Love and Romance in that one emotion and theme that Indian film makers have woven their scripts and plots around since the onset of cinema in the country. From the legendary ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ to ‘Dil Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’, Bollywood Romantic movies have told numerous tales of love in all its shades.
However, the definition of ‘Love’ has been redefined in the Indian cinema recently. The new millennium movies did not believe in the stereotypical “Do Jism Ek Jaan” and “Jiyenge to Saath. Marenge to Saath” definition of love that had been shown on the big screen again and again for decades in Indian Cinema. The new love stories brought a new refreshing perspective to Hindi love stories and were more relatable to today’s generation and youth.
We bring you a list of best Bollywood Romantic movies of recent past (Year 2000-Present) that you should definitely watch.
1. Band Baaja Baarat (2010)
Two fresh faces in Bollywood – Anushka Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor starred in a beautiful love story playing two young lads in Delhi trying to make it big in their life with their wedding planning business.
Band Baaja Baarat is a colorful and energetic love story with all elements of a Masala movie including dance numbers, romantic songs and the quintessential Bollywood melodrama.
2. Barfi (2013)
One of the sweetest love stories of recent times, this is a story of a deaf-mute boy Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) and his relationship with two women Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz ), an educated young girl and Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) who suffers from Autism. Unlike other Bollywood movies where being disability meant a life of contempt and distress, Barfi celebrates love, life and laughter. in this love story India’s official entry to Oscar then, Barfi also won 7 Filmfare awards including the Best Film.
3. Dev D (2009)
A modern take on the classic Devdas, Dev D was one of the movies that redefined the cinema of the past decade. A black comedy musical by Anurag Kashyap, the movie was inspired by several famous incidents in the news and represented the psyche and problems of the urban metro audiences. It’s sound track was unique and highly experimental. Dev D was equally well received by the audiences as well as the critics for showing an unusual Bollywood love story.
4. Devdas (2002)
SRK, Aishwarya and Madhuri Dixit in a movie directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali! A lot of critics and enthusiats would agree to the fact that movies like Devdas are made only once in a generation. It was the second time Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel Devdas was being adapted on the silver screen in Bollywood and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali made sure it was a visual delight and one of the best Bollywood Romantic movies of all time. With meticulously crafted sets to classy costumes that weighed kilos and starring the biggest names of the industry back then, Devdas was the most expensive Bollywood movie ever made at the time of its release in 2002.
This movie tells the story of its central character, Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan) and his relationship with his childhood love – Paro (Aishwarya Rai) and then a courtesan – Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit). This love story of falling in love and then getting destroyed by it has been told beautifully with this classic.
Also read: The Best Dialogues from Devdas
5. Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015)
A beautiful love story set in a small town, Dum Laga Ke Haisha is the story of a man (Ayyushmann Khurana) who is embarrassed by his arranged marriage to his over-weight wife. It is a story of how “Love comes in All Sizes” where the couple discover love after their fair share of ups and downs in the relationship.
6. Highway (2014)
Imitiaz Ali again writes a beautiful and unusual love story with Highway. A girl (Alia Bhatt) who belonged to a powerful business family is kidnapped. One of the abducters, Randeep Hooda takes her through different cities and places in North India to avoid being tracked. A case of ‘Stokholom Syndrome’, Alia Bhatt suddenty starts enjoying her freedom, something she never tasted with her family and starts enjoying the company of Randeep Hooda. A.R Rahman’s music further makes his movie more soulful.
7. Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd (2007)
A comedy drama, Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd is one of the under-rated gems of Bollywood. This 2007 movie tells the story of Six couples – each from different cultures, backgrounds, age groups and at different stages in the relationship with their partners. The story follows the emotional journeys of these couples during a 4-day Goa Trip. The best thing about Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. is the simplicity of the script and plot.
8. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (2008)
A movie that had become an instant favorite among college goers and youngsters at the time of its release. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is just like one of those classic sit-coms which tells a simple story of a group of friends and a couple (Imran Khan and Genelia D’Souza) who are in a constant state of denial of their relationship. It is a movie that neither dares to be different nor does it have ‘masala’ or melo-drama, and yet there is some warmth in this uncomplicated tale that viewers like.
9. Jab We Met (2007)
An energetic and lively Geet (Kareena Kapoor) meets a businessman who had almost given up on his life (Aaditya) set on a journey to Bhatinda and then elope to the mountains to meet Geets boyfriend. The whole movie is a beautiful roller coaster ride with accepting yourself, laughing off the failures in life, falling in love with yourself and finding your heart appear as the central themes of Jab We Met. A movie that is full of memorable scenes and humorous dialogues, Jab We Met is regarded to be one of the best Bollywood romantic movies of all time. It is one of the best Bollywood romantic movies by Imtiaz Ali who came into prominence as the writer and director who could capture the pulse and hearts of the new generation.
Also read: The best Dialogues from Jab We Met
10. Jodhaa Akbar (2008)
The story of Mughal emperor Akbar and his Rajput wife Jodha Bai was portrayed in an artistic manner with Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar. A movie known for its grand sets, beautifully crafted costumes and amazing cinematography, Jodha Akbar revolved around how a reluctant Jodhaa Bai was married to Akbar to seek a political alliance ultimately fell in love with the emperor Akbar who was as good a lover and husband as a King.
11. Kabir Singh (2019)
Despite being criticized heavily by feminists for portraying and toxic masculinity, Kabir Singh emerged as one of the biggest hits of 2019. The movie follows the story of an obsessive lover, Kabir (Shahid Kapoor), his relationship with his college junior, Preeti (Kiara Advani) and his path to self-destruction after failing in love. With powerful performances and a good music, Kabir Singh is a welcome change from stereotypical love stories of Bollywood.
12. Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)
A movie made with the underlying message of enjoying your life to the fullest because nobody knows what would happen tomorrow, Kal Ho Na lives upto its title. It’s the story of Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan), a terminally ill patient who tries to get Naina (Preity Zinta), an MBA student and her friend, Rohit Patel (Saif Ali Khan) fall in love with each other before he takes his last breath. The movie is known for its powerful dialogues, gripping storyline and music. Kal Ho Na Ho managed to win 2 National awards and Eight Filmfares and a numerous other awards.
13. Lootera (2013)
A poetic portrayal of author O. Henry’s 1907 short story ‘The Last Leaf’. Lootera is a heart-warming story made in an artistic style with cinematic details. It’s a love story between a conman – Atmanand Tripathi (Ranbir Singh) and Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha), the daughter of a Zamindar who was one of his victims. The beauty of this movie is in its slow pace and cinematic approach of portraying the love with a finesse otherwise uncommon in Bollywood. For lovers of classic cinema and genuine art, Lootera remains as one of the best Bollywood romantic movies of all time and a cinematic gem.
14. Love Aaj Kal (2009)
A young and romantic tale between Veer Singh (Saif Ali Khan) and Meera Pandit (Deepika Padukone), Love Aaj Kal aptly lives upto its title by portraying a contemporary love story. This movie depicts pure love that goes through ups and downs, turmoil, melodrama and yet prevails. Packed with powerful performances and emotional moments, it’s a movie that would definitely make every lover skip a beat.
15. Masaan (2015)
A movie highly appreciated by the critics and lovers of genuine Cinema, Masaan is one of the gems of contemporary Indian Cinema. The movie set in the town of Banaras follows the two parallel stories – One of Devi Pathak (Richa Chadha) whose life is torn apart after being caught by police in a hotel getting intimate with her student and the other of Deepak Kumar (Vicky Kaushal), a boy belonging to a lower caste who falls in love with Shaalu Gupta (Shweta Tripathi), a high caste girl. The movie explores delicate feelings and deep sentiments of its two protagonists who are trying to fight the societal norms while listening their hearts.
