A beginner’s guide to Bollywood
To me, Bollywood is kind of like grilled cheese and tomato soup — It is an essential part of my childhood that always perks me up. For most Indians, a classic Bollywood movie screams nostalgia; we know almost every dialogue and lyric by heart. As a proud Indian, I consider myself an expert in the field and feel it necessary to bestow my vast knowledge upon the poor souls who haven’t had the fortune to watch a Bollywood movie.
For anyone who doesn’t know what to expect from a Bollywood movie, you can almost always count on endless, catchy musical numbers, during which the characters burst into song and dance even when it is not the least bit appropriate. But who gives a damn?! Bollywood movies are perfect if you want to perk up your day or forget about an exam. If you need a solution to the problems in your life, just watch a Bollywood movie and all will be well.
One of the more light-hearted Bollywood movies, which is saying a lot, is “Barfi,” a romantic comedy with a love triangle and a slew of colorful characters. It is an adorable, quirky movie that tackles serious matters, such as mental illness and disabilities, without ever feeling too heavy. This sweet movie will make you believe in love no matter how much of a cynic you are, and believe me: I would know.
Another truly heart-warming film is “Dil Chahta Hai,” a coming-of-age film that revolves around three friends who struggle to remain together after graduating from college, even though the actors are too old. There is romance, drama and plenty of comedy to keep you entertained and rooting for the three friends to hug it out. There are a ton of sweet and funny friendship moments that will make you want to embrace your friends after watching.
Yet another movie with three dudes struggling through college life is “3 Idiots,” which again features actors who are still too old. However, the movie’s message is super relatable as we see the extreme pressures on engineering students to pursue a certain path or achieve certain grades and how that stress affects their lives. If you’re an engineering major, this movie may convince you to rethink your entire future, so just beware. It is definitely worth a watch, as this movie has everything you want from a Bollywood movie, providing laughs and tears the entire time.
My favorite movie for a good cry, which we all need from time to time, has to be “Kal Ho Naa Ho.” The film will toy with your emotions, as it does not offer a typical happy Bollywood ending. This movie is heavy on the water works, so if you watch this film please be prepared with tissues. The story focuses on a family who struggles to stay together through emotional and financial struggles until Shah Rukh Khan saves the day! Shah Rukh Khan, who is often considered the king of Bollywood, gives his best performance in this movie, while breaking all our hearts in the process. I’m crying just thinking about it!
Of course, Shah Rukh Khan must appear on this list again, but this time with his iconic partner-in-crime Kajol. SRK and Kajol are easily one of the most famous pairings in Bollywood, and “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” has to be one of their best movies together. This movie is basically like a freaking rollercoaster, as you can’t help but cry and laugh through the tears. This movie actually makes me cry every single time, and I can never understand why I torture myself. Excuse me, while I grab another tissue. Anyways, when you see this movie you’ll totally understand, as it is adorable and heart-warming. The story is all about unrequited love, friendship, and marriage: the recipe for a perfect Bollywood movie.
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s most famous movie, however, is probably “Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge,” a romantic drama that focuses on Indian traditions and the consequences of betraying those customs. Although there is a lot of drama preventing the couple from coming together, the real highlight of this movie is their sweet romance, as they grow closer and learn more about each other. There is a reason this pair is so famous, and this movie is a testament to their insane on-screen chemistry.
Another Bollywood movie with an amazing on-screen couple is “Jab We Met,” which features Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor who were actually dating until they broke up halfway through the filming of this movie… awkward. This phenomenal film more than makes up for that tragic break-up. There are so many things to love about film, which is why this is actually my favorite Bollywood movie, not to be biased. So, please watch it. Chance encounters? Yes, please. A love-triangle? Definitely. Amazing songs? Sign me up. Suicide? Oh, sorry, that was actually depressing.
Another empowering female movie is “Queen,” a movie that definitely slays like a queen. The protagonist of the film is dumped by her fiance one day before her wedding. So, like a boss, she decides to go on her honeymoon alone, and she discovers more about herself and gains a newfound independence as she travels across Europe. This film is definitely worth a watch if you’ve ever been dumped or just want to watch an awesome movie with a badass female lead.
When there are so many awesome Bollywood movies, who needs Hollywood movies? Screw Hollywood! No, I’m totally just kidding, I would die without Hollywood, but definitely give Bollywood a chance. Bollywood has a ton to offer, and if you’re willing to give her your time, she will freaking deliver!