Once again it was time for an unconventional story to flow in the Bollywood market. Recently a new Hindi film Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun was released that was more in the news for its story content then for anything else. We are talking about the movie plot – about one of the male characters of the film getting into a gay relationship with another man. Okay, it’s expected that we are now in the 21st century and the High Court judgment passed last year legalized homosexual act but still the film with the gay storyline failed to take off and was a huge let down in all aspects. Either the film was a big let down in terms of technicalities or the audience failed to connect to the story and its characters.
That apart, over the years, there had been countless films that had an offbeat, unconventional storyline too bold at that time of its release. If we had the Dev Anand and Suchitra Sen starrer Bambai Ka Babu in the early 60s that bordered slightly on the rim of incest then we had Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun released just a few weeks ago about gay relationship. What’s with the stories of these films that attract the producers and directors to make such films? Bambai Ka Babu was a story of Dev Anand who assumes the identity of the lost son of a rich man and starts to live in his house and subsequently falls in love with the rich man’s daughter who’s now supposed to be his sister. Beautifully told story of a man who’s trapped between his feelings for the girl and a son’s responsibility.
Bollywood has time and again given such films to the masses. Some got accepted while suffered a brutal fate and declared a big dud. If we had Ajnabi staring Akshay Kumar and Bobby Deol offering the wife swapping theory on the lines of the English feature Consenting Adults, then we also had a Pankh featuring Ajnabi heroine Bipasha Basu and Maradona Rebello that dealt with a boy who’d play a girl’s roles in films that went against the natural norms. This was a story lifted straight out of Bollywood films of the 50s and the 60s and 70s. If history is repeated, it won’t be long that men will start playing a woman’s role once again that was earlier day in the former days of film making in Bollywood.
And then you had Raat Aur Din released way back in the 60s that told the story of Varuna who suffered from split personality disorder that not many people would have been aware of in those days and yet the audience lapped up the film eagerly. The same theme was once again used in Deewangee a few years ago in which Ajay Devgan is shown faking the psychotic disorder. A moderate hit no doubt.
And there was B R Ishara who gave the classic Chetna in 1970. This film was quite bold in the sense that it had a young man who falls in love with a prostitute and marries her. The prostitute played by Rehana Sultana marries the young man but finds it difficult to adjust to the society’s norm. This film was a huge hit and brought B R Ishara into the limelight after making a couple of mediocre films.
If Chetna dealt with a prostitute’s rehabilitation, in 1974, another film came staring once again Dev Anand that again bordered on a conflicting incest relationship. This film was Prem Shastra andwas again directed by B R Ishara though it wasn’t as big a hit as Prem Shastra. Zameer directed by Ravi Chopra and starting the great Mr Bachchan too had a hint of incestuous love between a brother and a sister though it proves wrong in the end. This movie came out in 1975 and was a hit. It’s believed that this movie was inspired by the Dev Anand starrer Bambai Ka Babu.
Lately, there has been movies like A Chotti Si Love Story directed by Shashilal K Nair that deals with a teenager’s obsession for an older woman, and then again the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Nishabd where he falls in love with a girl that his daughter’s age as well as her friend too ala Lolita. And yes, talk about American Beauty! And then way back in 1996, Deepa Mehta gave us Fire that ignited within us to see two women going against the society norms and falling in a physical and emotional relationship. Moral police fought Fire with fire and posters and banners of the film were burnt. But the film was a mild hit.
Even though various other films with unique or controversial stories were shown to the masses, few like Fire had to face the wrath of the moral police. Girlfriend was another take on lesbian relationship Directors continued to do what they did best. Make good entertaining films irrespective of the story line. Even Sins released in 2005 and directed by Vinod Pande, had to face the public wrath’s because of its controversial and yet unique story of a Catholic priest being sexually involved with a young woman.
And there was Love, Sex Aur Dhoka, It’s A Man’s World, Tere Sang among countless other films that dealt with a different kind of storyline. Even Yash Chopra gave us Lamhe that had an elderly Anil Kapoor being wooed by a young Sri Devi who happens to be he daughter of the woman Anil Kapoor used to love before her untimely death. So who says there’s a dearth of good writers in Bollywood? If people are more receptive to a different and unique story, directors will venture out to give what the audience wants. Or else, we’ll still be bombarded with your run-of-the-mill loves stories or mindless action films that repetitive of the 70s formula. Let the audience decide. For a change, censor board can take a backseat!