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Many romantic films end with the promise of happily ever after, but the key romantic moments are often those of sorrow and sadness.
Love imagined, or love lost, makes the film more emotional.
So our list leaves aside the great romantic classics of a bygone era such as Awaara (1951), Pyaasa (1957), Mughal-e-Azam (1960), Pakeezah (1972) and Kabhi Kabhie (1976) – instead, we begin with a much beloved modern classic that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary…
This romance set amid London’s Indian diaspora was a landmark in Hindi films and is still attracting audiences in a cinema hall in Mumbai 20 years later.
Bombay has an immensely successful soundtrack by A. Rahman, with songs like ‘Humma Humma’, which accompanies their search for romance in the city, and the searingly beautiful love song ‘Tu Hi Re’/‘Only You’ when Shekhar calls Shaila to him as he waits for her in a ruined coastal fort.
She runs from home, symbolically losing her burqa, as they both declare their love for each other.
The film’s opening scene shows his love for his traditional homeland and his detachment from London where he lives.Standing in a wet, grey Trafalgar Square, feeding birds while dreaming of the yellow mustard fields of Punjab, it is his views on love that change the most during the film.Originally made in Tamil, Mani Ratnam’s Bombay is set against the backdrop of the December 1992/January 1993 Hindu-Muslim riots in the city that followed the demolition of the Babri Masjid, a mosque in north India that some contested was built on a destroyed temple.He does not sleep with her after marriage, when he realises she does not love him.He even takes her to ‘Italy’ (actually Hungary) to find Sameer, but on their travels she falls in love with her husband.