Moving on to the long-awaited part two of the top 10 Bollywood films of all-time, and this time, we’re throwing it back to the glorious epic Karan Johar and Yash Raj classic hits – which I also consider as the intro to Bollywood!
You can check out part one here!
6. Kal Ho Naa Ho
Naina, a girl living a dreary life, finds a new meaning to her life when she meets Aman. Even though she loves him, Aman claims to be a married man and convinces Rohit, her friend, to woo her.
King Shah Rukh Khan plays the effervescent Aman Mathur in this film, and breaks and shatters every girl’s heart into tiny little pieces. Mark my word, Aman Mathur is the Jack Dawson of Bollywood. Every second-gen South Asian girl’s heart was first broken by Aman. How do I even continue to write without breaking down? Gosh, this film. Not only is it hilarious, packed with family drama, but it is utterly romantic and is responsible for the impossibly high standards for all our romantic relationships.
Aman… is full of life… in the metaphorical sense. Naina… is very much not. Traumatised, pessimistic and easily irritated, Naina is the total opposite to Aman. Her family are always arguing, still struck by the loss of their father, her best friend Sweetu is both annoying(ly charming, I’ll add), and her grandmother is always trying to get her married off (for every parent and Aunty reading this… please stop). Her one joy is her other best friend – Rohit, clueless, trying, slightly dopey, but always lovely and genuinely good-hearted. And then comes Aman, upending and transforming her life, if only she would let him. But, of course, the course of true love never did run smooth…
So, that’s the synopsis. This film is special. From Aman reading out an improvised romantic speech from a blank diary, to one of the greatest Bollywood songs ever (‘Maahi Ve’) that still continues to be played at Mehndi’s, to how to win over a girl in 6 days (or was it 7?), the impending heartbreak, but, finally, eventually rediscovering love, joy, and making each moment count because who knows? Tomorrow may never come. Also, Aman sings a whole choreographed song called ‘Pretty Woman’ the very moment he sees Naina, and, ah! The hopeless romantic in me squealed. Also, I hope no relative ever sees me squealing about romance, otherwise my reputation will be khatam.
Okay. Go watch this film! Go get your heartbroken too! Treat yourself! You deserve it!
Kal Ho Naa Ho is available on Netflix.
7. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
Rahul, the adopted older son of a rich couple, is banished by his father when he chooses to marry a middle-class woman. Years later, his younger brother, Rohan, sets out to find him.
Now, if Aman broke every girl’s heart, then Rahul and Anjali stitched it back together. And Kareena Kapoor Khan and Hrithik Roshan were a sight for sore eyes. We all wanted to be Poo (played by Kareena) and we all wanted to date Rohan (Hrithik). Seriously, the amount of dreams I had about Hrithik Roshan growing up? He was my erm… awakening of sorts. This man… is one of the most beautiful men you’ll ever see. Forget Michele Morrone because could he even look anywhere as good as a beardless Hrithik Roshan? No chance.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is the second Bollywood film (you’ll see the next below) we, second-gens, grew up watching and loving. It’s a staple Karan Johar film and sort of a traditional Bollywood film in the sense that it follows the old-school formula: guy meets girl who’s out of his social class, falls in love, marries her, gets disowned, and the rest I’ll leave for you to find out for yourself! But what makes this different is the pairing of Shah Rukh Khan (Rahul) and Kajol (Anjali). No Bollywood couple will ever come quite close to the on-screen chemistry of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. Rahul is an introverted, grumpy and party-hating mama’s boy but is wonderfully romantic, teasing and flirtatious with the initially reluctant and disbelieving but passionate, energetic, party-loving and fiery Anjali. It’s an absolute dream for anyone who’s a fan of opposites attract romances.
Rahul falls in love with Anjali for her spirit, uniqueness, outspokenness and stubbornness as well as her constant ‘pot’ breaking. The way Rahul absolutely adores Anjali is plainly felt by anyone watching. Who doesn’t want to be loved like that?
