Luv Ranjan is my producer, presenter and a friend. So do read the following commentary on his cinema in that context.
I have been wondering how and why a lot of young girls and women enjoy Luv Ranjan movies though a section of critics have found the films problematic and misogynistic.
While watching it the second time with my brother, I think I figured out why.
Luv’s cinema is post love, where romance has been deromanticised – his films are the counter narrative to an audience fed up of the dissonance between onscreen love stories and real world relationship problems.
Luv may have chosen to tell his stories from a male point of view but the sentiments of how people feel about relationships is rooted in the real world and are gender neutral. People hate each other when dysfunctional relationships don’t work out.
The success of his cinema has to do with people valuing friendships over relationships. Because this door has been kicked open, tomorrow filmmakers will be able to make post-love Punchnama films from the female perspective too. I won’t be surprised if Luv makes them himself. And as a friend, I hope he does.
Cinema has always needed heroes to deal with real world universal issues before the issues are mainstream enough to be explored through the perspective of women and minorities.
It’s because of the success of superhero films, that studios have been encouraged to make Wonder Woman and Black Panther or LGBTQ-friendly Deadpool.
I have never found Luv Ranjan’s films offensive or misogynistic because of how self aware his characters are (though we have had conversations on how to avoid perceptions of unintended misogyny).
Luv’s answer has always been the same. That he knows that his tone is irreverent and light hearted and that he is not coming from a place of hate but relatable relationship angst.
He believes history will remember him differently at the end of two decades when he’s done making all the films he wants to make and I believe him because I know the kind of film we are writing together.
His films have always been a counter to the chick flick genre with a playful battle-of-the-sexes tone where even stereotypes of women have agency and wield power enough to make men cry.
In Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, Luv realises that these men will always be boys and will probably die single (as the self deprecating dig by Titu in the final scene suggests) and women will always be the ones that try to make them grow up.
It’s the women who control and run the household of a mediocre halwai chain.
It’s this not so obvious balance even in a seemingly male film on the crude “bros before hos” cliche that makes his films a hit with men and women.
Something a blatantly female Sex and the City or Girls has not managed… at least not to this extent.
I’m also proud of how my friend has rewritten the “Boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy gets girl?” love story with his own unique take on modern romance without succumbing to the pressure of giving his characters the conventional happy ending.