Director: Yash Chopra
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Sridevi
Yash Chopra was known for his bold takes on romance but he really pushed the envelope with this one by showcasing the blossoming of love between a young girl and a man old enough to be her father. Viren (Anil Kapoor) is in love with Pallavi (Sridevi), daughter of a family friend. She, however, has hots for another. She marries her lover after the sudden death of her father and a distraught Viren leaves for London to set up a business there. One year later, it’s heard that Pallavi and her husband have died in an accident, leaving behind an infant daughter Pooja who is brought up by Daijaan (Waheeda Rehman), who had brought up Viren as well. When she grows up, she visits Viren in London and he’s struck by her uncanny resemblance to her mother, whom he hadn’t forgotten. She has been in love with him since childhood and it blossoms further. Viren has to stop living in the past in order to love her and the film sensitively portrays the different aspects of this delicate affair.
Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
Director: Farhan Akhtar
Cast: Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Preity Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni, Dimple Kapadia
The film revolves around three friends Akash (Aamir Khan), who is a commitment-phobic rich man, running away from any girl who tries to cling to him. Sameer (Saif Ali Khan), is a clueless romantic who looks for love at every corner. Siddharth aka Sid (Akshaye Khanna), is a painter who is more serious about life. Sid meets a new neighbour, Tara (Dimple Kapadia), an older woman who has moved into a house at the end of the street. She decodes his nature entirely from his paintings, leading Sid to become attracted to her. His friends, especially Akash, can’t understand Sid’s fixation with an older woman, leading to a rift between him and Sid. The two patch up afterwards when Akash becomes more mature and understands Sid’s point of view. Tara, however, passes away due to liver cirrhosis, leaving him distraught. She tells him to be happy in her final moments. It was a short, sweet and life-changing romance for Akash and made him understand himself better.
Director: Somnath Sen
Cast: Dimple Kapadia, Deepti Naval, Vinod Khanna, Amol Mhatre
Leela (Dimple Kapadia) is a visiting professor at an American university. She’s grieving the loss of her mother and wants some time away from her womanising husband Nashaad (Vinod Khanna). She makes friends with another professor Chaitali (Deepti Naval) who is of Indian origin. Chaitali’s son Kris (Amol Mhatre) is smitten by her and starts taking the class taught by her to be near her. He’s navigating into becoming an adult and becoming his own person and Leela helps him through the emotional upheavals he faces. They soon become lovers. Chaitali, understandably, doesn’t like it and breaks off the friendship when she finds out. Leela and Kris both know that their relationship has no long term future but are content with the short term happiness it brings.
Ek Chhotisi Love Story (2002)
Director: Shashilal K. Nair
Cast: Manisha Koirala, Aditya Seal, Ranvir Shorey
It’s inspired by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski’s, A Short Film About Love. It’s a voyeuristic tale of a teenager’s obsession with his older neighbour. The film created controversy when it got released as Manisha Koirala alleged some scenes were shot without her consent using a body double. Aditya (Aditya Seal) is a 15-year-old teenager who has the habit of spying on his 26-year-old neighbour (Manisha Koirala). He’s fascinated with everything about her and feels jealous of her boyfriend. When he finally develops the courage to talk to her, she’s angry at first by his behaviour but then amused by it. The film had a lot of potential and could have turned into a nice bitter-sweet romance with more effort.
Cheeni Kum (2007)
Director: R Balki
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Tabu
Buddhadev Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan). Buddhadev is the 64-year-old chef and owner of London’s top Indian restaurant, Spice 6. Cooking is his whole life. He considers himself an authority on Indian cuisine, and hence he gets angry when a patron Nina Varma (Tabu) returns a dish — Hyderabadi Zafrani Pulao — back to the kitchen, saying it’s too sweet. He challenges her to produce something better and is humbled when she does so the next day. Despite their 30 year age difference, there is chemistry between them. And they bond well over the common passion they share — food. Buddhadev’s 85-year-old mother (Zohra Sehgal) too likes her. He’s old fashioned in the sense that he wants to properly ask her father for her hand in marriage. To do so, they travel to Delhi. Her father, Omprakash Verma (Paresh Rawal), a staunch Gandhian, is flabbergasted to know that Nina’s suitor is older than him. He goes on a fast in protest, and Buddhadev has to use all his ingenuity to get Nina’s father to say yes to the match. The dialogue between Amitabh and Tabu is full of repartee and wit and feels like a normal conversation. Both give each other space and are comfortable around each other. Their camaraderie holds the film together.
