Bollywood Movies for Travelers, to Know India better!

Kaushal Karkhanis
Apr 20, 2014 · 4 min read

I asked my friends to help me choose movies / songs to show friends i meet on my travels, to best showcase India, Bollywood and Mumbai.

Here’s a compilation of all the responses, including the comments, whys and wherefores! If you’re not from India, you’ll be surprised that no one mentions Slumdog Millionaire.

I’ll share my personal favorites in the end, so read on and please share your favorites too…

  • Poonam: 3 Idiots, Lagaan
  • Meenal: My friends enjoyed “Chennai Express“. Although I did tell them that Bombay is nothing like that!
  • Koshy: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Chahta Hai, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Chupke Chupke
  • Koshy: Delhi Belly, 3 Idiots, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Rang De Basanti, Monsoon Wedding, Maqbool, Satya, Dev D, Namesake
  • Kavish: Alright, so my viewing groups are mainly American and they have truly enjoyed Delhi Belly and 3 Idiots … I also know Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara wasn’t shot in India, but that’s definitely a fan favorite over here. One of my favorites as well.
  • Sofia: I like the song “Luka Chuppi
  • Nikhil: ZNMD was also going to be my first choice.
  • Hina: Angrez
  • Mayur: Hera Pheri type movies should do the magic.
  • Koshy: Mithya Rajat Kapoor films … Manorama Six Feet Under.
  • Koshy: DharaviSalaam BombayTasher Desh / Gandu Dhobi Ghaat ( for the city shots)
  • Mayur: In that case Freaky Chakra is a MUST — but sadly it doesn’t have those city shots
  • Koshy: As far as city shots go…u can show them Bandra…through this… A day in Bandra with Poorna Jagannathan
  • Koshy: Wake up SidIs Raat Ki Subah NahinCompany … oh and ParindaBarfiKaminey
  • Cara: The Dirty Picture!
  • Koshy: Although we could show Hey RamIruvar Bombay
  • Farah: Kajra Re
  • Koshy: Then they might as well try Dabangg and Yeh Jawanee Hai Deewanee … Besides Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
  • Koshy: Yuva … Kolkata is showcased decently well … besides Kahaaani
  • Koshy: English, AugustJab We MetSocha Na ThaBeing CyrusOye Lucky, Lucky OyeKhosla Ka Ghosla
  • Gitanjali: Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron — retro cool Bombay of the 1980′s
  • Natasha: Delhi 6, Wake Up Sid, Ladies vs. Ricky Behl (seriously!)
  • Raquel: Salaam Namaste!!!!!
  • Amanda: Please show them our amazing VFX skills, best displayed in the blockbuster Jaani Dushman. It’s got mythology (Arman Kohli turning into a snake), a star-studded cast (Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Manisha Koirala, Arman Kohli, Sonu Nigam), a mind blowing story…
  • Sujit: DDLJ definitely.
  • Albert: Let them go thru The Vigil Idiot
  • Aditi: Jhankaar Beats, Golmaal, Hungama
  • Nishi: 3 Idiots
  • Meenal: In case u want to show Bombay of early 60′s show Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi
  • Deepak: Chennai Express
  • Vipin: Ek Chalis ki Last LocalDelhi 6
  • Jocelyn: Please write this all up and post it on your blog!
  • Vipin: Vaastav Shaadi Ke Side / Effects
  • Nikita: DDLJ, Rang De Basanti, Jab We Met, Swades
  • Koshy: Luck by Chance
  • Deepak: Pushpak
  • Satish: Queen dikhaao! Show movies that are unabashedly Indian and don’t pretend to be ‘intellectual’
  • Koshy: Ok, Vicky Donor is also fun
  • Anand: Andaz Apna Apna! Hands down!
  • Pratishtha: Gundey! Rhyming dialogue and Kanti Shah’s cinematic genius!
  • Pratishtha: On another note, it should be a fun movie, with relatable story line, that is easy to translate, without the actual dialogue playing too big a role. So, Cheeni Kam.
  • Pratishtha: Queen is a super fun option. So is Mere Dad Kii Maruti.
  • Neha: My firangs loved 3 Idiots… Tho Queen won’t be a bad option
  • Ben: Namaste London. Gaao hai, Videshi dream hai, I the proud to be the Indian dialogue hai
  • Rashi: Show them movies like Ranjhanaa for that Benaras feel or a movie like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam which has the feel of Rajasthan!
  • Ben: DDLJ made a lot of Italians and people from Argentina go “Wow! I want to see the movie again”
  • Megha: Bluffmaster !! 3 IdiotsTaare Zameen Par
  • Gauri: Show them Dhobi Ghaat, Dev D or Wake Up Sid.
  • Koshy: Try a few underground movies too like BoondhGangor BhawandarLittle Terrorist …oh and def. Deepa Mehta’s ‘Earth
  • Meenakshi: Something old like Sholay, Chupke Chupke
  • Salonee: For sheer beauty — Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam / Ram Leela
  • Dhaval: 3 Idiots
  • Kapil: Wake up Sid has a lot of Mumbai in it
  • Kumar: Queen, Rang De Basanti
  • Ranjeet: Bollywood Calling
  • Moushumi: Andaz Apna Apna…doesn’t show India in a bad light, no controversial topics or issues…light hearted fun humor, banter and loads of reasons to laugh
  • Guncha: Batoon Batoon Mein …. beautiful Bandra
  • Sushrut: Dude! Amar Akbar Anthony!!
  • Pritesh: Hera Pheri and Sholay
  • Koshy: Delhi Belly
  • Priya: Show Shah Rukh Khan movies … all of them crazy for him
  • Werner: Show them all the gangster movies, like Gangs of Wasseypur!

So there you have it. Seems like Andaz Apna Apna, DDLJ & 3 Idiots are quite popular among most of my friends.


What would i personally choose to showcase?

  • 1. Life In A Metro — showcases multiple stories against city backdrops
  • 2. Pyaar Ka Punchnaama / Queen — for a fun movie about the reality of love life in India
  • 3. 3 Idiots — fun, inspiring and new age Bollywood
  • 4. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani — Badtameez Dil, the song and the overall vibe of the movie.
  • 5. Dil Chahta Hai — one of my all time favorite movies!

Here’s my full, public list on Facebook in case you want to discover more of my personal favorites.

What do you think travelers should watch, to get a picture of the real India?

Cross-posted on my Travel Blog, Exotic Gringo

    Kaushal Karkhanis

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    Tribe catalyst • Minimalist Designer • Travel Blogger