Bollywood is celebrated for its cliche romantic movies which are full of touching and dramatic sequences. A prime example is DDLJ (everyone’s favourite). Bollywood has moved far from this oversaturated romance genre, and has given many unique and beautiful romantic comedies. This list includes the 15 best rom-coms that Bollywood has to offer. Each of the movies in the list offers a fresh take on the stale genre of rom-coms. You can pick any film from this list when you’re looking to watch a relaxing, feel-good movie –
Dil Chahta Hai
The story is about Akash, Sameer and Siddharth, best friends since college who have different notions about love. Sameer carries his heart on his sleeve but things change when he falls in love with Pooja, a girl he earlier rejected for marriage. Siddharth, an artist, falls in love with his neighbour, a divorcée named Tara. Although, Tara is much older than him, her artistic desires are similar to Siddharth. Akash is a fun-loving but pessimistic guy who moves to Australia and meets Shalini. She tries to restore his faith in love. As time grows all of them try to get the love of their life but face obstacles which are not easy to overcome. The three main characters have taught a generation of Indians about the joy of real love and friendship. Although the movie deals with several serious topics, the rightly timed humor makes it pleasant to watch.
Kal Ho Naa Ho
Another classic romantic movie from the early 2000s, Kal Ho Na Ho is still remembered for its nuanced characters who make the audience laugh at their antics and cry at their sad moments. This movie has given us many unforgettable, heartwarming and gut-wrenching moments, which make it a must watch rom-com. The story follows the life of Naina, a pessimistic and depressed student, who lives in New York with her widowed mother. The death of her father causes emotional and financial problems in her family. When a cheerful and optimistic man, Aman Mathur, moves in next door, she falls in love with him. However Naina’s childhood friend Rohit is also in love with her and seeks Aman’s help to express his feelings. The lives of the three characters change when Aman reveals a shocking secret.
This rom-com explores the love-hate relationship between the two main characters. Their constant banter, as they try to prove their superiority is entertaining to watch. The comic timing and chemistry between the actors is the highlight of this sweet and fun rom-com. Karan is a cartoonist who, through his cartoons, comments on the differing behaviour of men and women. He thinks of himself to be very popular among girls but is turned down outrightly by Rhea. This follows a turn of events, where the two keep rubbing each other the wrong way. Yet, they become friends and eventually gravitate back to each other after every spat.
‘Salaam Namaste’ boldly discusses complex issues, such as premarital pregnancy and live in relationships, which are still considered to be a taboo in India. The story involves, Nick and Ambar, who live eventful lives away from their hometown. As they find themselves attracted to each other, they begin a relationship and soon move in together. Their relationship is strained due to their constant arguments. Things take a turn for the worst when Ambar discovers that she is pregnant. They end their relationship because Nick is not ready to be a father. However, they have to continue to live with each other as per their tenancy agreement. Despite its serious undertone, the narrative never turns too preachy. At heart, this is a fun, modern love story with the right dosage of Bollywood drama.
Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na
A refreshing and amusing take on the ‘friends becoming lovers’ genre, Jaane Tu.. is a story of young love and friendship. The movie offers plenty of ‘will-they-won’t-they’ moments, where the audience is left rooting for the couple. Aditi and Jai are best friends with opposite personalities. While Aditi is short-tempered and fiesty, Jai is calm and patient. All their friends and relatives are convinced that they love each other, but Aditi and Jai vehemently disagree. To prove their friends wrong, Aditi and Jai set out to find love for each other. The mystical tale of Jai’s family offers comedic relief whenever the situation turns too serious. However, the question is will these two stubborn people ever realise that they are made for each other.
Namastey London is the story of a fun, emotional and complex relationship between an NRI girl and a Punjabi boy. Their story begins when An NRI father in London comes to India with his daughter, Jazz. He wants to marry her to a desi man named Arjun who gets ecstatic assuming he would have his wedding night in London. But after landing in London, the NRI daughter betrays him and her father. She expresses her hidden insensitive plans and mocks rituals of an Indian marriage. The broken Indian man stays in London, hoping Jazz to change her mind. His dedication to Jazz is sweet but heartbreaking to watch. However, the movie lightens up because of his funny encounters with British people and their culture.
Jab We Met
Jab We Met is a touching love story about two imperfect people. They have several qualities and flaws, and despite their bad choices they complement each other. Every scene between the two characters makes the audience either laugh out loud or cry with emotions. Aditya Kashyap is a Mumbai-based well-off businessman, facing an unforgiving time in his life as his father passes away and his girlfriend leaves him. Seeking retribution and an escape from such sadness, he leaves every materialistic thing and spontaneously boards a train to Bhatinda. He meets Geet, a fluttery high-spirited Punjabi girl, who is a complete foil of his character. Starting from a train ride together, Aditya gets tied into Geet’s crazy life – meeting her family and accompanying her on various adventures spontaneously and involuntarily.