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Jiah Khan
Inspired by Lolita, this Ram Gopal Varma film has Amitabh Bachchan obsessing over his daughter’s friend. Ritu (Shradha Arya) brings her friend Jia (Jiah Khan) to spend the holidays with her at her home in Kerala. Ritu’s parents Vijay Anand (Amitabh Bachchan) and Amrita (Revathi) have a beautiful home surrounded by picturesque surroundings. Vijay is a photographer and Amrita is a homemaker. Jiah’s parents are divorced and she’s something of a free spirit. She’s forever roaming around in skimpy clothes and Vijay does get attracted to her. There is a sexual frisson between them but no bedroom moments, though he does kiss her. And that leads to a scandal within his family. He’s forever in a dilemma about his feelings towards her. He doesn’t know whether it’s love or lust that he feels towards her. The encounter leaves him emotionally shattered. He even contemplates suicide at one point. The film was Bachchan’s show all the way. He carried it on his able shoulders and made the proceedings believable.
The Lunchbox (2013)
Director: Ritesh Batra
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
This is a poignant tale of two souls who get united, thanks to a mistake done by Mumbai’s famous dabbawalas. Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is a married woman seeking to spice up her marriage and hits upon the idea of putting notes inside his lunchbox which she sends via the dabbawalas. Due to a mix-up, the lunchbox gets delivered to Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan), a widower who is about to retire from his job as an accountant. They both begin to write to each other, passing on the messages through the lunchboxes and come close. Ila wants to meet him face-to-face but sensing her relative youth, Saajan keeps his distance. She decides to leave her husband and settle elsewhere and at the last moment, Saajan decides to look for her after all. The film was buoyed by nuanced performances by both the leads.
Director: Anu Menon
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Kalki Koechlin, Rajat Kapoor, Suhasini Maniratnam, Arjun Mathur
Waiting revolves around the bond shared by two people from different walks of life who befriend each other in a hospital while nursing their respective comatose spouses. Shiv Natraj (Naseeruddin Shah) is an elderly psychology professor, who has come to a hospital in Kochi to visit his comatose wife Pankaja (Suhasini Maniratnam). Tara Kapoor Desphande (Kalki Koechlin) is a young woman working in advertising, who also arrives at the hospital as her husband, Rajat Deshpande (Arjun Mathur) has gone into a coma following a car accident. She initially thinks he’s a doctor and asks his advice on her husband’s condition. The two bond despite the vast difference in their ages and begin to spend much of their time together, sometimes in the waiting room or even outside. Shiv thinks doctors just want to fleece patients while Tara, who has more trust in them, still doesn’t want to take a chance with brian surgery as it can leave Rajat paralysed. The duo fight, then later make up. She goes ahead with the surgery option and he waits with her in the hospital, waiting for the outcome.
Dear Zindagi (2016)
Director: Gauri Shinde
Cast: Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan
Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a young cinematographer who wishes to direct her own films. She is most comfortable around her besties Fatima (Ira Dubey), Jackie (Yashaswini Dayama) and Ganju (Gautmik). Kaira is left heartbroken when her boyfriend Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor), a film producer, gets engaged to someone else. Her landlord also chucks her out and as a result, she has to shift base to Goa from Mumbai. Kaira resents the fact that her parents, (Aban Deohans and Atul Kale), had abandoned her to live with her grandparents when she was a kid. She seeks out Dr Jehangir “Jug” Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), a psychologist, to sort out her life as she’s suffering from insomnia. Jug asks her to let go of her resentment, to see her parents as being regular people and forgive their mistakes. He advises her about other aspects as well. They have long conversations about everything under the sun and despite their age difference, she begins to like him. When she confesses that to him, he says he too likes her in a platonic way and beyond that it won’t be possible for them to have a relationship as they are bound by the doctor-patient bond. They share a last hug together and part. The association leaves Kaira more confident and hopeful about the future.
Director: Shlok Sharma
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi
This gem of a film went unnoticed. It’s not every day that our filmmakers make a film around the Lolita complex. The sexual attraction is a spark that can flare between any two people. That’s what’s depicted in this complex film. Nawazuddin plays a school teacher and Shweta his student. The duo gets attracted to each other and soon have an illicit relationship going. Not only is Nawazuddin married but has another girlfriend as well. And there’s a huge age difference there as well. Yet, somehow, a bond develops between the two. Nawazuddin comes to his senses and asks her to discontinue the relationship. But rumours start flying high and low in the small community they live in, leading to tragic consequences.