“Jinke Apne Ghar Sheeshe Ke Hon, Woh Doosron Par Patthar Nahi Phenka Karte.”
Nothing evokes deep emotions like an evergreen film. With memorable musical interludes, stimulating story-lines and dazzling dance moves, Bollywood is famous for churning out many iconic scenes.
Bollywood has evolved, camouflaged like chameleons in peril to release super hit and blockbuster films over the years.
Iconic scenes are visible in stolen moments. These include in poignant endings and life-changing revelations for characters, which the audience, resonate with.
Iconic scenes profoundly mark us. They begin a ripple of overwhelming emotions, forming waves of nostalgia, leaving viewers wanting for more.
The popular scenes span several decades, featuring some of the most famous names from the industry.
DESIblitz has thoughtfully ensembled a list of 25 top iconic scenes from Bollywood.
Shree 420 (1955)
Director: Raj Kapoor
Stars: Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Nadira
The black and white Shree 420 is a testament to classical Bollywood. Dragged into an unethical world, Raj (Raj Kapoor) relishes in his newfound riches.
Trying to gain the love of a pious woman Vidya (Nargis), he becomes determined to turn his life around.
One iconic scene resonates the transformation of Raj. On a dimly lit evening, the sky gushes with rain. The two-star lovers seek shelter under one classic black umbrella.
Elegantly dressed, they search each other’s faces, finding nothing but hope, love and a future together.
This landmark scene also had a major contribution to shaping love in Bollywood.
Mother India (1957)
Director: Mehboob Khan
Stars: Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar
A mothers love truly knows no bounds. This film throws us into a flashback, revealing how Mother India – Radha (Nargis) came to be. Her strength is unrivalled, especially with her morals standing tall.
Her son, Birju (Sunil Dutt) does not possess the same strength and terrorises the town with his unchecked rage.
When Birju kidnaps a bride from the village, the wrath of Radha confronts him. She particularly threatens Birju, demanding the release of the bride.
But he refuses and retreats on horseback. With a great aim, she shoots once. The bullet goes through his back. With his last steps, he clambers to his mother, who embraces him in her arms.
This was one of the most iconic scenes of Bollywood, highlighting a mother and son.
Director: K. Asif
Stars: Prithviraj Kapoor, Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Durga Khote
Forbidden love is a tale as old as time. But for Prince Salim (Dilip Kumar) and Anarkali (Madhubala), it is a fresh wound.
With their caste and class clashing, their love is also treated as an enemy – hunted and discarded.
In a jewel-encrusted room, with gold adorning’s dripping from door frames, Anarkali is demanded to dance.
In all defiance, she bears her heart and soul out in the musical number, “Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya” (Why fear when there’s love?).
Her infinite love for Salim is announced, risking even death. Viewers see Anarkali’s love radiate in her elegant dancing, capturing the complete attention of everyone in the palace.
Their love is very strong, transcending fear and any boundaries that are in their way.
Director: Yash Chopra
Stars: Balraj Sahni, Raaj Kumar, Sadhana, Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor
Businessman Lala Kedarnath (Balraj Sahni) plays dangerously with fate in Waqt.
With his life turning upside down, Lala Ji’s three children, Raju/Raja (Raaj Kumar), Ravi/Bablu (Sunil Dutt) and Vijay (Shashi Kapoor) face some challenging times.
Raju has to deal with a rough life, finding work with crime boss Chinnoy Seth (Rehman).
In a timeless scene, depicting a basking hot day, Raju and Chinnoy sit poolside on plastic deck chairs. The pool is outlined with pink tiles, severely contrasting the fluorescent green of the synthetic grass.
In their hands are two drinks, featuring the finest alcohol money can buy. They discuss life matters, prompting Raju to say the infamous line:
“Jinke Apne Ghar Sheeshe Ke Hon, Woh Doosron Par Patthar Nahi Phenka Karte.”
