Indian cinema is rife with drama, comedy and tragedy. As we lose ourselves in the whirlwind of daily routines in a fast-paced world, a sumptuous dose of classic India cinema is the perfect antidote for relief. The Indian audience thrives on destressing by watching melodramatic and larger-than-life films that epitomise love. The classic theme of love is what helps us celebrate life.
To honour this genre of films, we offer you a list of Bollywood’s 30 movies with tragic endings that leave you in tears with a heavy heart but you will surely walk away caring for loved ones even more.
Starring Hrithik Roshan in the lead with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Aditya Roy Kapoor, Guzaarish is one of the most heart-wrenching films from recent times. Revolving around euthanasia, this film is sure to make you cry more than once. Watch and Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik) grapple with quadriplegia.
Adapted from the novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the prevailing theme of Devdas is love and tragedy. Devdas is a heart-wrenching experience for movie buffs. Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan), the protagonist, falls in love with Paro (Aishwarya Rai). The relationship doesn’t go too well. She is married off to a rich family and Devdas becomes an alcoholic pining away for his true love. He ultimately dies in front of Aishwarya’s house. This film makes you reach for your tissues more than once.
3) Kal Ho Naa Ho
Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan) has a terminal cardiovascular illness, but it doesn’t stop him from enjoying what little time he has left. He falls in love with Naina (Preity Zinta) and helps her fall in love with his friend Rohit (Saif Ali Khan). During the last scene where he is on his death bed, emotions run high and the film leaves you with your eyes wet and your heart heavy.
4) Tere Naam
Tere Naam is one of the most popular Bollywood films from recent years to leave you sad when it ends. The beautiful relationship between Radhe (Salman Khan) and Nirjara (Bhumika Chawla) evolves throughout the film and ultimately ends with Nirjara committing suicide and Radhe voluntarily stepping into a mental asylum. Tragic.
5) Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela
An adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, Ram-Leela (starring Ranveer Singh as Ram Rajadi and Deepika Padukone as Leela Sanera) is set in more violent times. The film beautifully captures the emotions and tragedy of two lovers from enemy communities and their futile efforts to bring harmony between the two warring factions. The film ends with their death and with you holding a tissue that has become wet with tears.
With Emraan Hashmi and Shriya Saran in the lead, this film revolves around Shivam Pundit and how he transforms from being an atheist to a believer after falling in love with Aaliyah. He stands up for good as a remorse for all the wrong that he had done till now. The film ends tragically with him being gunned down by his own boss.
7) Kai Po Che
Based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller “The Three Mistakes of My Life”, Kai Po Che is what true cinematic experience is all about. The film is an emotional rollercoaster played out brilliantly by the lead cast of Sushant Singh Rajput as Ishaan Bhatt, Amit Sadh as Omkar Shastri aka Omi and Rajkummar Rao as Govind Patel. The film tugs at your tear ducts when Ishaan is killed by his best friend while he tries to save a budding Muslim cricketer from the ongoing communal riots.
In this erotic love-thriller, Kabir Lal (John Abraham) kills Sonia Khanna’s (Bipasha Basu) wealthy husband for love. When he finds out that Sonia manipulated him to get her husband’s wealth, Sonia kills him too. As a movie buff, Jism tugs at your heart for the pure love that John had for her and the cruelty with which he is killed at the end. Heart wrenching.
In this tale of unerring love, Jai (Hrithik Roshan) and Natasha/Linda (Barbara Mori) run away from their families to live happily. Natasha sacrifices her life to save Jai and he later avenges her death and falls off the same cliff that which she jumped off. Though Kites didn’t do well at the box office, it sure is a tragic tale of love that couldn’t find a happy ending.
This was the remake of the cult classic by the same name that starred Amitabh Bachchan in the lead. The 2012 release Agneepath broke all box-office records when it was released. Kancha (Sanjay Dutt) cunningly murders Vijay Deenanath Chauhan’s (Hrithik Roshan) father. Vijay grows up to take revenge on Kancha. Though at last he succeeds in his venture, he ultimately loses his life as he lies on his mother’s lap.
