Entertainment may be its raison d’etre, but the tears brought about by cinema are no less significant.
Some movies are more sentimental than others — they strike an instant chord, touch a raw nerve or reach out to our vulnerability in such unexpected ways that one cannot help but be overcome by emotion.
Call them tearjerkers, weepies or kerchief capers, as the wise Gandalf once said: Not all tears are an evil.
In Revathy’s Salaam Venky, Kajol plays the mother of a terminally-ill son.
We already saw how poignant the actress was as the mom of a school-going boy killed by the ugliness of racism in My Name is Khan as well as a mother dying from cancer in We Are Family, a Hindi remake of Step Mom.
Bottomline: There will be tears.
On that note, Sukanya Verma lists Hindi movies that have never failed to turn on the waterworks.
There’s much to embrace about life and loss in Hrishikesh Mukerji’s 1971 classic, but the greatest learning of them all is: ‘Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahi.’
As welcome this piece of wisdom imparted by Rajesh Khanna’s cheerful titular hero is, watching someone so vibrant wither away from a life-threatening disease breaks Babumoshai and our hearts every single time.
- When the audience cried with Anand
Taare Zameen Par
Only the stone-hearted will not feel crushed by the forlorn expressions of dyslexia battling Ishaan, played by an awe-inspiring Darsheel Safary, packed off to a hostel by his well-meaning but misguided parents in Aamir Khan and Amole Gupte’;s sensitive Taare Zameen Par.
- Songs of innocence
Emotions run high in Sadma after an accident turns Sridevi into a child woman whom good samaritan Kamal Haasan takes under his wing.
In a cruel turn of events, just when the latter is completely invested in their tender bond, Sri recovers and readies to return to her old life, clueless about Kamal Haasan’s contribution — leaving her poor caretaker and the audience in a state of utter shock and disbelief.
- The Very Best Of Sridevi
Melancholy occupies every breath of Devdas and his unrequited romance in Bimal Roy’s beloved adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel.
But it is Dilip Kumar’s unmatched anguish, Suchitra Sen’s gentle sighs and Vyjayanthimala’s supreme sacrifice that makes us feel for these love fools decade after decade.
- Devdas, an eternal love story
Shekhar Kapur’s Masoom is a rare drama to acknowledge the strain and changing dynamic of adult relationships on children.
As much as we sympathise with Shabana Azmi’s heartbreak on learning about her husband’s infidelity and Naseeruddin Shah’s struggle to acknowledge his child outside marriage, it is Jugal Hansraj’s wide-eyed confusion and disappointment that leaves us inconsolable.
- The Very Best Of Shabana Azmi
Muqaddar Ka Sikandar
Prakash Mehra’s masala-packed take on the Devdas story is full of song, dance, action and glamour where lifelong hardships, one-sided love and grand gestures of love by Amitabh Bachchan for Raakhee and Rekha for Bachchan form giant lumps in our throats and walk away with all the sympathy.
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<Ailing kids are a tough watch for the strongest among us.
Mahesh Bhatt’s Kaash is about one such child, but what makes its tragic situation even more unhappy is the estranged relationship between his parents after the father’s acting career goes down in the dumps and turns him into an alcoholic.
Jackie Shroff and Dimple Kapadia do a splendid job of putting their differences aside for the sake of their dying boy in this sob story.
Khamoshi: The Musical
Almost all his movies are high on melodrama, but the tears of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s directorial debut are his most unaffected.
Revolving around a doe-eyed Manisha Koirala’s difficulties of juggling everyday life around deaf-mute parents (Nana Patekar, Seema Biswas) while pursuing her love for music (with Salman Khan), Khamoshi is as moving as it is melodious.
- ‘My dream had turned into a nightmare’
Akele Hum Akele Tum
Just like the heartrending original, Mansoor Khan’s remake of Kramer Vs Kramer about Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala’s married couple going through a bitter divorce over custody of their only child ensues in emotional outbursts and vulnerability laid bare.
- Bollywood’s amazing dads
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Rahul and Anjali are best friends until Anjali misunderstands Rahul’s pyar dosti hai fundas and falls in love with him while he has his heart set on Tina.
She bids him adieu and leaves college.
Rahul and Tina marry. They have a daughter called Anjali.
Except Tina dies and assigns little Anjali the task of romantically reuniting the former best friends.
Only now, Anjali is all set to marry an emotional, eligible bachelor, Aman.
Karan Johar’s debut love story is tailor-made for tissue boxes.
- 15 years of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
If Kuch Kuch Hota Hai revealed Karan Johar’s talent for tears, K3G highlighted it over a series of scenes where both the characters and audience bawled along over a father disowning his adopted son after he marries a girl against his wishes, a silently suffering mother’s disappointment after her beta and bahu leave home and country for good, an until now oblivious brother’s promise to reunite the family.
The number of tearful reunions alone are worth the price of admission (and kerchiefs).
- 19 years of K3G
Few actors cry as uninhibitedly as Dharmendra on screen.
Add in real-life sons Sunny and Bobby to the picture and the believability of their family ties hits another level.
Apne‘s melodrama about a former boxing champion wanting to reclaim lost glory through his sons benefits hugely from this can-cry-at-the-drop-of-hat quality.
- Watch Apne for knock-out Dharmendra
Kal Ho Naa Ho
Shah Rukh Khan comes to the rescue of a NRI family in shambles while fighting his own battles and poor health.
For all his cupid ways and carpe diem philosophy, he cannot help falling in love with Preity Zinta. Except he’s dying and his only wish is to ensure she’s loved and taken care of by a worthy suitor long after he’s gone.
Ever the King of Romance, SRK ensures we cry buckets over Kal Ho Naa Ho‘s soppy romance.
- Yes, Kal Ho Naa Ho is worth it
Just like every moved member in the audience, author Jhumpa Lahiri, too, could barely hold back her tears while watching Mira Nair’s adaptation of her acclaimed novel on screen.
Irrfan and Tabu’s magical pairing and poignant presence is pitch-perfect as Ashoke and Ashima, an immigrant husband and wife navigating through foreign lands while their kids gain clarity about their cultural identity.
- Why Namesake made Jhumpa Lahiri cry
The Munnabhai Movies
Sanjay Dutt’s mirthful and misty-eyed portrayal of the all heart tapori brims in feel-good sentimentality where no evil cannot be overcome by graciousness and gyaan.
Be it Munnabhai MBBSs jadoo ki jhappi or Lage Raho Munnabhai‘s Gandhigiri, the Munnabhai franchise has the answer for everything.
- Lage Raho is better than Munnabhai
Rang De Basanti
The dramatic shift in the story’s tone as a bunch of carefree friends are hit by a personal tragedy that not only opens their eyes. but compels them towards extreme activism, Rang De Basanti‘s revolution hits many devastating notes.
- Rang De Basanti, young and restless
Ranbir Kapoor’s overwhelming cycle of self-destruction after he learns the rude reality behind toote hue dil se hi sangeet banta hai and loses the love of his life is passion and pain at its ruinous, romantic best.
And we want to feel its unsettling intensity in Ranbir’s no-hold-barred performance and A R Rahman’s savage soundtrack over and over again.
- ‘For an actor, Ranbir leads an unglamorous life’
The Sky is Pink
Motivational speaker and author of My Little Epiphanies Aisha Chaudhary passed away at 18 after a lifelong health battle and The Sky is Pink is as much her story as it is about her parents and their rock-solid marriage.
Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar do exceedingly well as parents coping with their daughter’s serious medical condition in a movie that gives spirit precedence over suffering.
- ‘Sky Is Pink needed big stars’
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