Sunday, February 14, 2010

My favorite filmi Mr. Rights!

1647St_Valentine's_Day The Valentine spirit is everywhere. From heart-shaped, diamond-studded pendants on special offer, to heart-shaped candy in heart-shaped boxes, and long-stemmed red roses - its hard to escape the “romantic” season. Naturally, that made me think of my filmi Valentine. An exhaustive search down memory lane turned up rather less material than I had hoped for! Most Bollywood heroes are too busy fighting bad guys and making up to their dost and/or Maa, to do more than sing the requisite “eve-teasing” number and romantic duet with their heroines. Any cherishing of the beloved, done in Hindi films, is usually done by the woman. Fortunately for us women, Hindi Cinema does bring us some men of substance and beauty, who take time off from saving the world (and/or bromancing their buddies) to pay attention to their lady-loves. Needless to say, thats where I looked for my filmi Mr. Right. And here they are – all top ten of them, in no particular order:

10. Kumar (Shashi Kapoor) in Kanyadan – The only bright spot in an otherwise annoying film, Kumar is one of those perfectly adorable modern men. He loves his Rekha (Asha Parekh) and the fact that she was a child-bride to someone who is now happily married to someone else, bothers him not a whit. He is perfectly willing for her to commit bigamy and marry him, rather than have her take up her child-marriage where it left off. Sadly for him, his Rekha isnt quite as enlightened as he is – she’d much rather martyr herself, than make everybody (herself included) happy. And much against his modern views, Kumar accepts her decision to go the conventional way. Kumar… Sure you dont want to ditch Rekha for me?
9. Anand (Nasseeruddin Shah) in Woh Saat Din – He is an unselfish hubby who wants his wife to be happy, and will go to the extent of re-uniting her with her true love. But its not just his unselfishness thats so attractive, there is his whole warm and caring aspect – he is so good with his little daughter, loves his mother and is the only man in the film who listens to his reluctant new wife. He is also one of those modern men who believe that ties of love are a whole lot more important than ties of convention, and is willing to break with traditions if they cause undue happiness. Nice may be his middle name, but it certainly does not equal boring!
8. Ravi (Shammi Kapoor) in Andaz – He’s a widower who falls for his daughter’s teacher – a widow herself. When she proves reluctant, instead of taking the I-will-make-a-nuisance-of-myself-until-you-love-me-back approach, he actually takes the effort to woo her. He convinces her that there is room in her life for her past and her present love. Then he finds that she may not be a widow, but an unwed mother (SCANDAL!!!). Does it change anything? Nope! He just goes to battle for her against his own Maa! I saw this film as a kid, but can still remember feeling all soft and mushy when Ravi sings to his Sheetal and she runs into his arms.
7. Girish (Sanjay Dutt) in Parineeta – Unlike the others on this list, Girish is more of a side-hero. He falls for Lolita (Vidya Balan) who never looks beyond her beloved man-child Shekhar (Saif Ali Khan). Poor Girish, he does everything right. From gracefully wooing Lolita to helping her family in every emergency - he is always there for Lolita, unselfishly and wholeheartedly. And his friendship and helpfulness continue unabated, even after he realises her feelings for Shekhar. Sanjay Dutt has never been a favorite actor of mine and I cant say I find him even likable in most of his roles, but his Girish is really a pretty attractive person!
6. Vijay Khanna (Shashi Kapoor) in Kabhi Kabhie: He may be insanely (and gratingly) happy, have no flair for poetry or singing, but he has a heart of gold, and loves his wife absolutely and unconditionally. He’s one of the select few husbands in filmi-land who realises that his wife’s past is just that – past – and it doesnt change their mutual affection in the present. In case you dont think thats remarkable, just remember that almost all filmi hubbies turn on their wives at the first hint of a relationship with any man, even if it was long before marriage. And they dont stop persecuting their wives until the man in question denies any relationship! Vijay Khanna doesnt require any such clarification. Besides, he is a gorgeous dreamboat – something that does add to Vijay Khanna’s good qualities! ;-)
5. Vanraj (Ajay Devgan) in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam – One look at the gorgeous Nandini (Aishwarya Rai) and he is smitten. But its only after their marriage that he gives evidence of his true love. When he finds that Nandini loves someone else and was forced to marry him, he sets out to re-unite her with her first love! He wants to make Nandini happy, no matter what it might cost him in his own unhappiness. Such unselfish love… I must admit that I was half in love with Vanraj myself and hoping that Nandini would realise what a priceless gem of a husband she had!
4. Ravi Varma (Naveen Nischol) in Ek Baar Kaho – He is a man haunted by his own ghosts, yet he looks past the crusty exterior of college-marm Aarti (Shabana Azmi), to see the warm person she really is. He helps her come out of her shell, and lets her help him lay his own ghosts. Not just that, he is probably the only hero in a Hindi film, who lands up with a physically disabled love-interest - a physical disability that does NOT come right at THE END, either. Of course, it doesnt hurt that this man of substance is also very easy on the eye – perfect Mr. Right material!
3. Anoop (Swarup Dutt) in Uphaar – One of my favorite heroes, he never puts a step wrong, ever (he was the creation of a Nobel Laureate brain, after all!). He falls for an immature young girl (Jaya Bhaduri) and is steadfast in his devotion. Unlike Mr. Darcy, no qualms about his own superiority mar his decision. He marries the woman he loves, and accepts her as she is. While the rest of his family is in uproar over her childish behaviour, he calmly goes about getting her what she wants. He gives her space to be herself in, and accepts her decisions, even if they cause him unhappiness. He’s not Mr. Right, he’s Mr. Perfect!
2. Ashok (Balraj Sahni) in Seema – There is something about responsible, caring, grown-up men that even the most attractive man-child cannot compete against. Ashok runs a woman’s remand-home/correctional facility with a firm but compassionate and caring hand. He is one of life’s do-good-ers – always helping everybody. And yet, he finds time to deal with Gauri (Nutan)’s problems with such empathy and warm understanding, that she is understandably smitten. But that isnt all – when he finds that he may not have long to live, his first thought is to arrange for Gauri’s future. If that isnt Mr. Right material, right here, I dont know what is!
1. Ashok (Dharmendra) in Anupama - My personal Mr. Right #1, Ashok is the ideal romantic hero. He loves Uma (Sharmila Tagore), feels for her pain and does his best to bring laughter and joy in her life. Even more importantly, he gives her room to grow as a person, and respects her right to make her own decisions. In one of my favorite scenes, Uma’s friend Annie (Shashikala) tells him that Uma isnt strong enough to take tough decisions and that he must make up Uma’s mind for her. He replies that he wont force his own decisions on her and cripple her mentally! He clearly likes independent women. All this goodness, and Dharmendra’s gorgeousness, too! It gets no better than this.
Well, these are my filmi Mr. Rights and I shall be spending my Valentines day with at least one of them. Who will you spend your Valentine’s Day with?


