It all changed with Badai Ho (2018) directing the complete love story of veteran actors Nina Gupta and Khajraj Rao. In the following years, shows such as the Taj Mahal 1989 and Isa Visa Pyar, and Hum Do Hamre Do (2021) proved that senior citizens’ love in the Hindi entertainment industry is no longer a taboo topic. It seems that Bollywood has used this template with films that explore the relationship between old couples like Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani and Jab Quli Kitab.
Director Abhishek Jain believes that these stories, like other stories, are inspired by reality. “There is unseen and unspoken love between the elderly, and it’s fascinating to explore. But you have to be very vigilant and emotional when talking about a relationship like this; you can not portray it as a strange love story,” he says.
Filmmaker Habib Faisal, who directed the web series Home starring actors Annu Kapoor and Supriya Bilkonkar, notes that stories about older couples should be written in a way that younger audiences can reflect on: “There was a time when stories were manipulated. The elderly focus only on the conflict between adults and children, and the elderly are reduced to the hero’s father and mother. But at home, the protagonists were in their 50s, and it was love that kept their relationship alive.
Ratna Pathak Shah, who starred in Lipstick Under My Burqa (2016) and Hum Do Hamre Do, emphasizes that the elderly also need “love, sex and companionship”. He adds, “Our stories need to be told. We are the most important sub-segment of the movie-going audience and we contribute to the revenue of the movies, therefore, the filmmakers need to know our interests.
Actress Sheeba Sada, who was part of the web series Taj Mahal 1989 and Isa Visa Pyar, added, “I want to be a part of an adult love story told through the lens of sensitivity and honesty. Today there are many layers and nuances to a character and story, and you have the opportunity to explore them as much as you want. Previously, women could be a part of a film where she could be the heroine or the crying mother.
Taran Adarsh, a business analyst who agrees with Jain, believes the story surrounding senior citizens should be “tasty and believable” and credits the web for the rise in stories like this. There was a shortage of stories like this before the OTT boom. The web has given wings to filmmakers who are not afraid to direct a film without young stars nodding their heads, ”he concludes.