This translates to those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The dialogue, particularly makes the scene so much more powerful.
Director: Shakti Samanta
Stars: Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna, Sujit Kumar, Farida Jalal
Aradhana is about two lovers, Arun Verma (Rajesh Khanna) and Vandana Verma/Tripathi (Sharmila Tagore) who secretly elope, much to their families dismay.
Neither family cares for Vandana after the death of Arun. Pregnant and alone, Vandana reluctantly decides to give her child up for adoption.
Nothing is more tear-jerking than a mother-son reunion. As Air Force pilot Suraj Prasad Verma (also played by Rajesh Khanna) emerges over the hill, Vandana immediately tears up. Her baby boy is now a man.
The connection is instant, especially with the feeling of being innate. At last, they reunite.
As one of the most iconic scenes in Bollywood, it plucks on your heartstrings, with sentiments swelling your eyes. No wonder it’s a classic.
Director: Kamal Amrohi
Stars: Meena Kumari, Raaj Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Nadira
Raised in a brothel, Sahibjaan/Pakeezah Salim Ahmed Khan (Meena Kumari) falls in love with a poetic stranger, Salim Ahmed Khan (Raaj Kumar). But their love for each other hit endless hurdles.
Can the two lovers be together against their families wishes?
The poet, Salim is first seen in a small train compartment. As Sahibjaan softly sleeps, she captures the attention of Salim who walks past. Salim also stops, overwhelmed by love, he slips her a note saying:
“Aapke Paaon Dekhen, Bohat Haseen Hain. Inhe Zameen Par Mat Utariiyega. Mele Ho Jaayenge – Aapkaa Ek Humsafar…”
(I have seen your feet. They are beautiful. Please do not place them on the ground. They will become dirty – A fellow traveller).
As the steam train halts to a stop, Sahibjaan stirs awake, surprised at finding the note.
A scene as soft as this wields great power. It controls the plot, influencing the whole film. This iconic scene deserves insurmountable recognition.
Seeta Aur Geeta (1972)
Director: Ramesh Sippy
Stars: Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Manorama, Satyen Kappur
Two twins, Seeta and Geeta (Hema Malini) are separated at birth. Inevitably, they decide to swap lives. The only trouble is destined to transpire.
A playful Geeta is mistaken as shy Seeta. During the initial confusion, Geeta, dressed in a vibrant green and yellow outfit wreaks havoc in a police station.
She also climbs up the ceiling fan, perched until her aunt Kaushalya (Manorama) and uncle Badrinath (Satyen Kappur) come to collect her.
This iconic scene is playful, pumped with energy and before its time.
She plays the perfect character to illustrate a mischievous personality.
Director: Raj Kapoor
Stars: Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Prem Nath, Pran
Raj Nath (Rishi Kapoor) and Bobby Braganza (Dimple Kapadia) fall love in love, despite being of different faiths.
With this being a clashing point, can the two lovestruck teenagers find a way to be together? Inspired by love, director Raj Kapoor injects a scene from his memories into Bobby.
Raj softly knocks on two pale green doors, which Bobby brashly opens. Wearing a baby blue mini dress, Bobby’s hair is back, with pakora paste smearing across her palms. He falls head over heels.
During their conversation, Bobby unknowingly wipes some paste across her forehead landing in her hair. Raj is more smitten than before, with teenage love becoming no longer about looks.
The powerful memory shines bright, forever being dubbed as one of the best iconic scenes from Bollywood.
Director: Yash Chopra
Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Nirupa Roy, Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi
In Deewar, two brothers, Vijay Verma (Amitabh Bachchan) and Ravi Verma (Shashi Kapoor) live completely contrasting lives.
Vijay is a criminal, whilst Ravi is a cop. But as their lives inevitably collide, only one can survive.
Both brothers are dressed fresh from the 70s, with large bright Sudan’s to compliment their bell-bottomed trousers. The night is solemn, quiet, ready for this iconic scene.
