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10 Bollywood Movies to Watch Before You Die

I would like to start off this article by saying that these movies are essentially what my childhood consisted of, with the exception of a select few. As such, because I was a 90’s kid, some of the characters and ideas are extremely problematic, but the movies are enjoyable nonetheless. Also, if you’re trying to procrastinate, the first movie on the list is almost four hours long (wink wink).

1.     Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

This movie is about an extremely wealthy family called the Raichands (don’t they just sound the part?) who essentially live in a palace the size of UCT, I kid you not. They have two sons, the eldest of whom they want to marry off to this one lassie who can essentially jog up Jammie stairs without breaking a sweat (I know you know one too). Also, she’s rich. But alas, God has other plans for him as he falls in love with a poor sweet-maker’s daughter. Did I mention it has Sharukh Khan in it? Because it does. He has dimples I aim to have in my future children.

2.     Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

This one also has Sharukh Khan in it. Before you say I am biased, hear me out. It’s about two best friends who fall in unrequited love. Obviously, the clueless guy falls for the pretty new girl. I know, I was shocked too. Then, the pretty girl dies, writes her daughter a bunch of letters and essentially gets her eight-year-old daughter to find her father’s one true love. No pressure, mom.

3.     Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai

Are you guessing another Sharukh Khan movie? You are wrong. I contained myself. But the actor isn’t exactly sore on the eyes, for those who like green eyes, curly hair and muscular arms. This story is about a spoiled, wealthy girl who falls in love with a poor orphan. I’m going to spoil this for you right here and tell you he dies. But no worries, she finds his Doppelganger in New Zealand and shacks up with him, instead.

4.     Bajirao Mastani

Bajirao Mastani is a recent epic film about two star crossed lovers. A married Hindu king falls in love with a Muslim warrior princess. The song Deewani Mastani should give you a feel for the movie. I shall leave the link here for us to collectively fangirl about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRtPUIumXcY

5.     Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

This movie’s theme encompasses love and friendship versus career goals. It is fairly modern and extremely relatable. The songs are pretty decent too. I highly recommend this for a couple’s night in, the love story is truly adorable. Also, no-one dies.

6.     Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

Ahhhhh…The Bollywood Romance to end all Romances. Note the capitalisation of ‘Romance’. Like Peanut Butter and Oreos, hot chocolate and marshmallows, procrastination and misery, so go Sharukh Khan and Kajol. In this film, they meet on a trip to Europe and fall in love. Then her dad finds out and relocates their family to India where they arrange for her marriage, as Indian fathers do. But fear not, he is Sharukh Khan, no daddy can say no to those dimples.

7.    Sanam Teri Kasam

Do not watch this movie if you want to live a happy life. I’m crying just thinking about this movie. It’s a heart wrenching love story about a convict who falls in love with a good girl (her entire existence seems to be exclusively to please her family, especially daddy dearest). Her father disowns her and performs her death ceremony, even though she is alive. Basically, a guide on how not to be a parent.

8.     Devdas

I will not be euphemising this AT ALL, regardless of the fact that Sharukh Khan plays Devdas. Devdas is a wealthy, manipulative, abusive drunkard who spends a vast extent of his life being a prick to his childhood sweetheart and to a prostitute who only wants to help him. Watch this, only if you want to bond with your friends over how trash men are.

9.     Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

So basically, this story is about a girl who cannot make up her mind between a fun, sexy musician and a boring lawyer who secretly loves her from the couch. Luckily, her extended family decides for her and suddenly, plot twist: she gets married to the lawyer. But he helps her find the one true love of her life and the one who’s good with his mouth. I shall say no more.

10.  Kal Ho Naa Ho

This article started with a Sharukh Khan movie and as such, will end with one as well. This movie is three hours long, so only watch this if you’re really committed to procrastinate that 3000-word essay. Once you start, there is no backing out. Watch this if only to remind you that even though men are trash, Sharukh Khan is here to make your lonely existence so much better. He does it for the girl in this film by finding her a husband to get over him because he is dying. No, I’m not crying, you are.


Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Gender Studies and Anthropology at UCT.
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