Flicks for the heart

On Valentine’s Day, we speak to writers, filmmakers and actors about their favourite love stories.
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.Express illustrations

KOCHI: Romantic movies are always special. You likely have a favourite or two in the genre. By tugging at your heartstrings, they continue to live rent-free in our heads, even decades after their release.

On Valentine’s Day, TNIE reporter Mahima Anna Jacob speaks to writers, filmmakers and actors about their favourite love stories

Rima Kallingal, actor

Innale in Malayalam and La La Land in contemporary times — these are my favourite love stories. I believe these two have perfectly shown the ecstasy of newfound love and the vulnerability of opening yourself up like you can only do when you are in love. Also, it portrays the pain and confusion when you go deeper into a relationship, the tragedy of reality... All these elements are conveyed so strongly and effectively. Both movies are carried by great actors and characters. They just tear you into pieces, like how a good work of art should.

Ahaana Krishna, actor

Before Sunrise, Sunset and Midnight — this trilogy is my personal favourite. It’s an interesting series of films, especially the making that follows just the conversations between two people. What struck me is the idea that what is meant to happen will happen even in the most unexpected situation. Of course, from the famous Titanic to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, all of them have portrayed love in its truest form. Another film I adore is the one I was part of, Luca. I think people could feel the pain in the story of Luca and Niharika. I’m a huge fan of the genre and I’m glad that I have a love story in my filmography.

Mukesh, actor

The movie Godfather is quite refreshing and as an actor, it was more like a dream come true. There’s a unique strength to the love shown in the movie. It has revenge, humour, action, dance, music, sentiments... And it’s the strength that stands out the most. The couple start their ‘love story’ out of revenge. Pulling off the fake love on screen was quite the task. There’s another story related to the movie proving love wins all. Siddique-Lal had experienced a court trial when a person alleged plagiarism. The court’s decision was pivotal, where the judge said a story that shows a different shade of love is worth telling. Another favourite is Mazhayethum Munbe. Nandakumar Varma’s affection for his fiance, Uma, shows what true love is.

Hesham Abdul Wahab, singer/music director

Movies that revolve around the theme of love pique my interest when the music plays an integral part. One such art is 96. It’s close to my heart. The music pairs well with these scenes are subtle, so that the viewer is not pulled into an emotional rollercoaster. However, longing is highlighted evidently in the scores, and towards the end, the music becomes more intense. Another movie is La La Land — again because of the music and how it connects with the screenplay. One of my personal favourites is Jodha Akbar, though it’s a period drama, love is a crucial factor. The music by A R Rahman is pure ecstasy.

N S Madhavan, writer

West Side Story has to be my top choice when it comes to romantic movies. It’s an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in New York. The way the story was told in the gangster language fascinated me. Also, the musical and dance elements, makes the genre even more fascinating. In regional languages, Mani Ratnam’s Bombay is on the list. The vulnerability of the characters played by Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala is well presented. Of course, Rahman’s music.

Poornima Indrajith, actor/fashion designer

Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, this trilogy always has my heart. I think the movie has encapsulated the graph of different stages of people’s lives and the way they look at love in those stages quite beautifully. There are a lot of layers to the emotional arch of the characters. Another interesting thing is that somewhere you connect yourself to the characters. Another ultimate one is Mouna Ragam — the cinematography and music leave an indelible mark. The movie was made according to the social setting of that time. I don’t think watching it with a politically correct filter is the right thing to do. The movie spoke about how women and men were unable to pursue love because of society. A few more Mani Ratnam movies like Bombay and Alaipayuthey are my next favourites. I can stress Alaipayuthey because during that time I was actually in love. That film matched the love language of that era. I love the romance in Mani Ratnam movies because it comes with beautiful visuals and music.

Jeo Baby, filmmaker

The movie Aksharangal showed the greatness of love, and how big the feeling can be. The effort actor Seema’s character put in for love is beyond words. We feel the need to have someone like that in our lives. I think in love, it’s women who make a greater effort compared to men. She intended to just love the person and to be loved; it’s that pure. Another favourite is Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal. It shows how love brings a change in the ideologies of a man. Then, Azhakiya Raavanan. Here Shankar Das’s love is unconditional, despite the woman fancying someone else. Be it the characters like Solomon or Shankardas, it’s hard to find men who stand for love in cinema.

Girish A D, director and screenwriter

The 2004 movie Seven G Rainbow Colony is one of my favourites. I watched it during my teenage days. Back then, it struck a chord. At that age, the music and writing were quite painful for me. The tragic story haunted me for a while. If you watch the movie now, you can spot a few ‘problematic’ scenes. Another movie is Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal. It’s one of those movies I can watch again. The characters Sofia and Solomon are quite mysterious. They did break a lot of conventional norms and the movie was way ahead of its time. Premam and Om Shanthi Oshana also worked well with me.

Vijayarajamallika, poet

The character Kamalam played by actor Sheela in Mindaapennu is very close to me because the way she built herself resembled me and my love. She was bold and strong, different from the conventional characters at that time. Another one is Neeraja. The character Neeraja, who is facing mental health issues, expresses love for her dead husband by hoarding his belongings and keeping them exactly where they were when he was alive. Then, there’s Devdas (Telugu), with the heartbreaking love of Changramughi. I believe this character is the epitome of love. The Hindi movie Kalpana is a favourite. The unrequited love portrayed here is quite painful.

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