Love stories have been showcased on Indian Cinema since its inception. Cinema being one of the most influential mediums of triggering emotion amongst the masses, makes the romantic genre indispensable in movies, let alone Indian movies, which have from their golden era to the contemporary age, encompassed some of the most cherished and celebrated romantic films.
One of the most remembered love stories to be showcased on Indian celluloid remains ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ (1960), an epic historical drama starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Durga Khote. It beautifully portrayed the love affair between Mughal Prince Salim, who went on to become Emperor Jahangir, and Anarkali, a court dancer. Salim’s father, Emperor Akbar, disapproves of the relationship, which leads to a conflict between father and son. The film smashed all box office records in India, becoming the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time, a distinction it held for 15 years, also winning the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.
The most celebrated romantic film of Indian Cinema is Yash Raj Films’ ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ (1995), wherein Aditya Chopra depicted the love story of Raj and Simran, who fall in love during a vacation through Europe with their friends, and how Raj eventually tries to win over Simran's family to marry her, when Simran's father has long promised her hand to his friend's son. It became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of the year, winning 10 Filmfare Awards, the most for a single film at that time and the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. It is the longest-running film in Indian Cinema’s history, still being shown at Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai.
Yash Chopra is regarded as the undisputed king of romance in Hindi films. He made ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ (1997), a musical romance depicting the love lives of three dancers in a musical dance troupe. The film connected with the masses and became the highest-grossing Indian film of the year. It has attained cult status over the years. Another most remembered love story by Chopra is ‘Veer-Zaara’ (2004). Set in the backdrop of India-Pakistan conflict, the film is a star-crossed romance of Indian Air Force Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh and a Pakistani girl of a rich political family, Zaara Hayat Khan. They get separated for 22 years with Veer ending up a prisoner in Pakistan. This film too became the top-grossing Bollywood film of the year and won the National Award for Best Popular Film.
‘Jodhaa Akbar’ (2008) is another historical romantic drama by Ashutosh Gowariker, centering on the romance between Mughal Emperor Akbar and his chief consort Jodha Bai. The film was a critical and commercial success, winning several accolades.