Remember when Geet sprinted to Aditya through a sugarcane field to confess her love for him in Jab We Met (2007)? Or when, in Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na (2008), Jai rode to the airport on a horse to stop Aditi from leaving and sang Kishore Kumar’s “Tera Mujhse” while policemen held him down? And when Sid and Aisha from Wake Up Sid (2009) celebrated the latter’s birthday over a cup of tea. It’s pulse-fluttering moments like these that make romances the ultimate feel-good genre of films. Here are 10 films on Netflix that will leave you feeling like a puddle of emotions. Be warned, not all of them end happily.
For Stevens (Anthony Hopkins), the butler of Darlington Hall, nothing comes before his master. He detests anomie and relishes structure in everything, from the way he lays the table to how he decorates his office. An unquestioning robot is compelled to feel when Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson) joins as a housekeeper. She is obstinate and fights not only for his aged father, an under butler, to be given less work but also for the Jewish employees to be retained in the house of a man who is later revealed to be a Nazi appeaser. She attempts to steer Stevens's devotion from his master and towards herself but even the possibility of marrying another man does little to the effect.
A chance encounter between a bookstore owner and Hollywood’s most famous actress leads to a love story for the ages. When Will (Hugh Grant) mistakenly spills juice on Anna’s (Julia Roberts) clothes while turning a corner, he doesn’t anticipate its impact on his life. Between tabloid scandals and movie star boyfriends, they understand how wide the chasm between Notting Hill and Beverly Hills is. Love has Will turning into a reporter for Horse & Hound magazine, and Anna, into “ just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.”
Jane Austen's 1813 novel of the same name has had countless adaptations into films and television series. This one has Keira Knightley as Elizabeth and Matthew Macfadyen as the big daddy of all romantic heroes, Mr Darcy. Elizabeth is adamant about preserving her independence, but to her surprise, finds herself falling for the arrogant Mr Darcy. Despite class differences, clashing egos and alternative suitors, they gravitate towards each other. Elizabeth’s family torments her with taunts. Mr Darcy humiliates her for being of a lower class. Friends disappoint her when they succumb to marriage, afraid of spinsterhood. Eventually, none of it matters, and love rights the wrongs.
Nine people and their interlinked lives make up this curious, meandering quest to find love. There’s a bit of taboo, like when Shikha (Shilpa Shetty), a married woman, falls for Akash (Shiney Ahuja), a theatre artist. There are more familiar hints of comedy with Shruti (Konkona Sen Sharma) who is eager to get married and finds herself paired with 30-year-old Monty (Irrfan), who comes with hints of sleaze and a leering gaze. The ambitious Neha (Kangana Ranaut) grapples with the guilt of being the mistress of a married man. Of the nine, some find enduring love, some learn important lessons.
Pat (Bradley Cooper), a man with bipolar disorder, is released from a mental health facility after eight months of treatment. His singular goal now is to win back his ex-wife, whom he had caught showering with another man. A distraction called Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) comes his way, who quite literally sweeps him off his feet when she convinces him to be her partner in a dance competition. She is a grief-stricken widow finding respite in drugs and sex, just like him. Between forged letters and mild stalking, awkward dinners and tension-fueled rehearsals, Pat and Tiffany find their madness being accepted by each other.
As far as romances go, this one’s a guilty pleasure. Should we really be feeling soft and mushy about a love triangle that begins with Shruti (Ileana D'Cruz) leaving her deaf-mute boyfriend Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor) to marry another man? By the same token, how is it that Barfi crossing paths with the autistic Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) and staging her kidnapping (to extort money) ends up feeling charming because he treats Jhilmil with more kindness than her birth family? Barfi! understands how messy love and longing can be, and how the simple details of learning to care for one another can often be very complicated.
Multiple miscarriages and a failed marriage leave Adele (Kate Winslet) a depressed single mother, terrified of leaving her home. Her 13-year-old son, Henry, tries to be the man of the house but learns that there’s more to it than grocery shopping. When Frank (Josh Brolin), an escaped convict who had accidentally killed his wife, forces his way into their home, he finds a place in the family. For Henry, Frank becomes a father figure. To Adele, he becomes a second chance at love. Between dance lessons, baseball sessions and baking peach pies, they rediscover desire.
Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) runs away from home and Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra), a stranger, helps her out. Years later he finds out that she is his current girlfriend’s sister. Upon Meeta’s return, which happens when Nikhil and his girlfriend are to be married, Meeta and Nikhil realise they are attracted to each other. They hide from Meeta’s family, who detest her for running away, and seek solace in each other. In dingy diners and local trains, they carve out a space for themselves where they don’t have to pretend. Everywhere else, the presence of Chinese investors, Gujarati uncles and a girlfriend who is about to have her heart broken, loom over them. But from each other, Meeta and Nikhil receive what they have never gotten from anyone else – respect.
Is this a perfect film? No. But does it have some delightful cameos by Ratna Pathak Shah and Kirron Kher, and a supremely delicious hero in Fawad Khan? Yes. Mili (Sonam Kapoor) is hired to be a resident physiotherapist for the patriarch of a royal family in Rajasthan since the patriarch in question is paralysed from the waist down. It is evident from the disapproving glares of the matriarch (Shah) and the literal Prince Charming (Fawad Khan) that Mili is very much the unsuitable girl. Needless to say, true to all rom-com tropes, Mili wins everyone over.
A gay man and a lesbian woman enter a lavender marriage to get their families off their backs. Police officer Shardul (Rajkummar Rao) and physical education teacher Sumi (Bhumi Pednekar) are apparently a traditional married couple, but behind closed doors, they’re both in queer relationships with the people they actually love. Sumi’s relationship with Rimjhim is perhaps one of the most sensitively portrayed queer relationships in mainstream Hindi cinema. All seems to be going well until the families demand Shardul and Sumi have a child. Their shared fears only bring them closer and the conclusion of this film is both one of the most heartwarming you’ll see while also bringing home just how unfair the social prejudices surrounding homosexuality are. It’s a particularly good watch right now, when the issue of same-sex marriages is being heard in the Supreme Court.