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Films and love, undone by barriers

 

Of love and destruction- ‘Devadasu’

This was a time beyond the ‘I’ve moved on’ generation, the complexities in a love story restricted itself to a class/community conflict and ego. Of other aspects that sustains the reverence for Devadasu is its shelf life-most superstars (but for Krishna) have tasted success with the story and its time-bound adaptations. Setting a template for tragic love stories to be ever made on the celluloid and the career of the actor (ANR), many motifs of the 1953 release-the liquor bottle, the dog, the jagame maaya moments continue to drive on-screen and off-screen conversations. Maybe, a glimpse of it is what we witnessed in Arjun Reddy

Of love and births- ‘Madhumati’

Films and love, undone by barriers

What joy would it have been for a generation to watch an Indian film where lovers unite across different births for the first time on the silver screen? The premise of this Dilip Kumar-Vyjayanthimala starrer has been milked to death ever since, but the sheer simplicity and innocence with which music and drama intersperse is yet to be seen on-screen again. Some of the other popular reincarnation movies that have taken Madhumati’s legacy ahead include Mooga Manasulu, Karz, Janaki Ramudu, Om Shanti Om.

Of love and friendship- ‘Sangam’

Films and love, undone by barriers

Triangular love stories weren’t really same after this. Two thick buddies Sundar and Gopal fall for the same girl Radha, one is obsessive about it and one is willing to forgo it in the name of sacrifice. Among the first films that explored the insecurity of a protagonist who considers friendship a roadblock to a relationship, Sangam was madness from all fronts — music, drama, performances and the story. Not many are fans today of how Raj Kapoor’s character in the film and his love for the girl were portrayed besides Vyjayanthimala not having a voice in it, but the relevance of the premise is here to stay.

Of love and language- ‘Maro Charitra’

Films and love, undone by barriers

Language has always been a matter of conflict with love stories on-screen, the clash of ethos have often made for funny and sometimes even violent interactions in films. This one too was a trend-setter of its own kind, the tale between a Visakhapatnam girl and her Tamil-speaking neighbour featured the first pact of sorts between lovers- of not trying to meet each other for a year to prove their love. Tubelights being turned off and on intermittently as a sign of communication, the beach water mirroring the intensity between the couple, a song totally made up of film titles and a tragedy to culminate it all, Maro Charitra is a film that literally rewrote history.

Of love and death- ‘Geethanjali’

Films and love, undone by barriers

Mani Ratnam wanted to deal with the cliche of a protagonist who falls in love even as he nears his death for a story, but he ended up doubling the cliche, curious of where this will lead him to. The story of a couple finding hope and love closer to a deathbed set off a new era of storytelling with tongue-in-cheek humour and very little drama. For once, Nagarjuna inherited the legacy that was unique to his father in Telugu cinema — the sentiment of a hero nearing his death and the film still being a money-spinner. Interestingly, the novel The Fault in our stars too comes with a similar premise, its film adaptation did well in Hollywood and is now finding a Hindi remake too.

Of love and borders- ‘Veer Zaara’

Films and love, undone by barriers

Though Henna and Gadar were among the first few films to have explored love amid the Indo-Pak border premise, it had to be Yash Chopra to give it the necessary poetic, musical and classical spin through Veer Zaara. An air-force pilot who hides his identity amid a fake passport scandal to protect the stature of his soon-to-be-married lover, Veer Zaara redefined classicality and true love, when love stories began turning superficial. Two protagonists who choose destiny to tie them together- the backdrop was explored many a time after Veer Zaara too-including Yash Chopra’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Sharwanand-Nithya Menen starrer Malli Malli Idi Raani Roju.

Of love and age- ‘Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya’

It wasn’t the first time the female protagonist in a film was older to the guy (a Telugu film that entirely dedicated to this idea was Aaro Pranam) or a Hindu boy falling for a Christian girl, Gautham Menon took a leaf out of his guru Mani Ratnam by including every stereotype in the book and yet making a film that’s breathtakingly real. The Alappuzha backwaters, a lead character of an aspirant filmmaker who makes his own love story onto the celluloid, this one had a classic written all over it. The debate surrounding the better climax in the Tamil and Telugu versions of the lovers uniting/not uniting may continue for many more years.

Of love and immortality- ‘Ennu Ninte Moideen’

Films and love, undone by barriers

A true love story between a Moideen and a Kanchanamala in Kozhikode that hit headlines in Kerala in the 1960s and continues to be a Romeo-Juliet equivalent in the region, this found its film representation featuring Prithviraj and Parvathy a few years ago. The protagonists belong to different religions here communicate through letters, are under house arrest for decades and just when things seem rosy for a union, destiny has other plans and Moideen dies. What happens later is more interesting. Kanchanamala leaves for Moideen’s house considering herself widowed to him without marriage. She finds solace at a place where Moideen once lived. The idea of immortal love found relevance and acceptance among the millennials.


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:59:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/films-and-love-undone-by-barriers/article22741796.ece

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