My Top Ten Ugly Crying Indian Films

I suddenly got one of my random Kannathil Muthamittal urges last night, and it made me think that I haven’t done a ten ugly crying films post yet.  Of course, ugly crying is a deeply personal thing, so these are my ten, but they won’t necessarily be yours.  Feel free to share your particular triggers in the comments!  Oh, and they are almost all Hindi, but that’s just a coincidence, don’t feel limited by that.

There are some films that make me, like, wistfully sad.  Like Anand.  Or that just make me angry more than anything (this is why Raees isn’t on the list, it doesn’t make me sad, it just makes me ANGRY).  And then there are the movies that are just cleansing bursts of emotion, you cry and cry and cry and then feel so much lighter.  Anyway, these are the top 10 of those for me.  With the most important first and last and everything else all mixed up.

1.Kannathil Muthamittal

As I have mentioned before, this was the only time I had to stop writing the review because I was crying too hard to type.  A story about adoption and a little girl and the parents who love her more than life itself, but sometimes that just isn’t enough to protect her from the things that can hurt her.

Image result for kannathil muthamittal

2. Bombay

Mani Ratnam’s take on the Bombay riots, as seen through the eyes of 6 year old twin boys who are separated from their parents, and then from each other.  Before I saw Kannathil Muthamittal, my top most crying movie.

Image result for bombay mani ratnam

3. Bajrangi Bhaijaan

The role Salman Khan was born to play, a man who is too simple to know hatred, who has to confront what he was taught when he finds himself learning to love a little 6 year old mute Muslim girl just because she needs him even though he was always told that Muslims were the evil “other” and he should avoid them at all costs.

Image result for bajrangi bhaijaan

4. Baghban

Finally, something that is NOT about small children being unhappy/in danger!  See, I have other crying triggers!  But only if it is Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini as an elderly couple who has never spent a day apart suddenly being separated in their old age.

5. Masoom

Okay, back to small children.  Little Jugal Hansraj having his heart broken again and again as he just wants a mother’s love from conflicted Shabana Azmi.

Image result for masoom jugal hansraj

6. Chak De India

Here you go, something different!  Crying over adults who just want a chance to be what they can be, who sometimes feel as helpless as children but finally get a chance to take back control, and you start to cry at the victory instead of the defeat because it means so much more.

Chak De.jpg

7. 3 Idiots

It’s sold as this big beautiful happy funny film, but it’s the most realistic and heartbreaking of Hirani’s movies.  Dealing with a situation that doesn’t have an easy answer, not really, no matter how many “Aal Izz Well” songs he sells.  And sometimes things happen and there is no going back, no making it better.

Image result for 3 idiots suicide

8. Rang De Basanti

What is there to say?  Young people growing up and having their hearts broken by the world they leave in, and then breaking our hearts in turn as they try to fix it.

Image result for rang de basanti

9. Phillauri

Surprise!  This is not a sad movie, not at all.  It is mostly a fun funny happy fantasy film.  But then suddenly in the last 5 minutes it takes a dramatic turn to the tragic, somehow without ruining the light mood of all that came before.  Which makes it sadder, that light happy people can be surprised by tragedy, that historical tragedies never really leave us.

Related image

10. Neerja

This is the movie that my friend Dina was so worried about me after we watched it, she made us stop and have some food before I drove the rest of the way home.  Big big tears.  A true story of a young woman who gave up everything, including her life, to protect those she was responsible for.

Image result for neerja

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71 thoughts on “My Top Ten Ugly Crying Indian Films

  1. I only remember Taare Zameen Par now. I remember when I watched it in the theatre, right from the Maa song I started bawling. The painting competition where Aamir paints Darsheel and the final scene where Darsheel runs to Aamir still make me cry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yeah, just watching the “Maa” song on youtube makes me cry! Hits me right in the “small children being heartbroken and scared” crying button.

      On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 10:50 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I have to second the comment about Taare Zameen Par. From your list, Masoom is the only one that makes me cry – guess I’m a hardened rock. Raazi left me heart-heavy but didn’t make me cry. The scene in Udta Punjab where Alia Bhatt stands up speaks to the good times she’s waiting for made me bawl. The last scene of DDLJ where Kajol is begging Amrish Puri to let go used to do it to me too, but after about a dozen viewings I got over that too.

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      • The first time I watched Black, I cried a lot. Not so much the second time. Also the scene in Hichki when Rani goes to the terrance and sobs. The final scene of K3G – oh man!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Final scene of K3G-eh. Bench scene in K3G when Hrithik begs Shahrukh to come home and Shahrukh says he has seen him again and that is enough-tears!

          On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 11:26 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • For me, it’s Kal Ho Na Ho when Saif looks at her crying at the wedding, and he is so understanding and caring.

