10 heartbreaks of Indian cinema to cry for

Emotion is the complex psycho physiological experience of an individual’s state of mind as interacting with biomechanical(internal) and environmental(external) influences.(Source: Wikipedia)

Tears are the secretion of the glands that clean and lubricate the eyes. Strong emotions, such as sorrow or elation, may lead to an increased production of tears. (Source: Wikipedia)

Human emotions are very tough to analyse and especially when it comes to movies, we are normally at tears for spending our money in watching movies which did not deserve a view or some additional costs involved if it’s a family outing to the nearby multiplex.

This post is not to cover the above mentioned movies, as webspace and characters will be infinite in trying it; but about 10 Lump in Throat (LIT) moments personally, where my glands could not control the pure emotion of some great cinematic moments & performance combined on screen.

May have missed out on a lot for sure, having not seen extensive regional cinema (Bengali, Telugu & Marathi notably) along with some old Hindi classics. There will be personal preferences of other movie fanatics too, which we can discuss on our comments section extensively.

The movies mentioned below are chronologically in order according to their release years so there is no listing nor personal rating.

1. Anand (Hindi: 1971) Dir: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Rajesh Khanna, the superstar of a bygone era in his truly greatest performance as Anand suffering from a life taking disease is so full of life it puts lesser mortals like us to shame. Exemplary writing (Gulzar) and a take on human relationships, Hrishikesh Mukherjee conveys a heart warming tale of love, life, friendship and loss.

LIT Moment: When Anand is on his deathbed, Dr.Bhasker’s(played marvellously by Amitabh Bachchan) outburst towards him is a moment of unparalleled genius. The tape playing across “Babu Moshai, Babu Moshai, Zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath hain jahanpanah, Isse na toh aap badal sakte hain ya main, Hum sab un rangmanch ki kathputhliyan hai jinki dor uparwale ki ungli mein bandhi hai, kab kaun kaise uthega yeh koi bhi nahi bata sakta hai” and a theatrical laughter in end will remain long in your minds even after the movie is over.

2. Moondram Pirai(Tamil:1982) Sadma(Hindi:1983)  Dir: Balu Mahendra

The mother of all movies with respect to feeling traumatic, Sadma as the name suggests, is true definition of a film attaining cult status over years. Career best performance by its lead and Ilayaraja’s  stunning score establishes it a classic for all season.

LIT moment: The unforgettable climax at a railway station as Kamal Hassan strives in despair to make Sridevi recollect their moments of togetherness while she was a patient suffering from memory loss is the most devastating emotional scene of Indian cinema with lot of side effects. Stands out as an all time best.

3. Masoom (Hindi: 1983) Dir: Shekhar Kapoor

Long before Jugal Hansraj had his disastrous serious attempts at acting and movie making, he was portrayed as an illegitimate child in this sensitive masterpiece, which will be remembered till eternity for anyone who has seen Masoom. A complex tale about consequences of adultery in a family but conveyed in the most simple, warm and heart touching manner with amazing dramatics by Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi.

LIT Moment: Innumerable scenes whenever Jugal Hansraj is there on frame, so would not point any one and 2 R D Burman-Gulzar songs Tujhse naraaz nahi zindagi & Do naina ek kahani.

4. Nayagan (Tamil: 1987) Dir: Mani Ratnam

Two legends of Indian cinema collaborated on a movie which in the 80’s remained a benchmark for future film makers to attain technical wizardy combined with great storytelling.  Kamal Hassan essaying the lead role as Sakthivelu Nayakar, inspired by life & times of Vardarajan Mudaliar is spellbinding and gives a hypnotic performance at par with world greats.

LIT Moment: When Kamal Hassan is being taken by his ganglord friends to an open corridor because his son is burned to death on a mission, whom he had reluctantly sent, let’s out a roar that is so piercing our glands go on an overdrive mode.

5. Chithram (Malayalam: 1988) Dir: Priyadarshan

Rarely does a film make you laugh your guts out till you cry, but Priyadarshan in his earlier days of brilliance achieved the mighty & how. A landmark in Malayalam and Indian cinema about a woman hiring paid services from a petty thief to be her husband for few weeks, it has Mohanlal making you feel, love, adore and cry on his antics like never before.

LIT Moment: (Spoilers Ahead) Mohanlal is an escaped convict from jail sentenced to death for a murder, so he requests the warden (Soman) if can be let go and a pre climax classical rendition of Swaaminaatha Paripalaya is pure goose bumps even while writing it now.

