Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Impetuous Fire

The notion of romantic love as peddled by Western, Hindi, Indonesian and Malay movies greatly influenced young, impressionable minds in the Sixties and Seventies. Starting with Franco Zeferelli's Romeo and Juliet (Olivia Hussey & Leonard Whiting, 1968) to Eric Segal's Love Story (Ali McGraw & Ryan O'Neal, 1970), it spread to Hindustani, Indonesian and Malay films---Bobbi (Rishi Kapoor & Dimple Kapadia), Romi dan Juli (Widyawati & Sophan Sophian), Cinta Pertama (Slamet Rahardjo & Christine Hakim) and Permintaan Terakhir (Uji Rashid & Sonny Abdullah).

The source of class conflicts were external---mainly status-conscious parents and relatives. All the young couples were so immersed in each other that no obstacle could dampen their ardor. Their world was seen through rose-colored eye glasses and their path was strewn with primroses. Trite one-liners---Love means never having to say you're sorry, memorable song and dance routines set in 16th century Verona, verdant hill stations with myriad flowerbeds and picturesque winter wonderlands (A Time For Us, Love Story, Cinta Pertama), dashing and good-looking actors who died tragic deaths---were the standard formula that never failed to pull at the audience's heart strings.  

Unfortunately, pop culture is a poor imitation of life. Its goal is to distract viewers from their everyday problems, not to confront them.    

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