Starter Kit: Sad Dying Young People Movies

Ashish in the comments suggested a list of sad dying people movies in honor of the Fault in Our Stars remake.  And I am running with that!  Oh, and SPOILERS, some of these films have a slow reveal, but if they are on this list, you will kind of know what they are about.  On the other hand, I know there are some people who really love those sob-until-snot-runs-out kind of dying young films, and if you are looking for the best possible version in Indian film, this is what I have come up with.

Here are the random limitations I put on myself.  No alcoholism deaths, so no Devdas or Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam or Aashiqui 2.  And no deaths by violence, so no Ishaqzaade or anything like that.  Just the straight up sad dying of illness romances, the ones where they have their while future ahead of them and nothing is wrong and then BAM!  ILLNESS!

Geethanjali (1989)


Many Ratnam, king of the tragically real feeling tearjerker, turns his eyes on young love.  Nagarjuna wins a thousand hearts, Giriji Shettar breaks them.  A love story that is sad because it is so normal, not poetic and beautiful, but just two young people sneaking kisses and grabbing at happiness while they can.

Related image


The rare slow build tragedy.  There’s no one sudden dramatic moment, it is just a slow awareness of an illness that moves from the background to the foreground of the plot.  Also, Jaya and Amitabh have that good good mid-70s chemistry.

Image result for mili movie jaya amitabh


The classic tragic dying movie of Hindi film.  And the movie in which Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan, past and future superstar, went head to head.  It’s also a movie where the tragic death is less about the two lovers and more about two friends.

Image result for anand rajesh khanna

Kal Ho Na Ho

The new classic!  Anand redux with a twist.  And a strange love triangle between Shahrukh, Saif, and Preity, one that asks if it is harder to die or harder to live.

Image result for kal ho na ho

Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu

I am sure there are other better Malayalam movie options, but this is the one I have seen.  A movie which seems to be about a cheerful teenager who ran away to visit her grandmother, and turns out to be about so much more.  Denial and fear and sadness and love.

Image result for Nokkethadhoorathu Kannum Nattu


I debated putting this one on the list but finally came around to it.  It’s a bit of a trick, but it does hit all the marks of the dying movie, learning to appreciate life, building a deeper connection with those around you, and so on.  Plus Boman giving a great speech about what life is, and a phenomenal soundtrack.


Another great soundtrack movie!  A modernization of the Heer-Ranjha myth, with an Imtiaz Ali touch and an AR Rahman soundtrack.  Terrible Nargis Fakhri is introduced in it, but it also has one of Ranbir Kapoor’s all time great performances and, more importantly, Shammi Kapoor’s last appearance onscreen.

Image result for rockstar ranbir


Old-school!  A Raj and Nargis romance, a sweet one produced by Raj but directed by someone else.  They had to change the ending at the last minute in response to audience demand, but that isn’t what makes it special, it’s the slow build at the beginning which is different.  Oh, and it also has a classic song.




Normally these lists I make are 10 films long, but I’m stumped at 8.  So I will trust you to come up with the other two in the comments!  What am I missing?

26 thoughts on “Starter Kit: Sad Dying Young People Movies

  1. `

    Does Kuch Kuch Hota Hai count? You’ve got Rani dying after the birth of Anjali 2. And you’ve got the endless Shahrukh monologue during Rani’s (bizarre) death.


    • Just looked it up, it sounds really sad!!!! and yet I still kind of want to watch it, because it has young Prabhas.

      On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 12:48 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • That song is still revered, but the movie is a mess. It’s not like the ideas were terribly interesting. Plus the loud, over the top execution was a complete disaster. The movie failed both critically and commercially, I wouldn’t recommend it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Agree, I too wouldn’t recommend the movie 🙂 If you see my comment, I was not recommending or praising as I had done with some movies in my comments on other posts on this site. However, the role could definitely make the list in this post (if not in top 10).

          The whole movie was conceptualized from the song (Sirivennela wrote it years earlier, not for this movie) and KrishnaVamsi failed to execute it. “Loud over the top execution” is KV’s style (check all his movies like Ninne Pelladuta, Khadgam, Mogudu, etc.) and obviously did not suit this story. Especially, I could not stand the scenes btw Prabhas and Prakash Raj at the end.


  2. You forgot our favourite Sanam Teri Kasam!
    And Katti Batti – I watched it because I saw happy colorful posters and bang, it’s about dying girl. I was so angry, because I do my best to avoid this kind of movies.


    • I considered putting Katti Batti on the list, but then I thought “wait, that is a big twist film, just putting it on the list would spoil it” and then I thought “but, it’s a terrible movie! Maybe I should spoil it and save people” and then I thought “but even putting it on this list will make people aware of this film which should just die in anonymity”. Anyway, that’s what it’s not there,

      Sanam Teri Kasam, on the other hand, I just forgot about and absolutely should be on the list! It’s a dying young classic!

      On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 1:00 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I don’t like this genre at all and usually try to avoid it (though I usually get drawn in by the romance of it), but you know how I feel about Sanam Teri Kasam!

        Also, Lootera is a good option, too.


        • You may have just filled in my last two slots! Sanam Teri Kasam and Lootera are both good enough that I can recommend them just as movies, and definitely fit the requirements.

          On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 8:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. Pingback: Starter Kit: Sad Dying Young People Movies — dontcallitbollywood – Business Startup-Bay Area

  4. Yay! 🙂 I wish I could remember some Malayalam young people dying movies. I’m sure there is something…meanwhile, does Mani Ratnam’s Anjali count? It’s a lot like Paa..but wayyy better.


    • I don’t know, Anjali is like a really really really young person. Feels like there should be a whole other category for “children dying young”.

      For all the depressing Malayalam films, there really aren’t that many with death by disease, are there? Mostly either random twists of fate, or the illnesses of society rather than the body.

      On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 8:12 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • Oh yes! I saw the Hindi remake with Salman. But the question is, would that fit in the disease dynamic, or more the addictive personality dynamic?

      On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 8:15 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



        • Yep, it was more of a obsessive pill taking disorder death than a tragic illness death. Which I found fascinating and unusual and also very logical, the same sort of desire for control that can lead a child in an abusive household to be bulimic or anorexic or a cutter, was making her try to take control of her life through pill taking.

          On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 9:07 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • Yeah, and that’s on top of a hero who murdered his father. It’s a surprisingly dark movie for a young romance!

            On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 9:20 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

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