Aaoraja: Best Bollywood movies you should watch

A portmanteau of ‘Bombay’ and ‘Hollywood’, refers to the Indian movie industry which was formerly known as Bombay cinema. If it’s your first time exploring the rich culture introduced by Bollywood movies, here are some of the best classic and contemporary films you should watch:

Umrao Jaan

Written and directed by Muzaffar Ali

Cast: Rekha, Farouque Shaikh, Naseeruddin Shah

This musical was based on the novel Umrao Jaan Ada by Mirza Hadi Ruswa published in 1899. The film follows the rise to fame of Umrao Jaan, a courtesan from the city of Lucknow, India.

Born as Amiran, she was kidnapped from her hometown in Faizabad and was sold to a brothel in Lucknow. From there, Amiran learned how to seduce wealthy men and changed her name to Umrao Jaan. 

Hum Aapke Hain Koun 

Written and directed by Sooraj R Barjatya

Cast: Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan, Tuffy

Based on the Hindi novel Kohbar Ki Shart by Keshav Prasad Mishra, this film tells the wedding traditions of India. It circles around Prem and Nisha who find love in each other while at the wedding of their elder siblings. Problems begin to surface when Nisha’s sister passes away, leaving her baby to the care of Nisha.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

Directed by: Ayan Mukherjee

Written by: Hussain Dalal

Cast: Deepika Padukone, Rabbit Kapoor, Kalki Koechlin, Aditya Roy Kapoor

This coming-of-age film revolves around the characters Bunny, played by Ranbir Kapoor, and Naina, played by Deepika Padukone and their group of friends. 

An interesting fact about Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is that the film’s main casts were lovers at the time of filming which might have contributed to the impeccable chemistry between the characters on screen.

Veer Zaara

Directed by: Yash Chopra

Written by: Aditya Chopra

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukerji, Manjoj Bajpai

The story is about Zaara Khan, played by Preity Zinta, who was a Pakistani woman travelling to India to fulfil the last wish of her ancestor. During her travel, she was involved in a bus accident, leaving her stranded in the area. 

Zaara was rescued by Veer, an Indian air force pilot played by Shah Rukh Khan. As the two get to know each other, they begin to fall in love, introducing them to a journey of courage, love and sacrifice. 

Salaam Bombay!

Directed by: Mira Nair

Written by: Mira Nair and Sooni Taraporevala

Cast: Shafiq Syed, Raghuvir Yadav, Nana Patekar

This film tells the story of street children who have made a home out of the slum areas in Bombay, which is now known as Mumbai. To survive the harsh reality of life, the children try to make a living by selling tea, begging for money and other means that the streets have to offer.

Lage Raho Munna Bhai 

Directed by: Rajkumar Hirani

Story by: Rajkumar Hirani, Vudhu Vinod Chopra

Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Vidya Balan, Boman Irani

This comedy-drama film depicts the life of Munna Bhai who sees the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi. He aids people in solving their problems through the Gandhigiri, an expression of the principles of Gandhism in a contemporary context.