Over here, we don't celebrate Valentine's as a day of romance, but as a day of friendship. I much prefer it - for one, I don't have to feel like a lonely person, and two, friendship is one of those things that definitely ought to have a holiday.
So I started to think about the status of friendship in Hindi films. Besides the classic "Yeh Dosti", there's the much quoted line from Maine Pyaar Kiya: It's not necessary to say sorry or no thank you in friendship.
I often wonder whether anybody actually took this line to heart and lived their friendships like this. As much as the line is a sweet thing to quote to your best friend when they've done something wrong or when you've done something wonderful to them (nothing to be sorry about, yaar - nothing to thank me over, either, that was nothing), it's not precisely true. In fact, perhaps the very opposite ought to be true. In friendships, you should thank your friend, and be sorry for causing them grief, because it just frankly shows you care.
But moving on. The anecdote goes, Farhan Akhtar set out to write Dil Chahta Hai because he noticed that the Hindi film hero's friends tend to disappear during to the second half of the film. They're there to help the romance along, provide comedy, offer support - but as soon as the film moves onto the main romance, the friends no longer have a function. So DCH puts the romance in the sidelines and makes the friendship the focus - the film isn't over until the friends are all together, nevermind the girls they get along the way.
This is an interesting notion, and very true in films, but perhaps - once again - not so much in life. Friends tend to stick with you through failed or difficult romances. But in great love stories, your soulmate is all you need - once you have him/her, what do you need these meddlesome friends for? They're better off finding their own soulmates, provided there's a subplot they can fit this into.
But there are some really wonderful, true-to-life portrayals of friendship in Hindi films. Friends don't always do a disappearing act - sometimes they're even the focus. And of course, there's the cliché of a pair starting out as friends and eventually realising their feelings for one another...
We are, well, at least I am, still waiting for some things: the female Dil Chahta Hai is one, as friendship between females seems to rarely get center stage or get elevated to that epic "Yeh dosti" type of friendship level. Again, there are exceptions - beautiful, cherished exceptions. But mostly I'm still waiting.
Then there are the absolute travesties, too. For example, to whom is Dostana a tale of perfect friendship? Lying and then attempted seduction on the sly is not what I call a friendship!
And of course, then there are friendships that are too epic for their own good, such as Main Khiladi Tu Anari.
And that, I think, is a good place to end this post on.