There was a time when the world was ruled by romantic films. Every other movie belonged to this genre. But due to a transition, the world moved from these stereotypical love stories and began to explore newer genres. And however experimental today’s films have become, Bollywood continues to make boring, repetitive romantic comedies that don’t belong to this day and age. Every time Bollywood releases a new movie, I am probably one of the first ones to question its sanity and comment on its stupidity. However, there comes a film once in a while that drag the most cynic of people like me to the theatre to appreciate the heck out of it.
In this blog, we are going to talk about films that may or may not be perfect, but they were different. Themed around relationships, these 12 films have given us bigger life lessons than any dating site would. Let’s dive in!
1. English Vinglish
If you read our previous blog on red flags in your partner that you should never ignore, you probably already know what is coming ahead. But if you have not already read it, I suggest you hit the link above and do yourself a favour.
English Vinglish is one of the most well-made movies in Bollywood that really makes you proud of being associated with the country this industry is running in. Apart from being an incredibly feminist and a brilliant motivator to those who find the English language extremely daunting, English Vinglish had some great life lessons, too.
Firstly, the relationship between the husband and the wife is neither equal nor respectful. They are the typical Indian couple bound in an arranged marriage. Sashi is always overwhelmed with a feeling of being lesser than her educated and English-speaking husband and kids. Throughout the film, we see her struggling to achieve better so that she may feel on par with her family. And her final monologue at the end of the film not only gets her respect in her family’s eyes but also brings them closer.
There are actually two lessons to learn from this film.
- Not all marriages happen between two equal individuals. One may have to struggle more than the other. And it is the other’s duty to support the former one’s struggle.
- You can only be truly happy in a relationship when you are confident about yourself and know who you truly are. In Sashi’s case, she felt content with her marriage only when she overcame her insecurity of not knowing English.
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2. Ki & Ka
You can always expect something unconventional when R. Balki is behind the camera so, it was not a surprise when Ki & Ka came out. Although promising, the film falls flat on its face by the end. However, considering that we are not here to criticise but simply take relationship lessons from the film, Ki & Ka actually does its job.
Nowadays, every couple is trying to function their marriage obytheir own rules. No two marriages are the same anymore. In Ki & Ka, we get to see one such fresh take on a modern marriage, where Kiya, the ambitious woman, is handling a man’s role (breadwinner) and Kabir, the unambitious man, is the homemaker. And a proud one at that! Hell breaks loose when Kabir begins to get more limelight for being a stay-at-home husband while the overachieving Kiya feels underappreciated for all her hard work at her job. So, while Kabir holds the ground, Kiya feels threatened for her reputation and accuses Kabir of conning her for money and luxury.
There will be times in your relationship when your partner would get more appreciation for doing something while the other’s efforts may go unacknowledged. This is not an invitation to make a mountain out of a molehill. It is important that you keep your calm and rationally communicate with your partner, hoping that you will come to a reasonable outcome.
I find Piku to be one of the loveliest films ever made in Bollywood. It is fresh, real and extremely relatable. Piku is about that person in every family who works really hard to maintain balance in their family and never truly goes off-duty. There have been enough discussions about Bhaskor and Piku‘s relationship in several blogs but we are actually going to talk about the relationship shared by Piku and Rana. It is one of the most underrated love stories in Bollywood.
Both Rana and Piku are facing a great deal of emotional stress from their families. While Piku bravely takes the bullets without a sound, Rana keeps his defences up at all times when he is around his family. Throughout the course of the film, Rana helps Piku realise that what she is doing is more than what she gets acknowledged for and that she deserves to have a life. Their trip turns out to be incredibly cathartic for both the characters and serves as the much-needed break from their unfulfilled lives. Piku and Rana both create an unspoken bond between them because they realise that they have more in common than they first thought. Moreover, we get to see the birth of pure and mature love that does not need either grand gestures or romantic proses to be recognised.
Sometimes, you don’t need words to express your love. There are other ways to convey that you love someone simply by standing up for them, being by their side, and helping them know who they are. Also, you don’t need fancy dates in private booths to fall in love. You can fall in love while having a conversation at the banks of the river Ganga while being surrounded by a thousand people at 2 a.m.
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I really don’t know why people feel the need to praise everything that Imitiaz Ali makes. Like all his other films, Tamasha is something that has a plot that lacks logic, characters with scattered characteristics, and a lot of coincidences that are not at all relatable. However, Tamasha has some great relationship lessons.
