10 Best Bollywood Tearjerker Movies Everyone Should See

Indian cinema has a history of provoking emotions. We present the 10 top Bollywood tearjerker movies that will have you reaching for tissues.

10 Best Bollywood Tearjerker Movies to Watch - f1

"I love Aamir Khan in Ghajini, he had me crying so much"

Over the years, Bollywood tearjerker movies have had even the most unwilling of eyes watering.

Such Bollywood films try to capture the audiences’ emotions and hearts.

These movies star some of Bollywood’s most popular stars like Vidya Balan, Shraddha Kapoor, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan.

Many Bollywood tearjerker movies have become internationally renowned for their deep emotion.

Here we look at 10 famous Bollywood tearjerker movies that are a must-watch.

Anand (1971)

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Stars: Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Sumita Sanyal

Anand is one of the most classic Bollywood tearjerker movies known for its emotional sequences, dialogues, and its famous ending. The movie’s songs composed by Salil Chowdhury are also iconic.

The film centres around Anand Sehgal (Rajesh Khanna) and Bhaskar Banerjee (Amitabh Bachchan).

Anand who is a ‘twinkled-eyed cancer patient‘ befriends everyone he meets. Bhaskar Banerjee, Anand’s doctor is a rather sombre young man.

Bhaskar and Anand are absolute opposites, together, their relationship fives the movie soul. Bhaskar’s friendship with Anand alters his approach to life.

Anand aware of his impending death is determined to use the time he has left to the fullest.

Elisha Bibi*, a 24-year-old Pakistani Asda worker in Birmingham was surprised by her reaction to Anand:

“I don’t usually do ancient movies, and Anand is ancient. But it is so good. I found myself caring about the characters and it had me and my dadi (paternal grandmother) crying.”

The movie has been lauded by critics and audiences alike over the years. Anand won the 1917 National Award for ‘Best Feature Film in Hindi’ and multiple Filmfare Awards.

Koyla (1997)

10 Best Bollywood Tearjerker Movies to Watch - Koyla 1

Director: Rakesh Roshan
Stars: Madhuri Dixit, Shah Rukh Khan, Amrish Puri, Deepshika Nagpal, Mohnish Bahl, Johnny Lever

Koyla is one of the biggest Bollywood tearjerker movies on our list in terms of A-list stars. The film revolves around Gauri Singh (Madhuri Dixit) and Shankar Thakur (Shah Rukh Khan).

Shankar is mute due to a childhood tragedy that saw his parents murdered. He was raised by the powerful Raja-Saab (Amrish Puri), who treats him like a slave.

The elderly Raja-Saab wants to marry Gauri, who has no interest in him Used to having his way, he sends a picture of Shankar, paying Gauri’s aunt and uncle to go along with everything.

Gauri falls instantly in love with him and the wedding proceeds. However, afterwards, she discovers that it’s not Shankar, who she has married.

She refuses to give Raja-Saab her body. As a result, he imprisons and torments her. When Gauri’s brother Ashok (Mohnish Bahl) comes to save her, he is killed.

Before his death, Ashok makes Shankar promise to save Gauri.

Despite Shankar and Gauri trying to flee, after a chase through the woods, Raja-Saab’s men manage to capture the couple.

Shankar gets almost mortally wounded, while Gauri is sold to a brothel. A healer in the mountains saves Shankar and operates on his throat while he is still unconscious.

Shankar regains his voice and manages to save Gauri. Shanker also eventually realises Raja-Saab is the one who killed his parents. This leads to Shankar and Gauri working together to get justice.

Toslima Khanam* a 30-year-old Bangladeshi teacher in Birmingham says the evergreen movie saw her weeping. Toslima also mentions that she kept urging the lead pair on:

“Koyla is a classic, I love it.”

“What happens to Gauri and Shanker always makes me cry, get angry and cheer them on. Thank God the ending is a happy one.”

Koyla has several scenes that will have many viewers reaching for tissues as well as laughing. There are also a host of songs that will have audiences entertained.

Mann (1999)

10 Best Bollywood Tearjerker Movies to Watch - Mann 1

Director: Indra Kumar
Stars: Aamir Khan, Manisha Koirala, Anil Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Sharmila Tagore, Dalip Tahil

A remake of the Hollywood movie An Affair to Remember (1957), Mann is a real tearjerker. The movie is a love story between playboy artist Karan Dev Singh (Aamir Khan) and Priya Verma (Manisha Koirala).

