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If you liked Netflix’s Bridgerton, check out these five classic Indian films

by Ashima

What to binge while we anxiously wait for Season 2. 

By Nafisa Singhsachathet 

During a time of much uncertainty, Netflix managed to touch the hearts of millions through their period masterpiece that is Bridgerton.  Based on Julia Quinn‘s popular novels, the series takes place during 18th Century Regency London, complete with gossip columns, high society drama, and the pressures facing the debutantes who will soon be presented at court. For those of you who have already binged this captivating TV adaptation, Masala presents our picks of the Indian films you should check out if you loved Bridgerton.

Warning, spoilers ahead! 

Jodhaa Akbar (2008)

Jodhaa Akbar is an epic 16th Century love story that centres on the romance and marriage between Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar (Hrithik Roshan) and Rajput Princess, Jodhaa Bai (Aishwarya Rai). 

Why it’s a good choice for Bridgerton fans: If you’re a fan of period dramas and the level of detail that goes into them, you’ll be blown away by the visual feast that is Jodhaa Akbar. Not only does the film deliver with its emotional plotline and convincing romance between Emperor Akbar and Princess Jodhaa, but everything from the costumes to the set are breathtaking.  In a similar vein to Bridgerton‘s plotline that sees Daphne Bridgerton fake a mutually-beneficial romance with the Duke of Hastings that turns into the real deal, in Jodhaa Akbar, Emperor Akbar agrees to a marriage of alliance to Princess Jodhaa that blossoms into true love with him staunchly defending his choice of bride, as a Muslim Emperor marrying a Hindu woman was frowned upon. 

Mughal-E-Azam (1960)

Also set in the 16th Century, this classic movie follows the doomed love affair between Mughal Crown Prince Saleem (Dilip Kumar) and a beautiful, ill-fated court dancer named Anarkali (Madhubala).

Why it’s a good choice for Bridgerton fans: A 16th Century prince falls in love with a court dancer and battles with his father, the Mughal Emperor Akbar, (the same Emperor Akbar that inspired Jodhaa Akbar) to pursue his love. This clash of worlds is similar to what we see happen to Viscount Anthony Bridgerton, who is in love with opera singer, Sienna. In the series, it’s made clear on several occasions that their relationship is doomed from the start due to each of them belonging to different class systems. But, where Anthony has to battle with his own heart, Prince Saleem and his love for Anarkali threatens an entire empire. 

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

For every birthday, Anjali Khanna (Sana Saeed) is given a letter that her mother wrote for her before she passed away. On her eighth birthday, Anjali is given the last and more important letter of the bunch, which sets her on a mission to reunite her father with his one true love.  

Why it’s a good choice for Bridgerton fans: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai centres on the importance of friendship in love. Anjali Khanna’s father’s true love was his best friend when they were younger, epitomising how friendship is often the first step towards falling in love and growing a really strong bond. In Bridgerton, this is emphasised as well with Daphne’s relationship with the Duke of Hastings, which started off as friends looking out for each other, choosing to fake a relationship in order to get the pressures of society of their backs, and later having their bond blossom into something more. 

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

When Raj (SRK) meets Simran (Kajol) in Europe, it isn’t love at first sight. But when Simran moves to India for an arranged marriage, Raj decides to travel to India to win Simran and her family over.

Why it’s a good choice for Bridgerton fans:  When Daphne first meets Simon Bassett, also known as the Duke of Hastings, their exchange is far from love at first sight. In fact, it was pure annoyance that grew into an intense fascination with each other.  It was only after the plot progressed and Daphne was being pursued by other suitors and then promised to another that the Duke of Hastings was really forced to think about his feelings for her. This I-tolerate-you-no-I-love you evolution, is an almost mirror of the the love story viewers are witness to in DDLJ.

Lagaan (2001)

Set during the Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj. The people of a small village bet their futures on a game of cricket against their ruthless British Rulers.

Why it’s a good choice for Bridgerton fans: The Bridgerton high society system relies on image, wealth, and status. The men have to assume responsibilities as the ‘man of the house,’ whereas the women are married off to those of noble stature to ensure their families retain a high social standing. In Lagaan, systems are also incredibly important and going against the grain is punishable. The people of the small village are put under pressure as they must learn something that is completely foreign to them, this is similar to what many of the Bridgerton characters go through. For example, Daphne must learn to see beyond what a traditional marriage is, Eloise learns to adapt and goes against all traditional female norms of the time, and Anthony must learn to choose his heart before his duty. 

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