By Renu Jain Chandarana
If there’s one thing that I can do with my mom today, that brings me back to my the days that I lived at home, it’s curl up on the couch with some chai, snacks, and a large blanket (that we called “the shawl”) and engross ourselves into an exceptional Hindi film.
In honour of Mother’s Day this weekend, here is a list of 5 movies that I think are wonderful to watch with your mom!
Brief Summary: Starring Meena Kumari and Raj Kumar, Pakeezah is set in Mughal times where courtesans (female singers and dancers) entertain men for the evening with their tales of love and life. It was hard for any man not to fall in love with them. Raj Kumar ends up falling in love with Meena Kumari – a very beautiful and popular courtesan who was orphaned at birth. After they elope, it’s difficult for her to lead a normal married life because men everywhere recognize her as THAT woman. She leaves Raj Kumar to go back to her roots at the courtesan house and ends up down a path that leads her back to Raj Kumar and the father that abandoned her.
Why I’d watch it with mom: First, the songs. Every song from this film is recognizable to anyone who knows Hindi songs from the early seventies. I love it when my mom breaks out singing if it’s a song that she hasn’t heard in a very long time. I love that feeling of nostalgia too…
Second, Raj Kumar and Meena Kumari make a beautiful couple to look at in this film. Although the film itself takes place in the mughal days, there is a touch of the sixties and seventies in the hair and make up. Raj Kumar was a heartthrob for the ladies back in the day and our mom’s might appreciate seeing him once again on the screen!
Brief Summary: Kamal Hassan and Tabu play a divorced couple that has a little girl. Kamal Hassan applies for the nanny job that his wife’s family has posted for his daughter so that he can spend more time with his daughter. He spends his days dressed as an old lady taking excellent care of his daughter. This film has a very similar plot line to the Hollywood film Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).
Why I’d watch it with mom: Kamal Hassan is a genius actor. He happens to also direct this film and the transformation he undergoes from young man to old lady is both hilarious (with the help of comedian Johnny Walker) and exceptional. For a man in a fat suit and saree, he’s agile and creative! It’s a feel good story and will guarantee lots of laughs. It’s also a great film to watch with the whole family.
Brief Summary: Salaam-E-Ishq features a star-studded cast that includes Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, John Abraham, Vidya Balan, Govinda, Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Akshay Khanna, Ayesha Takia and so many more. It is the “Love Actually” of Hindi films and focuses on 6 storylines about love and relationships at various stages in life. The stories all intertwine and I will admit this is in my top 5 favorite Hindi films of all time.
Why I’d watch it with mom: You will laugh, you will cry, you will want to throw your chai cup at the tv, then you’ll fall in love with the characters all over again. The songs are fantastic and the actors are all easy on the eyes. The film is beautifully art directed with colourful costuming and grand sets and locations. The transitions between the various stories are smooth and compelling. The songs are rhythmic and catchy and there are a few beautiful wedding songs that I always love watching with my mom!
JAB WE MET (2007):
Brief Summary: If a train leaves a station with a young spunky girl on board who believes in passionate love and romance, and on that same train there is a young wealthy depressed businessman, who has a jaded sense of love, and happens to sit across from this chatty spunky girl, how long will it take for them to fall in love? What sort of adventures will they have together? Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor star in this film and I feel that the roles they’ve played here are one of the best in their whole career.
Why I’d watch it with mom: Shahid Kapoor…enough said. Ok, I’ll be honest – he can be a little scruffy scrawny, but in this film he is sweet, charming, genuine and so handsome. Karina Kapoor’s character is bubbly, sarcastic, confident, beautiful, smart, and as I watched I just wished I could be like her! Spunky, adventurous… The dialogue is amazing. If you don’t speak Hindi well, I recommend putting on the subtitles just so you catch all the crazy things that Karina Kapoor says. In addition to a beautiful story, the songs and the dialogue are what had me engrossed and what keep me watching the film again and again. Sometimes I just need a little “Geet from Bhatinda” (Karina Kapoor’s character) in my life.
THE LUNCHBOX (2013):
Brief Summary: Starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur in this charming story about what happens when the highly efficient yet chaotic tiffin delivery service in Mumbai accidently delivers a tiffin full of food to the wrong person.
Why I’d watch it with mom: My parents used to take a tiffin to work every day for 30 years. They owned a business together, so luckily…there was no chance for a mix up! But who would think that a vessel for carrying food, that is so practical for Indians, could be the gateway to a fantasy world between a housewife and an old curmudgeon? There is a lot of buzz in North America about this film and don’t you want to keep your mom on top of all the hot films out there? That way when an aunty casually mentions the film, you and your mom can say, “dhekhivi hai!” (already seen it!). I love watching Hindi films that have a Hollywood feel in their direction and storyline. There is something western about this film – there’s a lot of English spoken and sometimes you need a break from the flash, dance, and ridiculousness of a typical Bollywood film.
And now for something completely different….
Have you ever watched a Hindi film with your parents (maybe as a kid) and they would spontaneously change the channel, hit forward on the remote, or demand you go get something from the kitchen for them? Yep, that was me, whenever an uncomfortable scene came on the screen that was either uncomfortable for them, or possibly not age appropriate for me. Interestingly, I was allowed to watch all the dishoom fight scenes without the bat of an eye. Ha! I thought I’d help you out by mentioning a few films you should probably stay away from watching with your mom…you’re welcome. (The reason I mention these films is cause they show up on the B4U Hindi movie channel sometimes….stay away!)
Kya Kehna (2000): pre-marital sex which then leads to teenage pregnancy and single motherhood. It’s just not really a feel good movie.
Murder (2004): the Hindi version of the Hollywood film, “Unfaithful”. A lonely housewife finds love outside her marriage and it could turn deadly.
Aitraaz (2004): the Bollywood version of “Disclosure” where a female boss sexually and emotionally abuses/harrasses her married employee. Also features a Hindi re-make of R. Kelly’s song Thoia Thoing – visualized on a pirate ship!
Fashion (2008): a young girl who becomes a fashion supermodel learns what the business is really like (drugs, sex…)
Jism (a.k.a The Body) and Jism 2 (2003, 2013): – The first one features a very unhealthy relationship between two very good looking actors – Bipasha Basu and John Abraham. The second is about a porn star…
What are some films you’d watch with your mom? What are some that we should stay away from? Would love your thoughts!
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