Struggling to Break Free

Contemporary Hindi box-office hits feed outlandish fantasies to a new young middle class.

Last heard, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD) had bagged Rs 183 crore at the box office, making it the third-highest grossing Hindi film of all time, a landmark it reached in merely three weeks. A typical Karan Johar dish – ingredients: romancing in exotic locales, opulent family weddings, an easy-on-the-eye star cast – the film fetched only average ratings, despite accolades for its main actors, especially Ranbir Kapoor.

YJHD follows the trend of recent successful films of this genre like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Love Aaj Kal (LAK) which owe their origins to a classic, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ), the 1995 cult Shahrukh Khan-starrer directed by Aditya Chopra. The plot lines of YJHD and DDLJ follow a familiar pattern of two long interludes – one, a holiday when the heroine and the hero fall in love, and the second, a family wedding where they meet to cement their relationship.

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