film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

As we draw closer to 2020, we’ve closely analysed the decade gone by in terms of the best movies, performances, music… But now let’s get to the more important question – who were this decade’s biggest movie crushes. The Film Companion team gave this pressing issue a lot of thought and picked 35 varied characters. These include men and women we’d like to date, people who are flawed yet irresistible, and senior characters we want to be like. 

CONTRIBUTED BY ANUPAMA CHOPRA, PRATHYUSH PARSURAMAN, GAYLE SEQUEIRA, SANKHAYAN GHOSH, SUCHIN MEHROTRA, SMRITI NATARAJAN AND MOHINI CHAUDHURI 

Here goes… 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

1) Sophia from Guzaarish (2010)

The first time I saw the poster of this film I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Maybe it was the gown, the red lips, the intense anxiety in her eyes. Part of me wanted to become a caretaker after watching the film. I thought I would get to wear Sabyasachi, dance in quaint bars, and puff uncomfortably after my first cigarette. (I was 15) But a part of me also wanted to be taken care of by her; a sight for sore eyes. PP

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

2) Mr. Duggal from Do Dooni Chaar (2010)

There is nothing extraordinary about Rishi Kapoor’s character in this film – he strikes you as a regular, middle-class mohalle walla uncle. But eventually, this mundaneness makes the character hilarious and relatable. While he is a loving husband and caring parent, the odd taunt, side-eye and sass are the reasons why Rishi Kapoor is so enjoyable to watch on screen. Like the car they so desire in the film, Mr. Duggal is reliable and will go the distance with you. SN

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

3) Laila from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

Laila is attractive in every sense of the word- she is winsome, effortless and rocks the biker-chic look. But what makes Katrina Kaif stand out in a film full of crush-worthy characters? Laila fully embodies the film’s escapist soul. She breezes in and out of scenes, occasionally dropping pearls of wisdom, leaving you wondering if you want to be with her or like her. SN

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

4) The French Guy from English Vinglish (2012)

Everyone and their mother probably crushed on actor Mehdi Nebbou in this movie. Was it because of the romantic Frenchman stereotype? Or because he was sensitive and empowering, written almost as an antithesis to Shashi’s (Sridevi) husband. Or could it simply be the adorable way he pronounces lasoon? It was the heartbreaking scene at the end of the film where he parts ways with Sashi, amicably, but his eyes filled with sadness and acceptance. SN

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

5) Doel Madam from Phoring (2013)

When the new history teacher arrives at a school in a small town in North Bengal, it’s infatuation-at-first-sight for the film’s adolescent protagonist. Of course a breeze blows, fluttering across her hair. Doel Madam (Sohini Sarkar) wears a knowing smile, all too aware of the spell she has cast on a room full of boys. It makes teaching easy. I knew a Doel Madam in school. You did too. SG

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

6) Rasool from Annayum Rasoolum (2013)

An hour into Annayum Rasoolum, Anna and Rasool have barely said a word to each other but are sort of in a committed relationship. He stands behind her silently as she goes to work by ferry and walks behind her till she reaches home at night. This sounds like classic stalker behaviour but Fahadh Faasil’s kind eyes that light up every time he sees Anna assures you that he means no harm. Rasool is silent and shy but also resilient. You know that he’s up for the turbulence that lies ahead for him and Anna. MC

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

7) Rosie Noronha’s singing voice from Bombay Velvet (2015)

Neeti Mohan’s singing has so much gayaki, sex appeal and character that you could fall in love with Rosie Noronha just by listening to the album alone. As much a fan of Geeta Dutt as she is trained in jazz, Rosie sounds her best on the days she is a bit drunk. Returning to her songs feels like paying visits to the eponymous club in 50s Bombay, from which you can check out anytime but you can’t ever leave. SG

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

8) Tara from Tamasha (2015)

Tara is the person one’d like to meet on a backpacking trip, just like Ved happened to, in the sun-kissed Corsica chapter of Tamasha. One solo traveler bumping into another. Getting along like a house on fire. Maybe we’d plan a hike together. Or go to the museum. The thing about Tara, as fun as she is to be with, is that she understands the importance of solitude. With her you could sit on a hill and look at the scenery and spend hours not talking at all. SG

