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Article: Castle and Beckett – A Bollywood Romance?

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Browsing the Internet, I was surprised to see the opening title of a fan video with Castle and Beckett in a clinch in front of the iconic symbol of everlasting love, the Taj Mahal.

The song in the background is a popular love song from the Bollywood movie, Om Shanti Om (2007).

In the movie, the hero was in love with a famous actress so this song was about his unrequited love for her, with praise for the charismatic grace of her eyes, the way she made him feel as if soaring high like a kite, and the longing to let her know how he felt. The fan video is from Castle’s point of view and unexpectedly the words and feel of the song translate across borders and languages to feel true of Castle and Beckett’s story. You feel Castle’s yearning clearly, and although set in a pre-Always universe, it is easily relevant to real time because even after declaring his love, Castle may still be hesitant about asking Beckett to marry her.

Castle shipper videos are not new and nor are they restricted to songs in English as a quick YouTube search showed, with Italian, Spanish and French being other languages in which they can be viewed. To me, however, the fact that this video has been constructed to a Hindi song is fascinating because, unlike European cultures, the 3000-year old Indian culture has many non-Western ideals of love: rasa (the relish of emotional rapture); concepts of truth (sat) versus illusion (maya); renunciation (tyaga) and liberation (moksha); and purity of love (prema). Yet this video works for both the South Asian and the Western viewers. It underlines how themes of undeclared love are universal. Another reason it works is that classical Indian poetry, art and dance are driven by the unspoken.

As Castle said, “I don’t know what we are. We kiss and then we never talk about it. We nearly die frozen in each other’s arms, but we never talk about it.” (Knockout; 3X24). Castle and Beckett’s love story is familiar to the South Asian consciousness where eyes speak louder than words, and a movement of the eyebrow or a touch of the hand can be more revealing than explicit statements. In the four seasons, it has been a slow build up played out largely as a subtextual relationship.

In The Caffeinated Archives by Trueheart describes how their ritual of sharing coffee has nuanced meaning. This was confirmed by Castle in Always (4×23) when he finally tells a conscious Beckett how he feels. “Every morning I bring you a cup of coffee, just so I can see a smile on your face. Because I think you are the most remarkable, maddening, challenging, frustrating, person I’ve ever met. And I love you, Kate.” So, yes, I accept that instead of a cringe worthy mishmash, this fan video is a creative fusion. Castle and Beckett could be a Classic Bollywood Romance.

Stana Katic, who plays Kate Beckett, was in Delhi, India recently. I wonder if she visited the Taj Mahal, which is in Agra, just a day’s drive from Delhi. And I wonder if she thought about Beckett and Castle as she gazed at the graceful white dome and pillars of one of the greatest monuments to love in history.

Comments

  1. Jasodha says:

    This is an interesting comparison. I am glad you linked Beckett/Castle relationship to Classic Bollywood because relationships in Contemporary Bollywood films have little subtlety. Sadly, today’s instant-coffee-and-instant-messages audiences would not sit through a movie in which love unfolds slowly and without words. The “unspokenness” of Beckett and Castle’s relationship reminded me of the relationships in the classics Sholay (1975), Sparsh (1980), and Namkeen (1982) even though the storylines and settings could not be more different. The only Hindi movies in the last decade that I can think of that are similar in their restraint are Raincoat (2004) and Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008) and, interestingly, they both involve letters that reveal the unspoken feelings. I am sure that in some larger metaphoric way this is symbolic of the loss of relationships that were based on anticipation and delayed gratification – just as letters have been replaced by tweets.

  2. I think one of the many reasons why I like Castle so much is because, being an Indian, I connect with Castle and Beckett’s unspoken romance. In all the episodes, there is only a hint, a suggestion of romance and yet, its so powerful. That’s what stories of true love are made of – eyes that light up on seeing your loved one, a smile that is enough to brighten your day….

  3. katillion says:

    You are so right about this, Arjumand. I have heard from my cousins in India that Star World is showing Castle to great success. Kesar Maple has made several Castle Bollywood fusions with modern love songs like Teri Ore and the Mohd Rafi oldie Teri Naram Sanson and they all work because of the idea that one speaks with the eyes and that the world rejoices when two lovers meet. “Your warm breath touching me makes my nights and days fragrant” and “If you can’t call my name with your lips, call me to you with your eyes” is pure poetry. It perfectly matches the power of their romance. You can never imagine Caskett to cheap lyrics like “Munni badnam hui” or “no touching, only seeing”.

  4. southerngirl says:

    Hi katillion, I just came across your essay today while browsing other member submissions. I found it really interesting and so true. Although, I have no connection to India I agree that what is so magnetic about the Rick and Kate relationship is the unspoken subtext communication between them. Both actors are terrific in displaying this kind of language and of course AJM and Terri Edda are king an queen of romance/mystery writers. In my opinion, this type of romance has become a lost art in modern day movies and television.