The Academy Award-winning song "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" is not just a beautiful lyrical expression of the world's greatest emotion. It is also a fitting representation of the varying textures of love that have defined the landscape of cinema over the years. Even as the romance genre has adapted to evolving sensibilities, the timelessness and purity of its sentiment has created an eternal footprint in films, regaling us with some evergreen gems. Here are my personal favourites that beautifully captured the transformative power of love:
In the iconic pottery scene set to the haunting tune of "Unchained Melody", Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore share some sizzling chemistry as their hands mould clay together. It is a moment when time stood still and a million hearts across the world vicariously lived their romantic fantasies through the passion exhibited by two of the most irresistible stars of the era. Pottery suddenly became the sexiest hobby to indulge in! Where Ghost found a permanent place in the memory of moviegoers was in the way it used supernatural elements to reinforce the power of true love, even after death. Ghost showed us that while death will do us part in the physical realm, the indestructible honesty of love as an emotion is enough for people to live among loved ones and protect them for eternity.
While the phrase, "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach" is rightly seen to be misogynistic and outdated in the times we live in, it is sensitively reworked into a touching analogy of romance by director Ritesh Batra in The Lunchbox. Apart from the usual metaphor of food being a symbol of love, the film traces an unlikely and beautiful connection between two lonely strangers. It blossoms over handwritten notes and the delicious simplicity of good food. The film proves that companionship doesn't require physical intimacy, but can be nurtured through an honest and unbiased sharing of sentiments.The sublime Irrfan and the the lovely Nimrat Kaur tug at our heart strings with their sweet, poignant and deeply reflective language of love that makes The Lunchbox a forever romantic favourite.
Oh to experience the whimsical foolhardiness of young lovers! This Mani Ratnam–Madhavan–AR Rahman love potion is the perfect elixir to send lovesick hearts fluttering. Right from the endearing boy-girl meet cute to their romance through train rides, weddings, elopement, hardships and disappointments, the waves of love ebb and flow in this breezy romance, making us firmly believe in Virgil's famous proclamation,"love conquers all things so we too shall yield to love". With an everlasting soundtrack of love anthems and innately relatable dialogues, Alaipayuthey sweeps us off our feet every single time. It has been 22 years since I first floated on a Madhavan cloud and I've yet to get off that ride.
"After all, I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her", says Julia Roberts's character Anna to Hugh Grant's William and just like that the butterflies found their way back into our stomachs, in a whole new way. A movie star and a bookstore owner falling in love is the kind of perfectly quintessential fairytale that makes Notting Hill a timeless romantic classic. Through moments of sparkling humour and the quirky characters, the film reiterates the notion that love can transcend the artificial trappings of status, money and fame when two souls unite emotionally and intellectually. And that's the kind of love story we all hope to have and hold onto.
What is love, if it doesn't offer a second chance at happiness? Sleepless in Seattle beautifully delves into the dynamics of finding love remotely, when you least expect it. Like the eponymous lunchbox, the radio plays Cupid here, creating a serendipitous connection between a woman unsure of her seemingly perfect relationship and a widower grappling with the death of his wife. When Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan ultimately set eyes on each other, it is a magical moment that brings their lives full circle in the most natural manner.