And then there’s POOJA! An icon. An inspiration. Showstopper. Absolutely enamoured by her own looks and who knows her worth. Poo(ja) refuses anything and anyone that doesn’t match up to her high standards. And why shouldn’t she? Have you seen her?
Intermingling with romance and pot-breaking, is the important theme of family and honouring your parents and the beautiful and unbreakable bond between mother and son. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care much about that, I was way more invested in the love stories.
And I can’t leave you without an image of Hrithik Roshan either, how rude would that be? Seriously, this film is hilarious, heartwarming, one for a rainy day and one you can always watch on repeat. A Bollywood classic!
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is available on Netflix.
8. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
After reading the letter her mother had written for her before she died, Anjali decides to bring together her widowed father, Rahul, with his true love who is also named Anjali.
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Kabhi Khushie Kabhi Gham, and, of course, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The three films that made us fall in love with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol as an on-screen couple and why Shah Rukh Khan is called ‘The King of Romance’. While DDLJ is a flawless film and there really is absolutely nothing I can criticise about it, I just loved Kuch Kuch Hota Hai more because it’s continuously funny with rarely a dull moment to be found.
It’s not been without criticism, however. Many have questioned: “How come he only falls in love with her when she, Anjali, grows out her hair and dresses up ‘like other girls’?” And that is true also. But, erm, I hate to say it, you, and for a character in this case too, but Rahul can only be attracted to who he’s attracted to, and that doesn’t make Anjali any less beautiful than she was.
So what’s to love about this film? Rahul and Anjali start off as best friends flicking each other’s noses (I said noses not bogeys) before the beautiful Tina (played by Rani Mukerji) comes along and they find themselves sort of drifting apart, though not because Anjali wants to. “Love is friendship,” and I couldn’t agree more. Which is why it’s heart-breaking to watch Anjali disappear from Rahul’s life because he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. Not that she ever told him. She just couldn’t. And that scene where Anjali throws her red scarf to Tina? Raise your hands if you pretended you got the case of the Tracy Beaker hay fever tears during this scene? I always have to look away if I want to avoid crying because this scene still gets me to this day.
But Anjali never moves on. Not really. Not even when the charming, handsome and adoring Aman comes along. Even writing this, my heart still breaks for Anjali. Former tomboy, bright, bubbly, full of energy and with a big heart full of love for her loved ones. She is completely different in the second half of the film, and it looks as if it’s only when Rahul comes back in her life that she has a genuine smile on her face. To be honest, I say screw Rahul, but I guess the heart wants what it wants. This film definitely showed me that sometimes love sucks too, but it’s not without its brighter moments, and if you stay true to who you are and what you want, you might (sorry, I can’t make promises!) eventually get it.
In the meantime, you can swoon over the iconic rain dance in a red saree, and be absolutely bamboozled as to how young Anjali, aged 8, could possibly even understand her mum’s letters let alone attempt to bring Rahul and Anjali back together. Make it make sense?
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is available on Netflix.
Narayan is a strict principal of Gurukul who does not believe in love and forbids his students from following their hearts. However, things take a turn when a music teacher challenges his authority.
If ‘Love Wins’ was a film, it would be Mohabbatein. I’ll be honest, I don’t really care about the whole winning over the slightly mean-spirited and never-smiling Narayan Shankar into finally allowing his students to fall in love and find love for themselves. Not that all of that isn’t great and the reveal of who soulful and poetic Raj Aryan (who I’m also assuming is a character inspired by Robin Williams in ‘Dead Poets Society’) really was a massive twist and, of course, the Aishwarya Rai cameo was a delight because, let’s face it, she is easily one of the most beautiful women to exist on the planet. But, really, it’s the three student’s love stories that are the best parts of this film and why it ultimately ranks in this list.
Why one love story when you can have three? And throw in Preeto and Kake for good measure too for mature viewers too! My absolute favourite of the three love stories is Sameer and Sanjana. Childhood best friends and finally reunited, Sameer was in love with Sanjana for as long as he can remember. Sameer is the boy-next-door and Sanjana is the ultimate girl-next-door. They’re both so perfect for each other. BUT! Sanjana’s already in a relationship. Boo!
