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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Luka Chuppi: Are Live-In Relationships Convenient for ‘New’ Bollywood Romance?

Luka Chuppi unites Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon on celluloid for the first time.

It is the story of Guddu (Kartik) a television reporter in Mathura, who falls in love with a headstrong woman Rashmi (Kriti).

Guddu proposes marriage and Rashmi suggests to Live In because everyone else is doing it too.

What happens when they decide to live in under the guise of a married couple, but the whole traditional family joins in too?

That’s what Guddu and Rashmi are going to find out, in this Romantic comedy film.

This Laxman Utekar directorial tackles a film about live-in relationships but with a twist. 

However, this angle isn’t the first time we have seen a film around this theme. 

So, is this style of a romance an easy way to sound ‘unique’? Filme Shilmy explores. 

Live-in Relationship Depictions in Bollywood

Over time, the attitudes towards pre-marital relationships have changed in India.

The fact that society no longer considers this to be a taboo is a breath of fresh air.

A live-in or marriage-like relationship is neither a crime nor a sin though socially unacceptable in this country.

The decision to marry (or not) or to have a relationship is intensely personal.

Many Hindi films, in order to showcase romance in a different light.

Salaam Namaste (2005)

Saif Ali Khan plays commitment-phobic Nick who falls in love with radio jockey Ambar (Preity Zinta).

The film showcases their love, hardships and how, as a couple, they overcome all the differences and hurdles.

Generally, the movie conveys the message that one needs to be aware of all benefits and responsibilities before entering into a live-in relationship.

Cocktail (2012) 

In Cocktail, Homi Adajania explores the idea of a couple living together drifting apart because of a third person coming in between them.

The love-triangle of Gautam (Saif Ali Khan), Veronica (Deepika Padukone) and Meera (Diana Penty) highlight the ups and downs of the relationship.

It exhibits the complexities faced by today’s generation and also put across that friendship and love go in synchrony but need to be dealt with separately, with respect and care.

Shuddh Desi Romance (2013)

This is a film that calls out to today’s youth and emphasises the importance of staying true to one another rather than just being ‘married’.

After running away from his arranged marriage, Raghu (Sushant Singh Rajput) starts a live-in relationship with Gayatri (Parineeti Chopra), an open-minded, independent woman.

Avoiding the social backlash, they hide the relationship from their neighbours by pretending to be siblings.

Befikre (2016) 

Dharam (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra (Vaani Kapoor) are not in love, they decide to live in together.

In the process of their casual, sexual and wild relationship, they have their differences.

At one point, they feel like they are inappropriate for each other.

But eventually, Dharam and Shyra realise that two wrongs make for a right.

This film conveys the concept of accepting the other person how they are, love freely and to be imperfectly perfect in love.

How ‘different’ are these films?

All of these Bollywood movies offer a different premise due to the various social backdrops, characterisations and angles.

However, if we really think about it, most of the films end-up becoming a sudden epiphany of how much one lover fancies the other.

In the above-mentioned movies, pretty much all the love interests end-up being with each other, with Cocktail being an exception.

Cocktail is quite a pivotal film in showcasing how sometimes live-in relationships do not always work out, nor does it end-up as rosy as one hope it would.

It is very rare in Hindi cinema to see a movie where we see a realistic conclusion rather than a tragic or happy ending.

There seems to be the importance of romanticising love a bit too. 

Perhaps that’s where a rom-com like Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (EMAET) deserves to be appreciated.

Rather than coated as a ‘live-in’ relationship (like other films) or anything else, EMAET solely exhibits romance as an ordinary and organic emotion – which is how it is anyway!

Luka Chuppi: A ‘Unique’ take on live-in relationships

Luka Chuppi promises to be a refreshing, hilarious and somewhat thought-provoking romantic comedy.

In the trailer, Kartik refers to a live-in relationship as a ‘modern c*****a’ (modern bullshit).

Vinay Pathak (who plays Kriti’s father in the movie) makes a sinister statement that corpses would be swimming in the river if there was a live-in relationship in his family.

This serious statement is subdued by humour and comical situations.

What strikes the audience is the fact that the ‘traditional’ parents are quite comfortable in accepting a runaway married couple, but not a live-in alliance. 

There seems to be an interesting clash of traditional vs modern mentalities. Speaking on this concept Kartik Aaryan says:

“Indian society today is more realistic… In a way, it is good that our thinking is widening.

People are open to thinking in a way which was not there earlier.

We are in a good democratic situation where we are free to think, free to say and do things, which are not harming anyone else.”

Talking more on the film’s unique angle, he says:

“This is the first film which is saying that come live-in with family.

It is the funny quotient of the film. This has never happened.

This is a unique and interesting aspect of the film. Luka Chuppi was one script that I really loved. It is a content driven film which has a commercial aspect to it.

We are happy that the trailer has got a good response and there is positivity around the film.”

Watch the trailer of Luka Chuppi here:


Final word

Overall, Luka Chuppi will not be the first Bollywood film to highlight the live-in relationships milieu in India.

In fact, many of the previous Hindi movies follow the conventional happily-ever-after style of an ending, despite the fresh appeal to the films. 

Whilst the Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon starrer seems promising, one hopes that the film’s freshness and USP weave well into visible in the movie’s narrative as well.

Now that Hindi cinema has broken ‘taboos’ regarding heterosexual pre-marital alliances, the need of the hour is to break glass ceilings on same-sex live-in relationships and such stories ought to be presented in a mainstream and entertaining manner.

So Bollywood, are you up for the challenge?

Luka Chuppi releases in cinemas on 1st March. 

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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