Karan agrees to marry Anita (Deepti Bhatnagar), the daughter of a rich tycoon Singhania (Dalip Tahil).

Though, whilst on a cruise, Dev meets Priya (Manisha Koirala) and promptly decides to add her to his list of conquests. But he underestimates Priya quite a bit.

Priya refuses to fall prey to his considerable charms and they become friends. What neither expects is for love to develop.

The problem is that both are engaged. Priya is engaged to Raj (Anil Kapoor), and so needs to make a decision.

When the cruise reaches Bombay harbour (the end), Priya and Dev agree to sort things out and not meet until Valentine’s Day.

However, on Valentine’s Day, as Priya races to meet Dev tragedy occurs. Dev is heartbroken as he thinks that Priya has changed her mind.

When they meet again the question is will Priya let Dev continue to think she changed her mind.

Ruksana Ali* a 24-year-old Pakistani storeworker in Birmingham singles out one particular song, which got her going emotionally:

“The song Chaaha Hai Tujhko in Mann and its video always make me cry. The emotions from the actors are so intense.”

For Amina Ahmed* a 23-year-old Pakistani student in Birmingham, Mann is one of her favourite sad movies:

“Mann is my movie for crying, I’m just glad that at the end I’m crying happily.”

Filled with emotion this movie is standing the test of time well.

Devdas (2002)

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit, Shah Rukh Khan, Jackie Shroff

Devdas is one of the most popular Bollywood tearjerker movies based on the namesake novel by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay.

Devdas Mukherjee (Shah Rukh Khan), sensitive and talented, is from a very wealthy family. Sent away for his studies Devdas finally returns home.

He is in love with his childhood friend, Parvati (Aishwarya Rai), who belongs to a middle-class family.

On his return, Devdas finds that his dad still sees him as a slacker. However, the rest of his family welcomes Devdas.

Yet, his family are unhappy that Devdas chose to visit Parvati (Paro), rather than his mother.

Devdas and Paro are in love and hope to marry. But the former’s dad vehemently opposes his son’s marriage to a lower caste family.

Due to Devdas not acting robustly enough when Paro and her family are shamed, Paro listens to her mum. Consequently, Paro gets married to a much older widower with grown-up children of her age.

Meanwhile, consumed by sorrow Devdas leaves home and becomes an alcoholic. He cannot get Paro out of his mind, loving and hating her simultaneously.

Devdas then meets courtesan, Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit) who falls for him. Devadas also cares for Chandramukhi, yet he is unable to forget Paro. Continuing to drink, he becomes deathly ill.

Wanting to see Paro one last time, he dies reaching out for Paro but is unable to say goodbye. Paro running towards him finds the doors to her home closing on her husband’s orders, locking her in.

Rozina Bhayat* 30-year-old is a Pakistani undergraduate student in Birmingham asserts:

“Devdas is such a melodrama, even when I’m rolling my eyes I can’t stop crying when watching it.”

This epic-romantic tearjerker was the first mainstream Indian film to be screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

Tere Naam (2003)

15 Top Bollywood College Romance Movies - Tere Naam

Director: Satish Kaushik
Stars: Salman Khan, Bhumika Chawla, Sachin Khedekar, Ravi Kishan

Tere Naam focuses on hooligan Radhey Mohan (Salman Khan). He loses his heart to innocent first-year student Nirjara Bharadwaj (Bhumika Chawla).

Nirjara is a traditional Brahmin girl, who at first is more than wary of Radhey.

Just when Nirjara reciprocates his love, Radhey is attacked by a gang of thugs. He loses his mind and is admitted to an ashram (insane asylum).

Radhey’s family hopes that at the ashram he will regain his senses. Despite Nirjara visiting Radhey, there is no change in his condition.

As her father persuades her to get married, Radhey eventually returns to normal. He escapes the ashram and rushes back to Nijaras house, only to find that she has committed suicide.

Heartbroken, Rahey returns to the ashram, despite the pleas of his family.

Seema Ali*, a 30-year-old Pakistani community worker in Birmingham said the film had a profound impact on her after watching it in the theatre:

“I saw the movie in the cinema with my family and my mum’s friend, and her family. I cried so bad, luckily I’m a silent crier.