6. Apoorva Sagodharagal (Tamil: 1989) Appu Raja (Hindi dubbed: 1990) Dir: Singeetam Sreenivasa Rao.

Now everyone must be in speculation as to what this movie is doing here in such a list; being tagged a thorough entertainer. But it has some real strong emotional moments which are legendary; affirming this film a classic revenge tale and a personal favourite of mine.

LIT Moment: Kamal Hassan as dwarf Appu, goes to marriage register’s office thinking that he is the one getting married to Rupini, daughter of circus owner. Unknown that he has been invited as a witness, the look in his eyes and expression while removing a wedding ring makes for heartbreak viewing and also when his mother (Sreevidya) convinces the circus owner that his daughter has married a right candidate who is fit & healthy, unlike her dwarf son. Kamal Hassan achieved godly status for me after this.

7. Aakashadoothu (Malayalam: 1993) Dir: Sibi Malayil

National award winner for best film on family welfare with countless remakes in different languages, most notably being Chimnee Pakhre(Marathi:2005).  It is about a family which consists of an alcoholic father, mother who has leukaemia and four children; as fate plays a cruel game when the father dies in a brawl, leaving the mother to let each kid be adopted for her living days are numbered.

LIT Moment: This movie is a flurry of tears for its final half hour with no melodrama, no over the top acting but just human destiny and its nasty impact. One of the children is paralysed  and on crutches, that makes him remain un-adopted till very end even after their mother dies.

8. Swades (Hindi: 2004) Dir: Ashutosh Gowarikar
Mohan Bhargav in the last decade was a superstar and was at peak of amazing successes, but still his best and true honest performance came for a film which is a commercial failure. In spite of its excruciating length, Swades in many ways instils a lot of pride being an Indian without resorting to jingoism in its own subtle manner.

LIT Moment: When Mohan Bhargav travels back in a train after paying visit to collect rent from a family which can barely meet their ends, he notices a small boy and buys a pot of water for 25 paise, understanding it is not clean and unhygienic; putting an end to his theory of bottled mineral water. Epic moment; Shah Rukh Khan was Mohan Bhargav the character, first time in a career spanning 12 years.

9. Taare Zameen Par (Hindi: 2008) Dir: Aamir Khan

LIT Moment: This entire song which plays right bang on during the film, do I need to say more.

10. Udaan (Hindi: 2010) Dir: Vikramaditya Motwane

From his script being rejected by Sanjay Leela Bhansali to being an official entry to compete in the Un Certain Regard (A Certain Glance) category at 2010 Cannes Film Festival, Udaan has certainly come a long way. Insightful coming of age film about a small town boy with an authoritarian father and a step brother he didn’t know about, the moments and aspirations are so true which a sugar coated 3 Idiots touches on surface.

LIT Moment:  The bonding of both brothers while Rohan (Rajat Barmecha) knows the real reason why his kid step brother (Aayan Boradia) is admitted to hospital, comes across at his abusive scars makes for poignant viewing.

There have been very notable omissions like Kireedam(Malayalam), Mahanadhi(Tamil), Bharatham(Malayalam), Pithamagan(Tamil), Khamoshi-The Musical(Hindi), Shwaas(Marathi) etc. which have been viewed personally but could not make it in my list.

But would love to stay true to my post of shedding some valuable tears for all these madaboutmoviez experience and have no qualms in admitting to say, yes I cried.


  1. Sethumadhavan says:

    An interesting topic Ajay, most of the films chosen are certainly good ones. The one’s mentioned at the end of the post also deserve almost equal mention. Other films that I can think of would be Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa ( the whole woh to hai albela song sequence was a genuine LIT moment ), Mugavari ( be it the the Yea Nilave song sung superbly by Unni Menon or the sequence right at the end you just cannot help but have moist eyes ), Mani Sir’s Anjali, QSQT ( it may sound funny now but then as a school kid I cried while watching the ending ), Mungaru Male ( the scenes towards the end will melt anyone ), are some of the other films that I can think of in this category. Will add more later as I remember!!!


