After a point, doesn't YRF's The Romantics start to sound like a pitch on Shark Tank? Or am I the only one who felt that?
The new docu-series made by Smriti Mundhra on Yash Raj Films currently streaming on Netflix is the talk of the town since its release. Whether it was the mysterious man, Aditya Chopra blowing everyone's minds, a cinematic ode with the touch of nostalgia that the documentary provides, or the part where it sounds like a PR attempt to bring the limelight back on YRF, regardless of which of these you also felt while watching it, one thing is for sure - like us, you definitely were invested in the four parts of the YRF's The Romantics! Because as Indians, there are very few who aren't in love with Bollywood.
The Romantics reign in the biggest legacy names of Bollywood all under one roof and also show us a side of them that we as an audience didn't know much about. While watching the documentary, Bollywood lovers go through all kinds of emotions and thoughts. And here are some thoughts I had while watching 'The Romantics'.
Check them out!
Here's a completely unseen, and unheard side of Yash Raj that we haven't been privy to before
I never knew that Yash Raj was someone so simple, fun, and emotionally so attached to his films, that he was a human who was always ahead of his time in thinking and wanted to bring it forth onscreen. The man who made us all fall in love with chiffon sarees and dancing on the roads in Switzerland, who with his aspirational cinema taught us the meaning of love, and the one whose films were complete in all their essence like Indian thalli, he was a simple boy hailing from a small town who taught us a different style of filmmaking and left his legacy behind to be cherished forever and became a framework for the future. Maybe that's why when they talk about his death in this docu-series, it leaves you a little choked.
What is this genius mastermind, Aditya Chopra?
The filmmaker who made DDLJ was a complete mystery to all up until The Romantics! Everyone was thrown away by his genius, the way he thinks, and the knowledge that he has. Whether it was his diary, his insights, his dedication to watching cinema every Friday and moving with the changing world, bidding goodbye to a film in order to move on, or surprisingly the fact that he dances better than Hrithik, every detail blew us away. It's his brain that you absolutely fall in love with because it is amazing how he saw massive potential in Shah Rukh Khan, Ranveer Singh, and gave them a chance to become superstars and the way he realized the shift within the country and hence the need for a different narrative at every stage and ended up giving us films like DDLJ, Dhoom, Band Bajaa Baarat, Dum Laga ke Haisha, and more. Never having known any side of Aditya Chopra, this layered-by-layered opening up of him was a real delight!
There are actually two sides to a coin of being Uday Chopra
Sure we can have a lengthy discussion on what's up with Uday Chopra's accent but it was entirely something else that caught me off guard - using him as a defense against nepotism was unfair when you have the likes of Arjun Kapoor also within the documentary. But I could see a young boy with big dreams of becoming a hero who had this realization that he doesn't hold up to the beauty standards that were unfortunately set by his own father. And then to have the acceptance that he cannot become an actor and move on from that unfulfilled childhood dream is inspiring in a way. Yes, his privilege did help him a lot as he became a producer internationally but to have failed and moved on and to even acknowledge that is a huge thing because unfortunately, we don't really talk about unfulfilled dreams or failures. So kudos to Uday Chopra for that!
With all the feels of a Yash Raj banner films, The Romantics feels like a perfect ode to the banner!
As lavish and grand as the name and the brand Yash Raj Films is, this docu-series with the grandness explores the history, and legacy of YRF making it a perfect ode to the banner! It starts off with details that most of us didn't know about and it is quite a master move to use film critics to tell us about the curveball journey of Yash Raj and his production house. The focus on his filmmaking style and how it changed with milestone films and brought change with time is a course in film studies. And the same with Aditya Chopra as he explains his journey. And I enjoyed watching the friendship that SRK and Aditya share!
The defense against nepotism looked like the same old way the industry always uses to get out of a never-ending debate!
As much as I appreciate Aditya Chopra's acceptance of privilege and the industry being a close-knit community earlier, the defense against nepotism doesn't really work. Because nepotism is not about the opportunity but it is rather about keeping on getting that opportunity by utilizing that privilege. And it feels more like a desperate attempt to clear them off the tag when they start using Uday Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, and more for not exactly justifiable reasons. I am just thanking my stars that they did not include Ananya Pandey in this as well!
It definitely felt like a pitch one makes on Shark Tank India!
When they started showing the YRF studio and how many Hollywood stars have visited it, at that precise time I started wondering if this docu-series feels more like a pitch. And when I started connecting the dots like how they have shown the history, the change, the success, the failure, the challenges, and everything, I started feeling like a Shark sitting on the Shark Tank India panel where YRF is an entrepreneur who is pitching to me as an audience to still be invested in the banner. I know it's a crazy analogy but when a docu-series starts behaving like a PR exercise what else are we even supposed to think?
Bachpan ki yaadein taaza kardi with a lot of interesting information, making it food for the soul for every Bollywood fanatic!
Keeping aside its advertisement approach, YRF's The Romantics is that nostalgic walk down the memory lane for every Bollywood fanatic who lives inside the heart of many Indians who are in love with drama, action, comedy, and above all, romance. And there is no denying that YRF is the OG of romance and the beating heart of Bollywood! It has contributed so much to our lives without us quite realising it.
Unfortunately with no constructive criticism of itself, the docu-series feels like a double-edged sword for YRF and inevitably Bollywood!
I highly applaud Aditya Chopra for his realisation that he doesn't know the real India, at least not of India shown in Dum Laga Ke Haisha, and hence gave somebody else the reigns to bring that film to fruition. But finding no constructive criticism in 'The Romantics' was largely very disappointing. Because to say that Befikre didn't work because the audience didn't understand it or Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi came at the time of 26/11 is not fair to anyone. Yes, Dhoom and Dhoom 2 were both exceptional films but not Dhoom 3. One can't ignore the misogyny, sexism, ridiculous beauty standards, and many more things that YRF has done in their films. All of these make them unrelatable in these current times, and as for the docu-series, not exploring valuable criticism just points towards the larger debate of- 'who gets to tell the story', as YRF is the one funding this documentary just like how Harry and Meghan, JLO, and more in Hollywood made theirs, which is why this also seems like a desperate PR attempt to make YRF seem relevant and relatable, so much so that even Aditya Chopra had to come onscreen.
What were your thoughts while watching the docu-series YRF's The Romantics? Tell us in the comments below!
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