Most popular Bollywood films have a set recipe, more or less. The ingredients — romance, drama, mystery, action, heartbreak and sometimes running on the airport or railway station. As viewers of Hindi cinema, we have gotten used to some over-the-top edge-of-the-seat action. For instance, a hero or the main actor, who is on a mission, is ready to jump while travelling through the countryside.
Railways somehow assume favour when it is about a significant twist or a climax scene in the film. The train’s corridors and roof provide room aplenty to create such impacts. The locomotive serves as a classic band with its piercing toots and the familiar sound of its wheels. Here’s a roundup of some of the most memorable films with iconic train sequences:
1. Sadma (1983)
The story is about a heartwarming relationship between a teacher and a student, played by Kamal Hassanand Sridevi, respectively. He cares for Sridevi, who suffered amnesia after an accident. The last scene in the film was extremely moving and heartbreaking. Sridevi, who has fully recovered, is on her way home and has forgotten how Kamal took care of her. In the last scene, Kamal tries to jog Sridevi’s memory at the station by re-enacting the time they spent together. However, Sridevi thinks of him as a mad man and ignores him.
2. Aradhana (1969)
The song Mere Sapno Ki Rani instantly evokes the memory of a spirited Rajesh Khanna trying to woo Sharmila Tagore, aboard a train. The actor who plays anIndian Air Force pilot serenades his lady love sitting in a Darjeeling toy train, which makes its way up the mountain. She is whistling in tune with the actor’s melodious song.
3. Nayak (1966)
Satyajit Ray cast Uttam Kumar for this poignant story. The film was made when the filmmaker was on board a 24-hour train from Kolkata to Delhi. Uttam Kumar meets Sharmila Tagore who is a strong-willed journalist interviewing the actor. She forces him to confront his demons. The backdrop setting complete with rail elements like the station halts, changing scenery, and activities inside the first-class car was the perfect setup for their conversations and the actor’s introspective moments.
4. The Burning Train (1980)
No surprise that this film which had train in its title depicted a love story that bloomed on the journey. The film revolved around multiple love stories, however, only one love saga started on the train between Neetu Singh and Jeetendra. They exchanged loving glances when the song Pal Do Pal Ka Saath Humara played in the backrop.
5. Swades: We The People (2004)
The train sequences in this film was very essential to the storyline. The protagonist played by Shah Rukh Khan understands his country, its people, and their problems on a train journey. The general compartment of the train becomes the means of bridging the gap between the city and the countryside. Some scenes were shot at Apta Railway Station near Panvel in Maharashtra.
6. Parineeta (2005)
Director Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta had some lovely set pieces. The song Kasto Mazza with Saif Ali Khan, aboard the Darjeeling toy train,became a perennial favourite with Bollywood. The best shot of this song is when a few apple-cheeked children sing their own version.Saif,who is unaware of what transpired in his absence, thinks of Vidya Balan with the gorgeous backdrop of Darjeeling. Despite being a cliched romantic scene, it continues to remain a favourite.
7. Saathiya (2002)
Vivek Oberoi’s Aditya confesses his love for Rani Mukerji’s Suhani on a local train. Mumbai's local trains have been showcased as a part of various movies and in movies like Saathiya, they had an important role to play. The love confession sequence is still an adorable reminder of how fast tracks can sometimes become the place of heartfelt revelations.
8. Dil Se (1998)
This film gave the audience an iconic train song, Chaiyya Chaiyya. The ARRahman classic movie achieved a cult following as the song weaved its rhythms with the whistles and wheels. Shah Rukh Khan’s trademark headbang and Malaika Arora’s gravity-defying hip movements shows the choreography follows suit. Filmed on the moving Nilgiri Mountain Railway, one cannot listen to this song without breaking into a train dance.
9. Jab We Met (2007)
A depressed young man meets a vivacious Punjabi girl on an overnight journey and sparks fly. Cliched but unlike conventional Bollywood dramas, love did not follow suit in this one. This Imtiaz Ali romcom showed how Kareena Kapoor saves Shahid Kapoor and they go their own ways. A series of serendipitous mix-ups follow and eventually, love blossoms.
10. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Kajol’s Simran runs toward her lover Raj, played by Shah Rukh Khan. Raj, aboard a train departing the platform, outstretches his hands until it meets running Simran’s in the nick of time. The hero gets the girl, and the train rolls into a happily ever after. This sequence immortalized the train romance in Bollywood. The scene is shot at Apta Railway Station in Maharashtra.