Guest Post: For a Romantic Movie, Try Bollywood

Melanie G. contacted me after writing up an extensive recommendation list of Bollywood movies for a friend, and realized that she loved many of them because of the Huge Amazing Excellent Romance Tropes Inside. She forwarded her list to me in case I wanted to share it with you – and oh, yes. Yes, I do. Movie time!


Some people say that the Rom-Com movie is dead in Hollywood, but I’m here to tell you it’s alive and well in Bollywood.  I’m lucky enough to live in a town with a sizeable South Asian population, so our library has many Hindi films, and the local cinema multiplex has one screen dedicated to new release Bollywood movies.   For the past few months I’ve been in somewhat of a Bollywood fever dream, glomming Shahrukh Khan movies especially.  Luckily for me, SRK, one of the biggest movie stars you may have never heard of, has made over 70 films.

As I’ve been watching, I realized how many of our favorite romance novel tropes are found in Bollywood films, many that are usually only in historicals, but with a modern twist.   For example, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (My Brother’s Bride) has an arranged marriage where the Indian bride meets the London groom in an online video chat.

There are many Hindi films on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu Plus, but it’s intimidating to know where to begin when you can’t understand what most of the titles mean.  I have recommendations for a few films to get you started.

Dilwale Dulhani movie poster Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) [The Bravehearted Takes the Bride]

This movie is so popular it played in a theater in Mumbai for over 18 years continuously.  Raj (Shahrukh Khan) is a wastrel rich kid from London who meets Simran (Kajol) on a post-college trip to Europe.

My favorite scene is when Raj first tells Simran he loves her with soulful eyes, and then laughs it off as if he was joking.  As she storms away, you see he really meant it and he whispers, “If she turns around, she loves me, too.”

Simran has been engaged since childhood to the son of her stern father’s best friend back in India.  How scary is her father?  He’s played by the guy who was the villain in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!

Raj follows Simran to India to stop the wedding, but he must prove himself worthy to her and her family.

DDLJ has multiple tropes that I adore:  Hero and Heroine stuck together on a road trip, Hate-to-Love, redemption of a prankster rake and the hero rescuing a miserable bride from an arranged marriage.  As the tag line of the Trailer  says, “Come….Fall In Love”.

It’s on Netflix streaming, and I’ve watched it multiple times.    If you only watch one Bollywood film, this is the one to watch.

Netflix | Google Play | Amazon | iTunes

Jodha Akbar movie posterJodhaa Akbar

This film is a sweeping historical based on the real marriage of sixteenth century Muslim Mughal emperor Akbar to Hindu princess Jodhaa.  It stars my other favorite Bollywood actor, Hrithrik Roshan, and Aishawayra Rai and was one of the most expensive Hindi films ever made.

The main trope is of course love after an arranged political marriage, but fans of kickass heroines will love the sword practice duel Jodhaa has with her new husband.

They used real palaces in India for the sets, and one dance scene has 1000 dancers.  Not CGI, they really used that many extras.  And the battle with 80 elephants!  Watch the trailer to get a taste.

I bought this one on DVD I loved it so much, and so that I can watch a sleeveless Hrithrik Roshan tame a wild elephant any time I want!

It’s not currently available on Netflix streaming, but is most definitely worth seeking out the DVD.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi poster  - nerdy dude dipping a beautiful woman with a huge smile on her face while dancingRab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) [Match Made in Heaven] 

This is a very sweet and funny Rom-com, and it has many of my catnip tropes:  love after hasty arranged marriage, nerdy beta hero, and mistaken identity.

Shahrukh Khan (India’s superstar) plays a shy office worker named Surinder who agrees to marry the daughter (Taani) of his favorite professor after she tragically loses her fiancé in a car accident.

Taani agrees to the arranged marriage to honor the dying wish of her father, but tells Suri that she can never love again.  She asks to take a dance class, and Suri goes to the same class disguised as “Raj”.  Surinder then asks his hair dresser friend to make him look like the heroes his wife loves in the movies:  “Make me the hero of my own love story.”