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

9) Rana Chaudhury in Piku (2015)

Any man who can survive a long road trip with a cantankerous Bengali dad suffering from constipation is definitely a keeper. Rana, played by Irrfan Khan, is at first annoyed and even exasperated with Bhaskor Banerjee. But Rana’s philosophy is ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. He soon begins to have fun with all the poop talk and even offers Bhaskor helpful new techniques on how to ease his bowel movements. Rana is dependable, has a wry sense of humour, and a quiet wisdom – all of which make him very attractive. MC

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

10) Deepak Kumar from Masaan (201 5)

We’ve all been Deepak in the bloom of our first love – shyly looking at a Facebook page, furtively exchanging glances. But the moment he goes from person you see yourself as to person you see yourself with is when he makes a mixtape for his crush even though shayaris have, so far, been unimportant to him. What changes is that they’re important to her. GS

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

11) Mahesh from Maheshinte Prathikaram (2016)

Mahesh is a philosopher-photographer, written by Syam Pushkaran, directed by Dileesh Pothan and played by Fahadh Faasil – need I say more?  What makes Mahesh so memorable is his gentleness and his capacity to learn from his mistakes and emerge a better man. The title means Mahesh’s revenge but ultimately, Mahesh and we, understand that revenge is hollow and unnecessary and that life has so much to offer.  Through Mahesh, Pothan and Pushkaran try to redefine masculinity. He’s lovely. AC

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

12) Sartaj Singh in Udta Punjab (2016)

Sartaj Singh is a cop in Punjab who is complicit in the drug menace plaguing the state till he realises that his young brother is an addict. To my mind, Sartaj is the hero of the film. He tries to atone for his mistakes by partnering with local doctor Preet Sahni in uncovering the drug crisis. But Diljit Dosanjh never plays Sartaj like a hero. He often reminds Preet that he’s not smart or powerful enough to pull of an expose. “Madam main Jatt buddhi hoon. Correspondence main BA kari hain, third division main,” he tells her. Diljit has an inherent goodness and decency that makes you root for Sartaj. He deserved a happier life. MC

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

13) Buaji from Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016)

Buaji is a smart boss lady who runs a successful halwai shop in Bhopal, but doesn’t have much of a personal life. When a character asks her what her real name is, she can’t immediately remember. But here’s why Buaji is amazing – in her 50s she decides to reclaim her life. She signs up for swimming classes, secretly reads soft porn when the kids at home are asleep and makes dirty crank calls to her swimming coach at night. Not all of this pans out well but more power to her! MC

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

14) Devasena from Baahubali 2 (2017)

Hailing from the kingdom of Kuntala, Devasena is the perfect combination of classical Indian beauty and killer ninja moves. If you somehow landed up inside this Amar Chitra Katha-inspired video game world, she is the princess you’d want to woo. It may not be easy to impress Devasena. But some good old display of modesty, and a clean heart, may do the trick. SG

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

15) Mathan from Mayaanadhi (2017)

Mayaanadhi, which means magical river, is a reworking of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless. Except here the gangster Mathan is a gentler, simpler, less cynical, man-child who dreams of a house, a wife and puppies. Mathan is a murderer but Tovino Thomas plays him with such sweetness and naiveté that you hope that somehow he will get away with it.  Just watch him make love in the song Mizhiyil Ninnum – it’s all the proof you need. AC

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

16) Nikhil Rao from Pushpavalli (2017)

The show could’ve justified Pushpavalli’s warped obsessiveness with Nikhil by turning him into the ‘unattainable hot guy’ – and his looks are harped on about through the show – but he’s made more real by being kind, funny, attentive and most importantly, a good friend. He’s a shoulder to cry on and someone to share a laugh with on a dull day. It’s his warmth that made me as invested in his equation with Pushpavalli as she was, and just as heartbroken when it wasn’t meant to be. GS

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

17) Rohini from Inside Edge (2017)

