Bollywood. That’s what I and billions of other Indians grew up watching. When you first begin to watch Bollywood, you’ll surely be confused. Always remember that the criteria of a movie turning a blockbuster in India is quite different than that of Hollywood and many other countries. But now, with the gradual change in outlook of Indian society, movies with international appeal are being made.
Watch any of the below movies to see why Bollywood is coming up as the next best film industry after Hollywood.
1. Dangal (2016)
The first two movies in this list are by one of Bollywood’s most celebrated directors, Aamir Khan. He originally started out acting in a lot of terrible 90s movies and eventually turned director. Aamir prides himself on quality storytelling and international standard production values. The stories he chooses to tell and the social issues he raises in his films are what sets him apart.
Dangal is the true story of two sisters who go on to win at the Commonwealth games after their father gets them into wrestling at a young age. It shows the struggle they went through as female wrestlers in the backward state of Haryana and how they came out triumphant.
I don’t like sports movies, but this one is different. Start here when it comes to watching a quality Bollywood movie with international appeal. It’s now the highest grossing film of all time in India.
2. PK (2014)
After being almost banned by the Indian Censor Board for no reason whatsoever, except for its poster, PK released became another blockbuster by Aamir Khan.
The movie has a very unusual story. Aamir Khan plays the lead role in PK and he acts as an alien. But you have to realize that aliens of the West and the East are quite different, ironically. Here, aliens are always portrayed as highly intelligible beings who come to help humans and not create war.
The movie touches the very sensitive subject of blind faith and diverse religions present in India. It also talks about the existence of God. All of which are very touchy subjects, especially in India.
It is amazing how the movie brings out the issues so simply that you wonder how you haven’t noticed them before. Even for people living in the West, you’ll undoubtedly love this movie.
3. Neerja (2016)
Neerja is the heart-wrenching true story of Neerja Bhanot who held things together while a Pan Am flight was taken hostage on the tarmac by terrorists. I don’t want to give away any more of the story, but needless to say, it’s one of the highlights of recent Indian cinema and won Best Feature Film in Hindi at the 64th National Film Awards.
4. Airlift (2016)
Airlift tells the story of an Indian businessman helping with the evacuation of Indians based in Kuwait during the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. It’s based on real events and my friend who was there in Kuwait at that very time enjoyed seeing it shown on the silver screen.
5. Udta Punjab (2016)
“High Punjab”, a black comedy crime film about the life of a popular Punjabi musician and drug addict, caused a lot of controversies. It gave attention to the problem of drug abuse in Punjab, which some powerful politicians did not like. Politicians, behind closed doors, ordered the Central Board of Film Certification to not allow the film to be released. The censorship board came back to the director requesting 89 cuts to the movie to remove all references to drugs.
The director took the issue to the Bombay High Court which ruled that only 1 cut needed to be made. Having been overridden, the Central Board of Film Certification then leaked their “FOR CENSOR” copy online to harm the movie’s profitability. All this controversy did was promote the movie and it went on to be profitable.
If you’ve watched all these movies, 5 more honourable mentions are:
- Queen (2013)
- Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015)
- Kahaani (2012)
- Kapoor & Sons (2016)
- Sarabjit (2016).