Mayhem ensues as Taani can’t choose who she is falling in love with, her sweet boring husband Suri, or the wild ridiculous fun “Raj”.  Only as the outrageous Raj can Surinder seem to tell Taani how he feels.

Amazon | Netflix | Google Play | iTunes

 

 

 

 

Bad Baaja Baaraat posterBand Baaja Baaraat (2010) [The Wedding Planners]  

Friends-to-Lovers stories your thing?

This fun Rom Com is about two friends who start a wedding planning business together.  All is strictly business until one drunken night of celebration changes everything.

I found just learning about the Indian wedding customs fascinating. This movie is a little racier than most Bollywood as the lovers actually kiss on screen and much more.

Amazon | Netflix | Google Play | iTunes

Mere Brother Ki DulhanMere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011) [My Brother’s Bride] 

Kush (Imran Khan) is asked by his brother in London to find him a bride in India.

He finds the perfect girl, Dimple (Katrina Kaif), but realizes he knew her as a wild rocker girl in college that he had a crush on.  Kush’s brother and Dimple meet online via video chat, and agree to marry.  Kush and Dimple of course fall in love as they prepare for the wedding.

Things spiral out of control when Dimple decides she wants to elope with Kush instead.

When Kush finally tells Dimple he loves her, she screams in frustration as she points to the engagement ring on her finger.  “Why did you have to wait until NOW to tell me!”

 

 

Amazon | Netflix | Google Play | iTunes

Lootera Lootera (2013) [Looters]

If you want angst in your stories, this one is for you.

Set in 1953, a visiting archaeologist comes to excavate a local temple site.  Pahki, the daughter of the local noble, falls in love with Varun, the young archaeologist, but Varun isn’t all that he seems.

This gorgeous movie is based on the short story, “The Last Leaf” by O. Henry.  I can’t promise you a completely happy ending, but this film has redemption of a wrong done to a heroine the likes of which I have never seen.  The ending of the movie had me smiling through the tears running down my face.

Amazon | Google Play | iTunes | Melanie notes: I found the DVD at my local library.

 

 

Book Cover Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)  [As Long As I Live] 

This film is a mashup of The Hurt Locker with a soap opera.  It’s gorgeous, and the first half is sublime, but I will be honest that the second half takes much suspension of disbelief.  Well, if we can go with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves having a time machine mailbox in The Lake House, we can handle a crazy amnesia storyline.

Samar Anand (Shahrukh Khan) defies death every day as a bomb disposal expert in the Indian army.  Young Discovery Channel journalist Akira finds the closed off Samar’s journal, and reads the story, told to us in a lengthy flashback, of his lost love Meera (Katrina Kaif) back in London.   Samar returns to London after 10 years, and a car accident erases his memory of his breakup with Meera.

Personally, I love me some emotionally damaged military heroes.  In the flashback we see the young immigrant Samar making his way in London as a fun loving street musician, and you just have to know what happened with Meera that made him that hard shelled soldier.

There are so many beloved tropes for me in this movie  – emotionally shut off hero, reunion with a lost love, Hero showing the sheltered rich girl how to enjoy life, and yes, amnesia!

 

 

Amazon | Netflix | Google Play | iTunes

 

I also have two great websites to recommend.

AccessBollywood has reviews of Bollywood films from an American Non-Indian perspective including new releases, and she also updates on new Hindi movies coming onto Netflix streaming.  I sought out Lootera based on her glowing review, and I was not sorry.

BollyWhat:  The Guide for Clueless Fans of Hindi Films has an invaluable FAQ.  Now I know why some women in Hindi films have that patch of red in the part of their hair!

