Stories about romance

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is the perfect sugar-coated medicine to treat the illnesses in India’s society

When Neeraj Pandey and Akshay Kumar collaborate, they never fail to impress. Brilliant performances, power-packed scripts, remarkable messages – this is what they are known for. Now, the duo is back with Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. First things first, who would want to watch a movie named Toilet in the first place? But trust me, it goes from zero to 100 real quick. From dealing with major issues of sanitation to the problems of defecation in open areas, Toilet brings a lot of India’s present day concerns to the big screen. Not only does the movie deal with social issues, it also critiques Narendra Modi’s government and takes ...

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From Dagh Dehlvi to Ghalib: My journey towards understanding Atta Shad

A few days after his death, I came across the news in an old newspaper: “Renowned poet and writer Atta Shad passed away last night”.  It was not news for me. Anyone could die, so did Shad. I didn’t even bother to read the news piece in detail and instead put the newspaper aside. At that time, I was a teenager and had recently developed a taste for poetry. And if you expect Shad to strike the chord of a teenager, you would be terribly wrong. And if somehow a teenager did manage to read his poetry, his words would disappoint you, as ...

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There is nothing exciting about Me Before You

 “I know this isn’t a conventional love story. I know there are all sorts of reasons I shouldn’t even be saying what I am. But I love you. I do. I knew it. And I think you might even love me a little bit.” – Jojo Moyes, Me Before You A gleaming adaptation of the romance novelist and British journalist Jojo Moyes’s best-selling novel of the same name, Me Before You, is an anecdote of an unanticipated relationship. It is about a friendship that unexpectedly unfolds into an unending affection, spreading its wings and altering the existence of two diverse people. ...

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You can play Holi too, even if you are Muslim

Phagwa, more commonly known as Holi, celebrated on the full moon day of Phalgun (the 12th month of the Hindu calendar), is a festival that heralds the arrival of spring. Celebrated with colours, it is a symbolic expression of the changing of temperatures and the blossoming fields of green. My childhood memories are consumed with numerous instances from Holi. Living in a predominantly Hindu neighbourhood in Delhi, and belonging to one of the few Muslim families, we were surrounded by bright, colourful faces on the day of Holi. The enthusiastic crowd did not hesitate to smear my parents with colour the second they stepped out, ...

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This Valentine, stay at home!

­­­Kiss all your prior engagements goodbye, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It has to be celebrated with fanfare as the tales spill over to the next day, being shared on WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. The wives boasting about how their affluent husbands took them for a very romantic, candle-lit dinner to a fancy restaurant becomes the talk of the town. The pictures are uploaded as proof. An open invitation to the green-eyed monster! Reality check please. Valentine’s Day (commercial) celebration is with your significant other at a restaurant having an overpriced, banal meal, surrounded by strangers with inquisitive waiters circulating ...

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Hero: When some remakes are better left unmade

Hero (2015) is a remake of the original Hero, released in 1983, which starred Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Sheshadri. This latest rendition of new comers, romance and action, along with Salman Khan’s singing stints, is disappointing, to say the least. Sunil Shetty may have been the action hero of his time, but his daughter, Athiya Shetty needs a couple of more films under her name before walking on the path of stardom. It was evident that she was having difficulty delivering her dialogues, as they felt unnatural and abrupt. However, this might just be Sooraj Pancholi’s big break in the field of show business as he blended in with his ...

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Modern Romance: Revolutionising relationships and the internet romance realm

As the yearly calendar enters the blistering heat of July, I find myself contemplating all possible avenues of relief. My list starts off with ice-cold smoothies and ends on clichéd American action films, all to no avail. Ambling in misery, I walk into the local bookstore, skip a few shelves, and end up deciding to cool off this summer with 277 pages of Modern Romance. Aziz Ansari’s acute wit and candour instantly absorbs me — a testing, ardent 21st generation reader. Gone is the trusted, poetic approach to romance, inspired by Rumi’s ageless art of implication, favoured in the contemporary works of writers including Samantha ...

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Fifty Shades of (messed up) Grey

Never before have character names from a book become even more accurate in a film adaptation until now. The sky in his world is grey, the ties are grey, his surname is the epitome of Grey and Jamie Dornan’s rendering of the multimillionaire Christian Grey is sadly greyer than dull dish water. Based on the ubiquitous global phenomenon that has caused many a curiosity impaired reader of the first book to say how badly written it is and yet bizarrely proceed to read the other two books in EL James’ erotic romance trilogy, this first film, Fifty Shades of Grey follows very normal Anastasia Steele (Dakota ...

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‘Half Girlfriend’ only half satisfying

“Classes can wait. Love can’t.” Chetan Bhagat almost never fails to induce a million “aww” moments into his readers’ experiences with his stories. The writer, who gained immense fame and glory for his best-selling novel Two States (also turned into a movie), is everything one associates with love and drama. Half Girlfriend is Bhagat’s newest contribution to romance and literature, and most definitely, Indian cinema. Based on the life-changing events in two people’s lives, the novel promises a flush of contemporary Bollywood. The story revolves around Madhav and Riya, who are people from Mars and Venus, literally. Madhav, being a small town Bihari boy, finds it hard to ...

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Ghalib, with angels as his muses

Mirza Asadullah Khan chose possibly the most apt pen name for himself – Ghalib – meaning dominant. He rules the world of poetry of the Indian subcontinent to date. Greats like Faiz have taken pride in looking up to him. Centuries later, he continues to be the muse for millions. “Koi ummeed barr naheen aati   Koi soorat nazar naheen aati…” (There is no hope to be found, There is no way out to be sought) A Long Play (LP), or a 33 1⁄3 rpm vinyl record, that my father had bought from a trip to London was titled “Lata sings Ghalib”. Often, Abba would play ...

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