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Published: Verve Magazine, Nerve, September 2009

Young men and women have become cavalier about love – romance has disappeared and it is a recall to the era of practical compromise, this time, by choice. Sitanshi Talati-Parikh touches upon the pulse of relationships as portrayed by contemporary cinema

No longer is a single man (with or without fortune) in want of a wife. Men are slippery eels – the kind who don’t know their mind and remain confused bachelor boys for life, while the woman of their dreams escapes into the arms of another. Simultaneously, women these days (the strong career-driven kind) are equally adept at being dense at matters of the heart. Spending time on a long-distance relationship is not worth the trouble to either party, and hopping in and out of a relationship is easier done than said. Love Aaj Kal (2009) takes a step forward from Hum Tum (2004) and drives home the point touched upon by Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006). Hasty marriage choices – particularly made because it is the right time to do so, or due to societal pressures or even because they seem logical, tend to lead to greater unhappiness.

Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Dil (1990) and their ilk were about breaking free from the boundaries of familial pressures and making choices purely out of love. Movies like Chalte Chalte (2003) and Saathiya (2002) moved on to explore the consequences of following the heart and the reality of making those choices. The new age of romantic cinema is that of Love Aaj Kal, where love is about practicality. Money is not necessarily the issue here – rather it is things like geographical location, the frame of mind, the inability to say ‘I do’, the desire to not get fettered by the shackles of a permanent relationship, and the importance given to the career of both individuals.

While Love… is actually pointing out the folly in choosing practical considerations over holding onto a soul mate, the fact still remains that we are currently living in a loveless age. Coming together and moving on is so easy – the options are so much more; it is easier to break up than stay together. It’s so lacking in emotion, that a break-up can be celebrated with a party thrown by the couple together. It is the era of the thinking couples’ love story – devoid of romance, emotion and yet full of unrecognised heartbreak.