Bollywood’s latest offerings haven’t really piqued my interest, although the recently released Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania definitely made me nostalgic for some 1990s Bollywood. Given the prolonged dry spell, over the past few weeks I’ve resorted to revisiting some classics to get my fill of Bollywood. From Raja Hindustani to Andaz Apna Apna and so many more oldies, I’ve had more than enough movies to choose from to keep me entertained.
The charm of 1990s Bollywood is something that today’s film industry would be hard pressed to re-create. Especially considering that just over 20 years later, Bollywood is now an almost entirely different industry. It goes without saying that these 1990s films will forever hold their own in Bollywood history, thanks to their comedic fight scenes in place of today’s elaborate item numbers, their beautiful landscapes in place of today’s extravagant sets, and their quirky side characters in place of today’s glamorous side heroines.
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to Bollywood’s not-so-distant past and revisit some of my 1990s Bollywood favorites.
This 1991 Bollywood remake of the classic Oscar-winning film It Happened One Night features Pooja Bhatt as the spoiled socialite Pooja Dharamchand and Aamir Khan as the rugged reporter Raghu Jetley. Raghu finds just the breaking news story that his floundering career needs when he joins Pooja on her quest to reunite with the man of her dreams against the wishes of her father, Anupam Kher’s Seth Dharamchand. Not so surprisingly, Pooja and Raghu find a little love-shove of their own on their journey across India.
Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin was actually Bollywood’s second remake of this Hollywood classic, the first remake being the 1956 Raj Kapoor and Nargis film Chori Chori — and director Mahesh Bhatt’s version with Nadeem-Shravan’s soundtrack definitely didn’t disappoint. And the best part? The whole movie is available for your viewing pleasure here, courtesy of T-Series.
This classic 1994 Bollywood comedy celebrated its 20th anniversary this past May, so what better time than now for it to magically pop up on Netflix streaming? I doubt you’ll be able to find a single Bollywood fan who doesn’t absolutely love this movie and the antics of Amar (Aamir Khan) and Prem (Salman Khan) on their quest to win over an heiress for their future financial security. Raveena Tandon and Karishma Kapoor are the lead actresses in Andaz Apna Apna, and the entire cast will win you over by the end of the movie.
This 1993 movie is an example of another Mahesh Bhatt take on a classic Hollywood film, in this case, the 1958 romantic comedy Houseboat. Aamir Khan plays Rahul Malhotra, a young man who suddenly finds himself as the father-figure to his sister’s three children after their parents die in a tragic car accident. Juhi Chawla’s Vyjayanti enters the picture through a series of complicated events that lead to her inadvertently becoming the children’s live-in nanny. And sure enough, pyaar evolves between all the key players over the course of the movie.
Full disclosure: I really only watched this movie because I’m obsessed with the song in the video above, but it was a nice little bonus that the other 150-ish minutes of the movie were entertaining enough. And what’s not to love in this comedy-drama given that Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla are the lead players?
Aamir Khan plays small-town cab driver Raja Hindustani and Karishma Kapoor plays the wealthy and free-spirited Aarti Sehgal in this 1996 romantic drama. The paths of these two starkly disparate characters collide and when they fall in love, drama-rama ensues. Despite the movie’s overwhelmingly far-fetched premise, Raja Hindustani was a huge commercial and critical success.
And I can’t lie, I really like this movie. I mean, if I found a taxi driver who could serenade me on a scenic drive to Palankhet, then who knows…I’m kidding. Mostly. Maybe.
This 1989 romantic drama introduced audiences to both Salman Khan (Prem) and Bhagyashree (Suman). In this cult classic, Prem and Suman fall in love despite their different socioeconomic statuses, and obviously nobody likes this nonsense — sound familiar? Aside from bringing a fully-clothed and pre-six-packed Salman Khan into the world of Bollywood, Maine Pyar Kiya was also Sooraj R. Barjatya’s directorial debut. Over the years Sooraj R. Barjatya has directed and produced countless other hits including another 1990s favorite: Hum Aapke Hain Kaun.
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Farah Naz Khan is an internal medicine resident at Emory University. After graduating from college in Boston, she returned to her Alabama hometown to attend medical school, and was reunited with the mix of Southern hospitality and South Asian culture that had shaped her childhood. Follow her on Twitter @farah287 or read some of her thoughts at farah287.blogspot.com.