  2. Ajay Nair says:

    @Sethu: Have yet to see MUGAVARI & MUNGARU MALE, so its my loss…KHKN was playing in my mind but did not mention as did not personally move me a lot…ANJALI definitely deserves a post alone and due to limitations of length, had to miss out…


  3. E Pradeep says:

    A few that I can think of – Varavelpu when a dejected Mohan Lal leaves Kerala at the end, Thaniya Varthanam when the mother and son commit suicide, Sadayam when Mohan Lal at the end says that he wishes to live, Dasharatham when the baby is handed over at the end, Sukrutham when Mammooty realizes that no one wants him, Piravi as Premji waits for his son, Veedu (Tamil)…


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      Thanks Pradeep for your effort & time in reading this….Well there seems to be so many and yet feel that i have covered so little…But grateful to you for making me remember some old gems…Its because of people like you, we come to know and refresh those moments…

      Would have liked your take on moments comprising like these from hindi cinema too…


  4. nice selection of movies. I cant think of any other movie which has made me teary eyed ( and I usually dont, at all), than Sadma. That climax is just something else. of course Apoorva Sagodharagal,Masoom.
    Also, couple of scenes in Indrudu Chandrudu and Guna were real tear jerkers too. ( back in the day, when Kamal used to do some real acting and not assuming Makeup would do the trick, he was such a joy to watch and of course cry 🙂
    TZP was another real emotional one in recent times.
    good writeup bro, keep them coming 🙂


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      Your observation about Kamal is so true as we have lost him to prosthetic make ups after INDIAN(Hindustani) or way too self indulgent cinema…Now here is another actor who deserves a comeback like RGV, as we cant believe he has left his best behind.

      Do give a view to some Malayalam classics from 90’s & late 80’s sometime if you want to keep good faith in Indian cinema.


    2. magmas says:

      out of many Sagarasangamam is all time tear jerking movie -kamalhasan’s mother on deathbed. when he sees his foto on invitation card. climax scene … its a beautiful movie worth watching everytime


  5. Shabbir Kapasi says:

    How could you miss Tabus reaction to see his son walk the footsteps of his father (she breaking down), for which she did every bit to give him morals of good human being and situations kept destroying it… in “CHANDNI BAR”. Another one is Amitabh and Rani Mukerjee’s competing performance in “BLACK” it was a film full of LIT moments, kudos to Sanjay Leela Bhansali to extract such a performance and Cast to deliver it. Out of both, I am sure Chandni Bar can surely get into your list and it cannot be forgotten.


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      I am in agreement to your scene from CHANDNI BAR, it was Tabu at her natural best…BLACK after some repeated views, was emotionally manipulative rather heartfelt, though not taking away anything from its performances…But good to see some more suggestions and i am sure there will be many more if we dig our memory…


  6. Jagan David says:

    Ajay, i think this list would have been complete with ” Ek Duje Ke Liye”.. Awesome acting by Kamal & Rathi. Truly a classic epic of all time dost.


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      Jagan, i share your views about Ek duje Ke Liye and its a personal favourite of mine….But Kamal delivered much better in the other movies mentioned above….


  7. Good Post and good choices. Agree with all your choices. Amongst the regional flims have to agree for the LIT moments u mentioned with Nayakan and Appu raja(sorry i couldn’t get its original title). Havent watched the others hence cant comment. But would love to watch them though.
    Amongst my personal choices Kabhi haan Kabhi Naa is a personal favourite esp. the climax scene when the ring falls during the wedding ceremony.
    Amongst the recent ones the i can recall are Pursuit of Happyness which has may such scenes. And the one in Lakshya when Hrithik confesses his love for his father over the phone.Brilliant. Apart from that i feel the climax of Vinnaithanndi Varuvayaa is bound to make one moist eyed.


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      KHKN is brilliant and calls for a seperate post itself….Pursuit Of Happyness cannot be called Indian cinema….The Lakshya scene along with Aamir Khan’s call to Saif but landing up at Akshaye’s home from Dil Chahta Hai is also which i strongly remember now…Keep your comments flowing if any such moments cross your mind….


  8. sarita says:

    To be very honest i have not seen the regional films but “Taare zameen par” …as a mother no doubt it changed my behaviour towards my kid… i cried n cried at the song “maa”.. anand was wonderfully played by rajesh khanna,especially the babumoshaih scene…. but most touching of all was sadma… the last train scene, i think nobody left the theatre without wiping their eyes and blowing their nose… nobody could haver played that character better than sridevi., tell me how many of us can carry off by calling our dog as “hariprasad”… Ajju u missed out “anjali” movie…well written … good luck beta


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      You should have a view on the regional ones as some are dubbed in Telegu & Hindi too, especially Nayagan & Apoorva Sahodaragal….Maa song in TZP was an instance which thankfully audience around me were more emotive and did not have to pretend being strong….Anjali is awesome, thanks again….