“I’ve never seen it since. In my memories, the movie’s too emotionally intense.”

Imran Iqbal* a 26-year-old Pakistani deliveryman from Birmingham had to wrap his arms around his lover, whilst watching the film:

“The movie is a good one to watch with the girlfriend for one reason only. Mine cried and needed more than one hug.”

This romantic action is another movie, where one can get through plenty of tissues.

Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)

Director: Nikkhil Advani
Stars: Preity Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Jaya Bachchan

One of Bollywood’s most successful Bollywood tearjerker movies, Karan Johar’s Kal Ho Na Ho is also known as KHNH. The movie has had man people reaching for the tissues.

The film’s leading character, Naina Catherine Kapur (Preity Zinta) narrates the story. With Naina’s dad, having died years ago, this has left her rather closed off.

When the cheerful Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan) arrives next door, Naina and her family get an infusion of energy and laughter.

Naina falls in love with Aman, and it is clear he cares for her deeply. But Aman knows that he cannot marry Naina because of a secret he is keeping.

Hence, he focuses on setting Naina up with her close friend Rohit (Saif Ali Khan).

There are many heartbreaking moments throughout the movie, especially once the secret is revealed.

Sarayah Khan*, a 30-year-old Pakistani community worker in Birmingham said that this is her go-to film whenever she needs a cry:

“Every time I watch Kal Ho Na Ho the tears are flowing by the end, no matter what. It’s the classic film I watch when I need a good cry.”

Rani Singh* a 38-year-old Indian teacher in Birmingham, finds the main theme song very emotive, especially as it gives the narrative more depth:

“The title song Kal Ho Na Ho is so emotional, now knowing how the story ends makes it that much more meaningful.”

Rani goes onto say that the film has many moments, which make her and others emotional:

“And there is more than one scene in the movie that always makes me, many of my family, and friends cry.

“We have seen it so many times, and it still happens. The acting is on point.”

Kal Ho Na Ho is amongst the best Bollywood tearjerker movies of its time.

The film has won several accolades like the ‘Best Story’ (2004) IIFA Award and Filmfare Award for the ‘Best Scene of the Year’ (2004).

Ghajini (2008)

Director: AR Murugadoss
Stars: Aamir Khan, Asin Thottumkal, Jiah Khan, Pradeep Rawathaad Randhawa, Salil Acharya

Ghajini is an action-thriller remake of the 2005 AR Murugadoss Tamil film of the same name. The film is also an unofficial remake of the 2000 film Memento.

The film follows wealthy business tycoon Sanjay Singhania/Sachin Chauhan (Aamir Khan) who suffers from memory loss, after a harrowing attack.

Medical student, Sunita (Jiah Khan), is driven by curiosity to study the case of Sanjay.

Sunita befriends Sanjay and comes to know that he is out to kill a seemingly benevolent citizen, Ghajini Dharmatma (Pradeep Rawathaad Randhawa).

After warning the latter of the impending danger, she subsequently comes across several diaries written by Sanjay.

As the past unfurls, we learn that Sanjay’s fiance Kalpana Shetty (Asin Thottumkal) was murdered in the attack that changed his life.

Sanjay is solely focused on carrying out retribution and has found a way to work around the permanent memory loss he suffers from.

Shamima Begum*, a 30-year-old Bangladeshi customer service worker in Birmingham cites the performance of the lead star:

“I love Aamir Khan in Ghajini, he had me crying so much, in many scenes.”

Sumera Zaman* a 32-year-old Pakistani hairdresser based in Birmingham feels the main baddy was not very intimidating:

She also applauds the two actors in the film as well as being hopeful for fairness at the end.

“The villain wasn’t as menacing as I expected, but Aamir Khan and the actress Amin had me in tears. They had me hoping justice would be served.”

Throughout the movie, the characters and events draw viewers in. Aamir’s facial reactions and body language are powerfully infused with emotion.

Aashiqui 2 (2013)

Director: Mohit Suri
Stars: Shraddha Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Shaad Randhawa, Mahesh Thakur

Aashiqui 2 centres around musicians Rahul Jaykar (Aditya Roy Kapoor) and Aarohi (Keshav Shirke (Shraddha Kapoor).

Rahul an established and once highly popular singer sees a decline in his career and thus becomes an alcoholic.

Rahul then comes across Aarohi, a bar singer who idolises him. He vows to help Aarohi gain opportunities that will turn her into a star.

