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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?