My obsession with Shahrukh Khan continues on, and since I emailed Sarah, I have watched female director Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om which is a 70’s spoof reincarnation film starring SRK.  You must watch this number from the film titled, Dard-E-Disco, which translates to “The Pain of Disco”.  Farah Khan is a choreographer turned director, and she made SRK, “an item girl”.  Instead of the usual wet sari in the rain, she puts him in the water in this 70’s inspired spoof.  It’s both ridiculous (on purpose) and red hot.  Make sure you watch it until the 2:15 mark as she goes through the elements from earth, air, and most memorably water.

Farah Khan said this number was her gift to all women.  Thank you Farah!  To say that I am anticipating her next film with SRK, Happy New Year, due out next month, would be an understatement!

(SB Sarah: YOU GUYS THE TRAILER OMG IT IS AMAZING)

If you want to add icing to the cake, there’s an equally hot new video just released to promote the new movie.  Again with the shirtless SRK, now with 8 pack:

It’s reached 2 million views in 48 hours, many of those from my computer!!

This short list of suggested Hindi films is just a starting point as I tried to choose movies that should be easy to find, and I’m hoping for many new suggestions for movies in the comments!

 

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  1. 1
    alon-luna says:

    You have some good choices- I especially like DDLJ.

    I also recommend Namastey London. It stars Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar in a story about a girl who is raised in Britain and is very westernized. She’s forced into an arranged marriage by her parents (a common, repetitive theme in these Bollywood movies) and how she copes.

    Also, I recommend an old movie, ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ which is based on Romeo and Juliet and stars Amir Khan and Juhi Chawla.

    I also like Love Ke Chakkar Mein- at first I thought it would be a rip off of You’ve Got Mail since the couple meet via email but the plot strays far from that after they meet- and they meet in the very beginning of the movie, so…

  2. 2
    Margarita says:

    Great list! If I may be so bold, I’d love to add Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham (Sometimes happy, sometimes sad) a soap opera of a movie, with boy marrying girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Boy is ostracized by family and after many years they reconcile and you are grabbing for the kleenex like crazy. This film has perhaps the single most gorgeous dance number: Bolle churya (sp?) http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kizlWLWcHrw
    I think one adjective that applies to all Bollywood movies is over the top. The actresses and actors are beautiful beyond beyond belief, the costumes are gorgeous, the songs catchy and …the acting might come a ross sometimes as exaggerated but it is a movie genre not to be missed!

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    Please, please, add all your recommendations – my watch list is growing by the minute. 🙂 Thank you!

  4. 4

    I love Bollywood movies. Great recommendations!

  5. 5
    Carla Cullen says:

    I can’t wait to watch some of these! And I LOVED Om Shanti Om. So fun, and such a great soundtrack.

    I’d also recommend Dil Bole Hadippa, a goofy 2009 Rom-Com which is basically “She’s the Man” set in the world of cricket, starring Shahid Kapoor and Rani Mukerji.

  6. 6
    ppyajunebug says:

    Holy shit you were not kidding about the Happy New Year trailer I NEED TO GO SEE IT IMMEDIATELY

  7. 7
    Heather S says:

    One of my favorites is Aishwarya Rai’s first film, “Hum Dil de Chuke Sanaam”. It’s funny and tender and amazing!

    I can’t believe you didn’t mention “Devdas”, either. It doesn’t end happily, but it’s an amazing story and visually incredible.

  8. 8
    Melanie G says:

    Keep those movie recommendations coming!!  This is just what I was hoping for, to add more great Bollywood movies to my watch list.

    Heather S, I didn’t add Devdas, because I’d already stacked my list of seven with three SRK movies, and it really doesn’t end happily.  You’re right though, that it’s gorgeous.  Dil Se is another one like that (NOT a happy ending, but that Chaiyya Chaiyya number!!)

    As of this weekend, with Paheli (which may be my new favorite SRK movie, and that’s really saying something), I’ve now seen 20 Shahrukh Khan movies in the last few months.  I had to keep the list reasonable, at least to start.

    SRK is promoting next month’s Happy New Year movie with a worldwide song and dance show with all the other actors in the film.  It’s coming to Chicago, and I begged my Indian neighbor to go with me.  I’m seeing him LIVE next week, and Madhuri Dixit from Devdas just agreed to be in it too.

