It's not all song and dance when it comes to Indian romance movies - there are many impediments in the path of love, like the rich-poor divide, caste, religion, jealousy and even death!
AWARA (1951) – Hindi – Rita meets her childhood friend, Raj after many years, and they fall in love. However, Raj happens to be a petty criminal thanks to Jagga who was wronged many years ago, by Raj's estranged father. Of course, love triumphs against social divides in the end.
MADHUMATI (1958) – Hindi - A classic Indian tale of rebirth and memories of other lifetimes, Madhumati is about an engineer who visits an old house whose objects trigger memories of a previous lifetime, when his relationship with a winsome tribal girl was violently thwarted by his employer.
CHEMMEEN (1965)– Malayalam – Set in the fishing community of Kerala's sea coast, this story is of a fisherwoman who sacrifices her love and marries another. When she meets her old lover again, little does she know that the sea would claim its toll for her infidelity.
CHATTAKARI (1974)/JULIE (1975) – Malayalam/Hindi - An Anglo-Indian Christian girl falls in love with her Hindu best friend's brother and has his child out of wedlock. When her lover's mother refuses to accept her, she is all set to migrate to England.
MOONDRAM PIRAI (1982) – Tamil - Cheenu rescues a young woman with regressive amnesia from a brothel and takes her away to pristine Ooty where he becomes part-parent, part-friend to this child-woman. He struggles to keep intact this near-perfect life, but the world begins to intrude.
QAYAMAT SE QAYAMAT TAK (1988) – Hindi - Cast in the classic Romeo & Juliet mould, QSQT, as it is lovingly called, is the story of the tender romance that blossoms between a young man and young woman from two feuding families, leading to the inevitable tragic end.
GEETHANJALI (1989) – Telugu – When Prakash moves to his holiday home in Ooty to come to terms with the news of his terminal illness, he meets and falls in love with a gregarious young prankster who changes his perspective on life.
KANDUKONDAIN KANDUKONDAIN (2000) – Tamil - Adapted from Austen's Sense and Sensibility, this is the story of reticent Sowmya and hopeless romantic Meenu who end up supporting their family when they lose their inheritance. The sisters go through much heartbreak and learn to discern between romance and love.
RAINCOAT (2004) – Hindi – Manu travels to Kolkata to drum up funds for a business. He meets his old love, Neeru, and over one rainy afternoon, the two reminisce about days past, each trying to hide one's real economical condition from the other. Adapted from O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi.
JODHAA AKBAR (2008)- Hindi/Urdu - The movie recasts the tal of Mughal emperor Akbar and his Rajput Hindu wife, Jodhaa Bai as a love story, portraying them as individualistic personalities whose marriage starts out as a strategic alliance but turns into a relationship between equals.
An edited version of the article was published in Culturama's May 2013 Issue.