1 Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh
A song about moving on from the pain of the past, 'Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh' was sung in the ethereal voice of Lata Mangeshkar crooning to Shankar Jaikishan's melodious symphony. It is the perfect balm for any wound.
2 Jab dil hi toot gaya
Sung by the King of Tragedy, KL Saigal, himself, this song contributed to his legend as a real life 'Devdas'. Lyrics teeming with pathos, the song is sure to give you goosebumps if you've just had a bad Valentine.
3 Dost dost na raha
The ultimate ode to 'friendzone', this song belongs to anyone who has ever been jilted by their best friend. Although if Raj Kapoor could suffer that fate, there is still hope for you.
4 Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam
Nostalgia is a beautiful thing sometimes. Kaifi Azmi adds a layer of beautiful self-introspection about the diverging paths in a relationship through this song. But the beauty of this song is in its visuals. Just watch it for the magical 'sunlight' moment - a product of cinematographer VK Murthy's creative imagination.
5 Jaane kahan gaye woh din
Raj Kapoor returned with his tragic ode to his lost loves. Mukesh, whom Raj Kapoor would call 'my voice', has a quality that makes him perfect for such nostalgic songs. This one is sure to bring a lump to your throat.
6 Tu pyaar hai kisi aur ka
If there is a song that could be considered the anthem of lovelorn youngsters at the turn of the millennium, it is this Kumar Sanu number from Mahesh Bhatt's 'Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahi'. It went on to be one of Nadeem-Shravan's biggest hits during the golden 90s.
7 Tu jaane na
It almost feels prescient that this heartbreaking song was featured on Ranbir Kapoor and his, now, ex, Katrina Kaif. Written by Irshad Kamil, the song proved to be a chartbuster on the film's release. The unplugged version by Kailash Kher is just as good.
8 Koi ye kaise bataaye
Kaifi Azmi is often underrated as a romantic poet.He does not share the high passion of love with the other great lyricist, Sahir Ludhianvi. Yet, his lyrics raise the most pertinent questions on love and longing. The late Jagjit Singh sung this one in his usual elegance, making it one of the most beautifully sad songs of the 80s.
9 Mera kucch samaan tumhare paas pada hai
The story goes that when Gulzar walked into RD Burman's studio with these lyrics, the composer was puzzled. He told the poet 'I can't compose for this. The next time you might walk in with the Times of India and ask me to compose on those words.' But compose he did. This is one of the finest examples of the synthesis of RD Burman and Gulzar, where music flows according to verse.
10 Tere bina zindagi se shikva
Gulzar remains one of the most sensitive filmmakers who have tackled love in all its variations. In Aandhi (1975), Gulzar wove a sensitive tale of love beyond the boundaries of age, time, and status. When Sanjeev Kumar and Suchitra Sen walk down the moonlit Martand Temple, their regret for lost love is palpable.
11 Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein
Arguably the greatest ballad of love, Kabhi Kabhie was the product of the legendary poet, Sahir's pen. Inspired by Sahir's own tragic love story, Yash Chopra wrote the story of Kabhi Kabhie. Amitabh Bachchan played the intense, brooding poet who mouthed Sahir's eternal words.
12 Hum bekhudi me tum ko pukare
As Dev Anand swayed to the voice of Mohammed Rafi, there were few hearts who did not pity him. Written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, this ghazal in Kala Pani(1958) reminds one of the difficulties in letting go.
13 Phir le aaya dil
The rise of Shafqat Amanat Ali's popularity is directly proportionate to the increase in sad songs produced by Bollywood composers. The singer has become one of the most popular crooners of love ballads today. This beautiful ghazal composed by Pritam was the icing on the cake of the Barfi soundtrack.
14 Chupke chupke raat din
Few people would have heard of the famous Urdu poet, Hasrat Mohani. It was Ghulam Ali's golden voice that brought sudden fame to this forgotten 19th-century poet. Used in the film Nikah (1982), it became an instant hit among bitter lovers across the country.
15 Aye ajnabee
The entire album of Dil Se is a treat for those in love. The magic of 'Dil se re' the intoxication of 'Tu hi tu...' and the energy of 'Chaiyya chaiyya' is infectious. But the show stealer is this slow, seductive number by Udit Narayan.
16 Aap aaye to khayaal e dil e nashaad aaya
Sunil Dutt has never looked more dapper than in this wonderful gem of a movie, Gumraah (1962). A gem composed by Ravi Shankar Sharma, the ghazal has endured time to stand out as one of the supreme ballads of heartbreak.
17 Aur is dil me kya rakha hai
With his all-action personality, it is easy to forget that Sanjay Dutt made his debut as a teenage heartthrob. In Imaandar (1987), Suresh Wadkar combined with Laxmikant Pyarelal to create this declaration of love.
18 Kya hua tera vaada
RD Burman was a prince amongst composers. His grasp of the mechanics of sound set him apart from his peers. Of all the songs in that brilliant album Hum Kisise Kum Nahin (1977), this angsty rock ballad stands out as the ultimate rebellion against betrayal in love.
19 Tune jo na kaha
As the meme-world goes, Neil Nitin Mukesh could play a love triangle all by himself, but it wouldn't be much fun. In Kabir Khan's New York (2009), he played the 'friend zoned' Omar pining for Katrina's Maya. One of the few times he has had such a beautiful song featured on him.
Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone set the screen on fire with their chemistry on Ayan Mukherji's Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Composed by Pritam, and sung by Rekha Bhardwaj and Tochi Raina, this song is a reminder of the moments of love lost in the pursuit of life's ambitions.
The final song on the list just had to be an Arijit Singh number. In a film that earned plaudits for its content and acting, Arijit Singh's beautiful serenade went missing. But its popularity on music channels and the airwaves proves why the singer is considered the heir to Kumar Sanu's throne in Bollywood.