The 2022 Oscars announced their full list of nominations last week. This year the Indian film Write with fire was nominated for the Best Documentary category at the prestigious Film Awards, which will take place on March 27th. It is the fourth Indian film to receive an Oscar nomination.
Bollywood, the Hindi language film industry based in Mumbai, India, is the world’s largest center for film production and over the years has captured the world’s attention with its colorful and energetic films.
New to Bollywood movies and don’t know where to start? Here is a list of some of the funniest and most inspirational movies to watch.
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Taare Zameen Par (2007)
Taare Zameen Par, which translates to ‘stars on earth’, demonstrates the importance of nurturing imagination and creativity in children and challenges the stigma of learning disabilities. The film is directed and stars Aamir Khan, a local Hong Kong favorite who has starred in other blockbuster films such as 3 idiots and Daangal.
Ishaan, ostracized by his parents and peers, is sent to boarding school to improve his grades. With the support of his teacher, Nikumbh (Aamir Khan), he is diagnosed with dyslexia and receives additional study support. In addition, he is given the opportunity to hone his artistic skills while coming to himself.
The film conveys a heartwarming message about the importance of focusing on each child’s individuality and allowing them to pursue their interests.
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Chak de! India (2007)
The film’s title is an invigorating and inspirational phrase that roughly translates to “Let’s go India!” This sports drama with a feminist twist will definitely keep you hooked.
The film follows the life of Kabir Khan (Shahrukh Khan), a disgraced field hockey star as he tries to salvage his reputation after failing to score the winning goal as captain of the men’s field hockey team at the World Cup. He attempts to redeem himself by coaching the women’s team in hopes of leading them to victory.
Inspired by the real-life team’s victory at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Chak de! India tells the story of a ragtag group of girls from different parts of India who are united by a shared love of the game.
The film highlights the great successes the team achieved despite their sheer lack of resources, facilities and even confidence as field hockey was considered a predominantly male sport. Its powerful messages of integrity, honor and hard work are a true celebration of India’s national sport.
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This film is a refreshingly liberating and amazing film for women in India as it rejects the more hackneyed norm that women “belong” to men and need to change their lives in order to be accepted in society.
The film follows the life of a 24-year-old girl named Rani (Kangana Raunat) who is devastated when her fiancé calls off their wedding. Undeterred, Rani, whose name means “queen” in English, decides to honeymoon anyway and travel to Paris and then Amsterdam, where she meets new friends, gets out of her comfort zone and rediscovers herself. She experiences new adventures that her ex-fiancé would not have allowed and gradually begins to love her independent life.
The film’s message of liberation is not about escaping the evil clutches of men, but rather about Rani redefining her personal attitude and her willingness to submit unquestioningly to a man’s whims.
queen is a breath of fresh air and stands out from typical Bollywood films in which women mostly play supporting roles.
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manhole boy (2019)
The film manhole boy, which translates to “Street Boy,” is based on the true stories of street rappers Divine and Neazy. This film received critical acclaim, winning a record-breaking 13 Filmfare Awards.
The film follows college student Murad (Ranveer Singh), who is also a part-time driver and lives in the slums of Mumbai. It’s a classic underdog story in which Murad overcomes various struggles to achieve his dream of becoming a hip hop artist. The iconic phrase “Apna Time Aayega,” which translates to “My time will come,” echoes throughout the film.
The film not only has a powerful message, but also an original soundtrack with rap songs such as Apna time Aayega. Definitely worth watching (or listening to)!
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picu is a charming gem of a movie that details the constipation issues faced by a rather annoying and dysfunctional father named Bhaskor Banerjee (played by Amitabh Bachchan).
Piku (Deepika Padukone) is a Bengali architect who lives with her widowed father, a hypochondriac who suffers from chronic constipation and has a habit of blaming all his problems on his “movement”. They take a road trip to their hometown of Kolkata, and the taxi driver (Irrfan Khan) is caught up in Bhasker’s excitement, her nagging demeanor, and Piku’s irritation disguised as her devotion to her father.
The relationship between Piku and her father is a perfect representation and celebration of culture in places like India, where children are caring for their aging parents. Bachchan’s natural and effortless portrayal of a man trying to master the essence of aging while remaining endearing and progressive is extremely entertaining to watch.
Despite its unorthodox and somewhat odd plot, picu is sure to be a fan-favorite film as it provides an authentic picture of the main characters’ everyday life and slowly builds into a soulful and breathtaking film.
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Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a sports biopic about Milkha Singh (Farhan Akhtar), an Indian athlete and Olympian who would later become known as the “Flying Sikh”. After overcoming several painful obstacles, including losing his parents during the violence that followed the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, and becoming a refugee, he was able to reach great heights in athletics.
This motivational film does a great job of spreading the message that you don’t have to be rich to do amazing things like become an Olympian. The screenplay of this biopic did justice to the story while emulating the determination, courage and strength of Milkha Singh. It will definitely bring you to tears.
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3 Idiots (2009)
This modern classic portrays the friendship between three university engineers: Rancho (Aamir Khan), Farhan (R. Madhavan), and Raju (Sharman Joshi). Soon enough, Pia, her toughest professor’s daughter, falls in love with Rancho and it’s obvious this will lead to drama, trouble and lots of laughter.
The film teaches us that it’s not just success that brings happiness, but also the laughter and sadness shared with friends and family. It reminds us to do what we love and always be creative, original and innovative. This is certainly something to watch with people you care about.
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Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobarawhich roughly translates to “Life Will Never Come Again” is a captivating film of laughter, adventure and friendship.
It follows the lives of three best friends: Kabir (Abhay Deol), Imran (Farhan Akhtar) and Arjun (Hrithik Roshan) as they take a scenic road trip through Spain before Kabir’s wedding. There they meet a free-spirited woman named Laila (Katrina Kaif) who falls in love with Arjun and helps him overcome his obsession with work and success.
Throughout the journey, all characters deal with opportunities to heal their wounds, face their worst fears, learn to love, and seize the day.
The film’s realism, inherent complexity and depth of its characters, poetic dialogue and celebration of friendship and youth make this one of the most uplifting and well-directed films in Bollywood today.