Raanjhanaa is one of those low-budget beauties to make you go all teary-eyed and heavy-hearted. While Kundan Shankar (Dhanush) tries to win his childhood love, he unintentionally becomes the reason of the death of Zoya Haider’s (Sonam Kapoor) love interest. He never got the love that he wanted, and ultimately dies in pain. The ending dialogue has to be one of the most heart-wrenching dialogues of the recent times, with Dhanush delivering it brilliantly.
Kundan (Dhanush) falls for Zoya (Sonam Kapoor). His love for her continues through school. She finally relents to his consistent pursuit. Zoya leaves the city to study elsewhere. When she returns she barely remembers Kundan. Meanwhile, she falls in love with Akram (Abhay Deol). The plot revolves around Zoya enlisting Kundan to help her to marry Akram. The alliance falls through when everyone discovers that Akram is not of the same religion. There are more twists to the story that ultimately results in Kundan dying.
Heer Kaul (Nargis Fakhri) transforms Janardhan “Jordan” Jakhar aka JJ (Ranbir Kapoor) from a nobody to a rockstar in the emotional ride called Rockstar. Their unique love story and the ultimate death of Nargis leave you with a heavy heart at the end. Ranbir’s superlative performance adds to the already gripping script.
13) Aashiqui 2
Rahul Jaykar (Aditya Roy Kapoor) was a renowned singer loses his ground due to alcohol addiction. He revives a bit when he meets Arohi (Shraddha Kapoor) and catapults her to fame. However, his pessimistic and depressed outlook towards life ultimately makes him commit suicide leaving Arohi alone. This emotional drama is a must watch for the brilliant performances and soul-stirring music. The end makes you go for your tissues.
The hate-turned-love relationship between Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra calls for their death as they belong to different communities. While they fight for their love until they can, they ultimately kill each other to save their love. A tragic plot with brilliant performances from the cast, Ishaqzaade is a must watch if you are looking for films with sad endings.
Sanjay Dutt plays the role of a very powerful criminal (Raghunath “Raghu” Namdev Shivalkhar) who becomes drug addicted in Vaastav. Even marrying the girl he loved didn’t change his bad habits. He ultimately becomes helpless. The heart-wrenching ending shows him requesting his mother to shoot him so that he dies gracefully. His mother obliges and we cannot hold back our tears watching it.
Prithviraj Kapoor (Akbar) is strictly against his son Salim (Dilip Kumar) marrying a court dancer, Anarkali (Madhubala) and orders her death. In this tale of unconditional and pure love which is separated cruelly on the basis of royalty and blood, Anarkali isn’t actually killed but set free to never come back. Anarkali and Salim never saw each other again, and their love remained unfulfilled at the end.
Deewar is one of the landmark films of Amitabh Bachchan’s career. Vijay Verma (Amitabh) grows up to be a criminal and accumulates a lot of wealth, while his brother Ravi Verma (Shashi Kapoor) becomes a Police Inspector who ultimately kills his own brother (Vijay) to fulfil his duties. The ending tugs your tear-ducts and makes for one of the most tragic Bollywood films ever.
18) Mother India
Mother India is an Indian classic movie that portrays mothers as the epitome of justice. Radha’s (Nargis) son Birju (Sunil Dutt) becomes a bandit and tries to kidnap a young girl from his village. Radha shoots down her own son to save the girl and sets an example. The pain of a mother killing her own son is unimaginable and you will feel the same when you watch this classic.
Rajesh Khanna’s (Anand Sehgal) portrayal of a cheerful man suffering from a terminal illness will make you cry whenever you watch it. Anand doesn’t have much time left on the earth and decides to enjoy life to the fullest in the short time that he has got. Anand dies at the end and the film leaves us with tear-stained cheeks.
