The film industry in India is usually recognized in the form of Bollywood, which is Hindi-based and Mumbai-based. There are general features that are characteristic of Indian movies. Bollywood ones in particular have glitz and glamour, central love stories, and dance sequences. Especially in recent years, though, movies from other regions and in different languages offer a glimpse of the diversity in Indian cinema. A few of my friends have written short recommendations for Indian films, Bollywood among others.
Language: Telugu (original)
Recommendation by: Lexi
Baahubali: The Beginning is a Tollywood movie (the Telugu movie industry located in Telangana) that came out in 2015. It marks the debut of the leading actor, Prahbas, and the film caught on quickly, leading to its being dubbed into Hindi and Tamil. The story follows a man named Shivudu. He is young and carefree, and determined to climb the waterfall that seems to stretch into the sky. Along the way, he meets the love of his life, Avantika, and undertakes a dangerous mission to win her heart. This mission: rescue the princess Devasena from the evil king of Mahishmati, Bhallaladeva. While undertaking this mission, Shivadu discovers more than he bargained for about both the kingdom and himself. I loved the movie from the first time that I watched it. It is filled with drama, romance, music, and action. There is tragedy and comedy, and it all fits together to create an enchanting tale. It combines elements of Indian history and culture with fantasy in the best way. The only thing better than Baahubali: The Beginning is Baahubali: The Conclusion.
Language: Telugu (original)
Recommendation by: Lexi
Baahubali: The Conlusion is the sequel to Baahubali: The Beginning and it was released in 2017. The first ones on a major cliffhanger, and so the sequel was greatly anticipated. It picks up where the first one left off, following the history of Mahishmati. Shivadu has discovered his legacy, and the legacy of his father. And must now reclaim his birthright from the evil Bhallaladeva. With his fearless Avantika and the ever loyal Kattapa by his side, he prepares to lay siege to one of the greatest kingdoms to ever stand. The movie builds upon the first one, seamlessly filling the gaps and answering any questions that still remained. The songs are beautiful and memorable, still with the hints of Indian culture from all over the country, going so far as to have from lines in Sanskrit (the predecessor to many Indian languages today). The first one was a major success, and Baahubali: The Conclusion did a masterful job of continuing that legacy.
Recommendation by: Pooja
It is an Indian Hindi film directed by Gauri Shinde. Her area of interest is in exploring people’s acceptance of change, especially in a country like India, where accepting changes is difficult. Coming to this movie, it shows how important mental health is as the community isolates the person if it is known that he/she has mental issues. So the person doesn’t put forward his/her problem and that would have an impact on life. And this is what the young generation is facing here: Mental Illness – because of which, use of anti-depressants or addiction to alcohol and drugs became common. This movie tried to frame these and showed what would be the reasons for it. It talks about how important relations are in life.
The leading roles in this film are Kaira (Alia Bhatt), who after a series of career and relationship breakdowns suffers from insomnia. She tries all the ways to come out of it but fails. She finally approaches Dr. Jahangir (Shah Rukh Khan), a psychologist who uses unconventional methods to treat her. This movie tried to have people accept that treating mental illness is as normal as treating other illnesses. Apart from all these, the background music and songs were so enjoyable and the locations were beautifully framed. One of the historical stories is framed by the character Kaira, which was so beautifully done and adds more brightness to the film. Finally, I would say it shows how to be like and feel “LOVE YOU ZINDAGI” (Love you, life).
Recommendation by: Keertana
This is a movie that’s really close to my heart because of the realistic way it was made. It’s about the regular lives of a boy and girl who have finished their graduation. In Telugu, the term ‘Pelli choopulu’ literally means matchmaking interview (as you will find on the internet too). In arranged marriages, the family of the prospective groom visits the family of the prospective bride and they sit down to discuss matters. The premise of this movie is the same, except with a nice little twist. The boy’s fickle nature and girl’s decisive mind are highlighted, which is usually the opposite in most commercial Indian films. However, the movie rightly portrays the lives of the current generation who want to make their mark in the world by doing something unique. So throw in the concept of food trucks (which is relatively in its infancy in India, and Hyderabad at that), romance and good humour, and you get this movie.
Recommendation by: Keertana
This movie is about the reinvention of a shy girl from New Delhi and her transformation from being sheltered to becoming independent and free. In short, after her wedding is called off, Rani (hindi word for ‘queen’) decides to go on the Europe trip that was supposed to be her honeymoon, alone. Her journey from Paris to Amsterdam is what the movie is about. I like the movie because many girls can relate to it. And her liberation hits hard at home like a wake up call.
Recommendation by: Arati “Maria”
A period film based in the Indian subcontinent during the Second World War, Rangoon is an action drama film with a love triangle and beautiful backgrounds. The story is of a stunt-woman and actress named Julia, who is the lover of married movie producer, Rustom Rusi Billimoria. She meets Jemadar Nawab Malik, who is assigned to protect her, during her tour to a war-ridden region, to entertain and boost the morale of the British troops fighting the Japanese and the Indian National Army. The two fall in love despite their differences, by working together to survive the harsh jungle terrain and enemy platoons. As their involvement deepens, Rusi becomes suspicious. When it is revealed that Malik is actually a spy for the Indian National Army, fighting for independence from the British, Julia is forced to rethink her life and of those around her. Her final decision and the impact on the actions of the male protagonists make the plot interesting. A movie with an almost predictable storyline, it is the cinematography and stellar performances that make it a good watch.
Recommendation by: Emily
Sairat came out in 2016 and became the highest-grossing Marathi film. About three hours long, the first hour of the movie is mostly cute and comedic and romantic. As it strives to realistically depict the dark sides of caste in society, the remaining two hours have their fair share of action and drama. So, there is quite the range in this, but the cast, really the main couple, gave an impressive performance. It is especially impressive given that they were basically new faces in the industry.
The main characters are students who like each other and begin to see each other. They face opposition, to say the least, when their families find out because Archi (the female lead) is from an upper caste and Parshya (the male lead) from a lower caste. They do not back down, maybe due to their youth and faith and maybe because Archi leads with a strong will. The two run away from Archi’s family and their village to Hyderabad for a new start, though their lives are not free of challenges from that point, either.
I like the movie for diving into the controversial topic of caste, all the while keeping this humble and fervent quality through the progressing weight of the film. Even though the caste system is not a direct concern for most of us reading this, the main characters remain relatable, with relationships and frustrations that ring so true. After the middle point of the three hours, I think the tone hits a spot that is familiar to audiences of Western dramas but on a subject that is less explored and with elements less employed in Western films. I would recommend this not as a characteristic Indian film but as a defining one.
Vellai Illa Pattathari
Recommendation by: Karthiga
It’s about an unemployed graduate who studied engineering. He’s been trying to get a job in engineering while his other engineering friends have settled for other jobs. It’s about the difficulties of navigating society while unemployed and also the corruption of people using connections and power in high positions. Regardless of all the problems he faces, he perseveres by staying true to himself.
I really enjoyed this movie because it’s not a typical Indian movie with romantic cliches but talks about real life problems. It’s a movie that the youth of today can relate to and use to motivate themselves. It’s a perfect mixture of romance, comedy and sentiment. Unemployment is a huge thing these days, especially for graduates but I think this movie shows that you can definitely do things by working hard. Suitable for all ages and audience.