Timeless Tales of Love Bollywood’s Top 10

Love knows no boundaries. Valentine’s Day can be rightly considered to be “The festival of love.” Valentine’s Day or V-day is celebrated on February 14, across the world. On Valentine’s Day, lovers express their affection to each other with the help of cards, love notes, flowers, gifts or even confectionaries. Across the world, writers, poets and moviemakers have dived deep into the realms of love and come up with works that have been able to stir the emotion of love in masses and keep the fire burning. Bollywood is no exception. Love stories have always been Bollywood’s hot favorite. Bollywood has come up with some really exceptional love stories of all times. This V-day, we bring you in a count-down format 10 timeless tales of love right from the house of Bollywood.

10) Aashiqui -1990

Aashiqui as a romantic movie can score a perfect 10 just because of its purely romantic, lovely, rich and extraordinarily melodious music. Though a track or two is stolen themes, Aashiqui  created Nadeem -Shrawan.

Produced by Gulshan Kumar, Aashiqui also scores as one of the finest works from director Mahesh Bhatt, who excelled in his own genre — his mastery in description of relationships in life, view of love. The movie carries a message that when you love something, love it from the depth of your heart. Rahul Roy and Anu garwal became famous and youngsters’ heartthrobs. Aashiqui is clean, simplistic, emotional and complete.

9) Dil Hai Ke Manta nahin- 1991

Pooja (Pooja Bhatt) is a rich man’s (Anupam Kher) daughter, who leaves her father to reach her boy friend Deepak Kumar. In her journey she meets a young and cute reporter Raghu (Aamir), who promise her to take her to her boyfriend. Raghu and Pooja fall in love with one another. Dil Hai Ke Manta is a frame – by – frame copy of the 1934 Hollywood classic It happened One Night, which won five academy awards too, but Mahesh Bhatt directed a blockbuster out of another. This movie can rank among one of the best in Bollywood history in its treatment of characters, situations and connection.

It is a 1991 movie, but still this movie or its music is as refreshing as it was 18 years ago. The movie had comic, action, melodrama and tons of romance. With Amir Khan and Pooja Bhatt in the lead of course, it was also pure and clean family fun with zero dosage of vulgarity or cheapness. The scene where the two danced to an old song playing from the radio  is perfect.

Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin remains Gulshan Kumar’s best movie. And for Mahesh Bhatt, this was the finest and most acclaimed work. The trio continued with Nadeem-Shravan giving their sweetest, soul – touching, and everlasting music  composition. It’s here that Sameer became a lyricist to reckon with.

With Dil Hai, pundits recognized that Amir Khan is a talent for ages as versatile an actor as industry could get; a fact that was proven year after year till now. Aamir excelled as a mouthed reporter and the role looked tailor-made for him. Movie ran full houses and audience watched it again and again.

Some tracks from the movie are worth ranking as magical.  Music and creativity of Bhatt and Nadeem-Saravan sliced through the hearts of many with their numbers. Kumar Sanu scored his best acclaimed number to date in the popular climax-anticlimax situation.

8) Love Story – 1981

In 50s the song, Jab pyaar kiya to darna kya, from Mughal-e-Azam had to be banned from airing on all India radio as it became a message for young lovers to run-away with their soul-mates against the so-called Zaalim samaaj (literally, evil society). Love Story was the beginning of a new era, an era that will see the sons of stars of yester years to rule Bollywood in decades to come. The movie had some daring scenes that slipped the censor somehow. The theme challenged conservative norm of waiting for the one you love and the message of Jab pyaar kiya to darna kya came back in fashion.    

Here’s the story: Bunty and Pinky meet under peculiar circumstances and fall in love. Their love shapes into an unbreakable bond but their parents stand in the path of their love. Directed by Rajendra Kumar, Love Story launched his son Kumar Gaurav. Vijeta Pandit also made an impressive debut (but then disappeared after some years). The film became a “blockbuster” at the box-office and made Kumar Gaurav a “Star” overnight. Gaurav who was (and still is) a less than average acting talent, came as a fresh young heartthrob.

Also launched with a huge buzz was the career of playback Amit Kumar who won the Filmfare Best Male Playback Singer Award, over other nominees, including his father Kishore Kumar. Love Story’s soundtrack is a “must have” for all times.

7) Hero – 1983

It was a challenge to cast a non-actor in the title role. But the great show man and director Subhash Ghai’s keen eye for talent created history with Hero at the box-office – a unique love story of a criminal and a beauty.  Beautiful and talented Meenakshi Sheshadhri’s career was truly launched with this mega buster (she had appeared in a couple of other not-so-famous movies before). This movie shot Jackie Shroff to stardom and for which he still obliges to Subhash Ghai. Jackie (Jackie Shroff) plays a Bombay-based hitman, who kidnaps the daughter of the police commissioner to force the release of his don from jail, only to fall in love with this pretty damsel.

