Stream Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
Whether you’re intrigued by Bollywood or completely unfamiliar with it, there’s no time like the present to explore the booming Indian Hindi-language film industry. Bollywood (named for the city of Bombay—now Mumbai—and Hollywood) produces hundreds of films a year—well more than Hollywood—films with a global reach that extends far beyond the Indian subcontinent. Classic films are known for love stories and elaborate musical numbers, but there’s more to it than that. Bollywood is more than a genre: It’s a feeling, a mindset. One that’s marked by an element of magical realism that most Western media, quite frankly, cannot get away with.
Consider the most familiar example of Bollywood most of us are acquainted with: . The 2009 winner of the Oscar for Best Motion Picture incorporated some Bollywood influences like the soundtrack and the credits sequence, but the most Bollywood thing about the film was its ultimate resolution: namely, the underlying hope in even its darkest moments that let us believe everything might turn out all right in the end.
Bollywood movies are, above all, about love. Love between friends, soul mates, family, and even strangers. They are about becoming better, kinder people in the service of finding worthwhile relationships with other human beings—or losing and sacrificing those relationships and suffering the consequences. Thanks to Netflix, films that were once only accessible in specialty video stores are now easier than ever to watch. Here are 10 Bollywood experiences that are essential viewing for anyone looking to understand just what makes these movies so special.