From the long bygone era of grainy black and white silent films to the current glitzy, globalized, colorful song-dance extravaganzas – Bollywood has come a long way. The film-making style has changed, the audiences have changed and so have the stars but what hasn’t changed over all these years, is the magnetic appeal of romance on the silver screen. Here’s a walk down the memory lane, remembering the star-couples who epitomized romance on the big screen and who, practically taught generations how to love, how to woo, how to romance!
The Early Years
Today, the surviving reels of the silent-era and the early talkies era-films might be destined for a permanent dark, dusty abode in the cold store-rooms of some impersonal government-owned film-archives but once the same films had made the romantic hearts flutter. Browsing through the history of those years offers a fascinating glimpse into the old world screen romances. One of the most prolific and immensely popular screen pair from Bollywood’s forgotten early days featured Parsi actor Dinshaw Billimoria and the Anglo-Indian actress Sulochana (whose real name was Ruby Meyers). This pair acted together in 28 films and defined the screen romance of 1930s.
The Grand-dad of Hindi Cinema- Dadamuni Ashok Kumar made his debut as a callow youth in the late 1930s and he formed a number of popular romantic screen-pairs- first with Devika Rani (who was his Bombay Talkies boss Himanshu Rai’s wife) in the film Acchhut Kanya and then with heroines like Leela Chitnis (Kangan, Bandhan, Jhoola) and Nalini Jaiwant (Sangram, Samadhi).
Don’t think that screen-romance in those days was just about shy smiles, coy glances and unsure hand-holding. The first kisses in Hindi films were already over by then!
The 1950s and 60s
Advent of 50s heralded the golden era of Hind films and romance on screen became more natural and passionate. The then reigning star-troika Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand, each formed a number of famed screen-pairs. Dilip Kumar’s early screen romances featured his real-life flames Kamini Kaushal (Shaheed, Nadiya ke Paar) and Madhubala (Tarana,