Bollywood’s soft corner for love triangles is not recent. There was a decade when love stories in Bollywood only meant love triangles. From the 80s to even until recently, one could comfortably pick a dozen Bollywood movies which thrived on two-heroes-one-heroine or two-heroines-one-hero subjects. And it looks like the industry will not bid adieu to this genre in the near future.
From the very loved Chandni to the glamorous Student of the Year, here’s a low-down on Bollywood love triangles which are popular even today.
1. Film: Tanu Weds Manu & Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Year of release: 2011 and 2015
Plot: An understated film, Tanu Weds Manu features Manu (Madhavan), who is an NRI doctor. He meets Tanu (Kangana Ranaut) during his hunt for a prospective bride and Tanu marries him despite having an affair with another man. However, with time Tanu realizes her love for Manu and accepts him. The sequel has Kangana in a dual role. In the sequel, Manu decides to marry Tanu’s lookalike, while she tries to woo back her husband to keep her marriage from hitting rock bottom.
2. Film: Student of the Year
Year of release: 2012
Plot: The story is set on a typical Karan Johar-style college where girls walk in carrying Gucci bags and boys come in Ferraris. There is also a typical man-to-man fight between Abhimanyu (Siddarth Malhotra) and Rohan (Varun Dhawan), only to pave way for a bromance. However, friendships are tested when they both vie for the same girl (Alia Bhatt). Friends turn enemies and a battle to win the girl is waged.
3. Film: Cocktail
Year of release: 2012
Plot: The plot revolves around Gautham (Saif), Meera (Diana) and Veronica (Deepika). Meera, the coy Indian girl arrives at London in search of her husband and try to save their almost-broken marriage. Veronica befriends her and they move in together. Gautham, the Casanova who hovers around Veronica also moves in, with no notice. However, the threesome looks cool only until Gautham realizes he likes Meera. Then starts the love triangle. Veronica is hopping mad, Gautham is in love and Meera is torn between love and friendship. The climax is pretty predictable, but the film did make for a good watch.
4. Film: Barfi
Year of release: 2012
Plot: Barfi tells the touching love story of a mute guy and an autistic girl. In the beginning, Barfi or Murphy, as Ranbi Kapoor calls him, falls in love with the pretty looking Ileana D’Cruz. However, she gets married to another man. Later, Murphy meets Priyanka and falls in love with her and they start living together. Now, the pretty woman comes back. Will Ranbir go back to her or will his love for Priyanka Chopra live on?
5. Film: Jab We Met
Year of release: 2007
Plot: If Shah Rukh Khan is remembered as Rahul, one could comfortably say Kareena Kapoor was loved as Geeth. The plot revolves around a happy-go-lucky Geeth, who is all set to elope and marry her boyfriend Anshuman. During her journey she meets Aditya (Shahid Kapoor), a rich businessman who is trying to cope from a heartbreak. After a whole lot of shady motel drama, Aditya falls for Geeth, but she’s off with her man. Months later, when Anshuman betrays her, she finds love in Aditya.
6. Film: Kal Ho Na Ho
Year of release: 2003
Plot: Karan Johar has a soft corner for achy-breaky love triangles. Add to that a dying Shahrukh Khan and one can be sure to see people walk out of the theatre teary eyed. This 2003 romantic drama has Arman (Shah Rukh Khan) trying to find himself in Naina’s (Preity Zinta) life. Meanwhile, there is Saif Ali Khan (Rohit) who is in love with Naina. But Aman’s easy going character wins over the stoic Naina’s love, only to be short-lived. Aman’s heart disease leads to him plotting Rohit and Naina’s marriage. The movie ends with a 50-year-old Naina, sitting outside the ICU, crying over Aman’s death.
7. Film: Mujhse Dosti Karoge
Year of release: 2002
Plot: The movie starts off as a romantic comedy between childhood friends Raj (Hrithik Roshan), Tina (Kareena Kapoor) and Pooja (Rani Mukerji). However, all’s well only until Raj realises that it was not Tina but Pooja who replied to his emails and letters from London. In an emotional situation, Pooja reveals the truth after which Raj is torn between the love for Pooja and his commitment to Tina.