  1. Lovely list, I think I'm gonna have shamelessly take this off you one of these days! Great choices and I especially loved Balraj in Seema he was so understanding and didn't mind Nutan trashing the place! And I really have a soft spot for Vanraj and Naseeruddin as they sacrificed all their love to get their wives back with a previous pyar! How sweeeet!

  2. That's one very satisfactory list! Or very nearly so, I would also have included Dharmendra in 'Blackmail'. So completely in love and so humanely insecure, and so good looking as well.

  3. aavo, Sadhana is definitely the right person to spend a Valentine's day, with!

    Rum, steal away. I'd love to see your choices. Am I right in thinking that there would be some Anil Kapoor involved? :-D

    Ruchi, I completely forgot about Blackmail. HOW could I do that?! :-( Yes, Dharmendra of Blackmail is the epitome of Mr. Right. His diffidence is sooooo appealing - especially when taken in conjunction with his blinding gorgeousness and his whole "extremely-good-catch" persona. :-)

  4. YES! to nice guys being dreamboats, and vice versa. Which reminds me, I need to watch Blackmail again. ASAP.

  5. Dharmendra in Anupama is #1 for me too. (I have not seen Blackmail). I liked Sanjay Dutt in Parineeta but having not seen a Sunil Dutt movie, I can only speculate that his dad was even nicer and more thoughtful. And yes, I'm very fond of grown men like Sunil Dutt, Balraj Sahni and Sanjeev Kumar and project all sorts of qualities on them.

  6. *Sigh* Vanraj... Girish... I <3 these guys. I would add Aditya Kashyap from Jab We Met, but you knew that already. ;-) What a fun idea for a Valentine's post, and I love the quality of characters you've chosen.