The love story between criminal and hostage charms audiences even today when the soulful flute triumphs over gun shots. The movie, in spite of having a simple story line, became instant hit owing to its very sensitive touch of direction and great music. And this one could actually also rank in thrills and action with macho Jackie-dada in the lead.

Songs from Hero like Nindiya se jaagi bahar, and Lambi Judai topped the charts till several years later. Lambi Judai was one number that millions of broken hearts related to. The deep voice of Pakistani veteran singer Reshma made this song a classic.

6) Betaab – 1983

The 1980s gave Bollywood five big love stories and five mega male stars. Whereas Love Story and Kumar Gurav was the first one among those, Betaab and Sunny Deol are on that list too. Starring Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh in their debut roles, Betaab went on to become the biggest hit of the year 1983. Story of two childhood sweethearts reuniting in life with fate testing their commitment to each other and to love that bonded them together was a takeoff from Oscar nominated classic Taming of the Shrewd (Richard Burton/Liz Taylor). Amrita and Sunny made a great pair for those young, crazy, restless love types of films.    

The movie is shot in the beautiful valley of Tekam Garh and embedded with awesome melodies of maestro R.D. Burman.

5) Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (K2H2) – 1998

With K2H2, Director Karan Johar reminded the audiences that the greatest love stories ever told are those that wither the pain of loss and perseverance and are founded on faith. (Not to mention that K2H2 marked his directorial debut) So touching and moving was the movie that when it was being run in cinemas, almost everyone in the hall had teary eyes throughout the moments in the movie.

Watching the movie, you can be assured that the climax would bring emotions out in you like no other movie has before. The movie is not a tragedy but it connects and that is the signature of a masterpiece.

The movie opens with Rahul (Shah Rukh), who has just lost his wife, Tina, due to childbirth. His daughter, Anjali and his mother are all he is left with. Tina has left eight letters for her daughter to read on every birthday. The eighth one is the most
important. Anjali reads the letter and Tina discusses in the letter about his best friend, Anjali. There is an important task that Tina has asked her daughter to carry out. It’s up to Anjali to do it.

From the beginning, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a love triangle, story of Rahul and Anjali (Kajol) entangled with Rani Mukerji and Salman Khan along the way.

Jatin-Lalit though had created waves with scores of Joh Jeeta Wohi Sikandar in their early career and later with DDLJ, but they got on my list of complete musicians with the score of KKHH. They created the catchy tunes and the sad ones with equal class. The sad climax number Tujhey yaad na meri aayee is a top one.

Each character in the movie is built with presence. Great chemistry between Shahrukh and Kajol that started in DDLJ graduated in KKHH and continued after this into later ventures such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham winning them many nominations and prizes. Had they not stopped appearing together, they would have gotten the Nobd prize for chemistry (pun intended!).

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai swept all major film fair awards for the year including Best Actor, Actress and Best Supporting Actor and Actress alongside the Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay, etc. This is the movie that made Karan Johar the star director and he never looked back.

4) Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, when released became one of the most talked about movies from Bollywood. Bhansali showed his genius creating a cinema event packed with superb acting, beautiful costumes and dazzling scenery.

Storyline is of half-Indian, half-Italian Sameer (Salman Khan), who comes to India to learn classical music from Darbar (Vikram Gokhale) and falls for Darbar’s daughter, Nandini (Aishwarya Rai). Aishwarya Rai gave a performance of a life-time and Salman Khan got nominated for all the awards out there. But the story took major turn when Ajay Devgan entered to make it a triangle. Music of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam had a fresh tone and unique beats. Ismail Darbar created a parallel world and Leela Bhansali was successful in taking the audience through this world with colorful magic.

The movie won eight Filmfare awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Music Score, Song, Best Actress, Male Playback (Udit Narayan for Chand chupa baadal), Cinematography Choreography (Saroj Khan for Nimboda) and Art Direction.

The movie portrays no average love triangle, but a unique perspective on love, devotion, sacrifice and our conservative morals, all so beautifully tackled by the star cast.

3) Maine Pyaar Kiya – 1989

Sooraj Barjatiya made his debut as a film-maker with Maine Pyaar Kiya. A film that cemented the emergence of romantic cinema as the most appreciated form of movie-making in Bollywood. Just like in early 1980s when Love Story, Betaab and  Rocky back- to-back brought young fresh faces to the industry, in the late 1980s Qayamat se Qayamat Tak followed by Maine Pyaar Kiya in back-to-back years became the perfect storm of love.

The 1980s gave five mega stars and five mega love stories (listed above) and Maine Pyaar Kiya and Salman Khan very much make this list significant.
Maine Pyaar Kiya is simply a movie very well made. Editing, screenplay, chemistry between all actors is simply perfect. It brought family bonds, camaraderie and traditions to center stage once again and came like a whiff of fresh air when violence and vulgarity ruled the films. From the movie simplistic one liners like Hota hai hota hai, Dosti mein no sorry no thank you, and Abhi  mood nahin hai became the most popular and  cutest friendship lines among youngsters.

