New Delhi, Aug 5: Forget romance, 'bromance' is the buzzword at the box office.
Films like ''Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara'', ''Delhi Belly'' and ''Pyaar Ka Punchnama'' are bringing alive boy bonding on the big screen, albeit with a realistic twist.
"It's nothing new, just fresh," says film critic Anupama Chopra. "Bromance doesn't get better than Jai-Veeru in 'Sholay'! That was the great Indian bromance! So the concept is not new. It's been there...it's just that stories are not as overblown and over-the-top as they used to be," she added and rightly so!
Zoya Akhtar's hit "Zindagi Na..." narrates the story of three friends who head for a three-week bachelor party and discover their strengths, weaknesses and conquer their fears on their way.
Aamir Khan Productions' "Delhi Belly", a money spinner despite having an A-certificate, turned out to be a cult project with abuses and mischief galore - in tune with India's growing, notorious, urban youths.
There was also the hilarious "Pyaar Ka Punchnama", about three friends-cum-flatmates, and their lives after they get bitten by the love bug.
"Films on bromance are closer to reality now, without dialogues like 'Main tere liye apni jaan bhi de sakta hun!'," Anupama, wife of filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who gave a hit bromance with "3 Idiots", told IANS.
Earlier films like "Chashme Buddoor", "Satte Pe Satta", "Amar Akbar Anthony" and "Bombay Boys" had also touched upon boy bonding.
But the Hindi film industry saw a more contemporary take on the trend with Farhan Akhtar's "Dil Chahta Hai" about three friends from diverse backgrounds, the bullying between them, their romances, their victories, their defeats - and their never ending support to each other.
It was followed by films like "Jhankaar Beats", "Rang De Basanti", "Masti", "Dhamaal", "Dhol", "Badmaash Company", "Dostana", "Rock On!!", "Golmaal" series, "Heyy Babyy" and "Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji".
Director Luv Ranjan, who tickled the viewers' funny bone with "Pyaar Ka Punchnama", explains why the audience embraces bromances.
"After an age, people get burdened with a lot of responsibilities and these fun moments get lost on the way. So these films give them a reminder or an experience of the life that they perhaps wanted to have, or perhaps the life they miss," Ranjan told IANS.
In Bollywood, bromances have usually had staple features - it's a gang of guys, there's confrontation and then a patch-up or there's a nagging girl, love is in the backdrop and friendship takes centrestage. Sometimes, the friends take a road trip and their experience helps audiences relive their past.
But a lot has changed in terms of the treatment, says Ranjan. "It's very important to make films realistically. Films work when they are a true reflection of society. It's not as though men never used to abuse each other in their friends circle 40 years ago. But it was just a more closed and covered up society back then. That has changed.
"People are now open about using expletives in public, hugging and flirting in public...and so some of it is coming on the big screen, and people are loving it! That curtain of hiding the true, crazy bonding has been removed," added Ranjan.
According to actor-comedian Vir Das, that's what worked best for his movie "Delhi Belly".
"Boy bonding is a formula which seems to be working a lot. In 'Delhi Belly', the characters were more real. Normally you see friends who are super rich, having fun and having the time of their life...but in 'Delhi Belly', there were three underdogs, very real people, who were together because of certain conditions. There were no ultra cool gangs, no ultra cool friends, just characters who looked real and used real language.
That's the way it should be done," said Vir.