Monsoon was coming—storm clouds in hues of grey and gentle winds had given it away. It was a Sunday evening and the city could hardly wait to get down off its sweltering heat with its first rains. It poured and thundered, and a sense of warmth and nostalgia made its way to the Maximum City. I made a cup of chai, sat by the window, and watched Ayan Mukherji’s Wake up Sid. There is something magical, romantic and bitter-sweet about the monsoon—a perspective certainly shaped by cinema and its tryst with the rains.
For a long time now, filmmakers have used rains as a poetic device to symbolise and foreshadow emotions, a turn of events, and so much more. Think about The Notebook’s iconic kiss—would it feel the same if not for the heavenly downpour? Or would it have evoked the same sense of loss, had it not rained when Apu’s sister passed away, in Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali?
We take a look at some of the most iconic and memorable movie scenes with the rain playing the third character on screen.
The rains and romance
For most people, rain brings with it a sense of melancholy and an overbearing sadness. It often gives gloomy energy to experiences or situations. Think Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali. A poverty-stricken-household is met with further grief when their daughter Durga gets drenched in a downpour and passes away the next morning. The downpour heightens the emotions of loss and grief and perhaps wouldn’t have the same impact without it. Even in Karan Johar’s otherwise feel-good film, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, the death of Anjali’s father takes place with heavy downpours in the wee hours of the morning. Salaam Bombay, directed by Mira Nair would not have been the same without the gloomy tone of the film shaped by dark clouds and rains in the (not so) quiet by-lanes of Mumbai.