Also Read: Heart Warming Dialogues From Masaan
16. Parineeta (2005)
A romantic musical drama set in Kolkata in the 1960s, Parineeta is a love triangle between Lalita (Vidya Balan), Girish Sharma (Sanjay Dutt) and Shekhar Roy (Saif Ali Khan). The story is a timeless and engaging romantic tale which is beautifully told with melodious songs.
17. Raanjhanaa (2013)
A story of one-sided love set in the colorful city of Banaras, Raanjhanaa by Aanand L. Rai celebrates the typical ‘desi’ small town love a lot of us grew up with. The story about Kundan’s (Dhanush) selfless love with Zoya (Sonam Kapoor) who regards him as someone intellectually inferior is laced with beautiful songs, humorous dialogues and a gripping screenplay.
Also read: The Best Raanjhanaa Dialogues
18. Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein (2001)
Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein or RHTDM as we popularly call it, is a movie that would make any 90s kid nostalgic.The movie is about the love story of Madhav or Maddy (R Madhavan) and Reena Malhotra (Dia Mirza) whose marriage has already been fixed by her parents. Her fiance Rajeev (Saif Ali Khan) is someone who had a rivalry with Maddy from their college days.
19. Rockstar (2011)
A movie that saw a departure from the style of mainstream cinema towards a more artistic approach, Rockstar has become a cult classic for several Bollywood enthusiasts. A celebration of timeless love with beautiful songs and music, Rockstar saw director Imtiaz Ali giving more importance to details and cinematography in an otherwise predictable plot.
20. Saathiya (2002)
While most of the Bollywood movies end with a happy married life, Saathiya portrays the story of maritial problems and emotional turmoil of a couple after love marriage. Starring Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherji, the movie has a simple plot and soulful music composed by A.R Rahman.
21. Socha Na tha (2005)
The debut movie of Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia, Socha Na Tha was one of the first movies of this millennium that broke away from the stereotypical Bollywood love story. This movie marked the directorial debut of Imtiaz Ali, who later went to to create several other memorable Bollywood love stories like Jab We Met, Tamasha and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, each that redefined love of this new generation.
22. Tamasha (2015)
Another gem by Imtiaz Ali, Tamasha is one of the bravest big screen experiments in recent times. A story of finding your soul and heart amidst the chaos of your everyday life, Tamasha is miles apart from other movies in the genre. The love and emotions in this movie show a level of maturity and comes of age unlike any other Bollywood flicks. Tamasha is a movie not for everyone – it is slow in its pace, lacks fireworks or melodrama but it beautifully captures the hearts of several youngsters trying to fit themselves in corporate jobs and societal rules while their heart lies elsewhere.
23. Veer Zaara (2004)
A timeless love story that transcends borders, Veer Zaara shows a sentimental story of Veer Pratap Singh (Shah Rukh Khan), an Indian Air Force pilot and Zaara Hayaat Khan (a Pakistani). A movie with timeless songs and music, Shah Rukh yet again proves why he is known as the King of Romance with this beautiful Bollywood love story.
24. Vivah (2006)
A story of old-school love and family values in the new millenium, Shahid Kapoor and Amrita Rao starrer Vivah was despised by the critics but became popular esp. among the audiences of small cities and towns. Directed by Sooraj Barjataya, Vivah manages to re-create the magic of the super hits produced by Rajshri in the 90s.
25. The Lunchbox (2013)
The Lunchbox is a sweet and simple love-story between two people who never meet but speak to each other with notes placed in lunchboxes that are delivered by the famous Mumbai Dabbawalas. Starring ace-actor Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur, the movie was received well by the critics as well as the audiences. The movie received a number of national and international awards owing to its simple yet powerful script.
These movies and several others that didn’t make it to the list were instrumental in redefining love on the silver screen in the new millennium. Which are the best Bollywood Romantic movies according to you?
Do let us know in the comments below!