It’s that time of the year again when lovebirds across the country prepare to surprise their partners and make them feel special. This year, why not take inspiration from the sweet little nothings of Yogi (Irrfan Khan) and Jaya (Parvathy) of Qarib Qarib Singlle or from Veera (Alia Bhatt) and Mahabir (Randeep Hooda) of Highway instead of the ideal onscreen couples Raj-Simran (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge), Rahul-Anjali (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) or Prem-Nisha (Hum Aapke Hai Koun)?
Unlike Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma or Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit who meet, take some time to fall in love, sing and dance around trees and then fall prey to some unexpected crisis (probably a third angle in their love story, an incurable disease or an opposing father) only to reunite and have a happy ending post interval, there are romances in Bollywood which follow an unconventional path. These are the ones which set an idea of love which doesn’t necessarily mean getting who you love. What makes them even more promising is the realistic touch to them. They do not warm the cockles of one’s heart but leave a sweet smile on the faces of the viewers.
For instance, Irrfan Khan (Yogi) of Qarib Qarib Singlle is no Raj or Rahul who is famous among the ladies, rather he is a loud man who wears colourful clothes and Parvathy (Jaya) too bears the marks of her previous marriage. The two take their own time in developing a liking for each other and an equal amount of time in realising their love as they travel from Dehradun, Rishikesh, Delhi, Alwar, Jaipur and Gangtok. Their journey gives you many moments where you just smile when they overcome their past and look towards a possible future together without forcing their feelings on each other.
In Piku too, Irrfan as Rana is not a man who is likeable in the very first meeting but as he displays a side of love which is more real than reel, (he refuses to marry Deepika in the movie when she tells him to marry her he has to marry her 90-year-old father too) we are convinced with his honest portrayal of a lover. He loves with all his heart but his expression of love is a lot calmer. He makes his silence do the talking. Irrfan and Deepika’s chemistry in this Shoojit Sircar directorial establishes that love is a feeling between two souls and doesn’t necessarily need to be expressed to the world.
The other unusual romance Bollywood offered was that between Alia Bhatt’s Veera and Randeep Hooda’s Mahabir in Imtiaz Ali’s Highway. It was no candy floss love story. Rather it was a journey of two people who have a wounded past. Alia was a rich bride-to-be who was first frightened but later happy to be kidnapped by an uncouth truck driver, Randeep. They progressed from fear to dislike to like to a kind of love. Nimrat Kaur and Irrfan Khan’s story in Lunchbox too was a mature tale of love where the protagonists without even meeting each other have a sense of understanding and make a decision of living together. Of course, the two don’t end up together, the film remains an account of unrequited love which doesn’t make you sad.
Over the years Hindi films have defined love for every Bollywood aficionado. They have reinstated the faith in fairytale romances with taglines like ‘somewhere someone is made for you’. But with movies like Highway, Lunchbox, Qarrib Qarrib Single and Piku among others, Bollywood has also acquainted us with some atypical love stories which seem more real.
These are the stories which might not have ended on a good note but the journey of togetherness in them has definitely brought a wide smile on our faces. These films have also taught us the beauty of unrequited love which is as valid as any other kind of love.