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The romantic Bollywood musical lives!
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
The year started with a disastrous romantic musical, "Ishq Hai Tumse", which couldn't survive at the box office in spite of a charming performance by Dino Morea.
But just when you thought the era of romantic Bllywood musicals was dead and gone, a series of films from the genre are about to hit the screens.
Kunal Kohli's "Hum Tum" that opens this week is a straight-off romantic comedy featuring the untried pair of Rani Mukherjee and Saif Ali Khan as a warring couple that can neither live with nor without each other.
Trade experts feel it's been a while since a purely romantic film got itself a sizeable audience.
Last week's teenage romantic musical "Uuf Ka Jaadoo Mohabbat Hai" didn't quite make the impact it was expected to, although its debutant hero Sammir Dattani did get noticed.
This week the Rani-Saif pair is expected to bring a sizzle into the genre.
Upon the success of "Hum Tum" depends the future of several other romantic musicals, most important of all debutant director Samir Karnik's "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" featuring the real-life pair of Aishwarya Rai and Vivek Oberoi.
According to Vivek, "It's a very simple love story, no complications, no drama...just the two of us."
In fact, the preconditions for a truly romantic drama - simplicity and sincerity - seem to have finally dawned on Hindi filmmakers. "Hum Tum" is more character-driven than plot-oriented, with the Rani-Saif combo carrying the audience forward.
Close on its heels comes David Dhawan's "Mujhse Shaadi Korogi" where Priyanka Chopra is wooed by Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar.
"It's a very simple love triangle, with no unnecessary embellishments," asserts Dhawan who has so far made comedies with romance being secondary if not incidental.
Even the hard-as-nails Ram Gopal Varma is ready with an "intense love story". "Naach", which opens in August, features Abhishek Bachchan and Antara Mali as two unlikely souls thrown together in a strange situation.
What makes filmmakers so sure about the tenability of romance in this era of supreme cynicism in our cinema?
Arjun Sablok, who made "Na Tum Jano Na Hum", one of the most intensely romantic films in recent times, feels romance can never go out of pace.
"Why should it? Everyone loves to love, secretly or otherwise. How many people like to fight? Love will always conquer all."
Apart from the major romantic releases, less high-profile romantic films like Rajesh Bhatt's "Kaun Hai Jo Sapnon Mein Aaya" and Rishi Talwar's "Mohabbat Ho Gayi Tumse" are also on the way.
Audiences should get ready for that moon-in-the-sky experience.