In Hindi films, we have epitomised romance and romantic heroes. I wonder if any other film industry in the world has made so many love stories or romantic dramas as we have. There are production houses that have taken pride in churning out one love saga after the next. And indeed, actors have become heartthrobs among the opposite sex only through love stories. In a part of the twin post, we look at the top 10 male romantic character portrayals in Hindi cinema.
Please note, I am not talking about the actors here, this post is only about the characters. And obviously, it’s a very personal list – would love to see your choices in the comments section. Till then, here is my list.
10. ARUN – ARADHANA
Can you recollect that tune of Kishore Kumar’s voice floating through with the wind as Arun walks towards his heroine? It’s given that women love men in uniform. And when the man is fair, charming, possesses a disarming smile and is intensely romantic, you cannot blame the girl for falling in love desperately with him. Arun is the man through whose arms every woman wants to roll her hands and walk on the streets. He is romance personified.
09. ADITYA KASHYAP – JAB WE MET
He is the quintessential good guy. Aditya is urbane, charming, handsome and above all, romantic. He boards the wrong train because his girlfriend had ditched him, and then he meets the girl who makes him fall in love again, but then she too is betrothed. Yet, he can turn the entire world around just to see her smile. Every girl in the nation wanted an Aditya Kashyap as a boyfriend. Oh, by the way, he is very rich too.
08. SUNIL – KABHI HAAN KABHI NAA
Sunil is the epitome of being an underdog – he represents those millions of guys across schools and colleges who set their hearts out for their girls but always lose out to the hunk. They want to ploy, connive and conspire to get their girls back. Sunil does that. Does he succeed? Alas, as much as we want him to, he doesn’t. But would it be fair if he had got the girl? Perhaps, not! As for Sunil, he would find love again.
07. AKBAR – JODHA AKBAR
What is more enigmatic than a supremely powerful and extremely gorgeous man gradually succumbing to love? Jalaaluddin Akbar is a man brought up amidst warfare, fed on military strategies and nurtured by ambition to rule the world. He gets married to the Hindu princess to expand his territories, but then his heart slowly melts for her when he hears her sing, sees her feed the pigeons, tastes her Rajasthani meal or when she writes his name in Urdu. Here’s a fictional tale on the most underrated romantic pair in history.
06. VANRAJ – HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM
If love is about sacrifice, Vanraj is possibly above everyone else. Here’s this proponent of truth who has failed to be a successful lawyer because of his obsession with being truthful. And, when he realises that his wife is stuck in an unhappy marriage with him because her heart is still with her lover before marriage, Vanraj decides to traverse across the world to make his wife meet her lover. He is a terrible singer, bad dancer, not a charmer but his honesty makes him the man he is. If Nandini didn’t return to him at the end of the film, we would have lost faith in sacrifice.
05. VASU (EK DUJE KE LIYE) & RAJ (QAYAMAT SE QAYAMAT TAK)
These are Bollywood’s rendition of one of the most popular literary cum romantic characters ever – William Shakespeare’s Romeo. These are guys who can fight the world and give up their lives for the sake of love. While Vasu is extremely adorable in the way he strives to match up to his boisterous Punjabi girlfriend, Raj redefined cute heroes on screen. And when they meet their tragic fates, you can’t help but feel shattered, sitting right there in your seat. Let’s see if Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Ram” can match up to them.
04. ROHIT GUPTA – CHANDNI
Rohit is the flirtatious lover at its best. He is the man who will steal his way into the ladies’ function just to catch a glimpse of the lady who stole his heart. He will click her pictures, paint his entire room with her portraits, take her to the Alps, shower her with roses from a helicopter, push her away when he is relegated to a wheelchair and recuperate from a debilitating illness just to win her back. In a way, Rohit ushered in the portrayal of the urban lover heedless of family’s opinion, for he knows his girl is perfect.
03. RAJ – DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAAYENGE
An entire nation woke up to love when Raj and Simran celebrated their saga of romance. DDLJ is definitely the love story of its generation and a large part of it can be ascribed to the romantic charm of the street-smart, boyish-charm equipped hero Raj. While heroes before him believed in fighting or running away, Raj believed in making his way into his girl’s family just to win their hearts and approval for his relation with their daughter. And yes, of course, he is also the lover who maintains a fast on Karwa Chauth for his heroine.
02. BARFI – BARFI!
Love is actually not about being tragic; Love is a delight to cherish. What’s the point of having a heart if you can’t dish it out to girl you are in love with. Yet, love should come with the realisation of where you stand and who loves you the most. Love is about spending an entire lifetime with someone who will want nothing but you. It needs no words to express; it only needs the smiles, the tears, the winks, and the heart to be in Love. Barfi has all of it and much more.
01. RAJU – MERA NAAM JOKER
Raju tells us what being in love is all about. He is romantic not because he has the heroine but because he romanticises the idea of romance. He will stand by the door and secretly admire her, put an arm around her and protect from the mass, will give up his ambition for what she wants in life and wait endlessly for her to come back to his arms. Yet, at every stage, he is failed by the women he love – but Love is a stage and the show must go on. Raju teaches us the most crucial lesson of all – “Never give up on Love!”
So, here was my list. There was one name that I deliberately kept off the list and that’s Devdas – primarily because it’s a novel and there have been multiple interpretations of the character.
PS: The 3 generation of Kapoor family featuring in the top half of the list is pure coincidence, I had no such prior motive to do so.