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'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani': The Return of the Bollywood Romance

After letting the demons of his school days to rest with the pastel-hued 'Student of the Year' superstar filmmaker Karan Johar is set to return to his unabashedly formulaic romantic roots with his latest production 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani'.

The film, produced by Johar's Dharma Productions and directed by talented young director Ayan Mukerji, features former real-life lovers Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in the main leads alongside Aditya Roy Kapur and Kalki Koechlin, wife of Anurag Kashyap and long the darling of independent Indian cinema.

Johar may not be helming the film from the director's chair, but the industry veteran says Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani will be reminiscent of the sweeping romances that he is most famous for.

"I would define the film as a perfectly formulated formulaic love story. After Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ can be put in the same bracket," Johar told reporters in Mumbai recently.

The director also lamented the fact that the epic Bollywood romance has taken a back seat in recent years and said his latest project aims to set that right.

"After Jab We Met, we haven't had a quintessential love story in Bollywood.  In the past few years, we've seen a slew of masala action entertainers and experimental cinema.  We've had films like Dabangg, Agneepath and Rowdy Rathore but in the process, genuine love stories took a back seat."

The films' romance quotient will doubtless be enhanced by the much-anticipated reunion of Kapoor and Padukone, who displayed such palpable chemistry on-screen in 2008's Bachna Ae Haseeno.

The sparks on-screen led to a much-publicized off-screen romance - not to mention a prominent and as-yet-unexpunged tattoo of the initials 'RK' on Deepika's slender neck - before an equally public break-up.

Both actors however, have declared publicly their keenness to re-unite on screen.

Johar has also enlisted the services of composer Pritam, last seen creating the intensely romantic and flawless soundtrack for the 2012 mega-hit 'Barfi'.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is the second collaboration between Johar and Mukherji, whose critically acclaimed debut feature 'Wake Up Sid' was produced by Dharma Productions and, incidentally, featured Ranbir Kapoor in the lead.

But, in spite of his influence, track record as a director and recent history as a backer of some not-insignificant blockbusters, Johar says he took a very hands off approach to 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani'.

"I can't take any credit for it.  It's completely Ayan's baby. My involvement has been limited to lending financial and moral support. Otherwise, it belongs to Ayan, Ranbir, Deepika and also Aditya and Kalki."

- Poonam Joshi

'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' is released 31 May 2013

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