Marriage is the beautiful union of two hearts. But Hindi cinema prefers weddings to marriages, where melodrama unites with melody. Unique to Hindi films is the grief-filled song sung at a wedding, which floods the frame with tears. The singer might be a jilted lover, a friend who never professed their true feelings, or part of a couple separated by fate and brought together on the big day.
The circumstances may differ, but the sentiments and ingredients are essentially the same: a distressed dulhan (bride), a tearful crooner, and sorrowful lyrics hinting at unrequited love. Several of the following heartfelt songs are disguised as gifts for the bride and groom, and are in fact a means to express the hurt caused by an arrow through the heart.
“Channa Mereya” (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, 2016)
Last year’s smash hit, “Channa Mereya” is a helluva roller coaster ride. Our bride Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) glows and giggles with excitement as she prepares to finally marry the love of her life. Her dear friend Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) springs a sweet surprise with a soulful serenade. Alizeh knew Ayan had a crush on her, but the pain in his voice tells her his heart is broken. When Alizeh takes it upon herself to comfort him, Ayan uses the moment to throw a selfish, guilt-inducing tantrum. In making the wedding day all about his heartache, Ayan ruins the bride’s mood, but thankfully not her makeup.
Lyric That Made Cupid Cry: Andhera tera maine leliya, mera ujala sitara tere naam kiya (I assumed your darkness and reserved my bright star under your name)
“Jaa Chudail” (Delhi Belly, 2011)
What does Arup (Vir Das) do when he shows up to his girlfriend’s home and is casually introduced to her fiance (an annoying, pretentious NRI to be exact)? He dresses up in an Elvis costume and screams his angry heart out at her wedding! While playing an electric sitar that shoots fireworks, Arup hurls insults at the heartless woman making “Jaa Chudail (Be gone, witch)” hands down has the most hilarious picturization of broken heart out for vengeance!
Lyric That Made Cupid Cry: Phool vool kuch nahin, sada hua aloo hai tu (Nothing like a flower, you’re a rotten potato)
“Emotional Atthyachar” (Dev D, 2009)
In Dev D, kitschy wedding singers convey the turmoil within Dev (Abhay Deol), who is about to embark on a path of self destruction as his relationship with childhood sweetheart, Paro (Mahi Gill), comes to a devastating end. In a fantastic show of chest-thumping, Paro takes pause from being a bashful bride and dances like an Item Girl, effectively giving a middle finger to the beau who bruised her pride with rejection. And for Dev to pass out drunk in front of her, after puking his guts out moments before, is a bittersweet victory for Paro.
Lyric That Made Cupid Cry: Seene mein jalti hai armaano ki arthhi (In the heart burns the funeral pyre of desires)
“Teri Dulhan Sajaungi” (Barsaat, 2005)
Why should guys have all the fun when it comes to displays of displeasure at weddings? says this leading lady. Kajal (Priyanka Chopra) and Arav (Bobby Deol) are married under pressure from elders and when Arav finds love abroad, he asks Kajal to sign divorce papers. Kajal obliges and in a form of self-torture only an Indian heroine can endure, she decides the only way she can mourn the end of her marriage is to adorn Arav’s new bride, Anna (Bipasha Basu). Despite Kajal’s heavy heart, the song is light and a delight to watch as it’s colorfully shot with two beautiful leading ladies decked in Indian finery.
Lyric That Made Cupid Cry: Muskuraati hai nazar, dil tadap ke rota hai (The eyes smile, the heart cries in pain)
“Kisi Se Tum Pyar Karo” (Andaaz, 2003)
Beautiful bride Kajal (Lara Dutta) is unaware of her childhood friend Raj’s (Akshay Kumar) feelings for her, and dances away with her husband at their wedding. Raj expresses his emotions through music and confesses, “If you love someone then profess. What if it’s too late?” As Raj slowly leaves the venue he locks eyes with Kajal. She senses his anguish and quickly finds out she’s the reason for his tears.
Lyric That Made Cupid Cry: Mera jo sanam hai zara berehem hai, deke mujhe vo dard muskurayega (My beloved is a little merciless, and will smile after giving me pain)
“Mubarak Ho Tumko Ye Shaadi Tumhari” (Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya Hai, 2002)
Pooja (Karishma Kapoor) has just realized the man she divorced under suspicion of infidelity was always true to her. Now her former hubby Shiv (Abhishek Bachchan) sadly sings for guests on the day she’s to remarry. The soon-to-be-husband Raj (Akshay Kumar) dances merrily around Shiv and is completely unaware of the buckets of tears Pooja is crying in the bridal suite. In a twist, Shiv decides he won’t leave the function quietly and marches to the suite, now singing a melody he sang with Pooja. Raj is both shocked and tipped off.
