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‘The Romantics’ is an Expansive Look at Bollywood Through the Eyes of 35 Top Stars of Hindi Cinema

‘The Romantics’ is an Expansive Look at Bollywood Through the Eyes of 35 Top Stars of Hindi Cinema

  • It is Smriti Mundhra's tutorial on how Hindi cinema adapted its content to India’s changing sociopolitical climate.

Smriti Mundhra is becoming a name to reckon with in Hollywood. She is an Academy Award nominee and is the producer, director and writer of the very well-received docuseries “The Romantics” on Netflix.

I was honored to interview her during her whirlwind media promotions for the series. She told me that she chose Yash Chopra and the Yash Raj banner to showcase Hindi cinema because his career has spanned so many decades and he has made movies for different generations. He started his career in post-independence India and ended in the post-corporatization era in 2010 with “Jab Tak Hai Jaan.” Chopra seemed like a great prism to tell the story of Bollywood.

Smriti said, “Aditya and Yash Chopra share a passion that borders on the obsession over Hindi cinema.” Yash Chopra is a director first, he is more prolific as a director and Aditya is a producer first and has a bigger vision for the Yash Raj banner. “The Romantics” took two-plus years to edit and took laborious hours to go through the archives, research and information to tell this sweeping story.

Aditya Chopra came out of hiding to tell the story of his father Yash Chopra. It was a treat to listen to him. I especially loved the relationship dynamics of the Chopra family in the docuseries. “Filmmaking bonds the Chopras,” according to Smriti.

Aditya did seem to know the pulse of the public as far as mainstream Hindi cinema is concerned. He came across as a genius who lives and breathes cinema. He had so much clarity and passion for his work. A true visionary. His passion for every aspect of filmmaking was there for everyone to see.

I loved his take on the N-word — nepotism.

Besides Chopra, “The Romantics” is an extensive look at Bollywood through the eyes of 35 top stars of Hindi cinema. Plus an insight from many celebrated journalists, film distributors and directors. Yes, we have the three Khans in this series besides Ranbir, Ranveer, Kajol and many more.

Do watch “The Romantics” to see how Hindi cinema adapted its content to the changing sociopolitical climate — from partition to liberalization. From the advent of VHS to the opening of multiplexes. Yash Raj banner always found a way to beat the odds.

Watch the series if you have been touched by the hopelessly romantic and aspirational Hindi cinema.

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After seeing the series I do have hope for Bollywood. It will adapt to the current boycott-Bollywood culture. YRF proved it once again by giving a massive hit in “Pathan.”

“The film industry will adapt and evolve to overcome the threat of OTT platforms. These things are cyclical and a good movie will come along to bring the crowds back to the theatre,” Smriti said.

Smriti is happy and satisfied to see the response to her Netflix series. She is exploring her identity as a diaspora kid through her work. Congratulations, and looking forward to the next Smriti Mundhra production.

Namrita Yuhanna is a poet and San Francisco Bay Area-based host of the radio talk show “Off the Cuff with Namrita” on Bolly 92.3fm. Her recent book, “Bolti Tanhaiyan,” is available on Amazon. She believes everyone has a story to tell and the potential to enrich others through their actions.

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