While most in the West view the pinnacle of romance and comedy through the works of John Hughes, Rob Reiner, or Nora Ephron, the world of Bollywood cinema offers its own unique style of filmmaking that shouldn’t be overlooked. Whether looking to Golden Age following the decades after Indian independence or the Classic Bollywood of the 70s and 80s, Bollywood films offer romantic narratives that are perfecting for a Valentine’s Day viewing.
With the emergence of synchronized sound, Bollywood quickly turned to incorporating music into film, as there had been a longstanding, intimate tie between Indian theatrical and music traditions. Unlike Hollywood romantic comedies, Bollywood has consistently prioritized the use of music within films, often dedicating multiple sequences to a prepared dance number accompanied with music. In Bollywood, actors generally lip sync to a dubbed track created by a handful of musicians, generally forming professional relationships with a single musician who would provide their “singing voice” for such moments in films. One of the most popular and prolific composers of music for Bollywood films, Kishore Kumar, starred in countless movies as well.
Obviously, Street would not leave you without recommendations on the best films to watch in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. While When Harry Met Sally is an American classic, sometimes venturing into the cinemas of other countries can be just as, if not more, enjoyable. Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s (1975) and Mehboob Khan’s (1994) are two of the most beloved films in Bollywood.
Chupke Chupke tells the story of a botany professor who falls in love with a woman who he meets at a women’s college botany excursion. The moments that follow are riddled with drama, romance, and comedy.
Andaz follows a love triangle between the daughter of a wealthy businessman, her fiancé, and a man who occasionally drops by her home to sing her love songs. These films are not only perfect for a Valentine’s Day evening, but can also give you insight into the world’s largest film industry that most individuals in the US tend to glance over.