The Romantics Review: Through tales of Chandni & Dilwale, Smriti Mundhra tells Silsila of Yash Chopra & Aditya Chopra in this Valentine's Day gift


Docu-Series: The Romantics

Cast: Aditya Chopra, Uday Chopra, Pamela Chopra, Karan Johar, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Rani Mukerji, Katrina Kaif, Ranveer Singh, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor & others

Director: Smriti Mundhra

OTT: Netflix

Rating: 4 Moons

Bollywood has always been defined by three pillars-romance, action and family dramas. Yash Raj Films, established by the late Yash Chopra, has played a catalyst in building a new world of cinema with each passing decade. Defining the grammar of filmmaking through pure desi stories, the father-son duo Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra are certainly responsible for making millions of Indians dream big and one cannot complain. The legacy of YRF is now documented in Smriti Mundhra's docu-series The Romantics. It is streaming on Netflix from today.

The Romantics is a deeper insight into the private lives of the most popular public figures. Aditya Chopra, who was seen and heard of only in headlines and pictures clicked 2 decades ago, remained to be a phenomenon; a rather invisible one over the years. Thanks to Smriti, we are now introduced to the genius filmmaker and businessman who sharpened the Bollywood curve for good. In the most unfiltered docu-series, the filmmaker presents the raw side of the Chopras without projecting everything through the rose-tinted glass. 

Excerpts from the late Yash Chopra's interview with Karan Johar form an important emotional pillar of The Romantics. With his journey from working under his elder brother BR Chopra's wings to establishing his own production banner, uncertainties that grew with each new project, successes and failures, the docu-series is a nostalgic ride that will induce goosebumps. Celebrities like Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Rani Mukerji, Abhishek Bachchan, Ranveer Singh and others join in to share their memories with the production house and how the Chopras gave them their careers' biggest blockbusters.  

Apart from painting a beautiful picture of the filmy world, Smriti doesn't forget to highlight how political events like the partition, the 1971 war,  the 1975 emergency, liberalisation and privatisation changed the way people looked at films and how they were received at the box office. She also shed light on the different styles of filmmaking that were followed by Mr. Chopra and Aditya. Amid the nostalgia trip, humour remains uncompromised. Especially when the late Rishi Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan and Abhishek Bachchan face the cameras. 

Nepotism remains to be one of the key topics discussed in The Romantics. Be it Uday Chopra's unsuccessful acting career to Aditya's desire to break the mould as a form of respect to the legacy he got to carry forward. In a heart-to-heart conversation, Aditya discusses his vision, sensibilities and faith in launching new talents at regular intervals. Right from suggesting Sooraj Barjatya to remove 2 and a half songs from his family film to guiding Shah Rukh Khan to getting it 100% right in Darr to locking Ranveer Singh for Band Baaja Baaraat after multiple failed auditions, he comes across as a genius we'd love to be associated with through films. 

The Romantics isn't just about Aditya and his first-ever on-camera interaction after decades. It is about Yash Chopra's failures, depressing times and cultural impact on society through cinema. Smriti doesn't fail to highlight the contribution Pamela Chopra made to his successful career. Post-marriage, there was a certain degree of softness in his films and then came a drastic and progressive change in the way women were viewed in the Hindi film industry. Rightly, behind every successful man, there's a strong-headed woman.

The Romantics is a love letter to the beauty and magic of Indian cinema, the version created by Yash Raj Films. While they were known for romantic films and family drama, the Chopras didn't shy away from experimenting with action-thrillers and risky genres. At the end of the day, the motto was, "Why to look westward when we can go completely desi?!"  

With barely anything to criticise in The Romantics, it is a docu-series that maintains a smile on your face through all 4 episodes of almost 60 minutes duration. Allow yourself to soak in the magic and larger-than-life joy provided by the production house.

PeepingMoon gives The Romantics 4 Moons