Emotions are raw, as Vijay pleads his baby brother to leave town before he is killed. Feeling frustrated, Vijay acknowledges the Deewar between them.
He asks what good are morals when Ravi has nothing to show for it? Ravi simply replies:
“Mere Paas Maa Hai” (I have a mum with me). A stunning look slaps Vijay’s face. After all, what’s worth more?
Director: Ramesh Sippy
Stars: Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Amjad Khan
This film has it all – drama, action, love and flawless heroes. No wonder Sholay is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time.
Jaidev ‘Jai’ (Amitabh Bachchan) and Veeru (Dharmendra) arrive in the sleepy town of Ramgarh, hunting down dangerous bandit, Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan).
Gabbar unhinged is a manic running his own crew with a penchant for khaki shirts.
In the notorious scene “Kitne Aadmi The” (How many men were there?) he reveals just how deranged he is. There are three men but he has six bullets in his gun.
In a large rocky valley, dust rises to the cloudless sky, as three men wait for death.
He plays Russian roulette with his ex-henchmen, as the tension becomes sliced with a knife. But for some miraculous reason, the chamber plays empty. There is an illusion that the men can leave unharmed.
Gabbar starts manically laughing like a psychopath, encouraging his men until laughter bounces off the valley’s rocks. Then, in one swift movement, bang, bang, bang.
All three men hit the floor quicker than your gasp can vocalise.
Director: Feroz Khan
Stars: Feroz Khan, Vinod Khanna, Zeenat Aman, Amjad Khan, Shakti Kapoor, Aruna Irani
Timing is everything in the film Qurbani. Two thieves, Rajesh (Feroz Khan) and Amar (Vinod Khanna) become besotted with Sheela (Zeenat Aman).
The three become a target of Vikram (Shakti Kapoor) and Jwaala (Aruna Irani).
One of the best scene in the film is actually a song. A pillar box red room decorated with flickers of light reflected off a glistening disco ball is the setting for this track.
Hues of yellow, green and red float around, blinding the audience, but radiating Sheela.
In the booming track, ‘Aap Jaisa Koi Meri Zindagi,’ Sheela wears a bright red sparkling dress, acting as her own disco ball.
She takes centre stage, for all to enjoy. Rajesh immediately spots her across the dance floor and is attracted by her seductive nature.
This scene transports viewers to a late 70’s party, a room trapped in time. Dance halls will never be dressed the same.
Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)
Director: Sooraj Barjatya
Stars: Salman Khan, Bhagyashree, Mohnish Bahl, Laxmikant Berde
Prem Choudhary (Salman Khan) falls deeply in love with Suman Shrestha (Bhagyashree).
But they face family difficulties. Prem begs for a chance to prove himself worthy for Suman.
The flourishing love between Suman and Prem is undeniable in secret scenes they steal together. But a love letter confirms it all.
Under a black beret imprinted with the word ‘Friend’ waves a letter, catching with the wind.
Prem moves Suman to tears as his words echo around her. Whatever she feels, he feels too. Under the cap is a present, an ointment and an inside joke from a previous scene.
This iconic scene elegantly unveils the pain behind a secret romance.
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)
Director: Mansoor Khan
Stars: Aamir Khan, Ayesha Jhulka, Deepak Tijori, Mamik Singh, Pooja Bedi
When Ratanlal ‘Ratan’ Sharma (Mamik Singh) is badly injured, his younger carefree brother Sanjaylal ‘Sanju’ Sharma (Aamir Khan) undergoes a dramatic mental and physical transformation.
He takes his brother’s place to participate in a much-honoured sports event.
The most iconic scene is when Sanju tries to tell Anjali (Ayesha Jhulka) that he is in love with the evil Devika (Pooja Bedi).
As he is about to tell her, Anjali’s father asks his daughter to come up and serve some food.