  7. Anarchivist, you havent seen Blackmail yet?!! Apart from the best melt-into-a-puddle romance, the film boasts of a secret formula, international conspiracy, and a heroine who does something to save the country and her family. Watch it ASAP.

    Sophy, Sunil Dutt was certainly a whole lot nicer than his son! He even had a lot of great romantic roles - the kind that would have made my list if I had more than vague childhood memories of those films. I might have to redo my list after I've re-watched his Zindagi Zindagi and Nartaki. And I bet you'll love Blackmail - do watch it...

    ajnabi, I seem to have forgotten a lot of relevant romantic heroes! I loved Aditya Kashyap too - once he had got the full Geet treatment and grown out of his "heartbreak". :-)

  8. Awesome list - totally in sync with my choices except the Kabhi Kabhi bit.

    The original tamil version of "woh saat din" was really good. it is also called Anda yeh natrikal" - same meaning. The hero who played Naseer's role (Sharad Babu) was too good in the tamil version - not only very good looking but also did a fab job too. Likewise the heroine Radha was much better than Padmini Kolhapuri.

    I am going to hunt for Blackmail DVD on my next visit to India (next week!)

  9. Oh, what a lot of films I haven't seen from this list! (Well, actually only three - Uphaar, Ek Baar Kaho and Woh Saat Din). But I love your list, and was saying "Vanraj, Vanraj," to myself even as I read through your post! I think Dharmendra's character in Anupama is also my favourite - he's just so wonderful (and looks it too!) I also like him in Chupke Chupke: such a darling. (I'd even go with Amitabh in Chupke Chupke).

  10. I'm sadly ignorant about your picks here. I keep kicking myself to get my hands on more 60's Dharmendra films but I can't seem get around to it. Sigh.

  11. Filmbuff, if you dont want to wait to watch Blackmail (and you shouldnt!), I think you can watch it online (on

    I had no idea that Woh Saat Din was a remake. It felt so right in Bollywood with its sexist morality!

    dustedoff, you can watch Uphaar and Ek Baar Kaho on Rajshri. I wish they'd come out on DVD though - watching online isnt too much fun.

    Dharmendra is totally adorable in Chupke Chupke, and its the only film where I ever found AB cute. I was watching the Bengali version the other day and it seemed rather flat compared to the Hindi one, and Dharmendra seemed to be having more fun in his role than Uttam Kumar!

    veracious, your profile pic reminds me that Vinod Khanna in Meera should probably have made it to my list, too! He was the most accomodating and understanding of husbands, there. :-D Re Dharmendra, you definitely should see some of his earlier stuff. His best films were ones that he did not do with Hema.

  12. Well, that looks like a well thought out list!

    Hey, you can see something that could pass for my filmi Valentines list too if you go to my current post, though I wasn't thinking of Valentine's Day when i wrote it. :)

    I admit, I haven't seen most of the films on your list here, but I am familiar with Balraj Sahni in Seema, and I understand perfectly why that guy could be thought of as the ideal Mr. Right!

  13. Great List!
    But have some misgivings aobut soem of them, which I've voicedd below. Some nitpicking on my side. ;-)

    I hated Ravi in Andaz. Just imagine, his wife (Simi) is in throngs of labour pain and he is rejoicing!
    No wonder she dies at childbirth.

    Vijay of Kabhi Kabhie got on my nerves with his ever-present cheerfulness. I'd just hate it in my partner.

  14. Love your list! And I'm so happy to see the "Ek Baar Kaho" and "Uphaar" men get a mention. It's a pity more people haven't seen these two movies - they are humble gems.

    Completely agree on Dharmendra in Anupama being #1 - what an awesome man and character! YUM! :-D

    PS. Does anyone else find the picturization of the Kabhie Kabhie title song(Lata version) more than a little creepy and disturbing?

  15. Oooh how fun! Off the top of my head, I would probably choose Ravi from Kaala Patthar and Rakesh from Bunty aur Babli, but dustedoff raises a very good suggestion re: Chupke Chupke. Hmm. HMMM. Will give it some thought and report back.

  16. Richard, Balraj Sahni seems to have done quite a few such roles. Its no wonder I associate him with ideal Mr. Right material! And you've compiled quite a list yourself. I bet I can guess who you'd choose for a Valentine's date. :-D

    harvey, I dont remember how Ravi's wife died in Andaz. I watched the film in my childhood and its been stored in my memory vaults, ever since, under the heading "Romantic". I hope a re-watch wont change my mind!

