Top 15 Bollywood Love Triangles You Can Repeatedly Watch
A listicle of the 15 most memorable Hindi love triangles you can catch again.
Manmarziyaan is the latest Bollywood love triangle to hit theatres and it follows the familiar narrative of love, romance, heartbreak and heartache that most Hindi love stories with three protagonists do. The Hindi film industry has produced innumerable tales of love and loss over the decades, but here’s a list of the 15 most memorable love triangles:
A tragic love story, Sangam is considered to be one of Raj Kapoor’s finest films. The film features Raj Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar as BFFs in love with the same lady - Vyjayanthimala. Friendship, love, sacrifice and a suicide - it’s all packed into this nearly 4 hour long saga with some memorable music by Shankar Jaikishan.
Yash Chopra’s passionate tale of an extra-marital affair - Silsila, was reportedly inspired by the rumoured real life love triangle between Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Badhuri and Rekha. Though Chopra managed a casting coup (he was initially signing Parveen Babi and Smita Patil, but after discussing the script with Bachchan roped in Jaya and Rekha), Silsila wasn’t a commercial success. Over the decades, the film has become a classic, also thanks to Shiv-Hari’s lilting music.
Set in Goa and tuned to music by RD Burman, Saagar was one of the first films Dimple Kapadia signed up as her comeback post her marriage and separation from Rajesh Khanna. Rishi Kapoor (her Bobby co-star) and Kamal Haasan played the men who vie for her. Ramesh Sippy stepped into direct a full fledged romantic film here after action dramas like Sholay, Shaan and Shakti.
After a series of misses at the box-office, Yash Chopra had a huge hit in hands courtesy Chandni. Easily one of Bollywood’s most popular love triangles, Chandni featured Sridevi in the title role torn between her lover, Rishi Kapoor, and her lovelorn boss, Vinod Khanna. This super hit musical won the National Award for the Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment in 1990.
Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan came together to make the three angles of this 1991 love triangle. The star cast, a refreshing setting and foot-tapping music by Nadeem Shravan made Saajan a box-office favourite. Also, Sanjay Dutt went against type to portray a brooding poet, which won hearts.
Considered one of Shah Rukh Khan’s early breakout performances as a baddie, Darr was unlike any other Yash Chopra film. Playing Rahul, the obsessive lover, Shah Rukh Khan wreaks havoc in the lives of Kiran (Juhi Chawla) and her fiance Sunil (Sunny Deol). SRK made a fad out of stammering “K K K Kiran...” and walked away with the accolades.
Fun fact: Aamir Khan was offered SRK’s the role first, but had problems with being beaten up by Sunny Deol and the rest is history.
Most remembered for Urmila’s oomph and Aamir Khan’s performance as the street-smart Munna, Rangeela was set against the backdrop of the film industry. Jackie Shroff plays a star who’s in love with the newcomer played by Urmila, while Aamir acts as her lovelorn best friend. Who eventually wins the girl over? Watch Rangeela to find out. The film bagged 7 Filmfare awards!
8. Dil Toh Pagal Hai
From playing the obsessive psychotic lover in Darr to being the centre of Karisma Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit’s affection, SRK had come a long way with Dil Toh Pagal Hai. The film introduced the Indian audience to some really imaginative concepts like ‘poonam ki raat wala Valentines Day’! You may laugh at it today, but this love story won 3 National Awards and 8 Filmfare Awards that year.
9. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Karan Johar brought the popular American Archie-Betty-Veronica love story to India and added a twist by roping an 8-year-old girl into the narrative of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. So SRK plays Archie, Rani Mukerji plays Veronica and Kajol plays Betty who transforms into Veronica years after the original Veronica dies.
Despite being sexist (the 90s audience wasn’t woke enough) Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was the highest grossing film of 1998.
Fun Fact: Javed Akhtar refused to write the lyrics for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai because he felt the title had a dirty double-meaning!
10. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s first big hit - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam told the tale of Nandini, Sameer and Vanraj, played by Aishwarya Rai, Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn respectively. Vanraj on realising that his wife Nandini is still unable to forget her former love Sameer - lets her go and gets her back because Nandini realises that it’s actually the kind, patient and caring Vanraj who is her true soulmate.
Yes, it’s Manmarizyaan soaked in Bhansali’s larger than life melodrama without the realism.
Subhash Ghai’s musical love story, Taal, revolving around Aishwarya Rai, Anil Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna was a big hit in 1999, but it surely doesn’t stand the test of time. A mediocre drama created out of misunderstandings and the poor girl - rich boy formula, the only memorable element in this film is AR Rahman’s awesome music.
12. Kal Ho Naa Ho
Kal Ho Naa Ho essentially wouldn’t have been a love triangle since Aman (Shah Rukh Khan) loves Naina (Preity Zinta) and she loves him back, but Aman also happens to be terminally ill, and hence we get a highly entertaining Bollywood drama peppered with some foot-tapping numbers by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy. Saif Ali Khan plays the third angle in this triangle, but if you’ve seen the film, you will agree that SRK and Saif have a much better chemistry with each other than they have with Preity Zinta. Maahi Ve to that!
13. Jab We Met
A rare Bollywood love triangle where the third angle is almost inconsequential (does anyone even remember the name of the actor who played Geet’s first love Himanshu in the film?) and it doesn’t make a difference to how totally enjoyable the movie turns out to be. Jab We Met - was a runaway hit and Kareena Kapoor as Geet stole everyone’s heart (‘manic pixie dream girl’ wasn’t yet a thing back then).
If there were a hall of fame for Bollywood love triangles - this one would figure right up there with the greats.
Anurag Basu directed this heartwarming love story between a deaf-mute Murphy ‘Barfi’ Johnson played by an endearing Ranbir Kapoor and an autistic Jhilmil played exceptionally by Priyanka Chopra. Ileana D’Cruz plays the silent lover, who’s forever smitten by Barfi’s innocence and spirited antics. While post release there were several reports of scenes from the film having been plagiarised from several international classics, it didn’t quite take the sheen away from Basu’s creation.
15. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Ayan loves Alizeh and Alizeh loves Ali - and so Ayan’s unrequited love is celebrated in this oh-so-posh tale of romance and heartache in which even Urdu poets live in mansions in Vienna. Ayan hounds Alizeh to the ends of the earth whining about his ek tarfa pyaar till Alizeh is consumed by cancer.
Moral of the Story: Ek tarfa pyaar is a pain in the ass, but it can make you sing like Arijit Singh.
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