The Cecil B. DeMille of Indian Cinema Kamal Amrohi along with Khayyam Saheb were going over and over again through the 200 stanzas submitted by the lyricist for now the famous lyric “Aarzoo kya hai ? Justuju kya hai ?” which could be unsuccessfully translated – “What does the desire mean ? What does the curiosity stand for ?” for their magnum opus “Razia Sultan”. Razia didn’t relish the idea of being a princess. She was confused. She wanted to be a commoner. She didn’t know exactly what she wanted from life? The poet had tried to express her feelings. Every critic worth his salt had hailed the film as ‘landmark’ and predicted that it would beat the records of “Mougl-e- Azam” beofre its release. The film miserably flopped. The language was too Persian zed; Hemma Malini together with Dharmendra failed to impress the movie goers with their acting talents and delivery of dialogues. The giants like Sohrab Modi were also wasted. The only saving grace was the songs of the film.
I’m not going through the sorry tale of “Razia Sultan.” I’m discussing here about the death of the normal ‘Love Story’ in Indian cinema. Why ‘Veer’ and ’Kite’ were not accepted the way it was expected ? Why the films that have happy endings get luke-warm receptions or fail at box office? No one talks about them when they come out the cinema halls. These are pot-boilers at best and never acquire the status of classics.
Either as a film-goers we are shorn off the faculty of appreciation or the presnt style heroic romance is not cut-out in this fast galloping life based on hard realities.
Love is sublime. Love means never having to say we’re sorry ! It has a unique place in our lives. Love stories assuage our evergreen aches for romance. We had nothing in common with the Prince Saleem of Moghl-e-Azam but he steals our sympathy when Anarkali was shown to be placed behind the bricks. Everyone finds a Saleem and a Devdas in himself hidden somewhere in the folds of his busy life. No heroin has garnered so much sympathy of masses than Madhubala when she was fettered into chains and pushed onto the floor of the prison. Love, sufferings and sacrifice are magnificent virtues which defy every conceivable adversity including death. Granted that naked sentiments are vulgar and garish but if expressed simply and sincerely, they are more effective and pass a message. Drugs, naked dances, stormy sex and free love dilute the sanctity and chastity of every delicate imagination. The film with cluttering of these attractions is left with little class and less authority. We have reached a point where a covered female body looks more attractive and graceful than a nymphet showing every possible asset.
For better or worse, most classic Indian Romances pivot round the tales of Leila-Majnoon, Heer-Ranjha, Soni-Mahiwal, Baaz Bahadur-Rani Rupmati and last but not the least Meera-Shyam. Bollywood had reminted and wringed the last drop of juice from these stories. Star crossed lovers born with different of antecedents and ending at the tragic crest leave a viewer with something to brood upon. The smiling and singing family picture at The End impress no one.
My question is – Is human nature more prone to savour the cruel pleasure of an unhappy ending ?