Review: 'The Romantics' offers a nostalgic, blissful & insightful dive into world of Chopras and their legacy
I don't remember the last time there was this amount of cheering, whistling and hooting happening at a press screening and that too, for a docu-series.
I don't remember the last time there was this amount of cheering, whistling and hooting happening at a press screening and that too, for a docu-series. The experience of watching the first couple of episodes of Netflix's latest docu-series, The Romantics was as rewarding, nostalgic and blissful as one can imagine it to be. With a deep dive into the world of the first footing of the legendary Yash Chopra, his rise and fall to son Aditya Chopra taking over the mantle - The Romantics is all about history, romance, business and so much more. Here is what I thought about the series after having seen 2 hours of transportation in the world of Chopras-
Ideal Blend of Nostalgia & Insight
Director Smriti Mundhra did spark quite a conversation with Indian Matchmaking where the response was rather divided but it still went on to win multiple accolades and of course, incredible success. But what was missing in that show was the blend of relatability and insight owing to the subject matter in hand. One would relate to it but a docu-series is ideally suppose to impart some insight as well that makes you feel informed. It seems that is a learning Mundhra took to her homework for The Romantics.
Here, the director goes all out in terms of incredibly detailed research about not just the birth and rise of Yash Chopra but also the trends that Hindi film cinema witnessed over the years. It was fascinating how political events like partition, 1971 war and the 1975 emergency played a huge role in the way films worked and did not work. And hence, you feel informed and having gained genuine knowledge while also being swooned away by the romance that Yash Chopra was responsible was giving us.
The Chopra Dynasty - in its Naked Self
One of the striking things about this documentary is that the series doesn't shy away from showing the failure and shortcomings that Yash Chopra or Aditya Chopra have as filmmakers and people as well. Just like anyone, they are flawed too and had their way of dealing with situations but never at the cost of humanity. Be it Chopra Sr. not taking well to failure and being depressed and sad which even affected his behavior towards his family to Aditya Chopra being rather stubborn about his way of making films or his reclusive self among other things - The Romantics doesn't hold back and instead makes you laugh, weep and just enjoy this joyful ride.
The Ultimate Ensemble
Another brilliant aspect of The Romantics is the interviews of probably the biggest who's who of the industry ranging from Amitabh Bachchan to the late Rishi Kapoor and of course, Shah Rukh Khan. The episodes follow a chronological order which is rather helpful as it exhibits a smooth transition followed by insights from the respective superstar.
The humongous success of Kabhie Kabhie, the lukewarm response to Silsila, the failure of Lamhe, the comeback with Chandni, the casting choice of SRK for Darr and of course, everything related to the juggernaut, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge - the points mentioned and information shared by both the people associated to the project and how even generational superstars like Ranveer Singh, Ayushmann Khurrana, Ranbir Kapoor and others just add to the overall experience. For those few moments, you forget you are watching your current favorite superstar and instead just another Bollywood fan expressing their love and expression on watching something like DDLJ or so on.
Aditya Chopra Finally Arrives
The build-up to Aditya Chopra coming on camera was real. Super real! It is hilariously done in the series where multiple snippets from superstar interviews in the past and even the interviews in the docu-series talk about the enigma of Aditya Chopra. The man, who has never made public appearance for over two decades, never given an interview for almost 22+ years FINALLY comes on camera for The Romantics. And let me just say, all this wait and build-up was totally worth it. Aditya aka Adi speaks his heart out about his father, the rise of Yash Raj Studios, the making of DDLJ, the way films are perceived in India, and so much more. Articulate, insightful, knowledgeable and just plain rewarding - Aditya Chopra, thank you for finally opening up!
The Romantics delivers on almost all fronts that it promises. Getting you nostalgic and reminiscent about those times as you hum the chartbuster songs, deep-diving into the lives of Chopras - who gave birth to on-screen romance, having Aditya finally come on camera after decades and of course, listen to the biggest superstars talk about the films that impacted them and everything else. The only minor drawback to this might be the fact that if you belong to Gen-Z, who majorly haven't seen Yash Chopra cinema in the past might find it difficult to power through the first episode but post that, it is all good for almost all generations.
Rating - **** (4/5)