As Sanju leaves, he gives a kiss on Anjali’s cheek, which leads to the super lines for the song, ‘Pehla Nasha’:
“Chaahe Tum Kuch Na Kaho, Maine Sunn Liya, Ke Saathi Pyaar Ka, Mujhe Chunn Liya.” (Even if You didn’t say anything, I’ve heard you that you have chosen me as your companion in love.)
Later on, love blossoms between Anjali and Sanjay. She’s there for him when no one else is.
Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994)
Director: Sooraj Barjatya
Starring: Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan, Mohnish Bahl
Prem Nath (Salman Khan) meets his sister-in-law, Nisha Choudhury (Madhuri Dixit), and immediately falls in love.
However, after a family tragedy, Nisha is expected to marry Prem’s brother, Rajesh Nath (Mohnish Bahl), instead.
Romance is red, orange and blush pink. It’s summoned at sunsets with lovely gifts given, as well as scattered art standing tall on canvases. Love is captured through culture in this film.
For this film, an iconic scene sees Nisha adorned with red and gold, the colours of an Asian bride. Prem wears a formal three buttoned suit with blush pink injected into his shirt and waistcoat.
This scene has all the hallmarks of love. It could stand alone and still scream of romance. With fabulous directing like this, it was iconic.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Director: Aditya Chopra
Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Amrish Puri, Parmeet Sethi
The romantic atmosphere of Europe bonds Simran Singh (Kajol) and Raj Malhotra (Shah Rukh Khan) together.
After learning that she is engaged to Kuljeet Singh (Parmeet Sethi), Raj fights for Simran. In the climax, Simran virtually begs her father Chaudhary Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri), to let her go and marry Raj.
This final scene is so iconic that it’s regurgitated in other Bollywood films.
As a burgundy train slowly departs the station, the carriage door is wide open, with a wistful Raj longingly looking out for Simran.
On the platform, dressed in gold, Simran sprints. She sprints for the love of her life, who is dreaming of her on the train.
He’s startled, rushing to the door. One hand on a pole, the other virtually stretched, his arm feels almost dislocated.
He hopes Simran can reach him before the train picks up speed.
As she runs alongside the train, viewers are poised in anticipation. Will she make it? She does as love conquers all.
Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
Director: Farhan Akhtar
Stars: Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Preity Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni, Dimple Kapadia
What does it take to follow your heart? Well, Dil Chahta Hai has all the answers to this.
Three friends, Akash Malhotra (Aamir Khan), Sameer Mulchandani (Saif Ali Khan) and Siddharth ‘Sid’ Sinha (Akshaye Khanna) attempt to navigate love and family duties after graduating from college.
Overlooking a large body of water, lounging on castle ruins, a silhouetted ship swimming in the background easily stirs existential emotions.
Questions of life, love, the future, the past and friendships forefront your mind.
But this scene captures the platonic love between three friends, Akash, Sameer and Sid. The scene creates a bond so deep that they can be labelled as family.
There is a picturesque background for such a stirring scene, showing friends as the greatest gift one can have.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (2001)
Director: Karan Johar
Stars: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… aka (K3G) is undeniably one of the most classic, iconic, nostalgic, star-studded films ever to shape the new era of Bollywood.
This film has it all – be it heart-break, drama, comedy, a story of caste, as well as class and love. The film also highlights familial love, romantic love and a love for life.
K3G centres around two families, two sisters, one adopted son, two loving parents and a younger son who gets caught in the crossfire.
Following your heart is a trope used to push people, pursuing a new lease on life. But in this instance, it causes one family to break in two.
But when the younger son, Rohan Raichand (Hrithik Roshan) decides to follow his heart, ten years later, it leads him to his estranged adopted older brother, Rahul Raichand (Shah Rukh Khan).
The reunion scene is just short of magic.
This iconic scene also captures the essence of a quintessential Bollywood film. The wind, which suddenly appears inside is accompanied with a soft singing of the title song, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.
With tears everywhere, it is in this scene, we realise, everything is going to be ok.
Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Starring Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh, Rachel Shelly, Paul Blackthorne
Historically, taxes were high in British India, especially for farmers – a point that Lagaan highlights.
As the tax season approaches and no crops have grown, Bhuvan Latha (Aamir Khan) challenges Captain Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne) to a game of cricket.
The reward? The loser pays the winners tax for the next three years. The end of the film is heart racing and adrenaline pumping.
On a dusty day, with no greenery in sight, Bhuvan anxiously stands on the other side of the pitch. Bat in hand, hoping he can have the final shot.
But that does not seem to be the case. Bhuvan has no control as he can only watch. As the bowler swings in, this ball can make or break the entire match.
But the batsman does not connect with the ball. Feeling defeat, the village is shocked into silence.
However, miraculously, the umpire then declares it as a no-ball. With fate on their side, Bhuvan is the man who manages to cross between the wickets. With the effort of Hercules, he swings his bat, hitting a six.
Exhale, the village team wins the game to avoid the Lagaan.
Director: Yash Chopra
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukerji
In Veer-Zara, two-star lovers, Veer Pratap Singh (Shah Rukh Khan) and Zaara Hayaat Khan (Preity Zinta) fall victim to family obligations and miscommunication.
After Veer spends twenty-two years in prison, can he and Zaara finally find a way to reunite?
There is an iconic scene, which is often remarked as one of the greatest ‘meet cutes’ in the history of Bollywood.
Veer and Zaara begin their ethereal, mystical, time transcending love unusually.
Zaara’s bus plummets off a muddy cliff, but surprisingly there are no fatalities. In swoops Veer, dangling off a fragile helicopter wire, rescuing stranded survivors.
Last, to be picked up is Zaara. In one swoop, Veer reaches the ground and hoists her up into his arms.
She’s terrified, with a low gaze, breathing deeply. He takes one look at her and warps into a dream world, as he is deeply in love.
That scene sets the story, signifying how deep their love is for each other. All it took, was just one look.
Om Shanti Om (2007)
Director: Farah Khan
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone
Om Shanti Om incorporates soul mates in its title. Wrapped up in Om Kapoor (Shah Rukh Khan) is Shantipriya ‘Shanti’ Mehra (Deepika Padukone).
They are two past lovers, where one dies trying to save the other.
Thirty years later, we see the re-emergence of the two soul mates, reincarnated into duplicate images of their past lives.
Their love is real and infinite, echoed by an ethereal ending. Om and Shanti finally reunite, however briefly, finding solace within each other.
One of the most iconic scenes in this film is the final one. In a charred room, blackened by ash and time, Shanti’s elegantly dressed spirit slowly ascends a chandelier-lit staircase.
It is clear that she has found peace. With her, the audience does too. The film set out to break boundaries. In between the deep messages of reincarnation and the promise of infinite love, we get glitz and glamour.
A star-studded song, ‘Deewangi Dewaangi,’ is an iconic feature of this film, with thirty-one Bollywood celebrities cameoing.
3 Idiots (2009)
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Stars: Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani, Omi Vaidya
Engineering school is not a usual base for a Bollywood comedy film. But in 3 Idiots, it’s a place to discover life-changing friends.
Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan) and Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) befriend eccentric Ranchoddas ‘Rancho’ Shamaldas Chanchad (Aamir Khan).
They all have a desire for something bigger, better and brighter. But Rancho goes missing, and after five years of searching, they finally reunite.
What is a machine? This iconic scene introduces the quirky Rancho into our lives. He acts as a symbol, a wider annotation into the educational system.
Filling hope for the future, students scrape mismatched chairs, gathering around a blackboard. The teacher is a plump, middle-aged man with a love for chalks and a short fuse for jokers.
Hilariously portrayed is the brilliance and adaptability of Rancho, setting a precedent for the whole film.
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Nargis Fakhri
Rockstar centres around the promise of heartbreak and an unusual request for anybody.