Dostana is an unusual but charming romantic comedy with a love triangle at its centre. But the love triangle is not cliche as it involves two men pretending to be in gay relationship. This is one of the few non-condescending portrayals of homosexual relationships in mainstream Bollywood. The movie is a lighthearted, fun adventure despite the controversial topic. The story revolves around Sameer and Kuna, two bachelors living in Miami. One works as a male-nurse and another as a fashion photographer. They both want to live in a rented apartment which belongs to Neha. Neha is ambitious and works for a fashion magazine for women. Neha lives with her aunt and they have one condition that they don’t want bachelors renting the apartment. Sameer convinces Sam to pretend they are gay and in love so that they get the apartment. Trouble arises when both men fall in love with Neha and immediately regret their decision.
Love Aaj Kal
Love Aaj Kal moves back and forth narrating two love stories: one set in the modern, fast-paced world and one set in the good old days. The touching dialogues, evenly placed jokes and the contrast between the two narratives are exhilarating to watch. The traditional love story definitely warms the heart while the modern love story jolts us back to the reality. Meera and Jai meet in London and soon they fall in love, even meeting each other’s family. However, circumstances change and Meera wishes to relocate to India to pursue a project. After their break up, Jai moves to America where he falls in love with an American girl. Meanwhile, Meera has also moved on and is set to marry Vikram. A restauranteur, Veer Singh, is an old-fashioned romantic, who tries to convince Jai to pursue his ‘one true love’ Meera. Veer narrates how he pursued his true love Harleen Kaur in 1965.
Wake Up Sid
Wake up Sid is a coming of age film about an aimless boy who learns to live responsibly from an independent woman. It is far from being the traditional rom-com; in fact, it is an authentic description of modern culture, friendship, love and rejection. The story is about Sid, who is a rich spoilt brat with a life devoid of any responsibility. He spends most of his time partying with college friends but his life takes a turn when he befriends Aisha. She is a considerably older woman who happens to be an aspiring writer from Kolkata and has just moved to Mumbai. Frustrated with his aimless life and parental pressure, Sid moves in with Aisha and helps her settle in Mumbai. He starts grasping the meaning of life and starts realising the significance of responsibilities from several instances in their friendship.
Band Baaja Baaraat
Band Baaja Baaraat is a romantic story with several comedic elements showcasing the raw side of two youngsters in Delhi who embark on an entrepreneurial journey. The story’s charm lies in its authentic portrayal of the characters that all of us are surrounded by in our lives. The witty banter and the chemistry between the two leads is amusing as well as heartwarming to watch.
Shruti and Bittoo are two youngsters who join hands to start their own business venture as wedding planners in Delhi. They are complete opposites in their outlook towards life but share the same passion towards their wedding planning business “”Shaadi Mubaarak””. Their partnership evolves into a vibrant relationship and they embark on a journey that unfolds several facets of their relationship and how that eventually impacts their business.”
Tanu Weds Manu
Tanu Weds Manu is the modern version of Jab We Met, with its own peculiarities despite certain similar plot points. The movie offers a bunch of contrasting characters who are endearing despite their flaws. Along with the chemistry between the two leads, the supporting cast of talented comics also add a flair to this rom-com. Manu, an NRI, returns to India to marry an Indian girl. His parents have proposals lined up and Manu decides to see Tanu. The family arrives, only to find out she is ill. Manu goes to see her and finds her in a deep sleep. He likes her anyway and agrees to marry her. On finally getting some alone time, Tanu informs Manu why she was “ill” the day he came to see her and that she is in love with someone else. Manu is torn between marrying the girl he loves and letting her go.
Barfi is a heart-warming tale of a young man ‘Barfi’ who is deaf and mute since birth. The film is filled with many emotional and inspiring moments that teach the audience that love requires no language. When Barfi meets Shruti, a beautiful lady who has recently arrived at Darjeeling, he is instantly smittened by her. He tries to court her in his simple and childlike ways but to no avail. He flees from Darjeeling with Jhilmil, his autistic childhood friend. They end up looking after one another in their comic & subtle ways. The innocent & resilient friendship transforms a cheerful & caring relationship of 2 souls made for each other.
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
This a coming of age modern love story involving two opposite characters who fall for each other at the wrong time. The film is an apt depiction of the value of passion, friendship, career and love for today’s youth. Naina, who focuses on studying and getting high scores since she was in school upon hearing Aditi’s plans about taking a trip to the Himalayas, realizes that maybe she wants more than just good marks. On a whim, she rushes to the railway station to join the group without informing her parents. She meets Bunny and Avi who are her old classmates. Bunny teaches her to embrace life and live each day to the fullest. However, she is unable to express her feelings to him by the end of the trip as he has other plans. Eight years later, all four come together for Aditi’s wedding but things with Bunny and his friends are not the same.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha
This movie is a bold portrayal of the importance of physical attributes in a relationship. While being a classic romantic comedy, the film is also a social commentary, complete with emotional drama, amusing jokes and a sweet message. Prem Prakash Tiwari runs the soon-to-be-outdated tape cassette store in Haridwar when an overweight girl, Sandhya comes in his life as his bride. They both get married under the influence of families and Prem struggles with his unwillingness to accept Sandhya’s weight. Prem is uninterested in the relationship while Sandhya continues her efforts to hold the relationship. Their incompatible married life takes a turn when they participate in the annual wife-carrying race.