Bhagyashree’s Maine Pyaar Kiya conquest fit the description of “she came, she smiled and she conquered.” Though she did not continue her career in Bollywood after this mega success, for one year in the deck of Romeos, she was the “queen of hearts.” She portrayed the perfect next door girl. Her charm, dimpled smile, long hair and simple questions were adored by Hindi movie fans worldwide.

Music of Maine Pyaar is by Raamlaxman who, unlike other famous directors of Bollywood has only few mega credits to his name most famously the number Didi tera dewar deewana from Hum Aapke hain kaun. But it is with Maine Pyaar Kiya that Raamlaxman got a bulls-eye. Raamlaxman got full support from the director, who used the friendship cap, sun glasses and above all, the very old messenger – a Kabutar (a dove); very smart and candid and if it is done with heart-felt melodies, it is simply out of this world.

In the days of 1989-1991 in many of the band performances in various colleges and community functions, musicians will open the show playing themes music from Maine Pyaar Kiya songs and often Dil deewana bin sajna ke and  almost always, “Kabutar Ja Ja”. This would get the crowd all claps and moving feet from the first strum.

Maine Pyar Kiya was the biggest hit of 1989 in India winning several awards including the Best Film of the Year. This remains one of the most successful Bollywood movies of the 1980s. It is an absolute family entertainer not to be missed. A movie that would make you want to become a teenager and fall in love again. It will make you say the tag-line one more time — “I love you so much, it hurts!”

2) Qayamat se Qayamat Tak -1988

QSQT came out at a time when Bollywood had stopped making pure romantic movies for years. The last love story that made box-office success was Hero and that too had an action man in the lead. QSQT was the freshest breeze of air. Mansoor Hussain directed for Nasir Khan, who launched his family man Amir Khan. Juhi Chawla, who had till then did one movie Sultanat actually got her big break in this movie.

This movie is the cutest of love stories among this countdown, other than Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin. One might wonder if the reason is that both movies star Amir Khan.

QSQT is scripted as a movie about two young lovers from traditional feuding families (Romeo and Juliet). The couple escape and are chased by their parents. When they find no hope for their love, they decide to die and make their love immortal. The film was a blockbuster making Amir Khan and Juhi Chawla household names.

QSQT is a movie that should be dedicated to also Udit Narayan and that for his one of the all time greatest hit ever, of course none other than the anthem of teenagers and adults alike.

But Alka Yagnik and music director Anand Milind’s best works ever are also showcased in this inspiring love story.

Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak can be regarded as the landmark movie in the history of Indian cinema. It delivered as the whole package of romance from music to art directions, melodrama, emotions, story line to the young fresh actors. Together they shifted the focus away from the violence and action trend that was prevalent in the films at the time. Perhaps one of the greatest contributions of QSQT is that it also made melodious tunes once again popular over the 1980s trend of Disco and Break-dance.

1) Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

DDLJ has been ranked at #1 for many reasons. This is the only movie that could top Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak  to this spot. The film that may soon make an entry into the Guinness Book Of World Records, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge ran in one Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir for over 650 weeks (over 12 years breaking Sholay’s record). The film won 10 Filmfare awards – a record for a Hindi film.

A complete entertainer, DDLJ was a sweet love story in an NRI backdrop. Directed by Yash Chopra’s eldest son, Aditya Chopra at the age of 23, it was a trendsetter of sorts with the lead couple being second generation Indians living in England with deep Indian values.

Boy meets girl, sparks fly, love
grows, and parents disapprove but finally true love triumphs. The storyline seems pretty common, but what was different here was that the two NRI kids decided not to rebel but get married only with their parents’ blessings and that struck a chord with so many of us and our parents.

DDLJ’s character of Raj gave Shah Rukh the platform to become a mega star. Shah Rukh went from a struggling actor to a one-man show, nobody expected him to make such an impact on audiences as the romantic hero but he did.

DDLJ rose to become the top Bollywood film of the 1990s and after seeing it you may say that you can’t think of one that was better in 1990s or after. There are some that are just as good but you may not recall seeing one that’s better. An Indian female film critic summarized the unusual success of DDLJ the best. “It’s not a real story. And these things don’t happen in real life. But it didn’t feel manipulated. The story was told from the heart, acted from the heart and it had an emotional honesty, which connects with the audience even today.”

The music of the film was super hit and made alive by Shah Rukh – Kajol chemistry that that was exothermic on screen. Jatin-Lalit and Anand Bakhshi duo created melodies for a life time.

Interesting fact is that DDLJ is one of the only two Hindi movies listed in “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die,” a film reference book compiled by various critics worldwide. The other Hindi movie in the list is director Ramesh Sippy’s masterpiece —Sholay.

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