But to achieve rock status, Janardhan ‘Jordan’ Jakhar/JJ (Ranbir Kapoor) sets his hope on “heart breaking machine,” Heer Kaul (Nargis Fakhri).
The film shows love morphed into rejection. Jordan, unsurprisingly, becomes bitter, raging in his newfound accidental stardom. With his wish being granted, he reaches an elevated rock status.
But as emotions entangle in tightly formed knots, Jordan reverts his genie wish, desiring immortal love – only from Heer. But she is destined for another purpose and dies from immense blood loss.
With pain, love, heartbreak, bitter regrets scorching unmeant words, Jordan channels his anger during various concerts.
But as the lights go low, the music softens and a wisp of air summons an ethereal version of Heer – a muse like vision.
As tears may brim the eyes of fans, they will see love captured like never before. This truly is an iconic scene of Bollywood.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Stars: Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif
The film is about three friends, Arjun Saluja (Hrithik Roshan), Kabir Dewan (Abhay Deol) and Imraan Qureshi (Farhan Akhtar), who travel to Spain for a bachelor trip.
A chance to reunite reveals regretted history, but also allows a hopeful chance for new beginnings to blossom.
Buddy road films are a haven for iconic scenes. Landscapes ignite a wanderlust to travel more, see more and experience more.
In a scuba diving scene, they plunge into a deep blue sea, so clear, with corals being visible from the surface.
Citric colour fish dart around, disturbed by people dressed head to toe in tight black wetsuits. There are bubbles blowing above like smoke from a chimney.
It is like a euphoric moment, a realisation that life is too short to waste away on regrets, bitterness, grudges and unending mountains of work.
It is a scene, which demands and deserves silence. This is where their second life starts.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016)
Director: Karan Johar
Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
The saying goes “mimicry is the highest form of flattery.” But that is the point. The upbeat Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has a plot relying on love but channelled through comedy.
It is ultimately achieved through a chilled, laid back energy. Alizeh Khan (Anushka Sharma) is a free spirit who has a ceaseless love for all things Bollywood.
Alizeh has a scene with Ayan Sanger (Ranbir Kapoor) where they imitate some classic Jeetendra songs, over some beverages and a toast.
The songs they sing include ‘Taki O Taki’ (Himmatwala: 1983) and ‘Haaye Haaye Garmi Hai’ (Maqsad: 1984).
It is quite a contrast to old songs. This is when women, often dressed in nothing more than a sari, dancing seductively on snowy mountain tops.
Their male counterparts dramatically would dance out to mini stunts. A gust of wind would follow them wherever they went.
This is an iconic scene as it offers a contemporary compilation, with some humour in between.
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Stars: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra
Some men live through their sons. But not Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan), who lives through his two eldest daughters, Geeta Phogat (Fatima Sana Shaikh) and Babita Phogat (Sanya Malhotra) instead.
Discovering their raw wrestling talent, he decides to vicariously achieve his life goal, which is winning a gold medal for India. Dangal is based on a true story.
Dangal is loaded with iconic scenes, each more inspirational than the last. The girls, Geeta and Babita flourish as wrestlers under their father’s wing.
But teachers and parents cannot guide us forever. During the climax of the film, Geeta on the defence in the wrestling ring, looking lost at what to do, frantically searches for her father who is not there.
Geeta digs deep, remembering how Mahavir threw her into the water, saying she had to figure a way out.
Geeta also recalls his life lessons, knowing he prepped her for the worst and ready to win single handily.
Feeling like she has never done before, with complete clarity, the film shows Geeta demolishing her opponent.
This was a true moment of success for a true story. Above is a compilation of iconic scenes from Bollywood, transporting viewers to a time where some melodrama was a must.
Bollywood draws audiences far and near to celebrate the art of cinema.
With scenes ranging from the depths of sky blue seas, to the heights of flurried white mountain tops. Bollywood repeatedly delivers iconic scenes for everyone to marvel.