Yet, I sometimes find myself spending a lot of time scrolling past options to find something that will really be worth my while. When that happens too often, I usually turn to reliable old favourites.
If, like me, you’re finding it difficult to choose anything good to watch lately, these Hindi films — none of them new — may hit the spot. All of them are entertaining and will leave you feeling good. Avid Hindi film buffs may have already watched these, but can there be a better time than this to revisit them?
At a time when all of us have generally been feeling a sense of hopelessness and despair, these movies will surely keep you distracted and lift your spirits.
1. Mr India (1987)
This is perhaps a childhood favourite for many of us. I remember watching it every single time it aired on TV. Starring Sridevi and Anil Kapoor, this has always been a go-to option when I am just looking for sheer entertainment. For the uninitiated, this Shekhar Kapur film, written by Salim-Javed, follows Arun, who is bringing up several orphaned children, and has taken on the film’s iconic villain Mogambo (Amrish Puri). Arun gets a one-up on Mogambo when he comes across a device that makes him invisible. Sridevi is fantastic as journalist Seema Soni. Watch it for dialogues like “Mogambo khush hua”, that have become part of Indian pop culture, and great songs like Hawa Hawaii and Kaante Nahi Kat Te Din Yeh Raat.
Watch it on Zee5
2. Dor (2006)
This Nagesh Kukunoor film revolves around the unlikely friendship that develops between two women — Meera (Ayesha Takia), whose husband is killed in Saudi Arabia, and Zeenat (Gul Panag), whose husband is accused of killing him. Zeenat firmly believes that this is a misunderstanding and travels from Himachal Pradesh to Rajasthan to convince Meera to drop the charges against her husband, who is set to be executed. Zeenat is scared of Meera’s reaction, and doesn’t tell her right away who she is. Meera lives in an orthodox setting and is socially ostracised as a widow. Her meetings with Zeenat become her only source of joy. Yes, the film deals with intense emotions and social injustices, but when humanity triumphs over, everything it leaves you with a feeling of warmth. Watch it because this is one of the few good films that depict a powerful relationship between two women.
Watch it on YouTube
3. Billu (2009)
Billu (Irrfan Khan) is a poor barber who lives in the small village of Budbuda with his wife Bindiya (Lara Dutta) and their children. He struggles to make ends meet, but his life is turned upside down when superstar Sahir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) comes to the village to shoot a film. When rumours about his friendship with the star spread across the village, his life soon spirals out of control. Neighbours, friends and foes approach Billu, seeking meetings with the film star. Irrfan skillfully portrays a hapless Billu trying to figure out what to do to save face. Even in a film that did not do so well at the box office, Irrfan Khan shines, making you feel all the emotions of an ordinary man stuck in a difficult situation. The film is peppered with entertaining dance numbers. It ends on an all-is-well-in-the-world note — something that all of us need right now.
Watch it on Netflix
In the second Nagesh Kukunoor film on this list, 13-year-old Rajesh Naidu comes to term with life in a boarding school. He struggles to settle down in the school amid bullying and trying to impress girls from a neighbouring school. The film brushes upon the issue of sexual abuse in boarding schools. But most of all, it is a light-hearted look into a teenage boy’s life. The film features a great soundtrack, with nostalgic earworms such as Yaaron and Aasman Ke Par.
Watch it on Disney+ Hotstar
5. Socha Na Tha (2005)
This is a boy-meets-girl story with a twist. Viren (Abhay Deol) and Aditi (Ayesha Takia) reject an arranged marriage to each other, triggering off a dispute between the two families. However, the two keep meeting serendipitously and become good friends, eventually falling in love. All hell breaks loose when the families find out. This was Imtiaz Ali’s directorial debut and Abhay Deol’s first film too too.
Watch it on Netflix
6. Khosla Ka Ghosla
How does a middle-class salaried man con a real estate thug? You will have to watch Dibakar Banerjee’s Khosla Ka Ghosla to find out. Kamal Kishore Khosla (Anupam Kher) is left in shock when a plot of land he bought with all his savings is taken over by the corrupt and cunning Kishan Khurana (Boman Irani). After all legal avenues fail, Khosla's younger sons, along with a motley theatre group, form an elaborate plan to get their land back.
Watch it on Netflix