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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Coronavirus Isolation: 20 Uplifting Bollywood Movies To Binge-Watch

Coronavirus is a global pandemic. With more than thousands of cases emerging on a daily basis and several deaths occurring, we are undoubtedly living in frightening times.

But it is equally (if not more) worrying for those who are isolated or ‘self-quarantined’ for displaying any symptoms… Or if they are suffering from any other flu-like condition.

For them, it can be a disturbing period of panic, sadness and pain. Whilst we are engulfed by negativity and uncertain times, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

If you or a loved one is currently in isolation fighting some unwanted guests in the body, then Filme Shilmy presents 20 Bollywood movies to help uplift your spirits.

Seeta Aur Geeta (1972)

t’s only recently that the women empowerment movement has gained momentum in Bollywood, but Ramesh Sippy’s Seeta Aur Geeta was amongst the first films to exhibit female actors in a double role.

The story is about identical twins (in the titular roles, excellently played by Hema Malini) who are separated at birth and grow up with different temperaments.

On one hand, Seeta is a timid girl-next-door who is treated like a servant by her evil aunt and meek uncle in her mansion. Whereas Geeta a feisty girl is raised in a poor neighbourhood and is a street performer.

After a stroke of luck and the two swap positions, this brings some hilarious moments, which will make everyone chuckle – especially the scene when Geeta sits on a fan, mocking the police officers.

Furthermore, topped with some brilliant performances by Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar and Manorma, this film will lighten one’s mood.

Mr India (1987)

Regardless of the advanced technology and CGI, nothing can ever beat Shekhar Kapur’s Mr India and it is the best Hindi superhero film made to date.

Anil Kapoor plays Arun, who gains a mysterious watch made by his father that allows him to turn invisible to the eye except when seen from a red filter.

He uses these powers to fight crime and bring justice and faces his greatest challenge when villain Mogambo (Amrish Puri) kidnaps his loved ones and it is up to Arun to save them.

The film was the highest grosser in 1987 which gave us one of the most memorable and menacing villains of Bollywood, Mogambo whose line ‘Mogambo Khush Hua’ is popular even now.

The song ‘Kaate Nahin Katte’ picturised on Sridevi and Anil is one of the most sensuous songs picturised in India. This is a superhero based in ordinary society yet makes a mesmerising watch.

Andaz Apna Apna (1994)

If Hollywood has the lethally hilarious combination of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, then we have Salman and Aamir Khan in Andaz Apna Apna.

This slapstick comedy movie narrates the story of two ambitious conmen who vie to win over a multimillionaire’s daughter.

Along the way, they run into a local gangster, Teja (Paresh Rawal).

The Rajkumar Santoshi movie showcases some crazy moments that are sure to tickle your funny bones.

Furthermore, there are some iconic, idiosyncratic characters like Crime Master Gogo (Shakti Kapoor) that will leave you rolling on the floor laughing.

Should you be seeking many ‘LOL’ moment this time of the year, then this should definitely be the first choice.

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ) (1995)

DDLJ is an evergreen classic and for the right reasons… It offers the romance we all crave in our lives.

It revolves around Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) and Simran (Kajol), two young non-resident Indians, who fall in love during a vacation through Europe with their friends.

Raj tries to win over Simran’s family so the couple can marry, but Simran’s father (Amrish Puri) has long since promised her hand to his friend’s son.

Besides it being a quintessential Bollywood romance, the film has strong family values and the following of one’s own heart.

Furthermore, the YRF depiction in Switzerland perfectly matches snow and snow is what Christmas is usually associated with.

Hum Saath-Saath Hain (1999)

If there’s a Hindi movie which really carries a solid feel-good and poignant factor, it is Rajshri Productions’ Hum Saath-Saath Hain

This cult classic movie showcases family values and relationships, ethics in day to day life and humility in prosperity.

