If you’ve always been interested in watching movies from other countries of the world, but you haven’t been sure of where to begin, this guide will give you all the motivation you need to enter the vibrant, cheery world of Hindi movies. Bollywood, as the industry is known, is one of the most entertaining movie industries the world has seen. Read on to understand more about this industry, and for some amazing Hindi movie recommendations.
What Is Bollywood?
Bollywood is the term used to collectively refer to Hindi movies produced by the Hindi film industry, which is based in the Indian city of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay). It’s a portmanteau of the words “Bombay” and “Hollywood.” The languages used in Hindi movies in Bollywood are Hindi and Urdu. In recent times, “Hinglish,” which is a combination of Hindi and English, is also increasingly being incorporated into Hindi movies that are set in modern times.
Characteristics of an Amazing Hindi Movie
Of course, the plot and the smaller details vary from one movie to another. But a majority of the most successful Hindi movies have some common elements that are all part of one big, Bollywood formula. Here are some of the characteristics that a lot of the most amazing Hindi movies have in common.
They Are Explosively Colorful
Most Bollywood movies are furiously colorful. The colors start off right from the costumes, which are typically ethnic and vibrant. Even in urban plotlines, which feature the modern Indian, these movies ensure that their leads and the surrounding actors are dressed in bright and bubbly colors. The makeup is also mostly not subtle, with a lip color or nail paint adding a necessary color pop to every outfit. In many movies, the women’s sarees stand out for their intricate embroidery and heavy embellishments. Even in movies where the characters are relatively more subtly dressed, there’s always a pop of color in sight. The backgrounds and the scenes in which the stories are set are also fabulously colorful.
They’re Longer than the Average Hollywood Movie
While the average Hollywood movie runs up to two hours (give or take a few minutes), most Hindi movies touch the three-hour mark easily. With such a distinctly long runtime, it’s easier to invest in the emotional element of the story. Another upside to long movies is that it gives the audience a lot of time to get into the story and connect with the characters involved. Longer movies may seem like a drag, but once you sit down to watch one, you’ll be glad that Hindi movies run for as long as they generally do. Most movies also have an interval at the halfway mark to give their audience a short break in between. The scenes before an interval are typically one of the high points of a Hindi movie, and in many cases, include a cliffhanger.
Hindi Movies Have a Lot of Songs and Dances
Songs form an integral part of Hindi movies. While musicals form a distinct sub-genre in Hollywood, most Hindi movies are musicals by default. The movie’s album with all the tracks from the film are released weeks, or even months, before the movie. This helps build anticipation and people look forward to watching the movie on the big screens. Most albums have a typical mix of a happy song, a melancholic number, a romantic track, and a fast, peppy song that you can dance along to. Indian moviemakers have been including music as an important element in their movies since as early as the 1930s. In fact, Alam Ara, which was released in 1931, was the first sound film in Hindi cinema. This movie included seven songs.
They Have That Extra Something Known Locally As Masala
While not all Hindi movies have the masala element, it has to be said that masala films are uniquely Indian. Essentially, the masala factor means that Hindi movies, which are the cinematic equivalent of a mix of spices, include various subplots like a comedy track, a romantic track, an element of melodrama, and even a few fight sequences. All of these blend together effortlessly to create a storyline that everyone in the family can enjoy. Of course, if you aren’t used to watching movies that blend all these various cinematic elements together, you’ll find that it takes some time to get used to the shift in tones that comes with such fully-packed scripts. But once you do, you’ll find that this makes Hindi movies fun and entertaining.
The Best Hindi Movies Have Happy Endings
Sure, Hindi movies come with their own fair share of woes. The hero and heroine may face some hurdles that hamper their prospect of a future together, family feuds may tear parents and children apart, misunderstandings could cause a rift between siblings, or a villain may wreak havoc on the hero’s mission. But at the end of it all, as the climax approaches, the problems are almost always resolved. The families reunite, the hero destroys the villains, and the protagonist and his lady love live happily ever after. Although there are a few tragedies and slice-of-life movies made occasionally, most blockbuster Hindi movies almost always end on a happy note.
Examples of Great Hindi Movies
With every decade that has come and gone, Bollywood has given us some memorable Hindi movies that have stood the test of time and have continued to remain a favorite with fans and critics alike. Let’s take a quick look at some great Hindi movies.
Rang De Basanti
The movie revolves around a group of friends who graduate from Delhi University and continue to hang around their old campus, until a British filmmaker casts them in a film she’s making about Indian freedom fighters under British rule. The group of friends is generally apolitical, but when a friend dies because of the corruption of their local government, their patriotism is awakened. Inspired by the freedom fighters whose roles they play in the film, the friends collectively decide to avenge the killing.
Jab We Met
This is one of the most colorful Hindi movies, and it tells the story of Aditya, a heartbroken business tycoon who is depressed and on the verge of committing suicide. He aimlessly boards a train, where he meets Geet, a high-spirited, chatty, and cheerful girl who is crafting a plan to elope with her lover. When the train stops at a station midway, Aditya gets down and fails to get back on. Surprised, Geet runs after him and consequently misses the train. Eventually, he finds himself pulled into her crazy life, and falls in love with her.
In this movie, PK is human-like alien who arrives on the earth to learn about its inhabitants. Within a few minutes of his arrival, his control device connecting him to his spaceship gets stolen, leaving him stranded on Earth. The unanimous advice he seems to receive from the people of the Earth is that only God could help him. Not having any clue about the concept of God, he sets off on his mission to understand the skewed principle of religion on Earth. In the process, he makes people sit up and take notice of how organized religion exploits them.
This Hindi movie follows the life of the ambitious Gurukanth Desai, who rises to power as a successful business magnate in the late 50s in India. Through a mix of chance and cunning, Guru marries the beauteous Sujata primarily for her dowry. Later, he discovers that he really does love her. Meanwhile, Guru becomes extremely successful, although his business methods have much room for improvement. But his fates darken when newspaper tycoon Gupta, an upright and principled man, is determined to destroy Desai and expose his ways.
One of the grandest and most colorful movies ever made, Devdas revolves around the story of Devdas and Paro, who are childhood sweethearts separated when Dev leaves India to study law in London. He returns home after ten years, and love blossoms between the two. But Dev’s family opposes their union, and Paro’s mother, spurned thus, marries Paro off to an older widower. The story then follows the tale of Dev, who pines for Paro and takes to alcohol, which propels him to a future of doom.
Swades tells the story of Mohan Bhargava, a successful NRI (non-resident Indian), who works at the technological forefront of NASA in the USA. Driven by nostalgia, and to fulfill a mission he set for himself, he returns to his hometown. There, he finds the nanny who raised him as a child, and intends to take her back with him to America. During his stay there, his journey leads him through the rural areas of India to the village of Charanpur, where he discovers that there’s so much work to be done, and that he owes it to his motherland to do it all.
So, if these movies seem like something you’d love to watch, then go ahead and catch these colorful blockbusters online. Bollywood may not have been your cup of tea until now, but once you watch these Hindi movies, you’ll certainly crave for more.