Ved and Tara have a somewhat fairytale encounter with each other on their holiday trip. Being enthusiastic and fun-spirited filmy individuals, sparks fly the moment they interact. After having an obvious one night stand, they part ways. Tara returns to India knowing that she has fallen for Ved. As fate would have it, their paths cross once again when in India and they begin dating. But Tara soon realises that Ved is not the same as the first time she met him. He is boring, monotonous and quite the opposite of what she saw of him back in Corsica. Naturally, her love for him begins to fade away as she tries to make sense out of this new situation. And as any other human being would, she emotional quits the relationship.
Tara and Ved’s relationship is the perfect example of what happens when you start dating someone without knowing them completely. Also, it becomes difficult to love someone once you know the other side of them, which is different than what you expected. The right thing to do in this situation is to hold yourself together and decide whether the relationship is worth staying in. In her case, Ved is an adorable man so, breaking his heart is not an option that Tara prefers to opt for. So, she decides to stay. But again, because Ved is still trying to figure out who he is, he is not able to recognise that the very foundation of their relationship is ‘fun.’ And while that happens, it is important for the other to support their partner’s transition, which Tara fails to do. And that is why their relationship loses its balance.
5. Dum Laga Ke Haisha
It is high time Bollywood starts making romantic films that have realistic characters. A heroine can come in all shapes and sizes and a hero does not have to be Mr Smartypants. In Dum Laga Ke Haisha, the makers chose to go with an overweight female protagonist who is intelligent enough to be a teacher and a male protagonist who has an IQ of a lamp post but really transparent feelings. When these two are tied in the marital knot, we know things are not going to be smooth. And the audience is right.
Sandhya is made fun of because of her weight and mocked at as she is more educated than her husband. Prem is so frustrated with his constant academic failure and the fact that he is married to a fat woman that he becomes suicidal. And even after all this, the family tries to pretend that things are just normal in their home. Typical Indian mentality, right?
The film sends a message that you don’t have to have a perfect person to have a perfect marriage. You need to embrace each other’s flaws to make your marriage a perfect one. Also, the biggest lesson that we get to learn from this is that communication is something that can make any relationship stronger.
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6. Shaadi Ke Side Effects
I know this film was a huge flop at the Box Office and otherwise (because it was really bad) but you got to hand it to the filmmakers that they picked up a good concept to theme their movie around. Everyone wants children but at the cost of what? What happens when a child hinders your romantic life? I am not even sure if anybody has watched this but Shaadi Ke Side Effects is a film that deals with a couple who has a raunchy romantic life that goes for a toss when their baby is born.
While Trisha is all set to be a mother and is excelling at it, Sid finds it extremely difficult to cope up with his wife’s sudden change. He finds it hard to accept that they do not have their old life anymore. Moreover, he is annoyed by the fact that the only thing they talk about now is their daughter. Even on dates.
Anyway, what follows is a bunch of crappy scenes stitched together to make a film but a great relationship lesson for couples who are trying to deal with this baby issue.
Having a child is a huge responsibility so you have to be absolutely sure about your dynamics and plans post the baby’s arrival. It is your responsibility to find time for each other and make sure that you have a life outside your kids. Furthermore, never let your individuality get away from you. Baby or no baby, you need to prioritise people and things.
Oh boy! I wish all Indian men watch this film because it has a list of things that YOU SHOULD NOT DO to win a woman’s heart. Raanjhanaa is so twisted and weird to watch because it showcases the reality perfectly. There are men who actually do stuff like what is shown in the film (slitting wrists, stalking, telling romantic but rubbish shayaris, and all the other immature stuff that you can think of). And I should know because all the women my age have experienced it at least once in their lives. It is a nightmare because you never know which boy is going to try to prove his love for you by slitting his wrists right in front of you. It’s so terrifying that prank calls, catcalling and eve-teasing sound like better alternatives. You would really have to watch this film to know what I am talking about.
If someone likes you, they would tell you. You should not have to threaten them with suicide. I knew a girl who called her boyfriend and told him that she would drink Lysol if he didn’t take her back. He had just broken up with her because he thought she was unstable and he felt scared in her company. They were in college. No wonder he was afraid of her. I don’t blame him. The point is don’t be stupid. And avoid doing whatever this man does and justifies it by saying that he is doing it out of love. (What BS!)
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8. The Lunchbox
Every time I have mentioned this film in my previous blogs, I have never described it as anything other than a ‘mature take on relationships.’ The Lunchbox sets you on a journey to witness the budding romance of two complete strangers whose paths have no other way of crossing but through fate. A widower in his late 50s or early 60s mistakenly gets a wrong tiffin delivered to his office made a woman with a failing marriage with a supposedly cheating husband. They soon realise the mix-up and decide to become penpals by sending letters through the lunchboxes. While offering moral and emotional support to each other, they realise that they have begun to fall in love with each other and thus, decide to start a new life together.