  9. 9
    Melanie G says:

    Magarita, Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham is one where you have to have the Kleenex box right next to you!  The film reunites Kajol from DDLJ with SRK, and this scene where he first spots her dancing and falls instantly in love:  http://youtu.be/l1fmwmvBI14

    Hrithrik Roshan plays SRK’s brother which is the added bonus!

    Here’s the trailer, where just about everyone is crying:  http://youtu.be/tgB-CdN6Tuw

  10. 10
    chacha1 says:

    DUDES.  “Bride and Prejudice.”  Not only is it a direct Austen homage, it’s in English – perfect gateway drug for Bollywood.

    Mercy that SRK is a good-looking man.  Mucho thanxo for the great video links, just what I needed this a.m.

  11. 11
    Alexandra says:

    Since it hasn’t been mentioned here I want to give a shout out to one of my favorites, Jab We Met, which is pretty much my go-to feel good film that I watch when I have a bad week. It’s a romantic comedy about a depressed businessman who just hops on a departing train without knowing its destination. There he meets an extremely (almost overly so) bubbly girl who turns his life upside down. Happy ending that will make you especially happy included.

    I like watching foreign film and have seen most of the recs here—and I loved most of them. If you’ve never seen a Bollywood movie you need to watch at least one. Quite a few of these are streaming on Netflix right now.

  12. 12
    Janhavi says:

    Ooh, great post! I strongly recommend DDLJ as the number 1 Bollywood movie to see. I pretty much spent my teenage years rewatching that one and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai- another Shak Rukh Khan-Kajol movie. I used to love it, but I haven’t seen it in several years, I don’t know if I would still love it as an adult. But DDLJ is definitely still amazing.

    I would also second Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Its definitely an over the top melodramatic soap opera, but a really enjoyable one!

    A few other recs:

    I love Parineeta (2005), which is a more angsty historical romance set in 1960s Calcutta.  Its about Shekhar (Saif Ali Khan) and Lalita (Vidya Balan) who are childhood friends who fall in love but are separated due to various misunderstandings- but all ends well. Its among the most romantic Bollywood films I have seen.

    Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is a fantastic romantic comedy about two college friends, Jai (Imran Khan) and Aditi (Genelia D’Souza), who insist they don’t love each other although everyone else is sure they do. Its really extremely funny and sweet.

    Bunty Aur Babli (Abhishekh Bachan and Rani Mukherjee) is about two endearing crooks who get together to pull cons and fall in love along the way. Their cons are hilarious.

  13. 13
    Nuha says:

    I have more recs!

    I can’t believe no one’s mentioned 3 Idiots yet. I mean, sure, it’s not a romcom (though it does have a romantic subplot), but it grabs your heartsrings and yanks. This movie is about three dudes who end up rooming together in an engineering college and how they become best buds (the bromance is strong with this one) but also about how Indian youth deal with pressure from all fronts to perform well in school and go into specific professions. Follow your dreams, kids! Learn for the sake of learning! And so on.

    I also would suggest Dil Chahta Hai (The Heart Wants, I guess? Does it have an official English title?). This one is like three romcoms in one, and it’s incredibly understated. Love Aaj Kal (Love Nowadays) is cute as well, though I didn’t like it as much as Jab We Met; this one’s about a couple that breaks up because of career reasons but end up finding their way back to each other interspersed with flashbacks to another love story told by a side character. The lesson is (I think? I watched this a while ago) that love is love, whether you’re falling now or forty years ago.

    Also! Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is so great—it’s beautiful and romantic and about growing up and growing apart. Barfi! is beautiful, sensitive love story between disabled people. This one specifically is so fucking gorgeous to look at.

