By Renu Jain Chandarana, staff writer @RenuJC
I’ve been a fan of Hindi films all of my life. Now that I’m a mom and wanting to introduce my daughter to them, I’m finding it hard to find ones that don’t have any violence or inappropriate item dance numbers. Here is a list of 10 kid friendly Bollywood films that you can watch with your family. There are plenty of films out there, so I tried to choose some that are unique!
In chronological order:
Here’s a nice way to introduce your kids and family to a retro Hindi film! In the film, the Sharma family has a reputation in their city for not being able to keep a cook in their home. Soon, no one wants to work for them. Rajesh Khanna applies for the job and gets it. He learns exactly how to keep his job and how to manage the personalities in the home. All is well until the family jewels and Rajesh Khanna go missing.
Mr. India (1987) – now I feel the need to include a warning in this recommendation, since this film does have a scene where a young child dies from a terrorist attack. Why is this on the list? Well, I have to say, I grew up watching this film many many times and the songs are wonderful and the message it sends (Good prevailing over Evil) is worth the risk!
Mr. India remains a cult classic and the villain’s famous line “Mugambo Kush Hua” (Mugambo is pleased) is one of the most quoted Bollywood movie lines. Rumor has it a sequel is in the works! In the film, Anil Kapoor is the guardian and caregiver for an orphanage and finds it difficult to make ends meet. He is trying to make an honest living but greedy and corrupt people around him keep making life difficult for him and the children. One day he discovers that his late father had created a device that when worn, will make a man invisible to the naked eye. Anil Kapoor uses this device to fight evil forces and provide justice to the poor and helpless. He becomes known as the superhero “Mr. India” and makes it his mission to overcome India’s most evil villain Mugambo.
Chachi 420 (1997)
This is a remake of the Hollywood family favorite “Mrs. Doubtfire”. Kamal Hassan is a dance director for films and his wife Tabu is unhappy in their marriage so the court grants them a divorce. This devastates Kamal. He is granted visitation rights to his daughter whom he loves dearly, but after breaking a visitation rule, he is denied any rights. Tabu begins looking for a nanny for her daughter and Kamal sees this as an opportunity to be with the family he loves except he must do it under a disguise. Since he works in the film industry he has access to wonderful costumes and make up and takes on the persona of Chachi! This film is hilarious and Kamal Hassan’s acting talent really shines through.
Makdee aka The Web of the Witch (2002)
Directed and produced by the extremely talented Vishal Bhardwaj, Makdee is a unique film that delves into the different theories about witches and witchcraft across India. A mischievous young girl named Chunni is known in her village for her pranks. She has a quieter, more docile sister named Munni and one day Chunni’s pranks go too far and Munni wanders into a mansion in the village where a witch lives. Rumor has it that if you wander into the mansion, you will be turned into an animal! The witch played by Shabana Azmi, turns poor Munni into a hen. Chunni is devastated and tries getting help from fellow villagers but nobody believes her because she’s known for her tall tales. She decides to face the witch on her own and has the enormously brave task of answering to the witch personally in order to save her sister.
Jajantaram Mamantaram (2003)
Inspired by Gulliver’s Travels this film is about a Mumbai based sailor, played by Javed Jaffrey, who is shipwrecked and wakes up on a remote island that is populated by tiny people. They think he is a very harmful giant, but once they find that out he won’t hurt them, they enlist him to fight the real harmful giant named Jhamunda. He discovers Jhamunda isn’t just a giant, but an indestructible, shape shifting monster.
Koi… Mil Gaya (2003)
This is the Hindi Film Industry’s answer to ET! Hrithik Roshan plays a man who is developmentally disabled. Although he is a young man, he has the mind of a child and his friends are mainly young kids. He discovers a computer that his father used to transmit the “OM” sound into space in the hopes of attracting extraterrestrial life. One day, accidentally, Hrithik transmits the signal and a little alien by the name of “Jadoo” responds and comes to him to Earth and then their adventure begins.
Blue Umbrella (2005)
Another film directed and produced by the talented Vishal Bhardwaj. This film is based on the novel “The Blue Umbrella” by Ruskin Bond. This film might be considered more of an art film, where you have the opportunity to teach your child about the joy of giving something you love to someone else.
The film is about a little girl named Biniya who trades in her necklace for a beautiful blue Japanese umbrella. There is a shopkeeper in her village who is also the richest man in the village and he is very envious of Biniya’s beautiful umbrella. Instead of purchasing one on his own, he pays a young boy to steal Biniyas.
Taare Zameen Par (2007)
Walt Disney Home Entertainment released this film two years after it was originally released. It has received a National Film award in India for the Best Film on Family Welfare. The film is about a young boy named Ishaan who does very poorly in school and is unable to communicate to others the way in which he sees the environment around him. His parents send him to boarding school and he sinks into depression. Ishaan takes a turn for the better when a new teacher, played by Aamir Khan, joins the school and discovers Ishaan has a developmental disability called Dyslexia.
Bumm Bumm Bole (2010)
This film is an adaptation of the Oscar nominated Iranian foreign film, Children of Heaven. It follows the story of a brother and sister who need shoes to go to school but when one of the pairs gets misplaced, the two share one pair in order to go to school. One day the brother enters a race where the third place prize is a new pair of shoes and the first place prize is a free high school education. For fear of spoiling the story, you’ll have to watch the film to see what happens!
Co-produced by Disney and with music by Shankar-Ehsan-Loy, this film might just be a trendsetter for children’s action/superhero films. The story follows a young boy named Kunal who is orphaned and then abandoned by his cruel uncle. As he learns to be on his own and take care of himself, he discovers the hero within and transforms into “Zokkoman.”
More About Renu:
Renu Chandarana began her career in broadcasting as a morning show co-host for Fairchild Radio’s South Asian weekday morning show in Vancouver. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in English Language with the hopes of becoming an ESL teacher but the thrill of live radio was too good to give up. She decided to take her passion for speaking and writing to Toronto where she completed a post-graduate Applied Arts degree in Radio and Television production from Ryerson University.
Renu has since worked as a Production Coordinator, Associate Producer, Writer and Producer on shows for HGTV, Food Network Canada, Discovery Health, National Geographic and the CBC as well as Rogers TV in London, Ontario.
After getting married, she lived in London, Ontario where she was a Producer and Renu and her family are now settled in Calgary, Alberta for the long haul. She has a toddler daughter who keeps her on her toes and when she’s not at home giving cuddles and tickles or making rotis, she’s working as a Writer and Producer for a large independent production company that specializes in Hollywood and Bollywood Entertainment TV shows.
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