It entails a solid ensemble cast consisting of Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Mohnish Bahl, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Karisma Kapoor, while Alok Nath, Reema Lagoo, Neelam Kothari, and Mahesh Thakur play supporting roles.

The story centres on a family headed by Ramkishan (Nath), containing his wife Mamta (Lagoo) and three sons (Khan, Ali Khan and Bahl).

As financial circumstances and exterior factors threaten this close-knit clan, HSSH proceeds to show whether good upbringing and strong bonds can stand the test of time.

Lagaan (2001)

Lagaan is Ashutosh Gowariker’s epic sports film in which he does the unimaginable… Amalgamating cricket with the British empire.

Starring Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh and Rachel Shelley in leads, the movie is set in the Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj.

The story revolves around a small village whose inhabitants, burdened by high taxes, find themselves in an extraordinary situation as an arrogant officer challenges them to a game of cricket as a wager to avoid the taxes.

The narrative spins around this situation as the villagers face the arduous task of learning the alien game and playing for a result that will change their village’s destiny.

Undoubtedly, this is a battle without bloodshed and a real ode to human grit and spirit.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G) (2001)

K3G is another one which upholds the familial and traditional values, giving a sense of identity and security.

Made on bigger and international canvas, it has the greatest ensemble casts EVER in Bollywood.

Seeing a group of legendary actors including Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Rani Mukerji assemble to perform a poignant, melodramatic act is an absolute treat.

It revolves around an Indian family, which faces troubles and misunderstandings over the marriage of their adopted son (Shah Rukh Khan) to a girl (Kajol) of a lower socio-economic group than them.

Set in Delhi, it subtly shows the juxtaposition of social classes in India as well as the cultural integration of Indians abroad.

Moreover, the picturesque locations of SRK and Kajol dancing to ‘Suraj Hua Maddham’ in Egypt, as well as camera shots of iconic locations in London, this is a key film in contributing towards Bollywood escapism.

Munna Bhai series (2003-2006)

Rajkumar Hirani’s Munna Bhai series is a slice-of-life franchise which tackles various issues through the exterior of comedy.

The first film Munna Bhai MBBS involves protagonist – Murli Prasad Sharma, aka Munna (Sanjay Dutt), a goon, going to medical school to fulfil his father’s wish. He is aided by his sidekick, Circuit (Arshad Warsi).

In the sequel Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Murli poses as a professor of history in order to meet with a radio jockey (Vidya Balan) whose voice he has fallen in love with.

She asks him to give a lecture on Mahatma Gandhi, and as a result, he becomes a proponent of Gandhism and uses it to solve life problems of people.

Munna, in spite of being an outlaw, acts as the mirror to society. Through naive and hilarious circumstances, this is a universal watch to uplift the human spirits.

Jab We Met (2007)

Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met is a profound film, beautifully dressed as a romantic comedy.

Shahid Kapoor (as Aditya Kashyap) essays a depressed/heartbroken and famous businessman who loses focus in life.

Until he is forced to accompany Kareena Kapoor Khan (as Geet Dhillon) back to Bhatinda and then elope to unite Geet with her boyfriend.

There is everything you’d look for in an entertaining movie – songs, dance, comedy, poignant romance and an interesting story.

This film teaches several life-lessons like letting go of our past, finding a motive and exploring things we’ve never done before.

Jab We Met takes you on an enlightening cinematic journey.

Wake Up Sid (2009)

Wake Up Sid is a coming-of-age drama presented by Karan Johar and it fills one’s life with enlightenment as well as entertainment.

The film takes place in contemporary Mumbai and tells the story of spoiled, careless, rich-kid Sid Mehra (Ranbir Kapoor).

Sid a college student who is taught the value of owning up to responsibility by Aisha (Konkona Sen Sharma), an aspiring writer from Kolkata.

Having emerged as a critical and commercial success, it has the potential to strike a chord with audiences of various ages… Making us revisit our youths.