20) Rang De Basanti
A group of carefree friends has patriotic sentiments when they play the role of freedom fighters on stage. When a friend (a pilot played by Madhavan) is killed due to negligence by higher authorities, the group takes revenge on them and willingly give up their lives while narrating their whole story on the radio. The film makes you cry at the end, and question your own morality on what’s right and what’s not. The movies stars Aamir Khan as Daljit ‘DJ’ Singh / Chandrashekhar Azad, Siddharth Narayan as Karan R. Singhania / Bhagat Singh, Atul Kulkarni as Laxman Pandey / Ramprasad Bismil, Kunal Kapoor as Aslam Khan / Ashfaqullah Khan, Sharman Joshi as Sukhi Ram / Rajguru, Alice Patten as Sue McKinley and Soha Ali Khan as Sonia / Durgawati Devi.
21) Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak
Raj (Aamir Khan) and Rashmi (Juhi Chawla) fall in love and decide to be together. However, their families are rivals; they oppose the match. They openly declare their hatred for one another and will do anything in their power to kill their own children but will not accept their love for each other. The film ends tragically when both die at the end.
Avenging his father’s death, Ajay Sharma/Vicky Malhotra (Shah Rukh Khan) kills the younger daughter of his father’s murderer. He then marries the older one and cunningly takes away their entire property. At last, he avenges his father’s death and succumbs to his injuries on his mother’s lap. Shah Rukh’s superlative performance and that final death scene are sure to have you in tears.
23) The Dirty Picture
Based on Silk Smitha’s life, the film tracks the life of the B-grade superstar’s life. Vidya brilliantly played the role of Silk and the final suicide scene is purely heart-wrenching.
In this film about love and the dark world of betting, the darkness takes out the life out of love. Arjun Dixit’s (Emraan Hashmi) passion to become rich is overpowered by his love for Zoya Mathur (Sonal Chauhan). He is eventually killed at the end. Touching and tragic.
Lootera is an emotional story of love, betrayal and redemption. Varun Shrivastav/Atmanand Tripathi/Nandu/Vijay (Ranveer Singh) has a dark past but ultimately decides to be with the one he loves. The tragic end sees Ranveer getting killed by the police and you reaching for your tissues.
26) Sanam Teri Kasam
Sanam Teri Kasam is a recent Bollywood film that makes you feel the power of pure love. Inder (Harshvardhan Rane) and Saru (Mawra Hocane) are dissimilar to each other but fall in love with each other. Saru has a terminal illness and while she dies at the end, their love lasts forever. Sanam Teri Kasam is an emotional rollercoaster with a sad end that surely makes it to our list of the best Bollywood films with sad endings.
With Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda turning in superlative performances, Highway is a must watch for all those who want to soak in a tragic plot. Veera Tripathi (Alia) has had a troubled childhood and forms a bond with her kidnapper. In one of the most heart-wrenching climaxes, Mahabir Bhati (Randeep) is killed and Veera is devastated. The movie is sure to leave you teary-eyed when the credits roll at the end.
A tale of eternal love, Noorie leaves you with tears in your eyes when the film ends. Harassed, raped and dumped, Noorie (Poonam Dhillon) finally gives up her life and her lover Yusuf (Farooque Shaikh) finally dies by her side. They are united in burial and you would definitely have tears running down your cheeks as the credits roll up.
29) Humari Adhoori Kahani
Humari Adhoori Kahani is truly a tale of unfulfilled love. Vasudha Prasad (Vidya Balan) and Aarav Ruparel (Emran Hashmi) love each other. However, Vasudha’s terrorist husband Hari Prasad (Rajkumar Rao) would never allow them to stay together. Emraan dies painfully at the end and Vidya follows him. The film ends showing their unity after their death.
Starring Aamir Khan and Kajol in the lead, Fanaa deals with love caught up in the dark world of terrorism. The film’s end is marked by Zooni (Kajol) killing Rehan (Aamir), who dies in her arms. Fanaa is a heart-warming tale of love and loss and tugs at your heart strings whenever you watch it.