era of Romance and it was the subtlety and nazakat that the actresses brought to the screen that powered this genre. The actors too maintained the sanctity of love in their performances. Cinemas were synonymous with love stories and romance ruled the box office then. All the top actors of yesteryear excelled in romantic films and lent their movies their own unique flavour, from the evergreen romantic hero Dev Anand, to Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Shammi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra and Jeetendra.
On-screen romance later changed from singing and dancing around trees and long-distance love, to being in-your-face and much, much bolder. And, now, it appears, love is just not enough and the Hindi film industry is banking largely on action and comedy. In the last few years, there has been a significant decline in the number of romantic films being made. Last year, there were just two such movies that released – Mausam and Rockstar. While Mausam tanked at the box office, Rockstar appealed only to a select audience.
Still, die-hard romantics believe love is eternal and will never go out of style while others feel that pure romance is indeed dead. This week, we are asking whether an overdose of romantic films in the last couple of years has blunted Cupid’s arrow or, with a variety of genres on offer, the audience simply has greater variety to choose from. We spoke to industry professionals for their take on the same…