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The Romantics

Farhad Dalal
Farhad Dalal
4 Star popcorn reviewss


It is Valentine’s Day and we have a new release already! And with that I finished watching the new English documentary The Romantics on Netflix, something that I was really looking forward to watch. The first thing that you associate with Romance is Hindi Films and more specifically the films of Yash Chopra. Often the word for love was synonymous for a Yash Chopra romance. Being a film buff myself, my staple diet during my impressionable years was being introduced to this beautiful world onscreen with a power to transport you away from reality. Many might say that Bollywood or the Hindi Film Industry may have spoilt people by giving them limitless aspirations as far as romance was concerned but it was always our guilty pleasure!

One of the first Hindi films(actually second after Hum Aapke Hain Kaun) that I remember watching was Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge or DDLJ as we know it. A young 5 year old almost unassumingly found myself falling in love with the idea of love. Years later, I did get to know that love isn’t as beautiful as being portrayed onscreen by surprisingly so, a part of me won every single time Simran and Raj united, giving a lot of hope to me that all shall be well soon. The film as it turned out is still running in a theatre in Mumbai for now almost 30 years(28 yo be precise) and it was between DDLJ and Pathaan that I have grown up. And so The Romantics could not have been a better series to review on Valentine’s Day coming from a studio which is synonymous with love, YRF! So then does The Romantics manage to impress, lets find out.

Story & Screenplay

The Romantics is almost like a trip down memory lane, taking you on the journey of Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra and Uday Chopra in their quest for films and the ultimate studio YRF as we know it today. First things first, yes this may be an advertisement for Yash Raj Studio and their brand but the good news is that the film buff in me was left immensely satisfied. For someone who has grown on Yash Chopra romances like Silsila or Lamhe or even Darr, it was a trip down memory lane. What the docuseries did well was in bringing the 30 odd guests featuring the whose who of Bollywood under one roof and they did give their retrospective about their journey with Yash Raj. This included the late Mr. Rishi Kapoor who was a delight to watch once more onscreen.

I did like how structured the format was, starting right from the time when Dhool Aur Phool was released in 1959 which marked the debut of Yash Chopra whose career as a filmmaker would eventually last for more than 50 years. The tactful detailing provided in the rise of the veteran filmmaker only to fall and rise again was the opening segment of the docuseries.

Many film stars have said that Aditya Chopra is just a myth, he does not exist. Usually camera shy and always staying away from the limelight, it was a BIGGG SURPRISE to see him featuring in this docuseries. Yes, he is almost like the central force and I did like how the trailer of the documentary had left him out, only to leave a reference of him thereby tease the audience. His insights of his formative years followed by the iconic DDLJ did make for a nostalgic and heartwarming watch. I did also like how he spoke honestly about some of the failures although you could make out that this was true primarily to his world. The hints of nepotism and how audiences had not whole heartedly accepted Uday Chopra as a leading man was nicely touched upon.

What did start as a small production company, YRF, has now blossomed into a full blown studio. And this journey was nicely highlighted as well. This journey was inclusive of the new breed of filmmakers and actors who joined forces at the turn of the millennium and are integral contributors to the success story of YRF. But ultimately, it was about the Yash Chopra legacy that he has left behind that did formulate the documentary which did make for an emotional watch. Again the detailing was excellent, summing up the screenplay filled with love which was quite satisfying as a cinephile.

The Impact

The documentary did have quite a solid impact as far as I was concerned. Firstly and superficially so, I did get a sneak peek into the YRF studio which did seem plush(and I hopefully can visit it someday). But the title of the documentary, The Romantics was quite true to the source material here. A filmmaker who always did thrive on complex love stories in a setup which wasn’t catered to his kind of films in the 1980s, only to pull himself up is indeed a fairy tale. And along the way, atleast 5 of the best love stories that this country has ever produced is from the filmography of Yash Chopra.

The romance genre was been on the decline lately with hardly films being made on it. This is kind of surprising coming from the Hindi Film Industry who had once produced some of the iconic love stories of our generation. And perhaps, this beautiful documentary might just about re-trigger the genre which has been dormant for a few years now. And probably YRF, who has found a new voice after Pathaan following a string of flops, may just want to revisit that genre and turn the clock around!

My Take

For that little boy who had witnessed magic in that train sequence of DDLJ and who is a sucker for romance, this documentary does come as a breath of fresh air. It was almost like reliving the years in what was the golden ‘romantic’ era of Bollywood. And I did ensure so many insights into what went in during the making of the iconic films. One thing is for sure, Romance cannot die in films and will not die, provided it is well written and executed. That little boy who had then witnessed clapping and hooting in a packed theatre is now grown up and is a huge cinephile. And while he does analyze films on his site Popcorn Reviewss, certain films remain in his heart and he continues to inspire him and give him hope. Every time romance wins, he wins, we all win!


The Romantics is another documentary based on cinema that comes as a breath of fresh air making it an ideal watch On Valentine’s Day! Long Live The Romances and Long Live The Films which showcase the same! Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended!

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