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Bollywood's 10 Most Iconic Love Stories

Last updated on: September 22, 2011 15:08 IST

Bollywood's 10 Most Iconic Love Stories

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Modern-day Bollywood seems intent on giving up the romantic drama, choosing more often the more marketable rom-com.

Pankaj Kapur's directorial debut Mausam, however, looks like an old-school romance, making us list the 10 Hindi film romances that left the biggest cultural and cinematic impact, over the years.

Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Aradhana

Shakti Samanta's 1969 classic, a gut-wrenchingly emotional remake of To Each His Own, gave us Rajesh Khanna at his very best. An air force officer, he dies in a plane crash leaving behind a pregnant widow.

She lets a wealthy couple adopt the boy she gives birth to, but remains the child's nanny and watches helplessly as he grows into the spitting image of his father. A deeply dramatic and well-crafted film, this one's hard not to fall for.


Image: Aradhana movie poster

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Barsaat

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Not just does this Raj Kapoor romance boast of his legendary pairing with Nargis, but also of a completely different romantic subplot between Prem Nath and Nimmi.

Kapoor and Nargis face numerous trials and tribulations on their way to romantic union, and so spirited are the performances from the leads, and so palpable the chemistry, that the film grips you right from the start.

There's more romance in Barsaat's posters alone than in most Bollywood screenplays.

Image: Barsaat movie poster

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Bobby

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Young romance never had a representative quite like Bobby. Rich kid Raj, played by Rishi Kapoor, falls for a poor teenager, played by dazzling young debutante Dimple Kapadia.

Their fathers Pran and Prem Nath predictably object to the relationship and all hell breaks loose, but the kids themselves are absolutely stunning in the parts, injecting freshness and verve into Hindi cinema itself with this delightful little film made by Rishi's dad.

Image: A still from Bobby

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Devdas

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There have been many screen interpretations of Sarat Chandra Chatterjee's classic novel, but none had the cinematic impact of Bimal Roy's 1955 take on the tale, starring Dilip Kumar as the drunken antihero alongside Suchitra Sen's Paro and Vyajayanthimala's Chandramukhi.

The film defined big-screen romance in the 1950s and the film continued to influence our love stories decades after it was made.

Image: A still from Devdas

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Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge

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Aditya Chopra's directorial debut is the stuff of absolute legend: Shah Rukh Khan, a beer-pinching commitment-phobic womanist falls in love with a girl he meets on a train.

This girl Kajol will soon be married to a man she doesn't know. He shows up and decides, against all Bollywood tradition, that he will not run away with her.

A forward-thinking film that, along with Hum Aapke Hain... Koun?, defanged mainstream movies by removing the villain character.

Image: A Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge movie poster

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Kaagaz Ke Phool

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Guru Dutt's exquisitely elegiac film about a man and his muse remains one of Hindi cinema's finest ever gems, and as romances go, it's hard to beat a pair like Dutt, playing a smitten film director, and the ethereal Waheeda Rehman, who plays the woman who takes his breath away.

She becomes a star after he casts her as Paro in his Devdas, but soon things go awry as his life goes to ruin and he ends up a drunken, inglorious shell of his former self. Heartbreaking, and perfect.

Image: A still from Kaagaz Ke Phool

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Lamhe

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A criticism often levelled against Yash Chopra films is that, however masterfully made, they take a tragically 'safe' route in the end, choosing family-friendliness over the mature end the film is genuinely careening toward.

This 1991 Anil Kapoor-Sridevi starrer was the exception, a progressive and almost scandalous love story featuring Sridevi at her very best and Anil Kapoor with a moustache-free upper lip.

Image: A still from Lamhe

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Maine Pyar Kiya

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As far as influential films go, this Salman-Bhagyashree starrer set the bar pretty damned high. Right from the lines about the lack of apologies and gratitude between friends to that baseball cap with Friend on it; from the carrier pigeon to the game of antakshari, everything made a helluva impact.

The Sooraj Barjatya film sounds like malarkey on paper but, thanks largely to Salman Khan and the music, has an irrepressibly naive charm that just can't be denied.

Image: A still from Maine Pyar Kiya

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Mughal-E-Azam

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It doesn't get any more epic than K Asif's period masterpiece that remains the grandest Hindi film ever made, and the romance between Dilip Kumar's Salim and Madhubala's Anarkali is too dazzling to look away from.

The actors conjure up unbelievable chemistry, making the very touch of a feather on Madhubala's gorgeous face into one of Indian cinema's most erotic moments of all time.

Image: A still from Mughal-E-Azam

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Silsila

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The most mature of our mainstream romances, Silsila is the story of two lovers torn apart by bad, loveless marriages.

It is a tale of passion and being driven to infidelity, a story where infidelity itself is more about comfort than cheating, and yet a story where the passion -- between Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha -- palpably scorches up the screen.

A very fine film, especially if you pretend the last 20 minutes never happened.

Image: A still from Silsila

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