    Salaam-Namaste is about a couple of Indian expats living in Australia that decide to try this “living together before marriage” thing a shot. It’s going pretty well until she gets pregnant and wants to keep the baby and he wants to…not keep it. They break up but they’re stuck together (the economy and also their landlord’s got a machete). It’s cute and involves an entire song about how she heads off at midnight in search of ice cream and he just like WTF woman here’s your ice cream GOD YOU’RE PRETTY.

    Dil Bole Hadippa is also pretty excellent—it has cross-dressing! And, okay, it’s got cricket, but also cross-dressing! (Plot: woman cross-dresses for a chance at playing on an all-men’s cricket team, falls in love with the coach, wins trophies and kicks ass.) (Also, if you’re into feminist inspirational sports movies, Chak De! India is great. Also, SRK with a a beard. /hyperventilates/)

    If you want humor, try Munna Bhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munna Bhai—these two feature the same characters, though they are independent of each other, have romantic subplots, and feature Gandhi’s ghost teaching gangsters how to be good people.

  14. 14
    Nuha says:

    Oh! Oh! Also, 2 States. I can’t believe I forgot this one. It’s about two kids who meet and fall in love in college, but he’s north Indian and she’s south Indian, and because India contains multitudes, whoops, culture clash! Thus begins the wooing of the future in-laws. What I like best about this movie is that the heroine actively pursues a relationship with the hero and has sex with him (!!!) and is never shamed for it. I would have liked it much, much better had the actress actually been south Indian, though.

     

  15. 15
    Zoe Archer says:

    The music is one of the greatest pleasures, too, of Bollywood pictures.

    I adore this track:



  16. 16
    ijinx says:

    Ram Leela was a fairly recent blockbuster, great eye candy. Also, Paheli is a retelling of a folk tale, starring SRK and Rani Mukherjee (Kajol’s cousin iirc).
    I find most of Akshay Kumar films a leeetle bit sexist. Like the horrible one with my bb Karina Kapoor in Hollywood with Sylvester Stallone & Denise Richards at the end.

  17. 17
    Melanie G says:

    Oh, Zoe, you’re adding to my iTunes bill!  Had to download that one.

    This Bollywood obsession has been expensive just in the music I’ve been buying, much to my teenage sons’ annoyance.

    Chaiyya Chaiyya (from Dil Se) was my first Bollywood music purchase, and listening to it in my car, I can visualize Farah Khan’s amazing choreography.  I mean, who thinks of having dancers on top of a moving train!!
    http://youtu.be/YOYN9qNXmAw

  18. 18
    Natasha says:

    Love this blog post! I grew up on Bollywood movies. Dilwale dulhania le jayenge (lovingly called DDLJ by its many adoring fans) is my movie version of comfort read! Also recommend band baaja barat

  19. 19
    smwurfy says:

    I have a few faves from years ago. Try Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (something is happening). its about two best friends that kind of drift apart when the guy friend falls in love with the new girl and the girl best friend realises she loves him. Its a really good film and all about second chances and first love.

    Another one is Hum apke hain koun? (who am I to you?). This one is about young love. Its funny as well as sad. Its really good and has one of the most recognised scenes in Bollywood.

  20. 20
    Missy says:

    Love love love this post!!!!! *does a happy dance*

    Can I add my vote to Jab We Met, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Jodhaa Akbar, Dil Chahta Hai, 3 Idiots & Parineeta 🙂

    Another SRK movie: Dil To Pagal Hai (The Heart is Crazy)—love the songs in this one!

    And an awesome Hrithik one that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (You only live once)—friendship, romance and breathtaking visuals—it’s set in Spain!!!

    A recent comedy (with a little romance thrown in): Bobby Jassoos—this one made me so happy—the lead female character is 30! And she’s not obsessed with getting married! Instead, Bobby is trying to set herself up as a private detective, with hilarious results.

    A beautiful romance from the late 80s Chandni

    Bollywood inspired by Hollywood:

    – My best friend’s wedding:Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai
    – Austen’s Emma: Aisha
    – John Tucker Must Die: Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl—only instead of three-timing them, he’s been scamming the girls.