    Agreed about Vijay's cheerfulness in Kabhi Kabhie. His Pooja should have cut down on his consumption of sugar (and any banned substances) to reduce his hyperactivity - I would have! :-D

    Shalini, I LOVE Ek Baar Kaho and Uphaar - will never tire of flogging them!

    You're right about the picturisation of Kabhi Kabhie mere dil mein being rather wrong for a romantic song, but I cant help being glad for Rakhee, so I can ignore it! (She does seem very happy the next day. So, something must have been right the night before! ;-D)

    Beth, Ravi is certainly a man of substance, but dont you think he is too busy saving the world to have much time left over for romance? Rakesh would certainly be a fun person to hang out with - LUCKY Babli...

  17. What is Richard S's blog called? i would like to read his list too.

  18. Ashok (Dharmendra) from Anupama would be my Mr. right as well. he would be the perfect mixture of pulchritude, even headedness, muscle, empathy and love

  19. Nice may be his middle name, but it certainly does not equal boring!

    Thank you! Nice to see 'nice' characters being appreciated. :)

    I almost want to create my own list of favorite women characters, but could I please get away with at least a top 50?! ;)

    Cheers. Hope you're well, Bollyviewer.

  20. What an utterly, utterly delightful post! I have to shout out a complete and entire YES to #6- that's my fav character of all time for Shash, next to the one in Ijazat. And #1 is pretty darn perfect too.

  21. harvey, Dharam in Anupama has everything going for him, except perhaps riches! But maybe his writing will make him rich and famous. ;-)

    theBollywoodFan, OiG does its best to appreciate underrated qualities and there is no denying that 'nice' is very underrated. I wonder why - a not-nice person would be so hard to live with!

    And no you cannot get away with a list of 50 women, you must ruthlessly edit and make choices. And no sneaking in Juhi and Tabu multiple times. ;-D

    Shweta, thank you! Dharam of Anupama seems to be the unanimous choice for Mr. Perfect.

  22. I thought I commented on this already, but it doesn't look like I did.
    Of course, I haven't seen all of these, but I have to agree with the ones I know. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was the first time I really enjoyed Ajay. He was perfectly unassuming and I so wanted him to win his girl.

    There's something about rooting for the underdog, isn't there? Even though they might not be the youngest, the best looking, the most popular, you really feel for characters like Girish in Parineeta. Sanjay was perfect in it.

    Well, that's all I've seen. It's very limited. And even without seeing them, I can say that I'm sure Shashi belongs on this list just for being Shashi!

  23. shell, there's nothing like rooting for the underdog and have him win. Sadly, most films have the nice underdog lose (like Girish in Parineeta) - so its great to find heroes who are nice but not relegated to underdog status, or better still, heroes who are underdogs but win.

    Shashi would always make it to any of my lists just for being Shashi, but I am glad he can make it on the merit of his roles, too! :-)

  24. Ahh what a sweet post and thoughtful post for Vals day makes me wanna go watch the films i've missed out of the whole lot i've only seen Hum Dil de... & parineeta

  25. bollywooddeewana, great to have you back in blogland!

    If Parineeta and HDDCS are all you've seen from this list, you have a lot of catching up and fun hours ahead of you. If nothing else, you must watch Anupama - Dharmila have never been better outside of Chupke Chupke.

  26. How on earth did I miss this dreamy list... (especially Anupama's Ashok!) I can barely leave a coherent comment, I'm just thinking about these guys and wishing they really existed... sigh... oh wait, I do have a question, where did you find 'Uphaar'? I've been searching high and low for it FOREVER.

  27. Daddys Girl, a girl can always dream of meeting Ashok or Kailash (Blackmail). Hope does spring eternal, after all!

    Uphaar is a Rajshri film and you can find it on their website. Its unsubtitled, though. An unsubtitled VCD is out, too - on induna, though it appears to be out of stock.

  28. Thanks so much, Bollyviewer! Unfortunately, even after about 5 years of watching Hindi movies fairly consistently , I still can't follow them without English subtitles :-(, so I guess I'll have to wait until someone does the subtitles for 'Uphaar'!

  29. We need to petition the powers-that-be to bring it out on a subtitled DVD! Its a shame that a lot of lovely films are so inaccessible.

  30. I so much liked #no 6 Shashi is amazing "clearly" Raakee got away with the better man!!!

  31. Of course she did! But it took her a looooong time to realise that... :D