One of Bollywood’s favourite time-tested, hit formula for romantic flicks has been (what they think is) the ‘riveting concept’ of subcontinental (read sob-continental) love where boy meets girls from across the borders and the rest is anybody’s guess.
Rewind to 1991,when Raj Kapoor signed Zeba Bakhtar for Hina. In the stunning backdrop of Kashmir, Muslim girl accidentally meets Hindu boy and ‘memory-loss’, love, song, dance, and ‘memory-gain’ later, there is heartbreak and histrionics. This particular one may have been a tragedy but what Bollywood directors make it a point to show that it is always the boy who is an Indian and the girl who is always Pakistani and just like a Pakistan-India cricket match, the dilwale take away the dulhania like a much-coveted, prized trophy. Through the years Gaddaar, Maa Tujhe Salam, The Hero, Qayamat, Jaal and Refugee tackled (ad nausuem) the story of lovers torn across borders in Bollywood on the same illusive lines.
Peace, friendship, harmony and love aside, why the hypocrisy when in real life, all the dulhanias from that side of the wagah border have fallen for the dillwalas on this side of the border? In 1983, the handsome cricketer Mohsin Hasan Khan swept away Bollywood actor Reena Roy at the zenith of her career; the debonair batsmen Zaheer Abbass married Sameena, an Indian lady; so it really wasn’t a surprise when not that long ago Indian tennis star Sania Mirza fell for former cricket captain Shoaib Malik. And we won’t even discuss how Bollywood beauties would swarm around Imran Khan when he was drop-dead gorgeous in the ’80s.
Forward to 2014, with Total Siyappa, Bollywood seems to have come to terms with reality by weaving the story around Pakistani Aman (Ali Zafar) marrying an Indian girl Asha (Yami Gautam).
Whether the cross-border romance with the swap strikes a chord with Indian audiences remains to be seen. — Fouzia Nasir Ahmad