  9. E Pradeep says:

    Find it difficult to think of Hindi movies in the same context as Malayalam ones but a few that comes to my mind – Definitely Anand in the ‘Babu Mushai’ scene, Jennifer Kendall in ’36 Chowringee Lane’ as she waits in vain for the couple to return to her house, Om Puri screaming at the end in ‘Aakrosh’, Pankaj Kapur’s tragedy in ‘Ek Doctor Ki Maut’, Tabu in ‘Chandni Bar’ when she realises the fate of her son, Naseeruddin Shah and Sarika’s grief after the loss of their son in ‘Parzania’, Sanjay Suri slowly passing away in ‘My Brother… Nikhil’.


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      Some real good observations Pradeep and Tabu in CHANDNI BAR should have made it to my post….Parzania is brilliant again….


  10. Debashri says:

    What suckers for LIT moments you GUYS are. Ha ha! No I know :). But seriously…. such beautiful moments all. I haven’t seen the Malayalam films, but the rest….

    Pradeep – Jennifer Kapoor’s role in 36 chowringhee lane was undoubtedly one of the best in Indian cinema ever! It is a pity that she didnt get a National Award for it (Rekha did for Umrao Jaan that year!!!). The movie crushes you….. such a fantastic actress she was!
    In fact, all the scenes you’ve mentioned are my favourites too. Babu Moshaai, I think, I have seen so many times now, maybe I won’t get all teary eyed next time. Don’t know :).


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      Yes even we love those moments and are suckers for it Debashri :-)…

      Can you provide some more bits about Bengali cinema if any that comes to our mind, as can be good future reccos…

      Babu Moshai scene may not work independently now, but giving ANAND a complete view again can do the trick probably..:-)


  11. Lalit says:

    I think you missing Aamir


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      I am missing our chats about old movies too..:-)…


  12. prathap says:

    This is such a nice post. Thanx Sethu for sharing this on FB! Except for Anand & Massom i’ve seen the rest of the mentioned movies.There r many movies with those LIT moments,few i could remember apart from whats said here

    1.Muagavri – when Ajit goes for a regular job.
    2.Kadhalukku Maryadhai – Climax
    4.Nandalala – When Myskin sees his mother whose chained & the moment Raaja sir starts singing Thalattu… – sure shot tear jerker.


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      Thanks Pratap, i am sure there are many more….


  13. Divya says:

    Just read this post and I’m pleasantly surprised to note that I’ve seen all these movies and agree with your choices as well.

    I was really young when I saw Apoorva sahodarangal in the theatre and the scene you mentioned broke my little heart and even though I never re-watched the movie (owing to the heartbreak) ever again, that scene is etched so clearly in my mind that its impact is undeniable.

    Akashadoodu was a movie that made even tough young men cry much against their wishes. I remember clearly how a bunch of boys rushed out just before the interval to hide their tears. The very thought makes me giggle a bit, but the movie itself made me cry buckets!

    I’d’ve added both kireedam and Bharatam to the list, heart rending moments in both movies, in the first when he gets disowned and in the latter when he finds out about his brother. Oh, how I loved Mohanlal then!


    1. Ajay Nair says:

      Oh!!!! Thanks for the read Divya, I had even forgot this article was written..Your comment was a pleasant surprise…

      Akashadoothu is surely a weepfest and the last i saw was that it was playing on some channel as an extended TV Series…Nice way to churn the misery of the remaining kids as only TV can go on & on about it 😛 ….

      Mohanlal & Kamal Hassan need to think and act quickly or else their fans will be in the past tense…

      Do drop in regularly and provide your valuable comments, nice day 🙂


  14. Kushal says:

    I havent seen many titles mentioned in article will need to watch it a.s.a.p?

    Cant we include last scene of Paruthiveeran?I almost was in tears after watching the film.

    Also,there is a french film “The diving bell and butterfly” even that is super emotional and its end does make you cry.(I know it doesnt fit here but still couldn’t resist)


  15. mevin says:

    I am searching for a Telugu movie where a girl is going to wed someone but she falls in love with another boy but in reality she is just fooling with her and the finishing you saw the guy with a rabbit in his hand near a waterfall…. Can you plzz tell me the name of this movie badly want to see it…… Thanks in advance…..


    1. Sethumadhavan says:

      I think you are referring to Vaana,the Telugu remake of the superhit Kannada film-Mungaru Male


      1. mevin says:

        Thanks a lot man…. Its the movie that i have been searching so long


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