Renditions of Romeo and Juliet in Hindi cinema
Romance has always been an essential part of Bollywood’s entirety. Love stories are not a new phenomenon in Hindi Cinema, infact they top the list of genres that the industry caters to. Every year, we are served with a whole new variety of love stories and even the films that we think belong to other genres, have a love story attached to them in one way or another.
It is quite evident over the years that Bollywood is not necessarily a land of original ideas. Some of the most epic romances have been screen adaptations of novels or plays or short stories. And therefore, there was no way that Hindi cinema would have missed out on the most popular and iconic love story in the world – Romeo and Juliet.
We take a look at some of the interesting screen adaptations of Romeo and Juliet:
Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981) – A huge commercial success, Ek Duuje Ke Liye marked the debut of Rati Agnihotri. It gave a new dimension to the way love stories were made in Hindi cinema – apart from showing class or caste differences, Ek Duuje Ke liye had a cross-cultural romance between a Tamil boy and a Goan girl. The film earned 13 Filmfare nominations and won three and also won a National Award.
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) – This film made its entry into an era which was dominated by over-the-top action films. Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak is without doubt one of the most loved and remembered romantic films of all time in Hindi cinema. It won a National Award and several Filmfare Awards including Best Debut (Male) to Aamir Khan. Apart from being a great film, Qayamat se Qayamat Tak started the trend of acronyms in the film industry, QSQT was followed by K2H2, K3G and many others. QSQT’s noteworthy feature was its marketing; before it was released, the posters of the film did not have any pictures, they just said “Who is Aamir Khan?.. Ask the girl next door”.
Ishaqzaade (2012) – The film won commercial and critical acclaim too. Ishaqzaade is one of the very few Bollywood films, which while depicting a love story, looks at issues such as prostitution and honour killings. It was a film that did not show the actresses in the film as timid and weak; instead it represented them as strong-headed women capable of making their own decisions. While it got praise for the aforementioned reasons, Ishaqzaade attracted opposition from some groups regarding depiction of pre-marital sex, marriage outside the same caste or community and honor killings.
Issaq (2013) – Out of all the adaptations of Romeo-Juliet that have been made in Bollywood, Isaaq was the least successful one. Thrashed by critics and audiences together, Issaq bombed at the box office. The film, however, used interesting marketing techniques by promoting it through Banarasi paan at Mumbai malls.
Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) – One of the biggest commercial successes of the year, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela also became the favorite at almost all award functions that were held this past year. However, the film faced much opposition due to its title. Some religious groups opposed the movie claiming that the former title, ‘Ramleela’, was misleading because the movie had nothing to do with Ramlila, a traditional enactment of the life and story of the Hindu deity, Lord Rama. A local court in Mumbai issued an “ex-parte ad-interim stay” over the use of the term Ramleela in the movie title. A Delhi court stayed the release of the movie as per suit filed by six petitioners, saying that the movie hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus. Later the film’s titled was changed to Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela. On November 21 2013, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court banned the movie in Uttar Pradesh. The Kshatriya community opposed the usage of community names in the movie, so Jadeja and Rabari community titles were changed to Saneda and Rajadi.
Romance is the most loved, enjoyed and cathartic genre in films. It is that one genre people relate with the most. Therefore, Hindi cinema, over the years, has left no stone unturned in re-creating one of the most popular romances ever written. The depiction and form will keep changing with time but a classic like Romeo and Juliet will never fail to attract Bollywood’s attention.
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-By Kratika Sharma
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