Furthermore, the central theme of self-discovery is another key reason why one can really resonate with this Ayan Mukerji directorial.e

Band Baaja Baaraat (2010)

Yash Raj Films are pioneers in weaving love-stories amidst various locations and professional backdrops. BBB was the first time we saw a romantic-comedy in the world of wedding planning.

Marking the debut of (now) Bollywood superstar Ranveer Singh, this slice-of-life movie realistically presents the lives of ordinary youths in Delhi.

He plays a college dropout who teams up with the ambitious Shruti Kakkad (Anushka Sharma) to run the successful marriage bureau, ‘Shaadi Mubarak.’

The spunky pairing of Anushka (who was an established actor during the film’s release) and Ranveer has managed to gain iconic status.

Even now, people cannot forget Shruti and Bittoo’s Picante pairing especially in songs like ‘Ainvayi Ainvayi’ and ‘Dum Dum’.

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) (2011)

Zoya Akhtar has the knack for humanising geographical locations. In ZNMD, Spain is not just an escapist location, but a place which helps the protagonists to discover themselves.

Akhar presents a tale of three mates (played by Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan and Abhay Deol) who reunite for a three-week road trip and explores each strand in a convoluted manner.

Aside from seeing the three characters holidaying in an exotic, foreign location, we see them overcoming their insecurities and fears, which is a theme which many viewers can resonate with.

It is equally refreshing to see a group of guy friends who do not act like brash toxic masculines.

They are open in expressing their emotions and are not hellbent on concealing their weaknesses. At the same time, the female characters too play a significant role in this amiable movie.

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (EMAET) (2012)

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is a Woody Allen style of a film that you can snuggle into your duvet, sip hot chocolate and watch.

The Shakun Batra movie is an unconventional comedy centring on familial pressures, friendships, one-sided love and self-discovery.

EMAET‘s plot centres on an uptight architect named Rahul Kapoor (Imran Khan), living in Las Vegas who loses his job.

Following a night of debauchery, accidentally marries a free-spirited hairstylist named Riana Braganza (Kareena Kapoor Khan).

After mutually deciding to annul the marriage, Rahul begins a one-sided attraction for Riana, which threatens to ruin their new friendship.

This movie brings a smile to your face. It is a love story which does not adhere to Bollywood stereotypes.

English Vinglish (2012)

English Vinglish didn’t only mark the comeback of actor (late) Sridevi who had ruled in the 90s (the highest-paid actor of her time), but it was also one of those few films which instantly connected with the audience.

Shashi (Sridevi), a middle-class housewife who makes and sells laddoos as a home-business, but is poked fun at by her family members for not being able to speak English fluently.

When she goes to New York for her niece’s wedding, an incident at a cafe leaves Shashi heart-broken and she finally decides to enrol herself in English-speaking tutorial classes.

The movie is not only women-centric but it also centres around the theme of self-love. The English language almost becomes an additional character.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD) (2013)

Ayan Mukherji’s films really speak to the youths. There are a strong relatability and amiability to his filmmaking style… Especially when it comes to essay relationships.

Exuberant locations, resonant characters, poignant love and a die-hard friendship – that’s YJHD for you.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani depicts the relationship between two characters, Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) & Naina (Deepika Padukone), at two separate but defining times in their lives.

First, when they are just out of college and standing on the crossroads of multiple decisions that will shape who and what they become and then later on, in their late-twenties when they meet again.

They holding on to certain fulfilled and certain unfulfilled dreams, at a crossroads of another nature this time.

Emerging as a big box office success, this uplifting coming-of-age film is one which will bring a smile on one’s face, as well as a sprinkle of tears.

Queen (2014)

Queen is another key movie which empowers women and celebrates liberation. Having said that, the self-discovery aspect is a highly relatable theme.

Plus, it also became the reason why Kangana Ranaut won the ‘Best Actress’ trophy at National Film Awards.

