Ten Bollywood Clichés That Need to be Retired Immediately

[Photo Source: Screenshot / Yash Raj Films]

It pains me to write this article. It pains me because it’s never easy to say goodbye to the things you love most. We’ve grown up on the clichés that have made our industry so special. Yes, we will miss the anti-feminist tropes (cue sarcastic eye-roll), the catchy yet offensive item songs with no relevance to actual plot, and the spontaneous wind that follows any woman with a pulse. But as we evolve, our Bollywood clichés must evolve with us.

To be clear, we don’t want to say goodbye to all Bollywood clichés. But as our beloved cliché have taught us, if a single punch doesn’t knock out 20 people at one time, is it really a punch?

Here are 10 Bollywood clichés we hope will get thrown out ASAP:

1. If At First You Don’t Succeed – Try, Try, Try, Try, Try (x100) Again.

via Giphy

I remember the first time I watched “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.” I was a little brown girl in Oshkosh overalls and a bowl haircut glued to the TV, wishing I were glued to Shah Rukh Khan instead. In that moment, I told myself I wanted that. I wanted to be chased and wooed until I said yes. Flash forward to high school when I learned that all-too-important word, “consent.” How if a guy wanted to date me and I said no, I would be annoyed and sometimes offended if he didn’t back off.

What never occurred to me is, what if a little brown boy in his Oshkosh overalls and bowl haircut watched “DDLJ” and convinced himself that a “No” can be turned into a “Yes” if you’re persistent enough? Because that’s how Raj got the girl of your dreams, so it has to work in real life, right?

In 2019, let’s smash the illusion that stalking is cute, because unless you’re Penn Badgley from “You,” it’s not. And actually, if you are into Penn Badgley from “You,” there might be bigger issues to uncover.

2. Let Injured People Lie.

via Giphy

If our hero has been shot in the head, stabbed in the heart, or kicked in the groin (you get the idea), there is no way in Hell he’ll be able to run all the way to the train station in time to stop “Anjali” from leaving.

Maybe in 20 years the human body will evolve to heal itself miraculously, but for now, let injured people lie.

3. Career Suicide in the Name of Love.


Bunny gives up the opportunity of a lifetime to run his own show in “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani,” Aditi wants Jai to stop her from going to New York in “Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na,” where does the madness end?

Why does anyone have to compromise their career aspirations for someone who isn’t even using that as an ultimatum to be with them? It’s 2019! Let’s encourage relationships that push both partners to pursue the career/desires/passions they want.

4. The Runaway Bride.

Remember in “Namaste London” when Katrina Kaif realizes she’s in love with Akshay Kumar and runs at the altar? Remember in “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” when Anjali finally realizes Rahul loves her back, and that she’s not meant to be with Aman? All of these characters ultimately receive their happy endings, but why do these realizations have to take place on the wedding day?

Both families have spent God knows how much money on all five of the outfits they needed to stay relevant, the hotel rooms, and, of course, who can forget the people who flew in from abroad. Not to mention there’s the poor jilted groom who, along with his family, has now been humiliated and scarred.

This year, let’s spare the relatives the drama and expense, and let’s stop branding the girl as “unhinged” for the rest of her life.

5. It’s Never Too Cold to Wear a Sari.

Unless done ironically (nice work, “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil“), let’s stop risking hypothermia for the sake of the male gaze and cover up our leading ladies. Layers are totally in this year!

6. The Superhero Conundrum.

[Photo Source: Screenshot / Dharma Productions]
Raise your hand if you’re tired of one accessory being the differentiating factor between someone who is “hot” and “not hot.” As if Deepika Padukone wearing glasses in the first half of “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” made her any less hot than she already is. If anything, it made me feel more insecure about wearing my glasses, because let’s be honest, I’ll never look like her with them on or off.

Let’s not be so concrete in how we define beauty and brains in 2019!

7. Ripping Off Hollywood.

via Giphy

If 2018 in Bollywood proved anything, it is that there is no scarcity of creativity in Bollywood. From “Badhaai Ho,” to “Andhadhun,” to “Stree,” the originality and messaging of our films have surpassed that of Hollywood (yes, I might be a little biased). In 2019, let’s leave Hollywood to Hollywood and continue to grow our own creative presence in the world.

8. It’s Always Windy Somewhere.

via Wifflegif

Unless our story takes place in the eye of a hurricane, there should be no wind blowing in anyone’s hair. Enough.



For all those in Bollywood who are still unclear on what a classic prom entails (yes, Karan Johar, I am, once again, calling you out), let us explain what really happens at these events: There are no angry ballroom dancing competitions, there is seldom a dress code (i.e. “Main Hoon Na”), and at the end of the night everyone looks like trash from all the sweating they just did from “dropping it low.” If you’re gonna show a student dance, get it right. Please and thank you.

10. The item song.

In the #MeToo era, why do we continue to give men the opportunity to objectify us? It’s ESPECIALLY frustrating when the item song does literally no service to the movie itself.

