I’m not even going to lie to you, I love Arjun Kapoor. I know that’s considered something of a hot take in these parts, but I love that man to bits – he’s funny, he’s hot, he’s smart (don’t come for me), and above all, he’s kind. But that’s enough of me waxing poetic about my future husband, for more of that, you can just follow me on Twitter. My love for him only amplified after the trailer of “Namaste England.”
This past week, Arjun and Parineeti Chopra dropped the trailer of their next release on Youtube. In just 24 hours, the trailer itself has crossed 14 million views and attracted a lot of comments beneath it. Once you’ve weeded out the usual comments about how Kapoor should never have made it as an actor, and how tired people are of the usual romance films it becomes clear that there is a third prominent strain.
Many viewing the “Namaste England” trailer are comparing it to “Namaste London,” the 2007 Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif starrer about a London born girl forced into marriage with an Indian man all the while having a boyfriend in London.
The comparison is a fair one. After all, both films are directed by Vipul Shah, and he has openly said this is an almost franchising of the first film. At first glance, perhaps this film can be taken as a rehashed “Namaste London” 11 years later, but it seems to me more of a “Badrinath Ki Dulhania” meets “Namaste London” type. The relationship between Parineeti and Arjun in this film seems like it blossoms and culminates in marriage before the inevitable split and location change to England. Bonus appearance by Shreya Mehta of TVF fame! The film looks like it deals more with the struggle of a married woman to assert her independence and how it affects her marriage than the previous film’s premise of not wanting marriage at all.
Honestly, I enjoyed the trailer for “Namaste England.” Parineeti and Arjun have always delivered the chemistry on-screen (look for no further proof than their constant loving bullying of one another on Instagram). I’m super excited to watch Arjun get cute with Pari again (think of the GIFs people – the glorious blushy, dimple-cheeked GIFs!!!), and I love a good night of popcorn and romance.
I’m not trying to give Arjun a National Award, okay, but people don’t make movies when there isn’t an audience for them. And while he has had his share of flops, Arjun has delivered films that are consumed by a core audience. (Me, it’s me, I’m the core audience, he can have all my money). After all, love stories are the bedrock of Hindi cinema, and not all films must be intellectual. Sometimes, as Pari says, it’s nice to return to a classic structure, a dupatta in hand song sequence.
The greatest hits for me include that beautiful Holi sequence at the start of the trailer, Parineeti’s outfits, Arjun’s smile and of course the queen Shreya Mehta herself.
March 20, 2023March 21, 2023 4min readBy Nida Hasan
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.
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.