Okay so I know I don’t blog much about Bollywood these days, but recently I have been feeling very compelled to write about something in particular.
Hindi cinema is a subject close to my heart and I often hear people saying ‘I hate Bollywood’ but they’ll happily watch films from other parts of the world. This really annoys me because there is more to Hindi cinema than singing and dancing.
I wanted to share with you a list of films and a short explanation of the story, that I think every lover of good quality cinema (regardless of language) need to watch. Yes, some films still have singing and dancing but look beyond that and immerse yourself in the stories being told.
Thanks to all of you that got involved in my Instagram poll and recommended some great movies!
Gully Boy – if you are into hip-hop, then this is an absolute must watch. Based on the true story of rappers Naezy and Divine and featuring Nas as an executive producer, this follows the true-life journey from slums to stardom. Available on Amazon.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – a modern, cult classic and one of my absolute faves. On the outside it sounds like a remake of the hangover, but it is DEFINITELY not. ZNMD is the story of three guys travelling around Spain for Kabir’s bachelor bash and each chooses an adventure sport for them all to partake in. It is a coming of age film that blends relatable stories, love, friendship, Spanish culture and how relationships change with partners, family and friends. Watch out for the scuba diving and poetry in this! Available on Amazon.
Dear Zindagi – a film based around the issues of a young cinematographer with mental health issues, and how she overcomes them with the help of her therapist. A very important film today. Available on Netflix.
Taare Zameen Par – undoubtedly, Aamir Khan makes some of the most thought-provoking films but this films always stands out in my mind. It tells the story of a young boy struggling at school as he suffers with dyslexia and how one teacher helps him. Available on Netflix.
Padman – have you heard the real story about the Indian village man who invented low cost sanitary towels and distributed them in small villages in India? Well now you have. Padman is the true story of Arunachalam Muruganantham who did just this because he was tired of seeing his wife and family members suffer when they were menstruating. Available on Netflix.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil – if you have ever suffered with a broken heart, this film is a must watch! Directed by Karan Johar, it follows the journey of three people and their respective stories around unrequited love. No film has ever touched me like this, you can tell the director would have suffered with a broken heart himself to tell such a story. Available on Amazon.
Udta Punjab – In Punjab, there is a massive drugs and alcohol culture. Udta Punjab revolves around several protagonists and their involvement with drug abuse. A very gritty and sometimes harrowing film, especially in the scenes with the fantastic Alia Bhatt who plays a labourer forced into prostitution. Available on Netflix.
Mary Kom – starring Priyanka Chopra, the film depicts Indian boxer Mary Kom’s journey of becoming a boxer to her victory at the 2008 World Boxing Championships in Ningbo. It shows the challenges she faced on her journey to becoming a champion including financial stresses and having children. Available on Netflix.
Dangal – Dangal shows how a man (Aamir Khan) who didn’t succeed very well in his wrestling career, helps his daughters to become champions. A very heart-warming dramatization showing that it’s not only sons who can compete in sport, especially in a place like India. Based on a true story. Available on Netflix.
Veere di Wedding – a sort of chick flick/sex and the city style story of a girl getting married and how she gets on by with the help of her girlfriends.
Bang Bang – an action-packed thriller which was an official remake of Knight and Day, so I’m sure you know the story but watch for some hot guys and girls and nice songs and sets.
Dostana – a fun film set in Miami with lots of beautiful people, songs, sets. It may remind you of Chuck and Larry as it revolves around two guys who pretend to be gay to rent an apartment together and how they fall in love with the same girl.
Other films to watch
Raazi – a spy thriller set in India and Pakistan. Available on Amazon.
Andhadhun – another thriller bout a ‘blind’ man who becomes embroiled in a murder. Available on Netflix.
Article 15 – the story of a policeman trying to get to the bottom of a disappearance of two young girls from the ‘untouchable’ community. Available on Netflix.
If you’re more into binge watching series, then I recommend:
Delhi Crime – this is a difficult watch as it is based on the story of the police who dealt with the gang rape and murder case of Jyoti Singh in 2012. It’s pretty harrowing in places but a testament to what India can do to push the boundaries of acting and storytelling. The fantastically directed series by Richie Mehta will make you angry and upset and want to do something to stop this from ever happening again. – Available on Netflix.
Sacred games – an action-packed, gritty series based on a cat and mouse chase in the Mumbai underworld. Some good twists and turns and was recently nominated for an international Emmy. Series 1 &2 available on Netflix.
I hope you enjoyed my list and will watch at least one movie, let me know if you do ad thanks for reading!
Priya Mulji x