Moondram Pirai (1982)
This Balu Mahendra classic (remade as Sadma in Hindi) follows Bhagyalakshmi (Sridevi), who loses her memory in an accident. She is kidnapped and sold to a brothel, from where she is rescued by Cheenu (Kamal Haasan). He takes her home and looks after her and eventually falls in love. Just as she recovers, Bhagyalakshmi’s parents come and take her away. She has by now forgotten the past months and fails to recognise Cheenu. The poignant scene in which Cheenu tries to remind her of their time together can still move me to tears.
Mudhal Mariyadhai (1985)
This Bharathiraja film went on to win the awards for the Best Lyricist and the Best Feature Film in Tamil at the 33rd National Film Awards. The lead actors, Sivaji Ganesan and Radha, won their respective Filmfare Awards (South) in the Best Tamil Actor and Best Tamil Actress categories. The plot revolves around Malaichami (Sivaji) who is unhappily married to a rather unpleasant Ponnatha (Vadivukarasi) and finds comfort in the company of Kuyil (Radha). The film deals with how this socially awkward relationship makes life difficult for those involved in it.
Punnagai Mannan (1986)
Directed by K Balachander and starring Kamal Haasan and Revathi, this film starts with Sethu (Kamal) and Ranjani (Rekha) jumping off a cliff as their love isn’t accepted by the latter’s parents. While Ranjani dies, Sethu miraculously survives. The film goes on to talk about Sethu’s life after this incident and the woman he ends up falling in love with. In the heartrending final moments of the movie, the new couple dies at the same spot as in the opening. The superhit film was dubbed in Hindi and Telugu.
This romance-drama chronicles the life of a mentally-challenged man (Kamal Haasan) who imagines a beautiful woman called Abhirami and thinks she is the angel who is going to marry him. He then comes across a rich girl who looks just like his mental image and kidnaps her to make her fall in love with him. The girl initially hates him, but later finds herself falling in love with him. The song, ‘Kanmani anbodu kadhalan’ sung by the duo in the caves of Kodaikanal, is a classic even today.
Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010)
This Gautham Menon film is a refreshing take on old-fashioned love. Karthik (Silambarasan) falls in love with Jessy (Trisha) at first sight and pursues her to Kerala to win her heart. But she is not up for it, despite liking him, as she is scared of hurting her orthodox Malayali Christian family. What follows is a an on-and-off relationship that leads to the families finding out and Jessy disappearing from Karthik’s life. Years later, the couple meet in the US, where Karthik is shooting his debut movie. He finds out that Jessy is married to another man and tells her that he will never stop loving her. Karthik lives his happy ending through his movie, which goes on to be a hit. — Indumathy Sukanya