The Mustard Fields: An Icon Of Bollywood’s Romance

Advika Hue |Feb 17, 2019

Though Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is about a very different love story, the typical mustard fields once again appeared as the background for the romance of the film.

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There is a scene from Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga where Sweety Chaudhary (Sonam Kapoor) passed by a mustard field on her way to meet Sahil Mirza (Rajkummar Rao). It’s just a short scene, but it reminded the audience about Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), an iconic film released in 1995, where the couple Simran and Raj fell for each other in the mustard field.

However, Ek Ladki Ko… is not a typical love story, and the one whom Sweety loves is not Sahil. According to Shelly Chopra Dhar, the director of the film, they decided to use the background of heterosexual relationship to tell a homosexual love story. The director said he didn’t think of DDLJ when he directed Ek Ladki

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A scene from Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga

According to professor Rachel Dwyer, the mustard field is an image related to the Basant festivals, which is to celebrate the spring and love. Therefore, it often appears in romantic films. The first film that had mustard field science is Upkar (1967) by Manoj Kumar. Gautam Chintamani, an author and film historian, shared his opinion saying that although DDLJ wasn’t the first film to feature the mustard field scenes, its new way of focusing on mustard flowers captured the attention of everyone.

The film has earned a position for Punjab in Bollywood. The bhangra beats and dhol of Punjab, people with colorful clothes, and the love it has for romance and landscapes have defined the “Indianness” of the cinema. This image is not rustic at all. The urban and modern love DDLJ brought to Punjab made it an indispensable part of romance. The mustard fields were so charming and unique.

Many beautiful sceneries of Punjab such as riversides, old havelis, urban areas can be seen in films, but the mustard fields are still the most popular. Producer Darshan Aulakh said that since DDLJ, the directors always try to find out the mustard blossom season before they plan a shoot. The mustard fields also appeared in many other films like Singh Is Kinng, Veer Zaara, Dil Bole Hadippa, Mausam…

In an article published on Outlook Traveller, Mariellen Ward has written about the first time she came to Punjab. She shared that the Nawapind Sardaran village would always have a place in her heart because it’s the place where she realized her dream – to wear a white dupatta over her shoulders.

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A scene from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

However, the DDLJ’s song that was set in a mustard field wasn’t shot in Punjab. The director couldn’t find a yellow sea of mustard blossoms that he wanted, so the song was shot in Gurgaon instead.

Anupama Chopra, a film critic, wrote in her book that the mustard field scene was the heart of the film. That scene became an icon, but for many years, while Punjab remained a famous place, many directors have been trying to find other iconic images for their own.

And director Imtiaz Ali found the wheat field. It is the backdrop of Jab We Met, where Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan sat on a tractor talking to each other. It also appeared in Jab Harry Met Sejal, when Shah Rukh Khan came back to a house that he left many years ago, together with the one he loves. Director Ali said that when he thought of Punjab, the images of the wheat fields came to his minds.

As for director Anupama, the most daring and exciting example of Punjab’s fields romance was a scene in Dev.D. Where Mahie Gill ran to the field to make love. Chintamani said that the mustard fields might not the icon of passion for the young audience anymore. For them maybe it’s just a place in the north.

But still, for some people who love DDLJ, the mustard fields will forever be the most ideal place for a date. You can try posting a photo of a mustard field on the social media, you’ll definitely see someone mention about love in the comment section.

>>> Check these 5 Movies Like Jab We Met if you are a fan of Bollywood rom-com!


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