Movies that define escapism as our generation knows it.
By Khushi Shah
Since Bollywood movies almost always involve emotionally-charged melodrama, special aesthetics, over-the-top heroes, extensive plots, and catchy songs/dances, they never fail to add masala to our lives. However, lately desi cinema has redefined its standards, and the way it adapts distinct genres. Bollywood has gradually shifted from their clichéd scripts, illogical action scenes, and protracted storylines to more realistic and relatable characters, and we’re all here for it! Here are some of these treasures that redefined their genre and spoke to us.
Rockstar (2011): Romance/Musical
Being a huge Ranbir Kapoor fan, till date I’m still obsessed with Rockstar (2011) (pictured above), which I consider one of his finest works. Director Imitiaz Ali provides the audience with such a blissful experience that it stays with you for a lifetime. The plot revolves around an ordinary college guy (Ranbir Kapoor) who aspires to be a prominent musician through having his heart broken by a popular girl (Nargis Fakhri) at their college. He seeks this heartbreak in order to be a musician, attain a deeper purpose in life, and become an international rock sensation. There’s drama, frustration, pain, and raw chemistry in this masterpiece. The soundtrack is also phenomenal, with Tum Ho and Kun Faya Kun being my all time favourites.
Salaam Namaste (2005): Romance/Musical
For a 2005 Bollywood movie, this creation was way ahead of its time. This is my comfort movie as I can turn to it whenever I’m having a rough day or need an escape from everything. Chef Nick (Saif Ali Khan) and radio jockey Ambar (Preity Zinta) run into each other at a mutual friend’s wedding where an alluring connection arises between them, despite previous professional differences. They both decide to live together in order to test their compatibility and keep their differences aside, leading to a year of break-ups, make-ups, and a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The movie was shot at some of the prettiest spots in Melbourne, Australia, and for once, Bollywood showed onscreen a couple living together without marriage, which was progressive, in my opinion. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed after watching this film!
Gully Boy (2019): Musical/Drama
Gully Boy (2019) is one of the best movies in this industry and I wish I’d seen it earlier. I was skeptical to watch it due to the unexpected duo of Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, and its non-glamorous scenes and poster. However, this authentic desi flick truly justifies the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ Murad (Ranveer Singh) is a 22-year-old who was raised in a ghetto in Mumbai. His parents expect him to study hard and pursue a corporate job. However, his world turns upside down when he discovers his passion for rap and hip hop culture, and thus rejects his expected career trajectory, choosing instead to highlight the harsh realities of poverty and inequality through rap. Safeena (Alia Bhatt), his longterm girlfriend, is studying medicine and rebelling against the classic stereotypes set for women, to marry and take care of children at a young age. While they both strive for this evolutionary life, they’re maintaining a secret relationship with each other. The acting, cinematography, and emotions in this movie are definitely ones for the books. Watch to find out if Murad and Safeena succeed in fulfilling their dreams.
Andhadhun (2018): Comedy/Crime
Who doesn’t love a good comedy every now and then? However, I still can’t fully explain this movie’s humour – that’s how bizarre it is, and full of edge-of-your-seat moments! The movie follows a pianist who pretends to be blind for a social experiment, and thus unintentionally witnesses the murder of a well-renowned actor. Meanwhile, he gets involved in numerous other dilemmas without meaning to. The film is filled with layers upon layers of mystery, absurd instances, and twisted events. There’s satire, dark comedy, subtle romance, and copious amounts of thrills. You’re constantly left with countless questions, and you crave more as each scene goes by. Kudos to everyone who put this film together, for its quality screenplay, mind-boggling twists, virtuoso camera work, and for exceeding desi norms. Ayushman Khurrana, Tabu, and Radhika Apte’s calibre of acting is also something to watch out for, as they’ll constantly astound you.
Main Hoon Na (2004): Action/Romance
This movie has secured a very special place in my heart since day one. The craftsmanship of this movie is the epitome of perfection, and in my opinion, no movie till date has been this beautiful. The story follows Major Ram (Shah Rukh Khan), who is given the task of acting as an undercover college student to protect a peace treaty between Pakistan and India by guarding a general’s daughter, played by Amrita Rao. Although he has a hard time fitting in with the college studs and modern culture, by the end, he becomes their favourite. As always, SRK nailed his performance, whether it was as a romantic lead, or as an undercover university student. I can bet you’ll fall in love with him in no time! The ‘whistle tune’ from its soundtrack still stir feelings of nostalgia and excitement every time I hear it, and by the end of this film, you’ll find that you’ve experienced a rollercoaster of college life, scary thrills, dreamy romance, laughter, and political intrigue.