In a digital age, analogue is the outsider, but before there was right-swiping and Facebook stalking there was conversation and magnificent gestures. For Indians who still cling to the notion of an epic romance, there’s only one true gospel, Bollywood. Between the song, dance and drama lie love stories with themes that have endured for generations and inspired relationships all over the world.
For artist Saksham Verma, this dichotomous era of affections became the inspiration for his project, Stages Of Love: A VHS Series. Through a set of 7 old Bollywood VHS covers Verma has highlighted the 7 agonising stages of being in love. From the initial butterflies of attraction to the sometimes explosive culmination he’s likened each stage to a popular Bollywood classic that he believes best embodies this emotional rollercoaster. Each of the films was carefully selected as their stories transcended the simple boy-meets-girl standard to really explore the spectrum of human emotion from the concept of consent, interracial relationships, mental illness and the inevitability of death - there’s much more than meets the eye. ‘No one connects and does anything real anymore’ says Verma, as he laments the lack of true human connection left in the modern age. ‘Modern technology is so advanced and everything is convenient, but before instead of just checking out someone you liked on social media, you’d get up and make plans with them. Now everything’s ambiguous, nobody knows where they stand because nobody makes the effort.’
The grainy images on well-worn tape covers mean so much to the pre-internet generation. They were hours spent with friends, families and lovers getting lost in the labyrinth of a timeless story. Today in the wake of another Valentine’s Day past, Verma encourages everyone with his art to recall that purer time and ‘Take a stand for love.’
To explore the full Stages Of Love series and more of Saksham’s work, click here.