Romance, kissing, and the evolution of Indian cinema

The Indian cinema is a 100-year-old, and so has been the depiction of love in movies. Romance and Bollywood go hand in hand, and we have been treated to some of the most beautiful love stories ever, like ‘Aradhana’, ‘Amar Prem’, ‘Mughal-E-Azam’, and so on. From a hero and heroine, dancing hand in hand, with flowers depicting the romance brewing between the two, to today’s scenario when finally the audience is accepting kiss as a symbol of love, Indian cinema has evolved a lot.

The era of the 20s, ever since the inception of Indian cinema, was bold. Oh yes it was. Remember the silent film ‘A Throw of Dice’? The movie, which was released in the year 1929, saw the lead actors Seeta Devi and Charu Roy, in a bold liplock. Though it wasn’t accepted by the audience then, but the makers were open enough to showcase it as a piece of art and freedom.


However, the story started changing in the post-independence era. Conservatism set in in the form of The Cinematograph Act in 1952 which termed kissing on screen offensive. Soon, romance was reduced to mere flowers mating and leaves shaking, with the bold hero advancing and a coy heroine backing away. Indeed, there were beautiful love stories too, where the sacrifice was portrayed in all its glory, but the physical aspect of love was soon reduced to something objectionable. The audience’s nature too supported the practice of making such movies.

Romance was redefined in the 90s by Shah Rukh Khan, who came to be known as the ‘King of Romance’ in Indian cinema. Shah Rukh’s portrayal of a guy so in love, and his chemistry with co-star Kajol, is still deemed the ideal portrayal of love, which is loved even till date. Who can forget the bridge scene from DDLJ, where Raj looks into Simran’s eyes, and says ‘I love you’. A bold move, and a dreamy romance, which entered the hearts of audience, to stay.

It wasn’t as if bold claims of love were altogether gone. One look at Raj Kapoor’s films, like ‘Bobby’, ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’, ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’, and you will realize that the man portrayed love boldly yet beautifully, and even skin show and love making was tastefully shot in the love stories that the showman of the generation brought to us.

The era of 90s however, brought a tinge of sweetness to romance. ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’, ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’, ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, were a few amongst many beautiful movies, which though did not advance towards love making and kissing, but surely indicated towards a better mentality. These movies gave hope to many lovebirds for whom falling in love was a suicidal mission. The decade took a step towards the evolution of romance.