        On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 11:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Jugal Hansraj’s little face would get to anyone. I guess that’s the only way to make the film believable, you can see why Shabana gave in so quickly (comparatively).

      On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 11:22 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Dil Se and Fanaa with their total hopeless annihilation.
    Tears flow with the bitter taste of defeat; both love and reason can’t surpass hate and prejudice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • See, those are the films that I don’t cry at because I am so ANGRY. And then I stay angry for days afterwards. Very unpleasant, I don’t like being angry, I would rather be sad.

      On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 11:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I Understand your anger, I would feel the same 30 years ago.
        Now there are sadness and tears because nothing has changed. And this is also true for Rang de Basanti.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Deewar, that’s another “angry rather than sad” movie for me. Well, angry crossed with inspired.

        I know what you mean about choke-crying. I have also veered into vomit-crying, that is, I cry so hard that I gag a little and then almost throw up. Neerja was one of those for me.

        Maybe hold off on some of these until you are alone in the house with a full box of kleenex and no one who might be alarmed.

        Speaking of crying, this is a video from years back of a little girl after watching Bajrangi Bhaijaan (which has a happy ending! But she missed that bit I guess and was still sad):

        The nice thing is, the video went viral, and Salman ended up flying her in to meet him and prove he was not, in fact, horribly injured, and then giving her a cameo in his next film.

        On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 2:15 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Another Sanam Teri Kasam lover! That film really deserved a wider release, based on how many commenters here stumbled on it later and fell in love with it

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sanam Teri Kasam – I was crying durning the movie, after I finished it, then I went to sleep and was dreaming about crying, the next day I was crying when I was listening to the title song (you know that one when he takes her from the hospital and makes her see her sister’s wedding.)

    Other, as already mentioned Rang De Basanti, al ho naa ho, Veer-Zaara, K3G (a lot earlier, but not anymore)

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  5. Crying is very cathartic and I love Hindi films for their melodrama.So long as there’s a happy ending they can make me cry with my blessing.I even cried during the climax of Beauty and the Beast – the animated version. My most recent cryfest was over Chirag.Jaya Bachchan got me crying the half a dozen times I watched K3G. I have a hard time deciding which Amitabh was the worst -the one in K3G or Mahabbatein or Silsila.Neerja got me with the way Sonam sang Sapnon ki rani in a shaky voice.Thank you cast and crew for not doing a party anthem/remix version at the end.As for Malayalam films, Kireedom and Devasuram come to mind.None of the new ones have come close.Who knows I might be developing a thick skin to Malayalam tragedy movies.

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    • Kireedam was too sad for tears for me. I think you must have developed a thick skin to be able to have a cathartic cry instead of a “wait, everything is just OVER??? That’s horrible!!!!” reaction.

      For me Neerja’s most teary moment was when Sonam took that little break and ate the cookie and read the note from her boyfriend. That little good-bye to the life she could have had got to me more than anything else.

      And can I put in a vote for Kabhi Kabhi Amitabh as Worst Amitabh? Oh sure, HE can be secretly in love for decades, but let his wife have one relationship before they even met and it is the End of the World!!!!!!

      On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 12:10 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Second the vote for Bombay! I get very exasperated with the “Cute little kid! Look at this kid! Shame if something happened to this cute cute kid!” trope in Indian film and it never affected me until Bombay. When I watched Bombay I cried in fear for the little boys, and when the hijra helps them, and the Hindu grandfather going back for the Koran.

    Also Aligarh is just absolutely heartbreaking; almost too sad for tears. I don’t think I cried while watching it but I would tear up thinking about it for the next few days.

    And then Dangal, maybe because I saw it in a theater full of crying people, but I probably would have cried anyway over the father/daughter fight and subsequent make up scene.

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    • I always fall for the cute little kid trope! Always! I am the sucker that makes them keep doing it. Blame me.

      On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 10:26 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Oh, and the comment about Sonam singing Mere Sapna ki Rani in Neerja made me think of an idea I’d like to read about if you don’t have enough post ideas: effective uses of movie songs in different movies. Like, in Aligarh, Manoj who has been fired for being gay goes back to his shabby apartment and cradles a cheap tape player. As Lata’s voice singing Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjhe fills the room his face is transported with joy. Ugh, I’m crying again. Going to look at Hazel pictures.

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    • Ooo, interesting idea! All I can think of at the moment is Karan’s obsession with “Lag Jaa Gale”, but I know there are other moments.

