Bollywood fans are usually well-attuned to the different versions of classic scenes that are found in so many of our favorite films over the years. For me, the prototypical running reunion scenes are impossible not to love — because really, who doesn’t want to sprint towards their loved one with their dupatta or shirt or sari or jacket or hair flapping wildly in the wind? Whether in the middle of a bridge, through a field of marigolds, or on a farm in a Punjabi village, Bollywood films have perfected the portrayal of the graceful dash towards the object of one’s affection. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite running scenes so that we can all appreciate Bollywood’s flair for creating dramatic reunions (be forewarned of spoilers galore ahead — running reunions are usually used to advance pivotal plot points):
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Aditya Chopra’s 1995 blockbuster love story featured hit duo Shahrukh Khan (Raj) and Kajol (Simran) in one of the best running-through-flowers-towards-true-love scenes of all time. And the best part? Following their reunion, Raj and Simran serenade viewers with the eternal classic “Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Jaana Sanam.”
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s 1999 film illustrated a love triangle between Aishwarya Rai’s Nandini, Salman Khan’s Sameer, and Ajay Devgan’s Vanraj. Nandini and Sameer’s youthful love story is stopped dead in its tracks by Nandini’s father, and she is married off to kind-hearted Vanraj who has no idea that she was in love with somebody else. So what does Vanraj do? He selflessly forgets about his own desires and takes Nandini to Europe in an attempt to reunite her with Sameer. Watch below to see a recap of the film’s drama and to see who Nandini runs to at the end of the movie at the expense of her gigantic black shawl.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Karan Johar brought Kajol (Anjali) and SRK (Rahul) back together for this 1998 movie, but interestingly enough Anjali and Rahul’s love story doesn’t really begin until the second half of the movie. And what finally reunites these BFFs after eight long years of separation? Rahul’s mad dash into his daughter Anjali’s (named in honor of his BFF) summer camp where adult-Anjali just happens to be a camp counselor.
Jab We Met. This 2007 Imtiaz Ali film starring Kareena Kapoor (Geet) and Shahid Kapoor (Aditya) has a particularly interesting sprinting sequence at the end of the film when Geet realizes that she loves Aditya, and subsequently runs away from her first love into the arms of her new love. This Bollywood reunion should also go down in history for the most awkward onscreen PDA between an actor and an actress who were actually dating in real life at the time of this movie’s release.
Kal Ho Naa Ho. This 2003 Karan Johar production of Nikhil Advani’s directorial debut made me weep during the entire last 30 minutes of the film. SRK’s portrayal of his character Aman’s tragic, unrequited love for Preity Zinta’s Naina killed me, particularly when he’s shown running all over NYC to ensure that Naina does in fact marry Rohit (Saif Ali Khan), because hey, Rohit isn’t dying of heart failure. My medical knowledge was pretty limited back in 2003, but what the doctor in me really wants to know now is how exactly did this heart failure patient manage to crazily run around NYC without passing out or worse…?
Guru. Can’t say much more about this song than I already did last week, but to make it even better, “Tere Bina” wraps up with a running reunion that gets me every single time (this clip is dubbed in Tamil).
Mohabbatein. Aditya Chopra’s 2000 film left much to be desired in my opinion, but when widowed Kiran (Preeti Jhangiani) finally acknowledges her love for the ever-persistent Karan (Jimmy Shergill), she runs to him like no barefooted-lengha-wearing-woman has ever run before.
Veer-Zaara. Yash Chopra’s 2004 love story between Indian Veer Pratap Singh (Shahrukh Khan) and Pakistani Zaara Hayaat Khan (Preity Zinta) had innumerable separation-anxiety inducing scenes. After coming back to Pakistan and leaving Veer behind, Zaara is tormented by her love for this valiant Indian air force pilot. Her misery leads her closest friend to call Veer to Pakistan for the following reunion scene that’s essentially a slow-moving train wreck that you can’t not watch. Veer was supposed to subtly sneak Zaara away to India, not reveal himself and their love story in front of Zaara’s entire family and her conniving, evil fiancé (Manoj Bajpai). This is the kind of ridiculousness that leads to 22 years of separation, just saying.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Karan Johar’s star-packed 2001 movie that was “all about loving your parents” first introduces viewers to SRK’s character Rahul (naam tho suna hoga) by focusing in on his reunion run to the loving embrace of his mom (gracefully played by Jaya Bhaduri). This scene was a nice change of pace from Bollywood’s usual romantic running reunions.
Devdas. Last, but certainly not least, is the final sequence of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s 2002 re-creation of Bengali writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s tragic love story between Devdas Mukherjee (Shahrukh Khan, he’s too tuckered out in this scene to be the one doing the running) and Paro Chakraborty (Aishwarya Rai). Family differences prevented Devdas and Paro from marrying each other, so Paro marries an elderly widower, while Devdas marries alcoholic beverages. Albeit a heartbroken and devastated drunk, Devdas fulfills his promise to come to Paro before he dies. Unfortunately, their unrequited love story is rivaled only by this epic unrequited reunion.
Have a favorite running reunion that isn’t on this list? Let us know!
Farah Naz Khan is an internal medicine resident at Emory University. After graduating from college in Boston, she returned to her Alabama hometown to attend medical school, and was reunited with the mix of Southern hospitality and South Asian flair that had shaped her childhood. Follow her on Twitter @farah287 or read some of her thoughts at farah287.blogspot.com.
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