A Beginners’s Guide to Bollywood.

As you can imagine, I have seen my fair share of Hindi movies. I’ve even recently begun branching out into movies in other Indian languages such as Tamil and Malayalam which I may touch base on in a future post. This list contains several of my favorites but not all of them, and somehow it’s still over over 1200 words.. sorry about that. If anyone wants a “Part 2” in the future, let me know.

I have linked as many as I could find to direct streaming videos with English subtitles. Please let me know if any of the links are not working so that I can find an alternative. Some are in Netflix as well.

My first Hindi movie was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi back in 2008 starring Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Sharma in her debut role. Basically Anushka is all set for her marriage to her boyfriend when his entire family dies in an accident on the way to the wedding. Then her father has a heart attack and his dying wish is that his daughter marries his favorite student. I’m not even giving away any plot because all of this literally happens in the first 15 minutes. The drama calms down after that and it’s a really good movie and they eventually fall in love.

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Shahrukh, or SRK, is one of the biggest names in Bollywood so I’m going to just list all of his movies that I love with tiny summaries.

Darr was one of his first movies. The movie portrays a one sided love story where the victim of unrequited love becomes an obsessive stalker.

DDLJ (or Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) but let’s just stick with DDLJ. The first half takes place in London where both of the characters were raised, and the second half finishes in India. Two young adults meet on a train ride across Europe. First they hate each other, then they fall in love, then they try to sabotage her arranged marriage so that they can be together.

Dil Toh Pagal Hai is my absolute favorite Hindi movie. A play director is best friends with his star dancing lead, but she is in love with him. After an injury, he has to replace her in the play and he ends up falling in love with the new girl. The songs are phenomenal, the way the story is carried is brilliant, and this is just the best movie ever made. Ever.

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Veer Zaara is so romantic. A military helicopter rescue guy is sent down to rescue a girl who was in an accident. He brings her to stay with his family for a couple of days and they fall in love (though neither speak of it), but he finds out she is engaged. He ends up getting framed and subsequently arrested, then sent to jail for over 20 years. The ending is a bit hokey and predictable, but it’s really sweet.

Devdas is cinematically beautiful. I absolutely love this director and he’s later in the list too with Ram Leela. Two neighbors are in love, though he studied abroad so they are meeting for the first time in years. Her parents think that they should marry, but his family rejects it because they are more wealthy than her family. In a fit of rage, her family marries her off to an aristocratic widower and SRK becomes a depressed alcoholic. It’s heartbreaking to watch, but the songs and directorial style are perfect.

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The lead actress of Devdas, Aishwarya Rai, is one of the most beautiful women to have ever existed. A couple of her other movies are as follows

Jodhaa Akbar is kind of a fictional biopic about the Mughal Empire where a Hindu princess is married to the Muslim Emperor. It’s visually stunning and just such a wonderful love story and the costumes are beautiful. Also she has a sword fight which is awesome.

Umrao Jaan is actually a remake of an older movie, but I haven’t seen that one. Out of the three hours, I literally spent two of them crying. This is the saddest movie and perfect for when you just want to see a movie that will make you cry. You know that Beatles lyric “pools of sorrow, waves of joy”? This movie is that line personified. Also beautiful costumes. I honestly think that’s just a requirement in her contracts or something lol.

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Ranbir Kapoor is kind of the darling of the industry. I honestly don’t like him much, but he gets some good roles because his family is like the movie star dynasty of India.

Wake Up Sid is about a slacker who fails college, but finds his purpose as the movie progresses. Rocket Singh is about a rookie salesman who is disgusted by the lack of ethics in his company so he starts his own business.

Aamir Khan is one of the best actors. Most of his movies aren’t the fluffy type, but really hard hitting that make you think and have a good lesson or meaning behind them.

3 Idiots is based on a book by Chetan Bhagat and focuses on the lives of three best friends during their college days. Ghajini is about a guy with large muscles and severe memory loss so he has everything tattooed on his body as he seeks revenge for his girlfriend’s murder.

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Alia Bhatt is relatively new but she’s become one of my favorites and her acting is quite good. I didn’t have high expectations for her because her father is a director so I thought she’s just following a path that he paved for her, but I’m very impressed so far.

Highway is about a kidnapped rich girl who falls in love with her captor. Her backstory and how everything plays out is really thought provoking. Udta Punjab follows a few different characters who have different involvement in drugs. A rockstar, rehab doctor, dealer, voluntary addict, and forced addict have intertwining stories and the whole movie is a must-see. 2 States is one of her fluffy movies, but it’s based off of another book from Chetan Bhagat which I love. A boy and a girl from different states fall in love and spend half of the movie convincing their families. It’s one of my top fluffy movies.

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Shraddha Kapoor is one of my other favorite newer actresses. Ek Villain is kind of like A Walk to Remember if there had been a serial killer involved in the story line. Aashiqui 2 is about a bar singer who becomes famous after a famous singer falls in love with her. The beginning is good, but the end is tragic. This one has good songs as well. Tum Hi Ho (lyric translation here) is one of my favorites.

Ranveer Singh was in the aforementioned Ram Leela with the beautiful sets and costumes. It’s basically an Indian Romeo and Juliet. Band Baaja Bharat is about two wedding planners that fall in love. Ladies vs Ricky Bahl is essentially John Tucker Must Die.

Chandni is a beautiful old movie about a girl whose fiance leaves her after he becomes paralyzed because he doesn’t want to be a burden on her life, then re-enters her life after he is healed but she already has another suitor.

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Neerja is about a flight attendant who has to de-escalate a terrorist situation. It’s relatively new and I was really impressed by Sonam’s acting.

Gangoobai wasn’t a blockbuster and didn’t have an A-List cast or huge budget, but it’s about a poor old woman who saves up all of her money to go to Mumbai to buy a beautiful saree and everything that happens along the way.

I am so sorry for how long this became, but hopefully it gives you some ideas!

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3 thoughts on “A Beginners’s Guide to Bollywood.

  1. rohit yadav says:

    you should try watching some old cult classic hindi movies like guide,anand,dosti(1964) ,pyaasa,& many more which acontains brilliant music,great stories…or you already have?

    Liked by 1 person

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