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 movie industry, with its films boasting dramatic storylines about love and friendship, as well as action and comedy. It’s a hugely successful industry too. Audiences have fallen in love with its actors and memorable performances which adds to the constant growth of the industry, but it’s somethings tricky to know just where to jump in with Bollywood cinema. Here are some suggestions if you’re dipping your toes in – and make sure to leave your recommendations in the comments too!
Om Shanti Om
Released in 2007, Om Shanti Om is a great kickstart into Bollywood. Translating to ‘peace in mind’, the film follows the life of a movie star falling in love but reincarnation comes into play. The film has an incredibly iconic song, ‘Deewangi Deewangi’, which features in a scene where many famous actors in the Bollywood industry enter a lavish party. This song introduces you to many celebrated people in the Bollywood world, and itself introduces a whole series of actors.
The prince of the movie scene has the lead role, Shah Rukh Khan. If you’re wanting to be a Bollywood watcher, then you’ve to get to know Shah Rukh Khan. He’s been in more than 50 Hindi films and many are seen as Bollywood classics. He’s nicknamed King Khan due to his success and popularity which only continues to grow.
If you’re not into the song and dance numbers but enjoy the dramatic storylines, then you may enjoy 3 Idiots. Released in 2009, the movie explores themes that are forever current such as mental health, education and family. It’s filled with comedy moments as the title suggests but the overall story is emotional and impactful. Three best friends are studying with each other in college, they all experience different situations, but come together to be there for one another in the end.
It’s a film full of twists and turns as well as many laughs as the boys promote their catchphrase of ‘all is well’ to encourage everyone to appreciate life and never stop trying.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
The classic Bollywood film of the early 2000s, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, translated as ‘happiness at times, sadness at times’, has a prince and the pauper theme and highlights the love and connection between parents and their children. The film follows the love of individuals and how it transcends all.
It’s set in both India and England which means there are familiar settings such as Bluewater Shopping Centre in London. Also, it isn’t 100% spoken in Hindi to fit the setting and the people they’re around. It also offers memorable characters such as Pooja, who many will be able to relate to. With her boss-like attitude and always being fashion forward, she adds a comedic element to the film to stray away from some of the heavier moments. The movie offers room for many tears and laughs because of the intense fallouts and fights, as well as celebrations and parties.
Starring Amitabh Bachchan – who is seen as the king of Bollywood due to his rising success in the 70s and winning the hearts of India’s audiences – as well as Shah Rukh Khan, you can get a double dose of the famous actors who add to the brilliance of the film.
The songs are constantly played at many south Asian parties and special occasions. With large group numbers and memorable dance routines, we end up seeing these moves coming out on the dancefloor when our favourite Bollywood songs come on.
Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
This is the go-to film for romance in the Bollywood world, with its quintessential quotes and love filled storyline: a real treat for rom-com lovers. Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, translated as ‘the big-hearted with take the bride’, follows the love of two young students travelling across Europe with their friends and inevitably following for one another. However they get stopped in their tracks.
The film ran in India’s cinemas for 1251 weeks – that’s 24 years! – due to its success and magic that many romantic Bollywood films are yet to match.
Starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, the two actors are known for their romantic chemistry when playing these love filled roles and later starred in more films together as a romantic duo. They were also in Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham as the ‘prince and pauper’ roles but ultimately their love kept them together.
The biggest success and one of the films to have the largest impact on the Bollywood industry: Sholay, translated as ‘embers’, was released in 1975 and shook India and the movie scene. It’s about friendship and being faithful to each other, and you end up falling in love with the relationships that are presented to us. With its song ‘Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge’ (which translates as ‘we will never break our friendship’), it showcases the true friendship the leading characters share for one another. You can’t help but sing and dance along.
It stars Amitabh Bachchan at the height of his success in the 70s. Audiences grew so fond of him and the films he starred him. They placed him on the highest possible pedestal and that’s how he gained his status as the king of Bollywood.
Due to this immense amount of love they had for the actor, there was a massive uproar when the audience wasn’t pleased with the ending of the film and the outcome for Amitabh Bachchan. Directors and writers in Bollywood took the audiences’ response on board and have carried this into Bollywood today.
These are just a few of many successful Bollywood films out in the world. You don’t need us to tell you there’s such a wealth of choice available. As such, once you find a Bollywood genre or filmmakers you like, there’s likely to be plenty more to explore. Bollywood simply doesn’t disappoint with its array of options…!
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