    And three totally corny but must-watch romance/family/dramas are:
    Hum Apke Hain Koun—full movie with subtitles (and ads) is available for free from the producer’s youtube channel: 


    Maine Pyar Kiya (I have loved)
    Hum Saath Saath Hain (We are together)

  21. 21
    JaneDrew says:

    Oh, wow, so many good new recs—and recommendations that I totally second (“Jab we Met” was fantastic; “Khabie Khush Khabi Gham” is my go-to “well, I just want something that will make me deliriously happy and also sob a lot” film, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” is great….).

    I would also like to add “Main Hoon Na” (“I’m Here Now”—one of the SRK films that he completely spoofs in the fantastic awards show scene in “Om Shanti Om”). SRK plays a super-skilled Indian soldier whose mission to protect a general’s daughter from a ruthless terrorist also coincides with his personal mission to fulfill his father’s dying wish to reconcile with his half-brother and his father’s wife. Of course, the general’s daughter and SRK’s half-brother are both students at a junior college, so SRK has to go undercover….. as a student.

    “Mujhse Dosti Karoge!” (“Will You Be My Friend?”) was also a lot of fun, although there were occasional moments for me of being annoyed with the hero (played by Hrithik Roshan)—even though he played “in love and very angry” extremely well. After a childhood love triangle- he was in love with Tina, while being unaware that their other mutual friend Pooja was in love with him—breaks up due to his moving out of the country, he spends years corresponding with who he thinks is Tina, not realizing it’s actually Pooja pretending to be Tina. Hijinks and romance and many feels result.

  22. 22
    Missy says:

    My apologies for the youtube link I posted for Hum Apke Hai Koun (a couple of comments ago). Turns out the subtitles are not quite in sync with the movie. They start off fine but by halfway through the movie they’re lagging by a good 5 minutes. Sorry!

  23. 23
    Melanie G says:

    Since we have so many Bollywood lovers here, who can recommend for me the best movies to start with Salman Khan.  My only exposure so far is Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.  What are his top romantic films, rather than the action movies like the recent Kick?

    Also, want to recommend Bachna Ae Haseeno which I saw recently.  Ranbir Kapoor (of Barfi! fame) has three romances in the film, the first two he is horrible to the girls, and then gets dumped in the third one, where he is truly in love.  He goes on a trip of redemption to make it up to the first two girls now that he understands the pain he put them through.  For fans of DDLJ, in the first romance, he tries to become one girls’s fantasy of Raj from DDLJ as they are in Switzerland on a similar trip.
    http://youtu.be/ipSKYH-rE6A

  24. 24
    DawnG says:

    Squee!! DDLJ and Dil Chata Hai were my intro to Bollywood about 10 years ago, and I never looked back!

    Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham – OMG. You *will* be sobbing at intermission, but stick with it! For a master class in chemistry and sexual tension courtesy of ShahRukh Khan and Kajol, watch the song Suraj Hua Maddam – SWOON!
    Suraj Hua Maddam – Song

    Seconding Jab We Met, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Main Hoon Na, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and Mujse Dosti Karoge (although I did want to slap Hrithik’s character silly for being an alphole in the middle third of the movie, it’s worth it for the 11 minute song medley alone).

    A recent one I really liked (but should be seen *after* DDLJ, so you get many of the jokes/references) was Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.

    @MelanieG – Salman Khan has two distinct phases – the older stuff as a sweet, possibly slightly stalkery lover and the newer stuff as a rough, tough action guy. I prefer the older stuff, so try Hum Aapke Hain Koun (How Are We Related), Hum Saath Saath Hain, and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Newer stuff that has been popular and somewhat romantic is Ek Tha Tiger and The Bodyguard, although I have not seen them myself. And SOOO jealous about the live show!

    For fans of Love Actually, try Salaam E Ishq – it’s got something for everyone (including Salman Khan, for Melanie G :)!)

