Bollywood Made Me Question The Romance Of Romeo & Juliet

Our resident guru on all things romance, Renu, gives us a radical Romeo & Juliet interpretation. 

Recently I watched a Bollywood film titled Ishaqzaade, which – loosely translated – means ‘Love, Rebels’.

The movie told of two families of opposing cultural tribes (Hindu and Muslim), in which the black sheep defy all odds and fall in love with each other – a classic, can’t-do-wrong plot.

A plot that is identical to Romeo & Juliet. But what I thought was just another adaption of Shakespeare’s play turned out to be something far more pertinent.

The name Romeo & Juliet makes girls (and guys) sigh and scoff in equal measure. William Shakespeare’s most ‘romantic’ play portrays an infamous act of love, rebellion and lust, some finding the suicides of the besotted pair beautiful, others stupid.

My entire life I have grasped at, and adored, every version that offered itself to me. I have read the play and seen three adaptions; Baz Lurhman’s Modern-Mafia take, that old one with the Zac Efron lookalike, and even more recently the adaptation starring Douglas Booth. All the while I have longed for my Romeo, questioning whether or not I would ever die for love as Juliet for he. And the answer was a hands-down yes! Okay…sort of yes.

Throughout cinema’s history the Romeo & Juliet concept has been memorably re-imagined many times; West Side StoryGnomeo and Juliet… Even The Lion King 2 was loose interpretation.

But the re-imagining in Ishaqzaade is far less glamorous. 

Gnomeo and Juliet
Gnomeo and Juliet

Straying from the basic plot, our Romeo decides to ‘trick’ Juliette into falling in love with him, getting married under the watch of both Hindu and Muslim Gods, along with blackmailing her family into dropping out of the upcoming county elections so his father can win. Extreme and brash, his actions lead to his mother dying and the families agreeing to kill their children as punishment for their actions…before carrying on as usual.

The film has a strong, underlying message: thousands of couples in India are banished/killed/scorned by society and their families because of their interracial love. The film calls for change in society, to accept and embrace love of all sorts regardless of religion, cultural or status.

After seeing Ishaqzaade, I questioned the romance of Romeo & Juliet. I realised that the story has been over romanticised through the years, sweetened up to show love as we want to accept it; fatally, heartbreakingly passionate…

But for thousands of people in India and all over the world, Romeo & Juliet is quite literally the story of their life, without the any happy reconciliation or starstruck romance.

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Top 5 Contemporary Vampire Comedies

The vampire corner of the horror genre has lent itself to some of the best dramatic movies of recent times; Let the Right One In being the ultimate example.

But can vampires be funny? Is sucking people’s blood really that hilarious? Apparently.

Our resident guru on all things fanged (??), Renu, gives us a rundown of the Top 5.

5. Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

Cirque Du Freak Reilly Hutcherson

Okay okay – so it’s more action than comedy and a little gut wrenching at times, but it is still pretty funny. This movie follows a teenage boy turned vampire’s assistant as a consequence of stealing the vampire’s pet spider.

Based on the book series by the same name written by Darren Shan, it’s worth the watch, ticking all the boxes of a good gory vampire movie and starring a young Josh Hutcherson as the boy alongside his master John C. Reilly (guaranteeing laughs).

5 Lucky Heroes That Should Have Died But Didn’t

4. Dark Shadows

Dark-Shadows-large-johnny-depp

With the movie starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, you can pretty much guess it’s directed by the legendary Tim Burton. This retro remake of the old TV show is about a vampire (Depp) brought out of his coffin and into the 70’s. Returning to his home, Depp’s character comically adjusts to life with TVs, music and his dysfunctional descendants.

3. Vampires Suck

vampires-suck-makeup

This infamous spoof of Twilight was all the rage back when it first came out. With a great cast, this comedy exploits the teen Saga, emphasising all its faults like any good parody – particularly the sparkling vampire concept. With a musical number and Chihuahuas, it just keeps getting better – Hallelujah (it’s raining men)!

The 1 Reason Why Twilight is better than The Hunger Games…

2. Vampire Academy

vampire academy

It’s not even supposed to be a comedy, but if the shoe fits, right? Following the story of two girls, Lissa and Rose, in a quest to save their clan from the evil grasps of the opposing vampire race, what could’ve been an action film with two strong female leads is now a disaster and had me in tears of disappointed shock. If you’ve read the book by the same name and loved it, don’t watch the movie!

1. What We Do In The Shadows

Following the behind-the-scenes life of three vampires living together, this ‘documentary style’ film plays up the weird and wonderful supernatural powers vampires have, portraying them as regular human beings… who are just dead – or undead. Yet to be officially released, this is an absolute gem you must catch if you can.

Do you agree, or do you prefer another neck-chomping laugh-fest? Let us know via

Twitter @MovieMasticator, or Our Facebook Page!

The Moment Divergent Diverged From The Point

Our resident guru on all things teen-related (??), Renu, lays a rebuke on Divergent. 

Those of you who have seen Divergent – the dystopian sci-fi teenage-girl-saves-the-world thriller – would know it’s based on a book by Veronica Roth of the same name.

I love the book – A LOT – so I was worried that the movie wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Surprisingly it did for the most part, however I had one big issue.

When the character Tris Prior (played by Shailene Woodley) was put in a compromising situation under the final stimulation test, there was a huge misinterpretation in the translation from text to screen.

The 1 Reason Twilight is Better than The Hunger Games

As you may already know, the stimulation tests are designed to unearth the fears of the Initiates, based on personal experience or values. In the book, Tris shows her fear of intimacy with her mentor/boyfriend, Four (played by Theo James), which makes sense with her roots in the faction ‘Abnegation’, one that values selflessness.

Tris had been brought up with a distinct lack of intimacy, in an environment that taught her to prioritise the needs and comfort of others before hers. Her decision to join the faction ‘Dauntless’, a polar opposite to ‘Abnegation’, also brought with it a change of values. She learnt to become more selfish, less ‘stiff’ – as the other members call her. She vows to remember her roots with her tattoos of the three ravens, one for each of her family.

However those birds also represent her fears in the stimulation.

The warm feelings she develops towards Four, a fellow former ‘Abnegation’ member, are all alien to her due to her fear of intimacy. So it’s safe to assume she’d be reserved about getting close with him, right?

But the way the movie showed Four forcing himself onto Tris was far too animalistic. There was no scope for Tris to be able to trust Four with it painting him as a monster, forcing himself onto his girlfriend in the least sensitive way possible.

Everyone is afraid of being in a sexually oppressive situation like that. In my opinion, this scene could potentially send the wrong message to teenage girls, those who idolise Tris. Instead of showing that it’s okay to be afraid of something you’re not used to – in this case intimacy – they made it seem as though a girl’s only way out is through violence.

Why The Hunger Games isn’t feminist…

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