Lyric That Made Cupid Cry: Humara hai kya yaar hum hain deewane, humari tadap toh koi bhi na jaane (I after all am foolish, nobody knows my torment)
“Meri Banno Ki Aayegi Baraat” (Aaina, 1993)
Roma (Amrita Singh) is a strong-willed, narcissistic older sister about to tie the knot with Ravi (Jackie Shroff). Unknown to both Roma and Ravi, Roma’s younger, demure sister Reema (Juhi Chawla) is in love with Ravi and wanted to be his bride. Being the dutiful sister she is, and to show her goodwill towards the couple, Reema lets no one see her suffering and cheerfully dances and sings at the wedding. Sure, it’s “blink and miss” wiping of tears by Reema and the lyrics don’t explicitly convey her heartache, but this song is a classic and is a gem in the Yash Raj wedding music collection.
Lyric That Made Cupid Cry: Leloo balaiyen teri sabhi, dedoo tujhe main apni khushi (I’ll take all your hardships, and give you my happiness)
“Khush Rahen Tu Sada” (Khilona, 1970)
Khilona‘s villain Bihari (Shatrughan Sinha) is marrying leading man Vijaykamal’s (Sanjeev Kumar) lady love. Accepting a bouquet as a gift from the heartbroken wedding guest isn’t enough for the cruel Bihari, and he goads Vijaykamal into singing a song. Vijaykamal cannot contain his pain and concludes the song with the lines: Maut hi aakhri bas dava hai maeri (Death is now my final medicine). What can be more over than the top than asking for death? Don’t underestimate the unmatched dramatic powers of Hindi cinema. As the song comes to an end, the disturbed dulhan first leaps into a pile of lit fireworks, but when Vijaykamal saves her from self-immolation, the bride jumps off the terrace and plunges to her death.
Lyric That Made Cupid Cry: Jaa main tanha rahun tuj ko mehefil mile, doobnede mujhe tujhko saahil mile (I’ll stay lonely, may you have an audience, let me drown, may you find a shore).
“Rang Aur Noor Ki Baraat” (Gazal, 1964)
After losing her voice and deeming herself unworthy of dearest Ejaz (Sunil Dutt), Naaz (Meena Kumari) agrees to marry her paternal cousin Akhtar Nawab (Rehman). Knowing nothing of Naaz’s sacrifice, Ejaz proclaims it is God’s will that the moth live and die by the flame, and decides he will be the moth that burns in the flame that is Naaz’s nikaah ceremony. Ejaz walks stoically into the reception before the nikaah, and as he sings Akhtar Nawab grins and watches with utmost pleasure. Dutt is brilliant as he stands courageously, while his tear-filled eyes convey his suffering. In her bridal suite Naaz is in sheer agony as each word pierces her heart. As she embraces a framed inscription of Allah for comfort, her voice miraculously returns and she calls out to her one-and-only with all her might.
Lyric That Made Cupid Cry: Kaun kahta hai ke chaahat pe sabhi ka haq hai, Tu jise chaahe tera pyaar usi ka haq hai (Who says everyone has a right to your desire, whoever you desire is the one who has the right to your love)
“Main Sehra Baandh Ke Aoonga” (Deewana Mujhsa Nahin, 1990)
In an interesting twist Ajay (Aamir Khan) is not at Anita’s (Madhuri Dixit) mehendi function to drown himself in self pity. He comes to proclaim he’s going to be her groom! Truth be told, Anita would be in the right to get a restraining order against deranged stalker Ajay.
“Neela Aasman So Gaya” (Silsila, 1981)
Sure, the jilted Chandni (Rekha) sheds many tears and her song would certainly make the V-day cherub sigh with sorrow. Shots of the wedding between Amit (Amitabh Bachchan) and Shobha (Jaya Bachchan) are shown as Chandni cries, but she wasn’t invited to the wedding. Sorry Chandni, your song doesn’t make the cut.
“Khushi Ki Woh Raat” (Dharti Kahen Pukaar Ke, 1969)
Farmer Shiru’s (Jeetendra) father wants an engagement between educated elder son Moti (Sanjeev Kumar) and village belle Radha (Nanda). Rather than tell his father and brother about his relationship with Radha, Shiru decides to sacrifice his love. Yes, this is a beautiful vintage song with shehenais playing, but Shiru sings at a gathering that is not a wedding. Close, but not close enough Shiru.