    Another good Bollywood (techically Tollywood since it’s from the Tamil industry, but it’s close enough for this blog) /Austen crossover is Kandukondain Kandukondain (I Have Seen It, I Have Found It) – a good adaptation of Sense and Sensibilty, featuring Aishwarya Rai as the Marianne equivalent.

    I also liked Vivah, which is about an couple’s arranged marriage beginning with their engagement and how they fall in love during the course of it.

    Hulu Plus has a bunch of these titles, as does Amazon (some prime, some not). Apple has some as well – I bought Hum Saath Saath Hain because it had subtitles for the songs, which the other online versions didn’t have.

  25. 25
    DawnG says:

    Oh, and if you *really* want to feed your addiction, one of the biggest Bollywood movie distributors, Eros, has a streaming service called ErosNow – for the truly addicted it’s a good deal at 7.99 a month (5.99 if you pay annually), and they will often have new releases that may still be in theaters, for those of us that may not have a local multiplex that screens Bollywood films. Quality is usually better than that available on YouTube or Hulu, and they provide subtitles for nearly all their movies.

  26. 26
    Karin says:

    This is great! I am so psyched to see these movies!

  27. 27
    Ova says:

    If you like a side of horror with your love story, 1920 is very good. It’s a Bollywood film about a young couple who move into a haunted house in um, 1920. It’s got easily the creepiest ghost I’ve seen put to film, but it also has a very strong love story.

  28. 28
    Tiffany says:

    I love Bollywood!! My friend had lived in India and when we met in my Year 9 she introduced me to the wonders of Bollywood! I haven’t watched any of the recent ones (I kind of fell out of the loop on it), but there are a TON of old ones I just re-watch so many times!

    I’m so happy there’s a post on Bollywood! 😀

  29. 29
    Jessica says:

    Ooo, I love Bollywood and I *love* seeing all of these comments with recs!!!

    I actually took a class on Bollywood in college and most of my recs will be from that:

    1) Monsoon Wedding – we started with Monsoon Wedding because it was filmed for both Indian and non-Indian audiences. A good chunk of it is in English and it’s a beautiful and moving film. There isn’t one main couple, but there is plenty of romance! Not technically Bollywood, but there is one big dance scene!

    2) DDLJ – see above. This film marked a shift in Bollywood and kicked off the modern era!

    3) Kuch Kuch Hota Hai – see above! My fav, because of friends-to-lovers catnip and amazing 90s scenes.

    4) Parzania – Not a romance (though again, there are romantic elements between the husband and wife) and not actually Bollywood. India has a reasonably strong film scene outside of Bollywood (so no singing and dancing), that my prof called Indian art cinema iirc. This is a movie about the 2002 Gujurat riots and a Parsi family that gets caught in the middle. It has the best (aka scariest) riot/mob scene I’ve ever seen in a movie and will teach you something about the modern Hindu/Muslim conflict in India.

    5) Swades – Might be a nice pairing for Parzania for the theme of what it means to be Indian. This is straight up Bollywood, though, with SRK playing an NRI (non-resident Indian) who comes back to India and falls in love with a relatively traditional woman.

  30. 30
    Melanie G says:

    Just wanted to add that I’ve already started diving in to the recommended movies.  My library had Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Dil Bole Hadippa,  They were both so much fun.

    Cross dressing Rani Mukerji with her little Sikh beard!!  Loved it!  And since she was playing a Sikh, she didn’t have to cut her hair, either.

    And DawnG, I already had a Roku, but bought a Google Chromecast just because of the ErosNow iPad app and being able to watch more Hindi movies that are on Google Play on my TV.  Haven’t subscribed yet to ErosNow, but I love their Youtube music video channel!

  31. 31
    Kim T. says:

    Found this blog a couple of days too late, but oh the Bollywood feels!  I can second just about every rec here. 

    Aaja Nachle is a great “comeback” film for Madhuri Dixit, with amazing dancing (of course!) and the sweetest romance between Kunal Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma (tomboy meets bad boy in town).

