Art & Culture

Dear Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood romance needs reinventing. And we need you to take the lead!

Nairita Mukherjee
Nairita MukherjeeJan 29, 2019 | 17:43

Dear Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood romance needs reinventing. And we need you to take the lead!

If I could only tell you how many times I jived to Kitabein Bahut Si from Baazigar, you’d probably understand why I’m writing this today.

Indian parents and their obsession with having their kids show off whatever skill they might possess in front of others is the stuff of memes, but I actually enjoyed it, simply because I’d get to pick the songs. And I’d always begin with Kitabein Bahut Si — making book-reading gestures with my tiny hands, twisting my waist swaying like a pendulum to the ‘ta-ta-ta-ta-tatata’ music sandwiched in between lyrics.

Then, Kaali Kaali Aankhen was customary. Do you know how difficult it was to find a pair of black jeans with kitsch-detailing as you wore in the song? It was always out of stock!

hqdefault_012919040306.jpgHow we moved heaven and earth to copy your style, Shah Rukh Khan! (Source: YouTube screengrab)

Through Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Karan Arjun, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Yes Boss, Dil To Pagal Hai, et al, I grew up believing this is what love looks like — a bit goofy, dimpled, awkward at times, yet awfully charming. I believed when love would stare at me in the eye, it would be both strong enough to sweep me off my feet — and vulnerable enough to surrender to me at the same time.

With Dil To Pagal Hai, Dil Se.., and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, the conviction grew. This IS love. And nothing else will do.

It’s been a long time, however, since I felt that content after watching your film. A really long time since you showed me what love really is. Perhaps because I grew up and you didn’t.

Whether Bollywood superstars should go for age-appropriate roles — in which case the Khans should stick to playing 50+ men — is a long-standing and forever unresolved issue. I don’t want to get into that. For you, however, the question is far more focussed — should romance be age-appropriate?

Yes, it should. And for your sake, I hope you realise that before time runs out.

You see, I grew up. So did thousands like me. Our idea of love, that still revolves around those three magical words — Shah Rukh Khan — has also matured with age, with every heartbreak we’ve braved, with every stumbling block we’ve moved past, with every pitfall we’ve risen above.

Our love is grey now, is freckled, has wrinkles — I swear I spotted a crow’s feet just yesterday — but you just don’t age, Mr Khan. Why don’t you?

Young love is exciting and in a country like ours, with a standout youth percentage, you wanting to still cater to the jumpy, running-around-the-tree kind of romance is perhaps understandable.

But here’s the thing — that generation doesn’t have posters of you on their bedroom walls, they don’t move heaven and earth to find THAT pair of jeans you wore in a song. They connect with the Ranbir Kapoors and the Ranveer Singhs, a Siddharth Malhotra even, but not you.

5a09cd9e-de50-11e6-a_012919035902.jpgThe calm, settled kind of love, that's what we're looking for. Do you get it, Mr Khan? (Source: Twitter)

But there are still people who do.

If I could only tell you how much I loved you in Raees — released exactly two years ago this time — you’d probably understand why I’m writing this today.

Those kohl-lined eyes were what my dreams were made of. And that Pathani suit.

Wait, I need a moment.

If I could only tell you how much I loved you in Dear Zindagi, you’d probably understand why I’m writing this today. If Kiara couldn’t help but fall in love with you, what chance did I have? As the calm, yet passionate mender of souls — yes, that’s what you were for me in that movie, the mender of souls — you showed me the love I was looking for. My love was old now — goofy, dimpled, awkward, charming, all that, but deeper too. And grey.

capture_012919035430.jpgLove doesn't need to be chased. You can, maybe, just walk with it. (Source: Twitter)

Dear Mr Khan, romance needs to be reinvented in Bollywood, and who better to do it than you?

There will always be a bunch of young kids running around the trees, but you, Mr Khan, I want you to take your shoes off and walk on the silky wet grass.

For love doesn’t always need to be chased up to the airport, love doesn’t always need to be won over, love doesn’t always demand you fight for it knocking the teeth off another. Sometimes, the fight for love is within too, you know.

Could you give me, us, that?

Could you sweep us off our feet — gently please, we don’t want either of us to pull a muscle — as you did in the nineties?

Could you please teach an entire generation of loveless zombies like us that love doesn’t end in marriage, it just transforms.

Could you please teach us that romance doesn’t only lie in grand gestures, but in making that perfect cup of tea too?

Could you remind us that love is eternal, it’s only us, humans, who change?

Could you perhaps teach us how to love again — and perhaps learn anew too?

Last updated: January 29, 2019 | 17:43
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