Summer bootcamp for desi culture updates aka Bollywood binge watching list

If you grew up in India in the 80s and 90s then you were probably lucky enough to still have had enough exposure to some lovely black and white era films (or at least the songs) thanks to your parents and Doordarshan.

But if you lived through those decades you were basically exposed to the Bollywood equivalent of the Cambrian explosion. As a result it is likely that your fantasies/nightmares often include women in thigh- high slit spangly gowns either dancing in a cage or being captured by villains with deadly windblown hairstyles, always living out of enormous caves with crocodiles in the basement. Or men in bell bottoms and sunglasses fist fighting in a crowded area (The first blow being dhishum and the returning one being bhishum. Seriously. Listen carefully).This is usually followed by them holding hands and singing soon after while their mother (usually either blind/ widowed/ homeless or a combination of all three) feeds them enormous quantities of gajar halwa.

You probably walk into the living room when your kids appear to be in a coma with only their thumbs twitching on their devices and you say ‘Itna sannata kyun hai bhai’ and they look up at you like they need to start googling for a good retirement home for you already.

You go to the check- in counter at the airport with your family and you itch to control the unruly crowds by saying ‘aadhe idhar, aadhe udhar, baki mere peeche’ and your kids look at you like you just had a stroke.

You get insanely excited when you think your kids are listening to ‘your’ music when you hear the opening bars of humma humma or disco deewane, only to find it to be a remix and when you tell them that the original was better they just stare at you like please go away already dude, you are too old to be cool.

When you are all getting late to work/ school you suggest you could get ready in the car while driving it like ‘Hero no.1’ and the kids look like they are about to report you to the police.

You give your spouse a chilling look when he/she throws the wallet at you to pay for the home delivery meal and you say –‘phenke hue paise mein aaj bhi nahi uthata/uthati’ and your kids scream in hunger as you hold on for a matter of principal.

So if you have suffered any of these awkward moments and you have this nagging feeling that you have failed your children by not exposing them to the best of Bollywood which should be a part of their desi heritage, (even if they don’t live in Bombay but in Boston or Birminghan) then you are RIGHT! You have totally failed them. You are seriously a bad Indian parent. But it is never too late!

Here is a list of movies you should force, sorry ‘suggest strongly’ that they watch with you over the coming summer months as a compensation for the various organs you will soon be selling to afford their college tuitions and board.

  1. Sholay (and make them see it twice if they come back from having lost at a sports event and like an ideal supportive parent you say ‘Kitne aadmi thay? Woh do aur tum teen, phir bhi wapas aa gaye?? Who bh khaali haath?’ and they don’t show any joyful reaction at recognizing Gabbar Singh’s dialogue. They are just asking for it at this point aren’t they?)
  2. Kaala Pathhar (It is perhaps second only to the Burning Train in being a vastly under rated brilliant film ahead of its times! It has an anti-capitalist angle, an escaped convict with a golden heart, a young woman doctor, a brooding hero burning up with existentialist angst, delightful songs, fights, romance, dramatic dialogues. Feel free to watch this one also twice J
  3. Deewar ( To help them understand this hysterically funny joke—–Santa: Mere Pass Gaadi Hai, Bangla Hai, Paisa Hai. Tumhare Paas Kya Hai? Banta: Mere Pass Bhi Gaadi Hai, Bangla Hai, Paisa Hai. Santa: To Apni Maa Kiske Paas Hai?
  4. Maine Pyar Kiya (Why not?)
  5. Inkaar (Vinod Khanna, Amjad Khan, Helen doing the Mungada dance, ethical dilemmas, unrequited love. Lots of ‘adulting’ lessons for them to learn from it. Seriously.)
  6. Namak Halaal (Because this song is basically a crash course on the visual awesomeness and insanity that we were exposed to in our formative years.)

7. The Burning Train (enough said already in many earlier posts such as It. Is. The. Best. Enjoy!

8. Qurbani (obviously)

9. Tezaab (does that need any justification for being on this list?!)

10. Ram Lakhan

Yes, please make them see Ram Lakhan. What?? I didn’t say the movies won’t torture them. How many times have you been forced to watch any Disney cartoon with them?? Did you see Son of Mask? Boss Baby? This is payback time.

evil laugh

If they show fortitude and resilience and survive all these then for good behaviour you can add Angoor, Chupke Chupke, Mili, Mr Natwarlal, Khubsoorat, Satte pe Satta and Hero no.1.

Any suggestions from you are most welcome to share them in the comments section J

Kyunki picture abhi baaki hai mere dost !



11 thoughts on “Summer bootcamp for desi culture updates aka Bollywood binge watching list

  1. You have said it!!
    We can all have our favourites but you have given “the mother board” *of must movies if you want to be a real succha Indian…
    This is the “movie aadhar card” so
    to say…

    • So many gems missed out or the list would have become a book 🙂 Rishte mein toh hum to hum tumhare baap lagte hain, aadha khane ka aadha phenkne ka………..

  2. Omg too many classics. In all senses. Good bad and addictive. DDLJ drama, ole ole song, Dil!!!! Karan Arjun, deewana. Aaah. So many crappy movies that made us who we are today 😂

    • Absolutely ! And then we went out of our way to destroy even more brain cells when we ended up watching Dil Ashna Hai on a certain New Year’s eve 🙂

  3. More recent ones, but classics for millennials

    Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
    Dil Chahta Hai
    Om Shanti Om
    Luck by Chance

    And, (shameless plug alert)
    Don – the sequel (co-edited by me)

    • Yes of course! All favourites and I would add Rang de Basanti also ! Had no idea that Don the sequel was co-edited by you !! Awesome 🙂

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