In a show full of testosterone-fuelled, conniving characters out to backstab and cheat their way to the top, Sayani Gupta’s Rohini is the steadfast reminder of all that’s good in this world. As the Mumbai Maverick’s Chief Analyst, she’s the brilliant brain with a beating heart who you’re crushing on without quite realising it. You feel strangely at ease when she’s on-screen and instinctively hate those looking to cause her pain. SM

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

18) Bhanu from Fidaa (2017)

I’m yet to watch a Sai Pallavi film in which I don’t fall entirely in love with her. If you thought that was true in Premam, Fidaa is something else entirely. As Bhanu, she has an electric presence that demands you feel what she feels when she feels it, armed with a smile that could light up a thousand rooms. In short, it took real effort not to populate this list with just Sai Pallavi characters from different films. SM

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

19) Anita from What The Folks (2017)

As Anita, Eisha Chopra is so damn charming it hurts. She’s the unwavering source of support who’s always there for her loved ones, making you wish you were one of them. Anita is the kind of person you feel like you could do life with, and maybe, just maybe, with her by your side, life could be that much less daunting and more doable. SM

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

20) Meera from Veere Di Wedding (2018)

Shikha Talsania’s Meera was one of the best things about Veere Di Wedding. The steadfast, dependable friend who keeps the group together and is always focused on the problems of others. Meera is self-assured and balanced with a sparkling sense of humour and has no showy quirks or fancy plot points to hide behind. She just is. In a world of Bollywood synthetic projections and ‘characters’, she felt real. SM

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

21) K Ramachandran from 96 (2018)

K Ramachandran is a man so deeply in love with his schoolmate that he remains a virgin after they part so that the purity of their bond and its memory isn’t tarnished. In the time of Tinder, how do you make that convincing? But there is little that actor Vijay Sethupathi can’t do. He imbues Rama with tenderness and humanity. Rama is the sort of generous, caring partner that fantasies are made of.  I keep hoping that he found someone. AC

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

22) Megha from Lust Stories (2018)

There’s something about people who deserve love and appreciation but don’t get it. You know they are so much more special than those around them would allow them to feel. Deep down, you wish you could be the one to make them realise that. Kiara Advani’s Megha was that kind-hearted, gentle soul who wanted nothing more than to feel free being herself without judgement. SM

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

23) Jim Sarbh from the Cold/Mess video (2018)

I will be honest, it was his chest hair that first got me going. It is about as manicured as his character- abrasive, lovable, and lost.  There is something about a wild love that is self-destructive in soft, believable ways. When he gets into a bar brawl out of jealousy, when he kisses her wildly, and when they part silently, as he listens to rock raging in heartbreak. You just want to be there for him. PP

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

24) Professor Vidya Iyer from October (2018)

Despair is a colour best-served grey. It was the steadfast reasoned way of grieving her slowly disappearing daughter that I was initially attracted to, but that she is smart, a professor, and wears a sari like no one, pushed me into the domain of deep crush-hood. When I saw her at the Mumbai Film Festival, in a gajra and kanjeevaram, a reflection of her character fell on her and my south Indian roots rung like a bell non-stop. It is the kind of crush that is both deep adulation, and deep admiration. PP

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

25) Namvar from Gandii Baat (2018)

He comes in the first episode of the first season of this borderline pornographic series. The episode is titled “Threesome”, and he is playing the husband to a wife he is unable to pleasure. Cue cute neighbour (a man) and you can imagine the rest. He is all about muscle, meat, and disposable sex. Therein, I guess lies the allure. His toxic masculinity worn around his deep cut figure is the kind you stare at, but want nothing to do with. A crush that is best pursued at a distance. Nayan sukh, as they call it. PP

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

26) Roshan Mathew from Moothon (2019)

My feelings for his character (and perhaps him too- where does the character end and the actor begin?) are somewhere between a deep crush and a light love. In the film, he is mute, but everything that needs to be said is said. He nudges Nivin Pauly’s character towards sex, implying no one is at his place, as he teases him while bathing in the sea as the Lakshadweep sky evolves into blackness. His gaze is penetrating, and his smile is disarming. You only want to wish for him the best. PP 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

27) Agent Kabir from War (2019)

