Looking for a handful of films to get you started in the world of Bollywood cinema? Here are some recommendations with that in mind.
Bollywood is a vibrant and fun film industry, with its films featuring dramatic stories about love and friendship, as well as action and comedy. It is also an extremely successful industry. Audiences have fallen in love with its actors and memorable performances, which contributes to the steady growth of the industry, but it’s hard to know where to start with Bollywood cinema. Here are some suggestions if you dip your toes into them – and be sure to leave your recommendations in the comments too!
Om Shanti Om
Released in 2007, Om Shanti Om is a great boost for Bollywood. Translating as “peace in mind”, the film follows the life of a movie star falling in love but reincarnation kicks in. The film has an incredibly iconic song, “Deewangi Deewangi”, which features in a scene where many famous actors in Bollywood industry enter a lavish party. This song introduces you to many famous people in the world of Bollywood, and itself introduces a whole host of actors.
The prince of the film scene has the lead role, Shah Rukh Khan. If you want to be a Bollywood watcher, you need to get to know Shah Rukh Khan. He has acted in over 50 Hindi films and many are considered Bollywood classics. He is nicknamed King Khan due to his ever growing success and popularity.
If you don’t like songs and dance numbers, but enjoy dramatic stories, you might enjoy 3 idiots. Released in 2009, the film explores still relevant themes such as mental health, education and family. It’s filled with comedy moments as the title suggests, but the overall story is moving and impactful. Three best friends study together in college, they all go through different situations, but come together to be there for each other in the end.
It’s a movie full of twists and turns as well as plenty of laughs as the boys promote their “it’s all good” catchphrase to encourage everyone to enjoy life and never stop trying.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
The classic Bollywood film of the early 2000s, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, translated as “sometimes happiness, sometimes sadness”, is themed around the prince and the poor and highlights the love and bond between parents and their children. The film follows the love of individuals and how it transcends everything.
It’s set in both India and England, which means there are familiar settings such as the Bluewater Mall in London. Also, it is not spoken 100% in Hindi to fit the setting and the people around them. It also features memorable characters such as Pooja, which many can relate to. With her bossy attitude and always on the cutting edge of fashion, she adds a comedic element to the film to get away from some of the heavier moments. The film provides room for many tears and laughs from the intense fallout and fights, as well as the celebrations and parties.
Starring Amitabh Bachchan – who is considered the king of Bollywood due to his growing success in the 70s and captured the hearts of Indian audiences – as well as Shah Rukh Khan, you can get a double dose of the famous actors who add to the sparkle of the film.
The songs are constantly played at many South Asian festivals and special occasions. With a slew of bands and memorable dance routines, we end up seeing those moves hit the dance floor when our favorite Bollywood songs hit.
Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
It’s the must-have film for romance in the Bollywood world, with its quintessential quotes and love-filled story: a real treat for rom-com lovers. Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, translated as ‘the big heart with taking the bride’, follows the love of two young college students traveling through Europe with their friends and inevitably following each other. However, they are stopped in their tracks.
The film ran in Indian cinemas for 1251 weeks, or 24 years! – because of its success and magic that many romantic Bollywood movies have yet to match.
Along with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, the two actors are known for their romantic chemistry when playing these love-filled roles and went on to star in more films together as a romantic duo. They were also in Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham like the “prince and pauper” roles, but ultimately their love kept them together.
Biggest hit and one of the films to have had the biggest impact on the Bollywood industry: Sholay, translated as “embers”, was released in 1975 and shook India and the film scene. It’s about friendship and loyalty to each other, and you end up falling in love with the relationships presented to us. With his song “Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge” (which translates to “We Will Never Break Our Friendship”), he showcases the true friendship the main characters share for each other. You can’t stop singing and dancing.
It features Amitabh Bachchan at the height of his success in the 70s. Audiences got so attached to him and the movies he starred in. They put him on the highest possible pedestal and that’s how he earned his status as the king of Bollywood.
Due to this immense love they had for the actor, there was a massive outcry when the audience was unhappy with the end of the film and the outcome for Amitabh Bachchan. Bollywood directors and writers took the audience response into consideration and passed it on to Bollywood Today.
These are just a few of the many hit Bollywood movies around the world. You don’t need us to tell you that there is such a wealth of choice available. As such, once you’ve found a Bollywood genre or filmmakers you like, there’s likely to be plenty more to explore. Bollywood simply does not disappoint with its array of options…!
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