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Being Indian is being very, very filmy. There, I have said it. To the untrained, uninitiated foreigner, this does not refer to a texture. It means being hooked on to cinema and living it out everyday. Yet, it does not even mean being dramatic. It means being larger than life and filled with cinematic references in our everyday lives. That’s how we are. And if we have learnt anything, it is to revere the cinema of Yashraj Chopra, the founder of Yashraj Films and romantic movies in the Hindi film industry. The Romantics is a show that chronicles his life’s work and what it has now evolved into.
The Romantics and Its Brand of Romance
The Romantics, a recently launched show on Netflix, is a four part series. It talks about the brand of cinema that was created by the illustrious Yash Chopra. To call him a mere filmmaker would be a disservice. The correct term would be institution. He created a school of cinema that still resonates with everything Indian, yet everything forward looking. With sensibilities steeped in aesthetics and Indian values, he brought romance to the modern day era – and how!
Through The Romantics, we get a glimpse into a world that seems out of reach for many. What is the story behind the story? How did these stories come about? who writes them and what is the inspiration? All these questions were answered and much more. In fact, the highlight of the show still remains the fact that the reclusive scion, Aditya Chopra agreed to sit down and talk his heart out.
Headlining an Evolved Legacy
When we think of a master in a particular school of filmmaking, we also wonder how that legacy would carry on. As a breath of fresh air, Aditya Chopra took his father’s legacy to a new level in terms of business. Through the lens of The Romantics, we are able to see how cautiously he began to listen to his sensibilities, honed through several years of reconnecting with his Desi (homegrown Indian) audience. He would watch movie after movie, making notes in a notebook, evaluating the fate of said movie even before the trade registers weighed in. This was the world of Aditya Chopra and it was presented in a wonderful manner by the makers of The Romantics.
What, then, is missing?
Can The Real Romantic Please Stand Up?
Here are a couple of things that always stood out in every Yash Chopra romance, from Kabhi Kabhie to Chandini, from Lamhe to Jab Tak Hai Jaan, from the eccentric urban world of Dil toh Pagal Hai to subtleties of Veer Zaara. His love for chiffon aside, he ensured that there was always an aspirational quality in his movies. His portrayal of the Alps and even the lifestyle of the protagonist in India and even the way the love story progressed would all make for changes within society itself. He also more often than not, picked up at least one social cause or unspoken taboo topic, which he handled deftly and gently in his movies.
With Yashraj Films or rather Yashraj Studios now, we have romantic comedies or RomComs as they are known. But, India is the land of love stories and Yash Chopra built on that. Aditya Chopra showed that side of himself in his debut film Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.
So, what is keeping him from bringing back the larger than life love story? What is keeping him from returning that form of timeless cinema to his audience? The audience that loves a slick action oriented Dhoom as well. The audience that goes into the theatres even for duds like Befikre because they still have that hope and faith that Aditya Chopra will rekindle what Yash Chopra had started.
The Rebirth of The Romantics
And so here we are, looking at 1000 Cr revenue that was delivered by Yashraj Studios in the form of a spy epic called Pathaan. But notably, the crowd puller was the same romantic hero who helped Yash Chopra’s romance flourish, who took it to my generation.
Even now, when I watch The Romantics, I am reminded of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Even now, in a strange foreign land, I switch on Tere Chehre Se, when it snows. Even now, I would like my daughter to know the value of waiting to find that one person who would complete you, rather than embarking on a tedious, soul crushing search on a dating app powered by keywords and algorithms that match.
Too much to ask?
What The Romantics Did To Me
When I watched The Romantics, I realized in hindsight how much of my artistic and cinema loving sensibilities had been shaped by the cinema of Yash Chopra. I began to scan YouTube for old videos that would show the behind the scenes of old movies. I found a few and dutifully relished them. Who else wouldn’t love the information and perspective packed into a series like The Romantics? Tell me you didn’t get goosebumps when you heard how Chandini was a make or break film for Yash Chopra? Tell me how much cheered when Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge became the longest running movie in the country?
More of that, then!
In the Meantime
While we wait, I had an idea. What if I put together a watch party for The Romantics and start a weekend after weekend marathon session of a few well loved Indian movies? Unfortunately, when I searched for Bollywood Party Decorations online, all I found were pieces that looked straight out the Arabian Nights! So, I borrowed from the soft chiffon theme and the classic touches of Yash Chopra’s canvas, to create an elevated look for my watch party decoration. Steal my ideas right here!
Lamps in a Corner: Always a romantic favorite, this touch needs the company of some soft, billowing curtains.
Chiffon Sheer Curtains: Stage a party backdrop without staging an assembled backdrop! These curtains made me swoon because a) I love olive greed and b) they went so beautifully with the bright and exotic looking lamps!
The Brass Handled Marble Tray: Elite urban charm – just like the romantic movies of my time! I love this tray because it adds that necessary bling to the party! Also, there is an option in black granite like marble, so don’t forget to check it out!
Rose Gold Votives: These rose gold candle holders with specks of gold made for just the right look. Combined with the olive green sheers, they underplayed the vibrant corner and its lamps, even as they gave company to the trays.
Go Gold or Go Home: I love touches like these for centerpieces. Especially when I get to arrange them on something earthy like the plate below. Also, the birds will always remain a quintessential figure of romance, which makes them the perfect touch!
The Wood and Slate Charcuterie Board: This is a wonderful way to bring in an earthy romantic touch with the two gold hued birds perched nearby or on top! Also, reminds me of the bed in breakfast that Raj served Simran!
Floral Disposable Crockery: If you aren’t saying it with flowers, you aren’t being romantic at all! That’s all I’ll say in defense of this crockery. Also, aren’t the flowers so pretty!
Orchids: Match these plates and the olive green sheer curtains with a pretty Orchid. This artificial Orchid will set just the mood for a watch party or just a date night with The Romantics!
Geometric and Loving It: Bring in some structured fun while watching this series with the geometric wine glasses. Works for whiskey and for brandy too!
Pillows for Comfy Watching: Finally, tie it all in with the pillows in soft plush material and all shades of pink. From the votives to the lamps and even the crockery, these pillows have all the hues you need to complete this look. Plus, comfort is key while hosting a watch party!