    I have a weakness for Imran Khan (and even like Break Ke Baad with Deepika). 

    Ram Leela is a must see!

    Chori Chori is an 90s oldie with Ajay Devgn and Rani Mukherjee (never gets mentioned but I’ve always liked it).  It’s about a fake engagement and like a lot of movies of this time period views like reading a good Harlequin. 

    Hassee Toh Phasee was kind of charming, but I’m a sucker for Siddharth Malhotra (even though at this point he’s just eye candy). 

    Tanu Weds Manu is a great rom com with a bit of an edge.

    So many films to recommend…and then there’s the “serious” dramas…Omkara, D-Day, Black, Kahanni (all great films).

  32. 32
    Melanie G says:

    Kim T.,

    I didn’t mention any of the more serious films that weren’t romances, but I want to give a hearty second to your recommendations of D-Day (starring Irrfan Khan of the Lunchbox and Life of Pi) and Kahaani.  I’m adding the other two to my watchlist.

    D-Day is a gripping terrorist thriller, and Irrfan Khan plays an undercover Indian CIA equivalent spy in Pakistan.  Only one song, and it’s a twist on the usual as Arjun Rampal (another agent, and a real hottie) vows revenge in the love song as it shows his girlfriend’s murder during the music.  D-day is on Netflix streaming.

    http://youtu.be/hSoXPSEpRuw

    Kahaani is SO excellent.  Vidya Balan plays a pregnant woman from London who arrives in Kolkata looking for her missing husband.  Kahaani means story, and it’s a drama/thriller with no dance numbers.  She is bemused by things like the “running hot water” in her hostel meaning that a little boy runs up the stairs with a kettle.  A young policeman tries to help her, and develops a serious crush on her as they seem to find some connection between her husband’s disappearance and a terrorist attack on a subway train in India.  The ending left me with my mouth hanging open in amazement.  Looking back I should have seen it coming, but I was truly shocked.  Netflix has it streaming.  What I learned later is that Vidya (a Hindi speaker) is almost a foreigner herself in Kolkata where they speak Bengali, some clues are her always carrying a water bottle and refusing tea and drinks.

    http://youtu.be/wawqdzzTiuc

    These films have been two of my favorite Indian films I’ve watched that are non-musicals.

  33. 33
    TaraR says:

    A post on Bollywood the week I go AWOL? But of course!

    From the newer movies I would second:

    Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
    Dil Chahta Hai
    Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
    Jaane Tu Yah Jaane Na : Made me love Imran Khan.
    Jab We Met :

    …and also mention:

    Veer-Zaara (didn’t see anyone mention this…)
    Break Ke Baad
    Taal
    Kal Ho Na Ho
    Pardes
    Hulchul

    From older movies, I would suggest:

    Lamhe or Moments (1991): featuring a May/December romance.
    Kabhie Kabhie or Sometimes (1976) : with one of the most romantic title songs of all time IMHO, but not with a traditional romance happy ending.
    Silsila (1981) : cult classic featuring maybe the most famous traingle in Bollywood history.
    Chupke Chupke or Secretly (1975) : one of my favorites, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Hero pretends to be a chauffer to fool his in-laws. Hilarity ensues.
    Kissi Se Na Kehna or Don’t Tell Anyone (1983) : ditto. Lady doctor has to pretend to be an illiterate girl from the village to marry the guy she loves. Hilarity ensues.
    Naram Garam (1981) : ditto again. Hero tries his best to maneuver matters to where he can gain the woman he loves without trashing his chances at professional gain.
    Khubsoorat or Beautiful (1980) : really, just watch anything this man directed. This movie reminded me alot of Heyer’s The Grand Sophy (in good ways).
    Golmaal or Confusion (1979) : along with this one. Hero has to pretend to have a twin to secure a job. Hilarity ensues.

     

  34. 34
  35. 35
    Raja says:

    My Favorite Bollywood Movies. Interesting information, thanks for making these contributions. Thank you very much!”

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