From Chori Chori to Hasee To Phasee, the best romantic comedies from Bollywood
There’s more than one flavour of romantic comedy, and everyone likes theirs done differently. There are those who like movies as frothy and light as a non-fat cappuccino, and others who enjoy the undercurrents of darkness like in the best Islay Scotch.
At MBRB, the only way a romantic comedy can make it to our heart is if it:
- Gives its heroine a little more to do than just look pretty and spend 3 hours being mindlessly pursued by the hero (and bossed around or mollycoddled by her family). She could have a job, a goofy bag of family/ friends, a lovable dog, or none of these – but she’d certainly have a say in who she wants to end up with.
- Is both funny (we need at least one nice belly laugh); and suitably romantic. We’re pedants that way, and insist that both parts of the equation be met.
Here then are the Bollywood “romantic comedies” we love most. We also spoke with the director of one of our recent favourites in an exclusive interview here.
Chori Chori (1956)
Because nothing on screen smoulders and scorches as much as Raj Kapoor and Nargis’ chemistry (we also love Awara). Because Nargis never played a wallflower.
Tere Ghar Ke Saamne (1963)
Because a young Dev Anand is heart-stoppingly romantic, and because Nutan’s Sulekha gives as good as she gets (and has a surprising deftness with her comic timing!)
Saira Banu may be a teensy bit ornamental but she sure is feisty, and keeps both the men guessing till the very last scene. And Kishore Kumar is a hoot!
Rafoo Chakkar (1975)
Rishi Kapoor in drag. A 17 year old Neetu Singh who is clear that she wants to marry a rich man. Ignore the inspiration from Some Like It Hot and just enjoy the movie!
Chashme Buddoor (1981)
Its hard to say whether this one is more a love story between the three roommates Farooq Shaikh, Ravi Baswani and Rakesh Bedi or between FS and his luminous neighbour Deepti Naval. All we know is that this is the one romance we can see ourselves be a part of – cadged cigarettes, dead-end jobs, loser friends (we love you!) and all.
Satte Pe Satta (1982)
Amitabh may control his wild brothers with his roughshod boots, but it’s Hema who wears the pants in their relationship. An evergreen watch. Not to forget the song that is sung with the most josh in every Antakshari.
Chameli Ki Shaadi (1986)
Anil Kapoor’s comic genius (both intentional and unintentional) is sadly underrated, and Chameli’s (Amrita Singh) manic energy and enthusiasm is the perfect foil for his hangdog expressions!
Sridevi, at the peak of her powers, in a double role – need we say more?
Dil Hain Ki Manta Nahin (1991)
Another Hollywood inspiration, but Mahesh Bhatt’s light touch has made this one of the most lovable rom-coms of our generation. As with a lot of other movies on our list, it’s the support cast (Anupam Kher, Tiku Talsania, Rakesh Bedi) that provide the laughs.
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994)
Because the good for nothing guy winning the smart girl by sheer chutzpah is the ultimate female fantasy, right? The banality of the story notwithstanding, it’s difficult to resist SRK’s charms – it’s almost as if he is enacting his real life story. And let’s hear it for Father Naseeruddin Shah and the guy-who-every-heroine-dumped-in-the-90’s, a.k.a. Deepak Tijori.
We love Aamir Khan as a tapodi, and who else can carry off that turmeric yellow jumpsuit with such elan? And we like that Mili a.k.a Urmila Matgaonkar has the drive and ambition to make it big in the movies.
Cheeni Kum (2007)
Finally a director who knows how to use Tabu well! We will forgive the irritating child and Amitabh Bachchan’s pony tail for the palpable friendship and chemistry between the lead pair, and especially, for Tabu’s refusal to be impressed by the man-child chef!
Pyar Ke Side Effects (2006)
An urban romance between a loud mouth Punjabi girl and a placid Bengali boy has been re-hashed umpteen times in Bollywood (replace Bengali with Tamil/Marathi/Christian, but the loud mouth girl is always Punjabi). But what clicks for this movie is the unusual casting – both Mallika Sherawat and Rahul Bose get their characters, and the chemistry, just right.
Jab We Met (2007)
We forgive Kareena Kapoor all her irritating interviews and adas for her complicated Geet and for getting our beloved Sasha in eye-glasses. Imtiaz Ali has a hit-or-miss record with his female characters (we still haven’t forgiven him Heer and whatever the washcloth in Socha Na Tha was called), but this was pitch perfect.
Life In A Metro (2007)
Life In A Metro doesn’t really qualify as a rom-com, but we wish someone would make an entire film around the Irrfan Khan-Konkana Sen Sharma romance. We can’t get Monty’s “Shruttiii” out of our head, and our favourite scene from the movie is the two of them chatting by the sea side after shopping for Monty’s wedding.
Band Baaja Baarat (2010)
We will be the first to admit that we have a bit of a Ranveer Singh problem, but not only are both the lead characters perfectly cast, the film shows the girl as the one with a plan, and refuses to judge her for having premarital sex with a friend. Is this the same YRF which made the Sir Jesus afflicted Jab Tak Hai Jaan?
London, Paris, NewYork (2012)
A girl who has a “philosophy ka craze” and identifies herself as a feminist goes a long way with MBRB. That’s why this movie makes it to this list in spite of a few pacing problems. We just like the vibe of Latha and Nikhil too much to resist their collective charm!
Chennai Express (2013)
Yes SRK was too painful to endure in this movie, and the gags were predictable. But Chennai Express makes it to our list for the DDLJ train scene spoof and for Deepika’s charm. And at least SRK didn’t pretend to be 20.
Hasee To Phasee (2014)
Let’s hear it for the geek girls- the ones who love their comic books and chemistry sets more than their make up kits! And lets hear it for a recent romance which had us spitting our pop corn in laughter more than once!
Honourable Mentions (if only the female had a spark of spunk):
Chupke Chupke : It’s all about the boys in this laughathon, with two fine actresses like Sharmila & Jaya reduced to dispensable sidekicks.
Socha Na Tha: We loved the breeziness of the movie and Abhay Deol’s dimples, but could there be a bigger wallflower than Ayesha Takia’s Aditi?
Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya: While we wish Salman Khan & Kajol had done more movies together, we’ve had more than our fill of the over protected, self destructive orphan girl who cannot be permitted to have a mind, or a life, of her own.
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge: Not going to lie, we did like this movie when younger. But now, all we can see is how Kajol is pushed around between her mother and father and lover with not as much as a chance to think about what she wants!
Did we miss any of your favourite rom-coms? Tell us about them in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.
Rafoo Chakkar meme image courtesy: http://bollywooddeewana.blogspot.in/ . All other memes are the property of MBRB, please mention the source when sharing.