If you've ever met me, you know that I love Bollywood movies. I love the actors, the acting, the overdramatic plot-lines and the series of songs that serve as both musical accompaniment and essential plot devices to each story. My friends and family all know that if given the aux, I will literally play nothing but Bollywood songs. If you've ever wanted to get in on the Bollywood hype, here are seven movies you need to watch to get almost every reference any Bollywood-obsessed person (read: me) will make.
1. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge — 1995
Released in 1995, this classic film tells the story of two people who meet abroad and hate each other when they first meet. Of course, through the course of missing trains in Europe, being forced to spend large amounts of time together and getting drunk together, the two fall in love as they are about to leave back for India.
The songs in this movie are arguably the most well-known Bollywood songs through the generations of Bollywood fans, especially the thematic mandolin phrase that Shah Rukh Khan, the movie's hero and main actor, plays throughout. Raj and Simran — Bollywood's most ICONIC couple were created through this movie and we have to thank the director for that. This movie is claimed to be one of the biggest movies that launched the actor's careers.
It continuously still runs in theaters to this day and recently completed 1,200+ weeks. I watched this movie along with my parents the first time, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone trying to get into the whole typical Bollywood scene.
2. Kal Ho Na Ho - 2001
This one is another one of Shah Rukh Khan's classics. "Kal Ho Na Ho" was released in 2003 and is set in New York City, featuring Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and Shah Rukh Khan as three friends who evolve into a love triangle-type scenario.
The songs in this movie are timeless, and everyone I know always gets up to dance when "It's The Time to Disco" starts playing. This movie tells a story of romantic and familial love and sends the message that you don't have to be with someone to love them with every fiber of your being. My friend from school had first told me about this school.
From then, obsessed is not even the right word to used to describe what this movie means to me. It's completely more than that. to this day, show me this movie and I'll start bawling. By the way, you definitely will need a box of tissues for this movie. It's just a must.
3. The Dhoom Franchise (Specifically "Dhoom 2) — 2006
Now onto the newer movies! The "Dhoom" franchise is a trilogy (as of now), revolving around a cop and his partner in the Mumbai Police Department. Out of the three movies in the series, my personal favorite is the second one, "Dhoom 2."
One of my favorite actors, Hrithik Roshan, plays the star villain and his brilliant acting, matched with his unparalleled dancing, makes this movie one you will not regret watching. The craze for these movies can be measured by the success they have gained at the box office. It became the highest-grossing Indian film of 2006 and was the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time as well at the time of its release.
4. Chennai Express — 2013
Another Shah Rukh Khan movie! This one is a comedy starring another one of my favorite actresses, Deepika Padukone. Set in India, "Chennai Express" tells a love story while incorporating parts of other classic movies with a bit of a ridiculously humorous twist (we love Bollywood movies that are parodies of other Bollywood movies).
The songs in this movie range from dance bops to cute love songs, and this movie also touches upon the cultural differences that two people in love may face when trying to be together. This movie will just tickle your funny bone especially if you are a big fan of slapstick comedy or funny lines. This was the first ever actual Bollywood movie I've ever watched and since then, it's just been a journey of movie after movie after movie after movie. This was the movie that introduced me tp the Bollywood world and I'm sure if you watch it, you will not be disappointed.
This movie was one of Shah Rukh Khan's biggest hits after continuous let downs and brought him back into the limelight.
5. Padmaavat — 2018
I just recently watched "Padmaavat," a 2018 film starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.
"Padmaavat" is a movie remake of an Indian epic that tells the story of Queen Padmavati and explains the philosophy behind Jauhar. "Padmaavat" was one of the highest grossing Bollywood movies to be released and the highest grossing Bollywood movie of 2018. Deepika Padukone does a stellar job in the role of Queen Padmavati and is a feminist icon as she plays the role of queen, lover and warrior.
Watching this movie will make you feel empowered all of a sudden, and you will feel like you can accomplish anything after watching it. Deepika Padukone's acting is simply super in this movie and is said to be one of the best of her career. Even after going so many struggles to release, it shut up all the people who said this movie was going to be an epic disaster in terms of telling the ancient tale.
The world of Bollywood goes on far past these seven ffilms, but this is a good place to start for anyone who wants to watch something new, explore a new genre of film or develop a new obsession. And don't worry if you don't speak Hindi — I don't know Hindi completely, and I watch these all the time! Subtitles are my best friend. Enjoy!