Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same

DDLJ (1995): Raj flirts, Simran refutes, none cross the line, and eventually fall head over heels in love, in spite of being polar opposites.

Befikre (2016): Dharam and Shyra, carefree in Paris, agree to a no strings attached relationship, calling nineties a passé.

Yashraj, a banner that has been teaching eternal romance since decades. From the white flowing sarees of ‘Chandni’ to the students who broke the barriers of love in ‘Mohabbatein’, from love across the border passing tests of time in ‘Veer Zaara’, to even the love that came across again and again in ‘Hum Tum’, this is one banner that has showcased many forms of the emotion, drenching us in its warmth. None can forget the legend that ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaynge’ went on to become. And now, the same banner is back with ‘Befikre’, a romance that breaks all the shackles and barriers, and basically everything that the earlier movies of Yashraj held sacred.

The name of the movie, its posters, and the promotional song ‘Labon Ka Karobaar’ itself suggested that it is not your mushy and sweet romance that Yashraj is identified with. The trailer just confirmed it. With striptease, one night stands, casual s*x with no strings, and a healthy dosage of kissing scenes thrown in, all the barriers are broken with this one. The Heroine is not a shy one, she has liberated herself s*xually and verbally. Yet, surprisingly, the hero remains the same. Be it the Raj of ‘DDLJ’ or Dharam of ‘Befikre’, they are still the same, goofy, flirty, and looking for some casual fling. While Raj ended up falling for Simran, whether or not Dharam will fall for Shyra, is still to be seen. Both of them are smitten by the actress on first sight, yet while Raj sought pleasure in teasing the hell out of Simran, our lad Dharam is surprised and delighted in finding someone with similar mindset, for Shyra isn’t Simran.

The only character like Shyra who we remember in ‘DDLJ’ was Simran’s friend Sheena. So basically, the heroine does not need an avant-garde friend anymore, as they have coalesced to form one being. Maybe Shyra will be Sheena in first half, and Simran in the second half, as given the trend, we are hoping she will fall in love. Again, this is just a speculation. Aditya Chopra is back to being behind the director’s seat so you never know what might be in front of our screens, when the movie gets released.

The ‘Befikre’ trailer had nothing new to offer, at least nothing that we have not seen before in Hollywood, but still had a fresh vibe to it, which might be because of the talent of two actors, Ranveer Singha and Vaani Kapoor, coupled with the mastermind of Aditya Chopra. However, what has astounded us most is that it comes from the house of Yashraj, whose last, very similar outing, ended up in a disaster (*coughs*Neal and Nikki*coughs*), though that one was more a result of disastrous performances and poor technical aspects. We certainly don’t expect that, especially when the director is Aditya Chopra.

Well, Yashraj certainly dared to helm the concept of live in, in a quite realistic and down to earth manner. Remember ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’? The movie was a hit and it was a very cleverly done concept, presented just in the way that many couples would relate to it. That, was a revolutionary step by Yashraj, indeed, even though it had newcomers in it.

Anyway, Yashraj has really come a long way since the days of ‘DDLJ’, and the best way to prove it? Take these dialogues from the 1995 and the 2016 romance.

DDLJ (1995) – Raj agar ye tujhe pyar karti hai to ye palat ke dekhegi. Palat, palat, palat…

Befikre (2016) – Palatne nahi wala hai. Palatne ka wait to nineties me karte the log, I was just checking out his ass.

Phew, from Parvati to Pooh, let’s see how these ‘Befikre’ fare on our hearts.

Kapoor & Sons: Caught the plight of homosexuals tenderly and yet made 'coming out' look doable

Kapoor & Sons: Caught the plight of homosexuals tenderly and yet made 'coming out' look doable
Image Source - YouTube

Kapoor & Sons – Since 1921. The house proudly flaunted that to the world, nestled in the greens of Coonoor. No one knew the darkness that was inside, the demons that were individually dealt with. But then, isn’t every family like that?

Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same

Two years have passed by since this Shakun Batra-directorial, story of a dysfunctional family had come to our lives. However, amongst the various themes that tore apart the family and eventually brought it together, one that truly had the power to transform, was that of homosexuality.

Not many know, that the role played by Fawad Khan, that of family’s elder son, a successful author, was actually offered to many A-listers, who turned it down, eventually leading him to step into the shoes of Rahul. And it was, indeed, a very big step on his part. He was venturing out of his territory, a man who has such a huge female-fan following, and comes from a country with religion as its main running philosophy. He did the role and brought such conviction to it that we were forced to stand up and applaud, his courage, and the beauty with which his character was carved.

Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same

Since times immemorial, all our memories of gay characters on screen have been that of carelessly effeminate and unimportant roles, which are just there to add a comic element. The stereotype has been high to an extent that often the champions of the same channelise it and promote it, for it is wrapped in the shiny paper of presentation. The biggest example of this was ‘Dostana’, which was an amazing story of friendship, still used homosexuality as humour, as its backdrop. Ironically, it came from the same production house, though nearly eight years before that.

Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same

But ‘Kapoor & Sons’ begged to differ here. The character here was real, someone who was hiding himself, for the society, his family. There was surreality to the theme of homosexuality here, which had the power to jar us inside out; and that, it did.

Two scenes from the movie specifically hit me. First one is when Sunita (Ratna Patak Shah) finds out that her ideal elder son, whom she adores and is proud of, is not straight. The aftereffects of the same jolt you, because the reaction is just what an Indian mother gives, in any situation that is beyond her control; uncontrollable anger at the offspring, and then uncontrollable guilt, of blaming herself and her upbringing. The scene is filmed so beautifully, that your eyes sting. The way Fawad’s facade falls and his fear is marked across his face, which is then replaced by the anger of hiding himself for all those years, and mother’s dilemma and hurt, it all comes out in a naked and real manner.

Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same

Another sequence is when Rahul (Fawad Khan) comes back home after the showdown with his mother and the death of his father totally uproots whatever sanity his family possessed. He sits with his mother, with whom his last encounter was one of his coming out, and she asks, hesitatingly, about his partner. A subtle way of expressing acceptance, the way they hold hands, without saying anything, it stays with you.

Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same

It may not be one masterpiece, but ‘Kapoor & Sons’ will forever remain a favourite for finally breaking the mainstream stereotype of a gay man, in Bollywood. And for that, no matter how many bans, I will forever be waiting for Fawad Khan to come back, and give us more performances; with dare and conviction.

Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same

An ode to Sridevi, the queen who inspired the queers long before it became mainstream

An ode to Sridevi, the queen who inspired the queers long before it became mainstream
Image Source - Pinterest

“I am a kid from the 90s but still can’t forget those days when, me-myself was not out and proud about my preferences. And inside my own sweet world would dance in front of the mirror on many songs, but majorly on ‘Hawa Hawai’ and ‘Main Teri Dushman, Dushman Tu Mera’. These songs were just not tunes for me, it made me feel exactly what I was; a QUEERby birth”.

Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same
Image Source - India Forums

The news of the legendary diva Sridevi being no more with us is still hard to believe, as she was part of my and every queer’s childhood memories. While in the late 90s my bunch of friends would idolise a star from the West as their gay icon, me being a full-fledged Bollywood fanatic was in love with Sridevi and she was a diva I used to worship (and will forever). Her golden costume and perfectly done makeup in ‘Hawa Hawai’ made me feel, “Yes! There is someone like me out there who loves bling and all things loud.” Her feather headgear in one of the songs from ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja’, touched my drag Queen‘s soul. One of the lines from her song ‘Hawa Hawai’ which is ‘Soorat Hi Maine Aisi Paayi’ transported me into a world where I thought that there is someone narcissist just like me. Sridevi’s charm was on my mind and the feminine side in me just wanted to be a replica of her.

Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same
Image Source - Pinterest

The gone actress has not only given a lot to the Indian cinema, but her sass and talent of naturally moulding herself into any character gave her an upper hand in whatever she used to do. When many gay men were struggling and were confused about their sexual orientation they found a connection to their on-going pain in Sridevi’s roles. Whether it was Sridevi as a meek Anju and ferocious Manju fighting for everything wrong in ‘ChaalBaaz’ (1989), Pooja’s mutiny against the everlasting societal conditions in ‘Lamhe’ (1991), Seema’s confidence-filled and fearless dance in the ‘Mr. India’ (1987) song ‘Hawa Hawaai’ or her role of a naagin (snake) coming out to the world about her dual identity in ‘Nagina’ (1986), Sri’s roles had a deep connection and were etched in every GAY man’s mind.

Yashraj’s ‘DDLJ’ romance goes ‘Befikre’, but makes hearts beat just the same
Image Source - giphy.com

And how can one miss ‘Kate Nahin Kat Te’ song of Sridevi from ‘Mr. India’, where she owned the song and made every gay guy’s dream to dance on it once with his man. This particular song was wild, seductive and equal parts bold. Sridevi draped in a sky-blue coloured saree with a matching bindi and of course adding fuel to the fire was her dancing moves. Even at the end of the song, a fully wet in rainwater, Sridevi stretching herself on a pile of hay – ‘Tumne jo li angdayi hai’ – where the diva nibbles on straws with a drenched fire in her eyes, leaving Mr. Kapoor to chivalrously lie on a distant haystack.

While mostly when the film fraternity was in a zone where feminine men were used as a tool to add fun elements on the silver screen, Sridevi was a ray of hope for the LGBTQ community. She was like a powerful symbol for the QUEERS. Her role resonated each and every gays struggle, and also echoed their dysphoria into her characters. And with her, all the queer children surpassed the narrow-minded stereotypes which they were labelled with. Lastly, she might be gone, but the colourful rainbow universe she opened for all the fellow LGBTQ people remains there intact..

Hail the QUEEN! RIP Sridevi.