Aarohi quits her job and returns to Mumbai with Rahul, who convinces record producer Saigal (Mahesh Thakur) to meet her.

When Aarohi calls Rahul, he is attacked and injured by some unknown people. Therefore, he is unable to receive her call.

After unsuccessfully attempting to contact Rahul, a broken Aarohi is forced to sing in bars again. Following recovery from his injuries, Rahul searches for Aarohi.

Once he finds her, Rahul trains Aarohi, who signs a music contract and becomes a successful star.

In the process, the two fall in love and also begin to live together.

To help support Rahul’s fight against his alcoholism, Aarohi then focuses less on her career, as she feels Rahul is more important.

Concerned and after a word from Aarohi’s manager, Rahul orders Aarohi to focus on her career.

Rahul continues to struggle, in turmoil, as the women he loves continues to shine. Thinking he is a burden to Aarohi, he feels leaving her is the only option.

Bidding her farewell, Rahul leaves their home to commit suicide. This romantic musical is a tragic film.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani (2015)

Director: Mohit Suri
Stars: Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi, Rajkummar Rao

Hamari Adhuri Kahani, which translates as Our Incomplete Story is another tearjerker film.

The film revolves around single mother Vasudha Prasad (Vidya Balan)  and wealthy but lonely Aarav Ruparel (Emraan Hashmi).

Aarav is drawn to Vasudha and over time the two fall in love. Vasudha, suffocated by tradition, had been waiting for hubby Hari Prasad (Rajkummar Rao) to return.

Slowly she accepts Aarav and agrees to marry him. However, Hari who has been missing for years, returns, driving a wedge between the two.

Vasudha’s decision is made harder when Hari lies and admits to a crime he didn’t commit.

He does so to give her the illusion that he did all this for love, leading to Vasudha saying she cannot marry Aarav.

The truth does come out, but tragedy follows. In Aarav, Vasudha found a haven and the confidence to turn away from tradition.

Aliyah Bhayat*, a 27-year-old Indian Gujarati undergraduate student in Birmingham, links the tracks with sorrow:

“Every time I listen to the songs, I feel the sadness and the aching longing of the characters.”

With scenes and songs infused with pain, sadness, and longing, it’s a movie that can grip the emotions of the audience.

Sanam Teri Kasam (2016)

Director: Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru
Stars: Mawra Hocane, Harshvardhan Rane, Vijay Raaz, Murali Sharma

Sanam Teri Kasam highlights the continued issues that exist in Asian communities regarding unmarried women and premarital sex.

The film focuses on bookish Saraswati ‘Saru” Parthasaarthy (Mawra Hocane) and the brooding Inder Parihaar (Harshvardhan Rane).

Saru keeps getting rejected by her suitors. Since her father is highly traditional, he insists her younger sister cannot marry until Saru is wed.

So, Saru, desperate to ensure her sister doesn’t elope, turns to Inder. She wants him to talk to his girlfriend to help give her a makeover.

Coming across them, Inder’s girlfriend thinking he is cheating on her, injures the former.

Due to Inder’s injuries, Saru looks after him all night. Seen going in and out of Inder’s apartment by the watchmen, trouble brews.

The watchman assumes they have slept together, something he tells everyone. And when Saru rejects her father’s idea to marry Inder, she is disowned.

Inder helps Saru and the two fall in love. But it’s not the usual happy ending, leading to a fair few tears for many audiences.

Miriam Hadait*, a 24-year-old Pakistani customer service worker feels the movie makes her weep a lot:

“Sanam Teri Kasam is so sad; it made me ugly cry.”

Ruby Singh* a 25-year-old Indian undergraduate student in Manchester appreciates the main leads in the film, especially with how they express their feelings:

“I really enjoyed the actors, they evoked emotion.”

While Sanam Teri Kasam did not perform as expected at the box office, it has developed a cult following. Director Vinay Sapru has thus said a sequel will occur.

Globally, fans can see these Bollywood tearjerker movies on streaming sites, DVDs, and South Asian TV channels.

Naturally, there are Bollywood films with a sad context, including Baghban (2003) and Taare Zameen Par (2007).

Somia is completing her thesis exploring racialised beauty and shadeism. She enjoys exploring controversial topics. Her motto is: "It's better to regret what you have done than what you haven't."

*Names have been changed for anonymity.

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