It focuses on 24-year-old Rani (Kangana) who decides to spend an independent ‘honeymoon’ abroad, after being rejected by her fiancé Vijay (Rajkummar Rao), the night before.

During Rani’s journey abroad, she encounters and experiences new and unique things. Thus, she becomes the “Queen” of her own life.

Rather than crying and moping over a broken relationship, Rani decides to let it go and live her life.

The crisp cinematography, simple but poignant storyline and engaging direction pique the viewers’ attention. Europe becomes an additional character, almost like an alter-ego of Rani.

Dear Zindagi (2016)

There were few realistic Bollywood movies on mental health and its impact on people… But then, Dear Zindagi happened.

In simple, succinct & endearing manner, Gauri Shinde addresses how ‘trivial’ issues can build up to have a detrimental impact on us. Such works are the need of the hour!

The film is depicted in Goa and narrates the story of Kaira (Alia Bhatt) a promising cinematographer and lives a happy-go-lucky life.

However, after the break-up with a film producer (Kunal Kapoor), Kaira feels uneasy with her life and seeks therapy from Dr Jehangir Khan aka Jug (Shahrukh Khan).

With some brilliant performances by Bhatt and Khan, this is a feel-good, uplifting piece of cinema, that has the potential to change lives.

Badhaai Ho (2018)

Badhaai Ho touches on a subject which has not been seen before in Bollywood: – that too featuring ‘content king’, Ayushmann Khurrana.

With some excellent performances by experienced actors of the industry, it tells the story of a middle-aged couple (Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta) who get pregnant much to the disappointment of their adult son (Ayushamnn).

Never has Bollywood showcased a story about a middle-aged lady getting between pregnant and the ramifications this has on society.

It breaks taboos on a sensitive and mainstream level.

The humour is subtle to the core and that is why it tickles the funny bone and there is no exaggerated comedy. It all happens organically and in a way works well with audiences.

Sui Dhaaga (2018)

Sui Dhaaga is a heartwarming romantic watch. It narrates the story of Mauji (Varun Dhawan), an incompetently illiterate but optimistic young man, has inconvenient work and individual life.

Whilst he appears to be useless, Mauji is a champion in the art of tailoring, which his father (Raghuvir Yadav) believes to be a disadvantageous mode of occupation.

However, being fed-up of licking his boss’ boots and getting motivation from wife Mamta (Anushka Sharma), Mauji decides to self-employ himself and set off with his sewing machine.

Although his parents are strictly against his decision, Mauji receives constant support from his wife, and in no time, the couple sees positive results.

The couple faces a lot of hardships due to their innocence and family responsibilities. Mauji and Mamta fight back.

War (2019)

War is amongst 2019’s highest grossing Bollywood movies, with many of us have grooved to the hit numbers ‘Ghungroo’ and ‘Jai Jai Shiv Shankar’.

This Yash Raj Films production is touted to be one of the biggest action films in Bollywood, uniting handsome hunks Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff for the first time ever, it is a high-octane action entertainer.

The film revolves around an Indian soldier Khalid (Tiger) who is assigned to eliminate his former mentor, Kabir (Hrithik), who goes rogue.

It has everything a commercial audience seeks: exquisite foreign locations, chiselled looks, foot-tapping songs and full-throttle action, with some brilliant performances.

Director Siddharth Anand presents pure escapist cinema which is enjoyable to watch and the two hours (or so) elapse quickly.

Watching the two action heroes battle it out is a huge delight for the viewers.

Final Word

Of course, living under the circumstances of a global health crisis is scary. But no disease or illness is greater than the power of positivity.

While it’s completely normal to feel afraid and anxious about being in isolation… However, we must remember that ‘this too shall pass’.

Pain is momentary. We can and will beat it. Until then, be sure to binge-watch our selection of 20 feel-good movies and let the magic of cinema transport you to a world beyond the barometer of your room.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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