What is great about this film is that it does not try to be something that it is not. It remains sensible throughout without making the audience go through the stereotypical love songs, grand romantic gestures and whatnot. It tells us that it is never too late to find love. Love is just around the corner. You just need a little mix-up to reach the right one. For Ila and Saajan, it was a lunchbox. So, don’t worry if you are tired of being in unsuccessful relationships. You just have not met your half that would truly make you better yet.
A gem of a film that went unacknowledged by Indians, Inkaar deserved so much praise for everything it was about. It revolves around two people who work in an ad agency. The woman who is still at an early stage of her career accuses her boss of sexual harassment. The entire film is in narration form wherein both the individuals are reciting their side of the story and the sexual harassment board is trying to decipher whose story is more believable. Now the twist is that everyone knows these two are involved. But while Rahul claims that it was consensual, Maya contradicts his claim and confesses that she was with his because she was promised a future. The classic Rashomon effect!
Oh, and unlike Pink, the film actually decided not to take any sides and let the audience be the judge of who is telling the truth and who is lying. Take notes Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury!
What goes on between two people is something that only they know and can be the judge of. No outsider can determine whose story holds water. Moreover, it also tells us that everyone is responsible for their own actions. And if you are in a relationship with someone, you should be willing to take up that responsibility.
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10. Akele Hum Akele Tum
Akele Hum Akele Tum was one of the more daring films of the 90s. It was packed with real emotions. And although the situation was a little far-fetched, the story had a lot to say. I remember watching it as a child and thinking how no marriage is perfect unless you are willing to make it.
Kiran and Rohit elope against Kiran’s parents’ wish. Having the same dream of being successful musicians, they decide to help each other achieve it. However, Rohit decides that it is in everyone best interest if he makes his name in the music industry first and then, give Kiran a chance to shine. Obviously, Kiran refuses to go on with his decision and abandons Rohit and her son to make her own career. She succeeds in doing so meanwhile, Rohit struggles to even get a break. It takes an accident, a courtroom trial and a disastrous birthday to bring them both to their senses and realise that they have been so wrong on their part and how badly it has affected their son.
Believe it or not but all relationships have a goal. It is a mutually decided outcome that both individuals expect their union to bring. So, regardless of how long they have been together, it is incredibly important not to forget why they are together. Only relationships with a purpose succeed. Others simply survive. It is up to you to decide what kind of relationship you want to be in.
There was a certain charm to this film that makes it a classic and relatable even now. Apart from the brilliantly penned songs that describe how the characters are feeling, Masoom deals with a very bold subject of having an illegitimate child. The film is every bit poetic because that is what you get when you appoint Gulzar sahab to write the screenplay and lyrics.
Masoom is a film about Indu’s struggle to come to terms with her husband DK’s affair with another woman who is now dead and has left his bastard son, Rahul, at Indu’s door because she wants him to be with his father. An extremely sensitive topic that is every woman’s worst nightmare. Indu responds to the situation like any other normal woman would and refuses to accept Rahul in her family. She treats him with a lot of hate and sees him as the source of her unhappiness. Meanwhile, Indu’s daughters take an instant liking to Rahul and accept him as their own brother.
There comes a time in a relationship when it is very hard to embrace your partner’s flaws. And take them for who they are. What do you do when your partner cheats on you? While the natural instinct is to be agitated and leave them, there is something called ‘love’ that will always make you have second thoughts. Then, you can either choose to be happy or go through life being perpetually disappointed. Being with her family brought Indu joy. And since her family becomes attached to Rahul, it becomes very clear to her what she needs to choose. Similarly, happiness for you could be leaving your partner and moving on with someone who would not break your trust. Only you can decide that. Because to each, his own.
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12. Chhoti Si Baat
One of my all-time favourites. A classic. And all in all, a very entertaining film, Chhoti Si Baat is about a young boy Arun who is hopelessly in love with Prabha. All he wishes is to win her over. However, being an introvert all his life, the only time Arun actually gets hold of Prabha is in his dreams. So, he decides to seek help from a former colonel who is known to be a love expert. He learns tips and tricks to court women and uses them to win Prabha’s love. It is fun watching Arun’s bumpy ride in hopes to find love while Prabha has a great laugh over his turmoil. All in good heart.
The title Chhoti Si Baat actually has two meanings. First, it is exactly what the song says. It is the little things that Prabha misses about Arun when he goes away to get his training. And second, the title suggests that there was ‘one little thing’ that Arun had to understand about love that you don’t need any tricks to win a woman’s heart. You just got to say it. As simple as that!