Apart from being one of our most primal emotions, love can also be our strongest motivator. Perhaps that's why artists have constantly tried to present new takes on the age-old subject. The unrequited love, the obsessive love, the love-at-first-sight, the unattainable love – we've seen them all – in paintings, books and on-screen.
And even though filmmaking is more than a century old, romance in cinema seems to have never faded. Ahead of Valentine's Day, we recommend some of the most unique and original love stories available for online viewing
"I have a love in my life. And it makes me stronger than you can imagine." Punch-Drunk Love will forever be remembered as Adam Sandler's best performance. Director Paul Thomas Anderson's quirky film is more a character portrait piece than boy-meets-girl romance. Sandler stars as Barry Egan, an owner of a small business whose head is a constantly ticking time-bomb. His seven sisters never gave him much space or respect growing up. And to make things worse, he also starts getting blackmailed by a phone-sex company he contacted. But everything else turns to background noise when he meets Lena (Emily Watson), his sister's colleague who he instantly falls for. This film is a weird rollercoaster ride but it has more heart than most love films. Anderson won the Best Director Award at Cannes Film Festival for this film in 2002.
Meet The Patels is a documentary about finding love. And in the case of Ravi Patel, a first generation Indian-American actor, it's really an uphill task. Apart from the regular qualities one would like their partner to have, Ravi's bride needs to be specifically Indian, Gujarati and a fellow Patel. His parents don't see why that can be hard. After all they have an efficient system in place. A few phone calls and the entire Patel community in the US know that their son is on the market. All Ravi has to do is go on numerous dates with Patel women across the country and find his match. Ravi's sister Geeta, a documentary filmmaker, captures this hilarious journey on camera and strings together a narrative that will make a lot you go, 'that could be me!" or 'that is me'. Watch this for Ravi and Geeta's loveable and sometimes irrational parents who can't wait for their son to "settle down" and produce five grandchildren.
When Jai (Shiv Pandit), a top-shot Wall Street executive spends a weekend with old friend Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh), unresolved feelings find their way to the surface. Debutant director Sudhanshu Saria handles this queer drama with the utmost care. There are no caricatures or overused tropes and sexuality takes a backseat because to Saria, it is irrelevant. This film is mature and progressive in the way it depicts its protagonists and gives no easy answers to its audience – much like life, love is complex and doesn't always make perfect sense.
Ritesh Batra's second film after The Lunchbox, begins with a widow (Jane Fonda) asking a widower (Robert Redford) if he would like to sleep with her at night. They are lonely and it's about sleeping next to each other and not with each other, to get through the nights. Over a few sleep overs, they end up opening up to each other about their relationships, affairs and fears. Watch this for Jane Fonda and Robert Redford who play their parts with such grace and dignity.
Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi's ethereal love story is set in the unlikeliest of places: a small-scale abattoir in Budapest. And it brews between the unlikeliest of people, the factory's finance manager Endre and Mária, the new quality control officer. He is ageing, gloomy and she is young, shy and inert. What they lack in real life is fulfilled in their shared dreams, where they meet as deers in a snowy forest. The film won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival last year.