Girl meets boy. They talk, they laugh, they fall in love and they face opposition from the society. They fight through all odds and their love triumphs. Sounds familiar? Well, if you’re a movie buff in India, this is the underlying concept behind every Bollywood love story. The concept is overused to the extent that it’s almost like you know the plot of every love story before it even releases. Then came Imtiaz Ali and he picked up on the same concept, but with a little twist.
7 astounding love stories that Imtiaz Ali created on celluloid
- SOCHA NA THA (2005)
The 2005 film Socha Na Tha, was Imtiaz Ali’s directorial debut. Starring Ayesha Takia and Abhay Deol, the film failed miserably at the box office. It however was lauded for its unusual portrayal of love and relationships, a concept that had been overused by Bollywood in the most clichéd and regular ways possible. While the underlying concept of family opposition was the same like most movies, the treatment of the plot was quite different from what the audience had seen so far. Ayesha’s character was struggling to break free from the family oppositions and Abhay’s character was confused and critical of love, a reminiscent of Akash, Aamir’s character in Dil Chahta hai.
- JAB WE MET (2007)
In 2007, two years after the unsuccessful Socha Na Tha, Imtiaz Ali directed Jab We Met. It was a second attempt at directing for Ali, and also an opportunity for Kareena and Shahid to salvage their poor choice of films. The movie was a smashing blockbuster and gave the audience a film to talk about for a very long time.
Geet is an eccentric, fun loving girl who loves the idea of marriage. Aditya is a businessman who’s nursing a broken heart. The two people are visibly extremely contrasting personalities, who gave love a more “FUN” twist. From verbally cursing an ex, to burning and flushing the picture of an ex, the movie gave people crazy friendship goals. While Geet adds the much needed thrill in Aditya’s life, Aditya acts like a caretaker, making sure Geet stays safe in whatever she does.
The second half of the movie sees a role reversal where Aditya helps Geet tend to her broken heart. In the process they fall in love with each other, oblivious to each other’s feelings. It is only later that Geet realises that it is Aditya that she loves and wants to be with. While Jab We Met sees a similar pattern of the girl trying to break free and run away, the film did considerably better and gave Imtiaz the much needed recognition.
3. LOVE AAJ KAL (2009)
In 2009, Imtiaz Ali came up with another love story. This one focused on the contrast between the love between the newer and the older generations. It simultaneously shows two separate love stories from two different generations. While the newer generation struggles between the distances between the two protagonists, the other story focuses on how the girl is forced to leave her love because she was being married off to someone else. The older generation tells the newer generation to not let go of the person they love so easily.
While the concept is again not out of the box, the portrayal was refreshing and new. The movie was critically acclaimed and became quite popular due to its soundtrack and focus on fashion.
- ROCKSTAR (2011)
A Haryanvi boy Janardan falls for the rich Kashmiri Pandit girl Heer. Over a couple of desi daarus and B-grade movies they become good friends but the boy goes through a heartbreak when Heer marries someone else.
This heartbreak was the much needed fuel to propel his career as an international music sensation.
The two however haven’t gotten over each other, as they meet each other in Prague but Heer is guilty of crossing marital boundaries and spurns him. Heer also suffers with health issues and Janardan, now Jordan in order to help Heer recover, starts dismissing his professional obligations.
Heer dies and Jordan finally gets the biggest heartbreak, which he was told in his earlier days was needed to become a big superstar.
The movie was darker and dingier than Imtiaz’s earlier movies. While in his other movies, the protagonists end up with their lovers, Jordan loses the love of his life and his grief helps him become the superstar he always wanted to be.
- Highway (2014)
The movie was the first in Bollywood to address a psychological condition called “Stockholm Syndrome”, where a hostage forms a psychological alliance with the captor as a survival strategy.
While everyone mistook the relationship between Veera (Alia) and Mahaveer (Randeep) as love, there was a stronger psychological phenomenon, which formed the basis of the movie. Veera finds freedom with Mahaveer, something she couldn’t while living comfortably with her family and is able to rediscover her life with her captor. She also finds solace in Mahaveer as she opens up about her experience with sexual abuse as a child. Mahaveer also opens up about his struggles with abuse as a child, and the two find a common ground.
The movie not only showed a de-glamourised version of life, but also shed light on love, not driven by romance but formed on the basis of commonalities and friendship. The movie is one of Imtiaz’s best works till date.
- TAMASHA (2015)
The movie focuses on finding your true self, the one that has been lost in the mundane work life. To rediscover the fun person that is lurking behind a robotic lifestyle.
It focuses on the togetherness as strangers and the loneliness in familiarity.
The main protagonist Ved suffers from Borderline Personality disorder where a long-term pattern of unstable behaviour is observed, usually as a result of unstable relationships. The effects of this are visible in Ved’s work-life. The protagonists through trials and tribulations, find each other, and embrace their real identities which are not shaped by society’s perceptions and expectations.
7. JAB HARRY MET SEJAL (2017)
Another boy meets girl, spends time with her and falls in love. The only difference is that the boy meets the girl because he’s a tour guide and that’s part of his job description. They spend time because the girl has lost her engagement ring, and they fall in love, because they’ve spent so much time together finding the ring.
The movie is more like a foreign trip to enjoy the beauty of Amsterdam. The movie fared terribly in India, but performed well overseas. While the love story is clichéd but the exotic locales and the fun songs made the dull movie memorable.
Imtiaz Ali has experimented a lot with the concept of love and romance through his films. While some have definitely hit the bulls-eye, some completely missed the mark. Nonetheless, he is the only director who has given us more realistic expectations of love and romance!
Happy Birthday Imtiaz Ali. Keep directing!