      On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 10:33 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Barring remixes there are dozens.These are the ones that I can think on the top of my head. “Abhi na jao chod kar” was reused in Mausam when Shahid Kapoor has to report for duty and leave Sonam unexpectedly. In Saathiya, Rani’s sister teases her with “Suhana safar” since that’s Rani’s character’s name in the movie.In Bhai bahen Sunil Dutt pretending to be a Punjabi taxi driver sings “Saawan ka mahina” offkey to Nutan while addressing her as Bibiji referencing to their hit song from Milan.Priyanka Chopra teases Akshay Kumar by rewriting the lyrics of “Main tujhse milne aayi mandir jaane ki bahana” from the movie Heera. She recreates it as “Main tujhse milne aayi kurta dene ki bahana”. In Gang Nana Patekar listens to Lata Mangeshkar on radio after committing a murder.The lyrics go something like “Mera kasoor nahi” (not my fault). But I don’t know the original song or the movie.

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        • I feel like “Ajeeba Dastan Hai Yeh” has been used a bunch of times, but I can only remember it from The Medley, and that was a remix. But I am sure I have heard it in the background with the original recording in something.

          And “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bheegi” was just used in Raabta, very very creepily. But then, it’s a creepy song, isn’t it? We just forget.

          On Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 9:16 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • You are right.I never noticed the creep factor of Ek ladki.The creepy lines in item songs tend to be noticed.But “respectable” songs tend to slip under the radar.Like the Shashi-Neethu song Keh do tumhe from Deewar.

            Socha Hain Key Tumhe Rasta Bhulaye
            Sunee Jagah Peh Kahee Chhede Daraye

            I’m thinking that I should get you lost
            I’ll tease and scare you in a lonely place

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          • That’s one of the things I love about Darr, Yashji took these sweet love songs and twisted them just enough for us to see the darkness that was always there.

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  8. I don’t normally cry a lot at movies but Taare Zameen Par required a box of tissues and I was in paroxysms of sobbing at the end of Rajkahini (Bengali movie) a couple of years ago. It’s Hindi counterpart, Begum Jaan, didn’t affect me as much.

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    • It’s funny, Hindi movies have all this melodrama and tragedy, and yet a little boy who is misunderstood by his parents is the one thing that makes us all break down!

      On Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 12:26 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. I often cry in any Indian film
    But this is my list

    1. Highway
    after shooting Randyb Hooda, I don’t think I cried in a film like this

    2. lion by dev patel
    The second most movie I cried at the end

    3. My name is khan
    the scene of the church, Mama Jenny and the sadness of Radwan on Samir

    4. Kal Ho Na Ho
    aman

    5. Sholay
    The death of Amitab and the last scene of Jaya, the loss of her last chance in life

    6. Phillauri
    Just like you and for the same reasons

    7. Rockstar

    8. If only – the American movie

    Can I complete the rest of the list with good crying movies? Movies I really cried a lot from joy and became so sad that the film was over

    9. 2 states
    Wedding Scene

    10. Jab We Met
    End scene

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    • I like your adds of “good” crying movies. For those I would put on Jaan-E-Mann, Dhanak, and Saathiya/Alai Payuthay.

      On Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 3:31 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  10. I don’t tend to cry that often in the romantic films (even the tragic ones). But I did tear up at Phillauri, too, for sure. Some of the movies that have definitely made me ugly cry: English Vinglish, Kapoor & Sons, Nil Battey Sannata, Mom, and Neerja.

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    • I think the first one on my list would probably get to you too then. Lots of stuff going on it, but a healthy dose of mother-daughter issues and sacrifice.

      I just want more people to watch it so I know if it is just me or if it affects everyone like that!

      On Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 5:14 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh, I’ve seen that one, too. I definitely ugly cried. I’m still working my way through Mani Ratnam’s films but I have seen that one.

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  11. Taare Zamin Par(the whole movie is a cry fest)& Kannathil Muthamittal climax is heartbreaking. So is the Anjali climax.
    There is a whole genre for cry films in Malayalam.I think this list summarises the top 10.
    http://fullpicture.in/regular-detail/208/don’t-you-ever-cry.html
    Apart from these, there’s Mahaanadhi in Tamil starring Kamal which has a scene where he finds his lost underage daughter in a brothel mumbling in a state of semi consciousness ‘stop!how many ppl shd I take everyday?’.Enf said.
    Also Sadma/MoonamPirai climax.
    Sudaani from Nigeria has some very poignant, understated scenes that made me cry.

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    • Strangely, Anjali didn’t make me cry! I think I most have a frozen heart or something, because I’d heard of it as this super super sad Ratnam film, and then it was just okay for me, no tears, compared to his other stuff where I sob and sob and sob even at, like, Mouna Ragam which isn’t even that sad.

      On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 1:05 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • The ending, and right before the ending, the scenes when they can’t seem to talk to each other even though they both love each other. Oh, and the accident scene when Revathy is running around the hospital.

          On Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 7:42 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  12. Even Masoom songs make me gloomy , and Sagara Sangamam by Kamal Hasan,
    the climax scene , will touch the soft corners of any hard heart.

    Like

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