8. Film: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Year of release: 1998
Plot: If there’s one name nobody (SRK fan or not) can forget in Bollywood films, it definitely has to be Rahul. Two thick friends Anjali (Kajol) and Rahul (Shahrukh Khan) are the charm of their college. Then there’s the entry of a pretty-looking, Oxford-educated girl Tina a.k.a Rani. After this, it is love at first sight for Rahul. And this is also just when Anjali realizes the feelings she has for him. Friendship triumphs over love and Anjali leaves the city only to re-unite with her ex-lover a.k.a best friend after Tina’s death. The Anjali-Rahul-Tina love triangle transforms into Anjali-Rahul-Aman love triangle after Salman Khan’s entry as Anjali’s fiancée.
9. Film: Dil To Pagal Hai
Year of release: 1997
Plot: Much on the lines of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, here too the hero (Shah Rukh Khan) falls for the lady-like Pooja (Madhuri Dixit). The only difference probably is that the film has dance as the base theme. Nisha (Karisma Kapoor) and Pooja (Madhuri Dixit) are both dancers of Rahul’s dance-threatre company. It’s after Nisha’s leg injury that Rahul meets Pooja. He then falls for Pooja who is torn between her duty for her best friend’s family and her love. After a whole lot of emotional drama, Rahul and Pooja confess their love at a stage performance. The others, of course, give them their blessing.
10. Film: Baazigar
Year of release: 1993
Plot: SRK might be loved for his lover-boy roles, but he definitely was menacing as the psycho killer in this one. The story line is simple. Guy loves girl (Shilpa Shetty) and kills her. He simultaneously falls for her sister (Kajol), who is by then investigating her sister’s death. Just when you are wondering why he does all this, you are already at the climax, where Shah Rukh reveals his revenge game.
11. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Year of release: 1999
Plot: The story revolves around Nandini (Aishwarya Rai) who falls in love with a musician, Sameer (Salman Khan), who comes to learn music from her father. Her parents don’t approve of their relationship and Nandini eventually gets married to Vanraj (Ajay Devgn). However, she is unable to accept him and one fine day he gets to know about her past. The twist is, unlike most other men, Vanraj respects her love and they both head out in search of Sameer. Will Nandini go back to Sameer or will Vanraj’s honest and humble nature win her heart forms the climax?
12. Film: Dhadkan
Year of release: 2000
Plot: Same story as the one above, only that Akshay Kumar and Shilpa Shetty don’t go hunting for Shilpa’s ex-lover Suniel Shetty. Anjali loves Dev (Suniel Shetty) but his illegitimacy fails to score in front of Anjali’s father and he disapproves of their relationship. Nevertheless, when he tries to get back to Anjali’s life, Shilpa plays the dutiful wife and stands by her husband Akshay Kumar. While one man (Akshay Kumar) is a practitioner of non-violence, the other (Suniel Shetty) likes to rebel even without a cause.
13. Film: Taal
Year of release: 1999
Plot: Once again, girl-boy fall in love and parents don’t approve. They eventually part ways. Mansi (Aishwarya Rai) makes a career out of acting and singing, and shoots to fame. Her mentor Anil Kapoor, meanwhile, falls for her and they decide to tie the knot. Enter ex-lover Manas (Akshay Khanna). There’s an overflow of emotions and Mansi running to Manas forms the film’s climax.
14. Film: Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein
Year of release: 2001
Plot: College rivals Madhavan and Saif Ali Khan part ways swearing never to meet each other. Fate has it and they vie for the same girl. Dia Mirza is to get married to Saif but Madhavan being the hero ought to play his pranks to win his love. And like always, things go all the way to a wedding until Dia finally realizes that she loves Maddy and not Saif. The film bombed at the box office, but the music lives on.
15. Film: Chandni
Year of release: 1989
Chandni was one of the mature love triangles of the 80s. A girl is torn between two men – Rishi Kapoor and Vinod Chopra. Rohit (Rishi Kapoor) meets Chandni (Sridevi) in a wedding and instantly falls for her. All is well until their families oppose their relationship due to social differences. An accident paralyses Rohit, after which he avoids Chandni, considering himself not fit for her anymore. This is when Chandni meets Lalit (Vinod Chopra). They date for a brief period until Lalit and Rohit meet in Switzerland. The love triangle then reaches its climax, which has Rohit and Chandni tying the knot.