Not since Rahul Raichand’s sprint in K3G has a helicopter entry been as instantly seductive as Special Agent Kabir’s saunter in War. With grey sideburns and age lines, Kabir has a weathered gorgeousness. It isn’t just viewers crushing on Kabir – everyone in the film seems equally transfixed, including his protégé Khalid and his boss Colonel Luthra.  When a girl in the film offers to run away with Kabir, Khalid says, ‘get in line.’ Right behind me. AC

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

28) Safeena from Gully Boy (2019)

In the last few years, Hindi cinema has been overrun by feisty women but none match the fire of Safeena – a girl from a conservative Muslim family, who has spirit, ambition and a fierce capacity to love. When someone gets in the way, she resorts to violence – perhaps because that’s what she’s experienced at home.  It doesn’t occur to her that breaking a bottle on a potential rival’s head is bad form. Safeena is exquisitely eccentric. In other words, terrific. AC

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

29) Jeetu Bhaiya from Kota Factory (2019) 

While families search for an eligible groom in a sea of IIT engineers, in the Kota Factory universe, their coaching centre teacher would be the superior catch. Jitendra Kumar as Jeetu Bhaiya is smart and great at his job. A character’s problems, no matter how serious they might be, seem manageable after one conversation with him. His charisma and humour shine through the black-and-white shots. You can be assured that the first row will never be empty for his class. SN

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

30) MC Sher from Gully Boy (2019)

When Siddhant Chaturvedi first appears on screen and begins rapping, many found themselves thinking ‘Who’s that guy? Another underground rapper’ By the end of the film, MC Sher becomes a memorable character. One can’t help fall for the loving big brother act, but also appreciate his vulnerable side, like in a scene with his alcoholic father. Whether Vicky Kaushal passed on the ‘National Crush’ mantle to the actor is debatable, but the girls certainly aren’t running away from this sher.  SN

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

31) Nirmali from Aamis (2019)

Find me a woman who looks at a meat dish the way Nirmali does in Aamis and I’ll treat her to a plate of the best barbecue spare ribs in town. Once we’ve clicked, we can go on wilder adventures, to Kenya, where I’ll make her try out the chilli Ostrich, along with some beer, and maybe even the grilled crocodile. Will I be guilty of wrecking her marriage? Sure. But who said we did anything besides going out to eat? SG

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

32) Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya from Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019)

Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya has the deductive skills of Sherlock with the wardrobe to match. Somehow, he makes it work. His combination of razor-sharp logic, encyclopedic knowledge of Hollywood thrillers and bumbling affability is oddly endearing. Still, it’s his vulnerability and earnestness that elevate his performance beyond that of a harebrained detective and into a man just looking for answers, like all of us are. GS

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

33) Supri from Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (2019)

Show me someone who appreciates the little things and I’ll show you someone I’m already in love with. Watch Supri’s expression of pure delight as she describes the joys of khujli to Surya on a terrace – her fingers wiggle with glee, her face scrunches up and her eyes shut with bliss. We’ve seen her kick ass and take names, but it’s her letting her guard down that made me want to know her better. GS

 

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

34) Keshav from Judgementall Hai Kya (2019)

Keshav in Judgementall Hai Kya is a ladykiller, literally and figuratively. He’s dangerously alluring, and therein lies the charm. When he says he dies every night and is reborn every morning, he’s of course literally referring to how he kills off his old identities and assumes new personas but it’s exciting to think about being with someone who’s mastered the art of reinvention. It’s hard to remember the last time we saw a villain scheme with such delicious ease, in a role that proves Rajkummar Rao should get more chances to break bad. GS

 

film companion biggest bollywood movie crushes of the last decade

35) Bobby from Dear Comrade (2019)

Bobby from Dear Comrade is everything we wanted Arjun Reddy to be (both played by Vijay Devarakonda). He is a supportive boyfriend who is happy to follow his girlfriend as she goes on tours for cricket matches. He loves that she probably values the game as much as she values him. When the relationship is over, Bobby turns out to be an even better friend, and helps her through a life-altering situation. He does this not to win her over but just because he wants to do the right thing. MC

 

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