Sanjana, a girly girl, smiley, bubbly, and fiery, sure knows how to tell her father that he’s changing who he is to make himself more attractive for his date and explain exactly why that’s bloody stupid. Sadly, she isn’t taking her own advice. Ha! I’m not going to lie, I’m sure many of us have at one point done that, but, eventually, thankfully, come to our senses. Because someone who really loves you and cares for you will love you exactly as you are. And that includes how you dress too. Hands down, Sanjana and Sameer are one of the most under-rated Bollywood couples of all-time. And, sure, there are basically five romantic pairings in this film which means limited screen space, but for the time Sanjana and Sameer are on our screens, it leaves us all with a lot to think about.
Now, if you’re a fan of enemies to lovers, you might prefer Ishika and Vicky. Queen bee, feisty, and unimpressed, but a secret romantic and endearingly principled, Ishika is badass. Vicky (Vikram) is a class clown, outgoing, talks a WHOLE lot and is so in awe of Ishika, but never afraid to tell her when she’s wrong either. Then there’s Kiran and Karan, for fans of forbidden romance (well, sort of). Kiran is a widow, reserved, kind, loyal to a fault to her father-in-law and his memory of his son whom he still refuses to believe is dead. She even volunteers at a hospital for children! Karan… is hot, in the Jaime from Love Island type of hot. Charming, mature, emotionally intelligent and respectful. Too good to be true. Another pair you just know are perfect for each other.
The songs are amazing too, I especially find myself listening to ‘Aankhein Khuli’ and ‘Soni Soni’ a lot, and, by that, I mean Sameer and Sanjana’s parts, of course!
So, five love stories. Tell me who your favourite couple is from Mohabbatein?
10. Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na
Best friends Jai and Aditi make for a perfect couple but refuse to consider a romantic relationship. However, when they start dating other people, they realise that they are actually in love.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a Karan Johar or Yash Raj classic, but it IS one of THE BEST friends to lovers love stories you’ll ever watch! I LOVE both Aditi and Jai. Jai is very similar to Sameer from Mohabbatein except he basically tends to every single whim and fancy that strike Aditi. Who wouldn’t like that? Aditi’s lost a pet? Buy her a new one. Aditi’s crying? Sing a whole song to cheer her up. He is very much a best friend in every sense of the word(s). He has such a maternal vibe; you can’t help but love him. Aditi, on the other hand, is (oh boy, I use this word a lot) fiery, DRAMATIC, EMOTIONAL and is either extremely happy or extremely sad. There is no in between. You might hate Aditi, but I find her fairly relatable. This sounds weird, but Jai reminds me of my cousin who has been one of my closest friends ever, and we have a very similar friendship.
Jai finds another woman who’s just as soft as him and Aditi finds a man who’s as tough as she thinks she is… turns out that she’s not really that tough. Jai proves that just because he’s caring, sweet and a diplomatic mediator, when the situation calls for it, he can be far more tough than anyone could presume him to be. And Aditi finds out macho masculinity and dominance isn’t all that great, and actually pretty harmful when it comes down to it.
Your heart will break watching Aditi realise that Jai is drifting apart after meeting Meghna. Genelia D’Souza’s acting is brilliant here. Imran Khan… eh, I think he could have improved significantly and made it more believable in the song ‘Kahin Toh Hogi Woh’. Regardless, I love how everything ties in wonderfully at the end at the airport scene. Horses, chases, and finally singing the ‘oh my God, I’m in love’ song (that’s not what the song is actually called).
Another beautiful scene in Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na is the scene where Aditi’s brother finally explains to Aditi why he’s resentful towards her and constantly picking fights with her, and it will warm your heart.
Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na is available on Netflix.
Have you watched any of these films? What are some of your favourite Bollywood films? If you’re a newbie or looking to watch a Bollywood film, which are you planning to watch? What other Bollywood films would you recommend? Let me know in the comments!