Like I said, it’ll be hard to let go of some of our beloved Bollywood clichés. But give it 20 more years, and I’m sure we’ll have a whole set of new ones we’ll want to purge from our systems.

By Nikitha Menon

Nikitha Menon (Nikki) hails from the obscure and snow-ridden Erie, Pennsylvania and has always had a passion for comedy and … Read more ›

‘The Romantics’: Revisiting the Legacy and Grandeur of Yash Chopra With Filmmaker Smriti Mundhra

The Romantics

If you are a South Asian, born in the ’80s or the early ’90s, chances are your ideas of love and romance are heavily influenced by Hindi films — that first gaze, the secret love notes, that accidental meeting somewhere in Europe, over-the-top gestures and dancing around trees. While reality may have been far from what was promised on reel, you still can’t stop pining over a hopeless romantic, with chocolate boy looks, chasing you across the earth and many universes; in the life here and the ones after. Somewhere deep down, you still dream of that possibility despite your husband sitting and sipping his morning coffee right next to you. And much of the credit for weaving this dreamland, that we can’t resist happily sliding into, goes to the legendary Yash Chopra. Award-winning filmmaker Smriti Mundhra’s docu-series, “The Romantics,” that released on Netflix on February 14, chronicles Chopra’s prolific career; offering an illuminating look into the highs and lows of his journey, his unblemished vision for Hindi cinema and sheer love for filmmaking. 

I wanted to look at Indian cinema through the lens of it being a major contributor to the global cinema canon and Yash Chopra seemed like the perfect lens to explore that because of the longevity of his career and the fact that he had worked across so many different genres. His films, for so many of us, defined what Hindi cinema is.

— Smriti Mundhra

As “The Romantics” unveils, in a mere episode — a challenging feat in itself — Chopra did experiment with multiple genres as a budding filmmaker, initially under the shadows of his elder brother B.R. Chopra. From the religiously sensitive “Dharamputra” and the trendsetting “Waqt” to the action-packed and iconic “Deewaar.” It wasn’t until later on in his career that he set a precedent for a Hindi film having a wholly romantic narrative; though “Waqt” did offer the perfect glimpse into what would go on to become Chopra’s cinematic imprint. And then came “Chandni” which ushered in a new era for Hindi cinema; defying the formulaic approach to box office success and making love stories the golden goose.

In the words of more than 30 famous faces, a host of archival videos and interviews, and personal anecdotes, audiences get an extensive insight into the life and career of Yash Chopra and the evolution of his vision through the business acumen and genius of his polar opposite son and a famous recluse, Aditya Chopra. “The Romantics” is not a fancy portrait of a legendary filmmaker but an exploration of what goes into making a successful film family and a path-breaking production house. As viewers, we not only get a peek into the making of a fantasy creator but also learn of the many failures, hurdles and uncertainties that the business of filmmaking comes packaged in, the impact of socio-political shifts on the kind of content being produced and demanded, and just how much control we have as an audience over the fate of the film and the filmmaker.

For both the uninitiated and fanatics, there are some interesting revelations like Shah Rukh Khan’s lifelong desire to become an action hero as opposed to a romantic one and the creative conflict between Aditya Chopra and his father Yash Chopra on the sets of “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge” — a project that, surprisingly, did not seem too promising to the latter. Mundhra penetrates deep into the family’s history and industry relationships evoking some really candid conversations; almost as if these celebs were eagerly waiting for their moment to speak. With one appraising interview after the other, it’s a panegyric that does border on being a tad tedious but there is enough depth and fodder in there to keep one hooked. Kudos to Mundhra for managing to achieve cohesion despite there being more than enough material to chew on. In the process of bringing this project to life, Mundhra also ends up achieving a number of milestones: one that the series features the last of actor Rishi Kapoor’s interviews and two, it brings Aditya Chopra, who, it appears, can talk a blue streak contrary to popular belief, to the front of the camera after almost two decades. The moment when he puts the nepotism debate to rest by referring to his brother’s catastrophic attempt at acting is quite the show-stealer.


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A post shared by Smriti Mundhra (@smritimundhra)

At some point during the four-episode series, you might question if it’s fair to credit the Yash Raj family for being the only real changemakers of the Hindi film industry and for picking up the baton to get Hindi cinema the global recognition that it has. But then there is no denying the Chopra clan’s body of work, their ability to understand what pleases the crowd and their commitment towards growth and progress amidst changing times and technology — Yash Raj Studios is in fact the only privately held and one of the biggest, state-of-the-art film studios in India. Chopra’s career and legacy are in no way under-lit that Mundhra can claim to throw new light on with “The Romantics.” But what she really has on offer here are sheer nostalgia, some fascinating discoveries and an ode to a cinephile and his art with a bit of fan service.

In an interview with Brown Girl Magazine, Mundhra discusses why it was so important for Chopra to be the subject of her docu-series, her own learnings during the series’ research and creative process and her accomplishment of getting Aditya Chopra to talk, and that too, at length.

By Nida Hasan

Editor by profession, writer by passion, and a mother 24/7, Nida is a member of Brown Girl Lifestyle's editing team … Read more ›