Eternal love: Indian cinema’s very own Romeo Juliet sagas
Love is an emotion that has often found umpteen expressions through the medium of cinema. Indian cinema has had an intimate relationship with love which has grown stronger over the years. Various themes around love have been explored with filmmakers trying to capture the myriad moments associated with this emotion. While happy endings are a recurrent and in most cases, winning formula for the success of a film, there are several tragic sagas of love that have earned an unforgettable place in Hindi cinema.
While some say that these films are inspired by the eternal love story of Romeo and Juliet, others believe that India has had its very own Romeos and Juliets in the form of Heer Raanjha, Sohni Mahiwal and Laila Majnu, all said to be true stories. Real or not, these doomed love stories have time and again found a connect with the cinema audience through their genuine treatment, poignant dialogs and compassionate performances.
We bring to you some of Indian cinema’s very own Romeo Juliet sagas from over the decades.
Heer Raanjha: The 1970 film is based on the epic poem ‘Heer Raanjha’ by noted poet Waris Shah. Directed by Chetan Anand, the film featured the legendary Raaj Kumar as Raanjha and the beautiful Priya Rajvansh as Heer who fall in love only to be separated by conspiring family members. Just as Heer manages to convince her father for her marriage to Raanjha, she is poisoned and Raanjha follows suit to join his lady love in death. Heer Raanjha is remembered for its cinematography and also got cinematographer Jal Mistry a Filmfare award for the same. It is delivered entirely in poetical verse written by Kaifi Azmi making it one of the most unique works in Hindi cinema. Another memorable aspect of this heartwrenching tale of love are the intense dialogs by the veteran Raaj Kumar.
Laila Majnu: Laila Majnu is based on the classical Arabic tale about two unfortunate lovers. The 1976 film was directed by Harnam Singh Rawail and featured Rishi Kapoor as Majnu and Ranjeeta as Laila. The intense tale of love revolves around Laila and Qais who were born to rival clans and loved each other from childhood. They were separated by their families but destiny brings them together when they are adults. Following an unfortunate turn of events, Laila is forcefully married to someone else. Unable to bear the separation, Qais loses his sanity and is then called as Majnu. The lead actors of the film were impressive in their roles and bring alive the romance and suffering of Laila and Majnu. The music by Madan Mohan and Jaidev alongwith Sahir Ludhianvi’s lyrics was soulful and is remembered till date.
Sohni Mahiwal: This ill-fated love story found expression in various Bollywood films across the ages. The 1984 film directed by Umesh Mehra is based on the Punjabi folklore of Sohni Mahiwal. It features the pretty Poonam Dhillon as Sohni and the dashing Sunny Deol, this was amongst his initial films, as Mirza Izzat Beg who falls in love at first sight. But society raises its ugly head and Sohni is forced to marry someone else. Their love meets a tragic end as they choose to end their lives instead of living without each other. The film produced by F. C. Mehra was co-produced by the then Soviet Union. The film also starred renowned actors like Pran, Shammi Kapoor, Gulshan Grover and others. The sad yet melodious songs of the film acquired an iconic following and music director Anu Malik was also nominated for a Filmfare award.
Qayamat se Qayamat Tak: Undoubtedly one of Hindi cinema’s best romantic dramas, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak was a box office hit and rightly so. The chemistry between the lead pair of Juhi Chawla and Aamir Khan, also the debut film of the now superstar, the beautiful music and the touching storyline have all been instrumental in securing the 1988 film a place in the history of Hindi cinema. Written by Nasir Hussain and directed by Mansoor Khan, it is a classic story of a family feud opposing a blossoming relationship. This young and innocent tale was celebrated for being different for the films that were released during that time, most of them aggressive and violent, and was an instant success amongst the youngsters. The soundtrack of the film was superbly received and even got composers Anand-Milind a Filmfare award for the same. Papa Kehte Hai, Akele Hai Toh Kya Gham Hai and the other numbers continue to remain close to everyone’s hearts. The film too won several accolades.
Ishaqzaade: It could easily be called a modern day Romeo and Juliet saga but here the Romeo and Juliet aren’t meek and docile like their earlier counterparts. They are rebellious individuals, gun yielding, abuse hurling, who won’t give up without a fight, symbolic of today’s generation. The film written and directed by Habib Faisal and produced under the Yashraj banner, known to have made some of the most romantic movies of all times, is a passionate love story with new age twists and turns. It marks the debut of the talented Arjun Kapoor who is paired opposite the spirited Parineeti Chopra. The essence remains the same; two rival families belonging to different religions, their kids can’t stand each other but eventually fall in love only to earn the animosity of their own families.The time period and treatment may have changed but the emotional crux remains the same, which instantly strikes a chord with the audiences. Kausar Munnir’s lyrics and Amit Trivedi’s music resulted in a versatile composition that received a positive response. The film too went on to become a surprising hit.