‘The Romantics’: Dissecting the heart of Yash Raj Films
If you are influenced by Hindi cinema, which you most likely are if you belong to the Indian subcontinent, then it's fair to say that you've been shaped by Yash Raj Films (YRF) in ways even you can't identify.
From the archetype of romance portrayed in their films to the core aspirations of the Indian subcontinent aptly captured on-screen, the bond of YRF with this subcontinent has been one crazy saga.
Netflix digs right into this topic and narrates the tale of one of the biggest filmmakers in South Asia in their latest docuseries "The Romantics".
The series is grand, perfectly in congruence with a typical YRF project. You can watch Rishi Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Hrithik Roshan, Anupama Chopra and other big stars of the industry in this docuseries. It begins with their interviews, and with bits and pieces of old pictures, videos and obviously movie scenes—creating a beautiful ambience.
At points, you might forget that this is a tale of real life, and not another Hindi cinema with flavours of aesthetics and glamour.
The fact that the monumental personas of Bollywood narrate personal stories adds layers of depth and dimension to this docuseries. Who knew Aditya Chopra, current chairperson of YRF, would beat Hrithik Roshan as a kid in dance-offs? Such beautiful anecdotes, inside jokes and stories make it so unique from everything else made about the Hindi film industry.
The journey of YRF is deeply entangled with the journey of Hindi cinema. From its formative years, soon after independence to its maturity as a medium of the masses, this docuseries takes us through everything that underpinned filmmaking and its reception in this subcontinent. Nuances like a fall in quality of films in the 1980s to a wave of liberalisation in the 1990s are discussed. With everything going on in the background, the journey of YRF is shown.
The biggest attraction of the docuseries is a big surprise. An interview with Aditya Chopra might sound unbelievable to most people. He's an extremely reclusive person, very shy even in his personal life. He doesn't like interviews and doesn't want to be the centre of attraction. "The Romantics" series was able get him on board, and with his quintessential sensitivity, he reflects on the journey of his filmmaking and its ups and downs.
The business aspects of YRF are keenly discussed in the series. The fact that they kept up with the evolving consumer demands was key to YRF's success. Branching out to multiple genres also helped take it to a different level. Overall, it could always be in sync with what was going on in India, and indirectly, the subcontinent, and with this congruence, YRF could produce some of the most iconic movies.
The series also touches on some of the most significant issues of present-day filmmaking. In his interview, Aditya Chopra doesn't beat around the bush. When asked for his opinion on the topic of nepotism in Bollywood, he doesn't act diplomatically. He cites the example of his own brother, Uday Chopra and says how despite being one of the biggest filmmakers of India, they were not able to make Uday a star. Aditya is blunt in his statements and says that in the end, the audience dictates everything.
Building legacy and continuation is central to YRF. From making a world-class studio to normalising casting directors, the conglomerate has had exceptional impact.
With scenes from the most iconic movies to hearing from the most acclaimed Indian stars, "The Romantics" is indeed a watch you can't miss out on!