BROMANCE - Pyaar Ka Punchnama

This article is written by Sumit Saxena and Vaibhav Suman who are co-writers of Last year's Sleeper hit Pyaar Ka Punchnama. Sumit and Vaibhav are presently in the midst of writing multiple projects, we requested them to write this piece for us, it explores how Male Bonding, always an integral part of our society has found its voice on the big screen, and how they included this theme of friendship in Pyaar Ka Punchnama.

Life Sahi Hai...Tension Nahi Hai !!

In one of his stand-ups, Russel Peters comments on Indians holding their pinky’s and walking on the beach. And people laugh on that!

Yes Indian men do that. Not really holding pinky’s but the male bonding/the male romance has never raised eyebrows here. And it’s funny that in a country where male bonding has held the society together, the marriage for homosexuals should have been such an issue.

Think of it. The times when we had joint families. The families stuck together for years in the same house even if the brothers were into different professions. One main reason why a nuclear family structure worked around one single kitchen was the chemistry between brothers and their intimacy. The secrets were shared between brothers and not wives. Wives were on the periphery, taking care of daily drudgery and brothers made sure that everything financially was sorted in the family. That might sound very anti-feminism, but that is the fundamental truth of Indian-joint-family-structure .If one of the kids marriage was in trouble due to money-issues, one of the uncles would just step in. If one kid needed to go for higher education, the family pool of money contributed. That I think defined bro-mance. The brothers in the house, all 40 plus, sitting on the terrace with bottle of Old-monk and not letting the kids come upstairs while they crack dirty jokes.
Remember this phrase-“Aurat ne chulhe alag kara diye (The women disintegrated the family).” This one statement which we have grown up hearing in middle class joint families of small towns pretty much defines that the male bonding between brothers was valued and had an important impact on the most fundamental unit of the society.

Now, as people started moving out of their small towns. As bigger cities offered jobs and dreams and opportunities. The joint family structure could not survive.  The brothers started moving away for their personal pursuit. They started living in college hostels and with flat mates. They were driven away from the family. But, the need to feel a part of a family didn’t die.

The need for the feeling of one-ness and togetherness is expressed in the lobby system or the wing system of the hostel in any campus.

The need for a joint family for us Indians is hereditary, it’s a part of our basic psyche and it exists for both men and women equally. While thrown out of the joint family system, the Indian male looks for bromance (the short for those Old Monk night-outs with the freedom to talk dirty), the Indian woman looks for a similar set-up. She creates her own set of Saas (mother-in-law), Sasur (father-in-law), Devar (brother-in-law) out of the friends she has in her surroundings. Ever wondered why that friend-philosopher-guide friend (read Saas) of hers knows every embarrassing detail of your relationship? Why your girl friend can’t get rid of that manipulative senior/boss (read Sasur) who tries to patronize her, though to your amusement never takes physical advantage of her? Why despite of she still wanting to marry you, can’t help but reciprocate to the flirtatious ways of that ‘close’ male friend (read Devar) of hers?

Wherever they go they build their own nests, their own ‘family-experience’ club and play family-family!
The generation is getting bromantic, rather more conscious of the fact that it exists and less apologetic about it, and as a result the number of bromantic films are increasing. I don’t know where it all started in my industry. Sholay comes to my mind. Many others I remember some frames of but not the name of the films they belonged to. Dil Chahta Hai has been given the credit to legitimize it. PKP took it further and many others like ZNMD are cashing on it. It’s the next in-thing!

Doston se bicchhad kar ye haqiqat khuli Ghalib...Beshaq 'Kamine' the magar raunaq unhi se thi
BROMANCE is the Indian World War 2 for film makers here.

Why this sudden wave of films on bromance? Why the sudden talk of it? Why the sudden need of it among the younger generation?

To answer the first two, don’t burn your brains much. The wave of films about anything is no proof of a social change. Most of the times, if not always, it’s simply because of the box-office collections of a single film. In this case, Dil Chahta Hai! Who doesn’t want a hit here?

The need of it among the younger generations is caused mainly by the increasing difference in the things two subsequent generations needed or found important. Look at it from this point of view. The successful for our parents were the financially sound. The successful for us …well, we don’t know! Our parents were either poor or rich while we could be creative, not-creative, in an existential dilemma or spiritually sound, passionate or dispassionate, etc., if not all! The one thing our generation is sure about is the fact that it is confused! We are in a crisis situation of sorts, to fight which we need fellow brothers in arms. That too to ponder over. Together. With Old Monk. And that’s it!

Bromance just for the sake of it. An end in itself! And the trend is not gender biased or status biased. The riches of Dil Chahta Hai needed it; so did the not-so-riches of Pyaar ka Punchnama!

But unlike DCH, Pyaar ka Punchnama has often been accused of being chauvinistic and even pretentious. We don’t want to debate that.

Like I remember once when I and Sumit were talking to Luv over dinner while we were barely half way through writing PKP. We were talking about films in general and the maker’s honesty behind making a film and I remarked, “Apni film honest to nahi hai!”

And Luv went, “Kaise nahi hai be?”
Nahi, Matlab… Ham dono side to nahi kah rahe hain naa?”
Dono side kahna honest hai? ,....Dono side kahna hypocritic hai… dishonest hain! Art nahi hai. Essay hai!”

And we realized, we did not want to say it all. We didn’t know what ‘all’ was. And we guess nobody does. We were making a movie, not a documentary. Nor were we writing a book. To say it all about an issue was never the idea when Luv conceptualized the film. He wanted to say the part of an issue he knew fully and felt passionately about!

Pyaar ka Punchnama takes a stand and taking a stand, even if some find it pretentious or even if it is pretentious, requires courage.


{ Manojendu } at: May 16, 2012 at 4:00 AM said...

I liked PKP because it didn't say too many things, and whatever it said it was honest about it! That said, it is also possible to say both sides and elevate it to the level of art, all essays are not just critique of art, some can become art themselves.

But in a movie like PKP one shouldn't bloat the content by justification of both sides, that kills it. If you want to tell the story of the other side, make another film! :-)

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