17 Bollywood Movies You Must See, Based On Your Favorite Hollywood Films
The definitive guide to dipping your foot in the Bollywood waters.
1. If you like Lost In Translation, try The Lunchbox.
A sour, old man who believes love is far past him becomes close with a beautiful, distant younger women. Sound familiar? While Lost In Translation explores the dissatisfaction of an unhappily married man abroad, The Lunchbox focuses on the loneliness of a widower. Both men grow to be more complete people by stepping outside of their comfort zones.
2. If you like Amelie, try Queen.
Queen has been lauded as one of the best films to come out of Indian cinema in recent years. The movie follows a young Indian woman as she rediscovers herself after her engagement falls apart. She goes on her preplanned honeymoon through Paris and Amsterdam...alone. Much like Amelie, Rani has been called disarming, quirky, and sweet.
3. If you like Mean Girls, try 3 Idiots.
Mean Girls is a hilarious take on being a young woman in American high schools. 3 Idiots, on the other hand, uses equal amounts of comedy and drama to explore the intense family pressure Indian men face to succeed in professional careers. Both are modern classics on the American and Indian school experience, respectively.
4. If you like When Harry Met Sally, try Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
The classic tension between friendship and romance is answered in different fashions by these two mountains of the rom-com genre. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a classic '90s Bollywood flick that's necessary viewing for anyone interested in the genre.
5. If you like Kill Bill, try NH10.
Like Kill Bill, NH10 is a gritty revenge story with a female action lead. Anushka Sharma's character fights back against honor killings and roadside crime. The yellow jacket may actually also be a Kill Bill reference!
6. If you like A League of Their Own, try Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India.
An unlikely group unites to fight against the forces that keep them down. Substitute baseball for cricket, America for India, patriarchy for colonialism, the 1800s for the 1900s, and you have a pretty useful analogue between these two films. Special props for Lagaan's incredibly gorgeous musical numbers.
7. If you like P.S. I Love You, try Kal Ho Naa Ho.
Grief has the effect of closing off a person emotionally. Kal Ho Na Hoo is a romantic comedy tinged with a touch of sadness and like P.S. I Love You, explores love, skepticism, and death.
8. If you like the Fast and Furious series, try the Dhoom series.
Both series feature an ensemble cast who perform high-octane stunts and have ambiguous relationships with the law. Like the Fast and Furious movies, the Dhoom movies are not especially deep, but you'll still experience quite a few thrills and laughs.
9. If you like Thelma and Louise, try Dor.
Do you like the idea of two badass women dealing with asshole men on a trip to find truth and justice? Like Thelma and Louise, Dor is primarily a road trip movie, as a widow and the wife of her husband's murderer become unlikely friends and share sorrow and laughter.
10. If you like Clueless, try Aisha.
Both movies are based off of Jane Austen's Emma and follow a matchmaker who thinks she knows better than her friends. Aisha has the advantage of a Bollywood twist, with some pretty slick and danceable songs.
11. If you like Ali, try Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Run Milkha Run) is based off of Olympic track and field star Milkha Singh's autobiography, The Race of My Life. The movie is a dramatized telling of Singh's journey from orphaned victim of Partition to army officer to world-class athlete. Like Will Smith for Muhammad Ali, lead actor Farhan Akhtar captures the drama, comedy, and vigor of Singh's life.
12. If you like Trainspotting, try Dev.D.
Dev.D is a creative modern telling of the classic novel Devdas. Drugs, vice, and broken dreams give this a slick edge that fans of Trainspotting will appreciate. If you enjoy Dev.D, consider watching the 2002 film Devdas, which is a more traditional adaption of the novel.
13. If you like 27 Dresses, try Band Baaja Baaraat.
Rom-coms based around weddings are a dime a dozen, but Band Baaja Baaraat manages to do it in a sweet and genuine way. Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh have very real chemistry playing two entrepreneurial friends who plan weddings and try not to fall in love.
14. If you like The Godfather, try Gangs of Wasseypur.
Similarly to The Godfather series, Gangs of Wasseypur is a gloriously intense crime saga about an intergenerational family empire. The directing takes cues from some of the best mob flicks out there, but has a perspective all its own.
15. If you like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, try Hum Saath-Saath Hain.
Marriage, like family, is never perfect, but the process teaches you a lot about life. The family in Hum Saath-Saath Hain has that same big-family intensity that My Big Fat Greek Wedding has and will drive you crazy. But hey, you gotta still love 'em!
16. If you like Romeo + Juliet (1996), try Ram-Leela.
Ram-Leela is a very loose adaption of Romeo and Juliet set in fantastical, yet modern, Gujarat. It's the kind of movie where Romeo takes selfies in a bazaar with a bunch of dudes dressed up as Shiva. The set design and costume design are gorgeous and the two stars have genuine chemistry.
17. If you like Remember the Titans, try Chak De! India.
Shah Rukh Khan plays a disgraced former hockey player who has to unite a team of young women from around India to compete internationally. As Remember the Titans confronts America's racial tensions, Chak De! India deals with communal and religious difference in India as the diverse team learns to work together.