by Aysha Qamar
“Pyaar Dosti Hai” aka love is friendship. These are the wise words spoken by Bollywood’s infamous heartthrob, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hain” leading man Rahul, played by Shah Rukh Khan.
Bollywood movies are often associated with unrealistic love and musicals depicting women either as the ones on an ultimate quest to find a significant other or the answer to someone else’s quest as the ‘perfect one.’ But there’s more to Bollywood’s female characters than sappy love stories.
These are the films you want to plow through when you’re with your own friends. So, heat up the popcorn and grab your bestie for some movies that will take you down memory lane.
1. “Veere Di Wedding” (2018)
Starring: Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Stikha Talsania, Swara Bhaskar
The story highlights a group of four friends that reunite ten years later for Kalindi’s (Kapoor Khan) wedding. The film focuses on each of them as they go through their own journey; Kalindi reflects on whether she wants to marry, Avni reflects on her commitment problems, Sakshi reflects on the state of her marriage, and mother of two Meera reflects on her body image issues and why her marriage isn’t working out. “Veere di Wedding” started the very necessary conversation on the need for Bollywood to develop more inclusive and relatable content. It’s a must-watch girls night in movie that not only embraces friendship but also promotes being unapologetically you.
2. “Angry Indian Goddesses” (2015)
Starring: Sandhya Mridul, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Sarah-Jane Dias, Anushka Manchanda, Amrit Maghera, Rajshri Deshpande and Pavleen Gujra
Remembered as one of the most feminist Bollywood movies to date, “Angry Indian Goddesses” depicts the bond of friendship and womanhood. Radical and powerful, the film’s plot is unlike any other. A group of girlfriends go on a bachelorette trip to Goa, with their trip marking a turning point in all their lives. For those who are on the front lines of the #metoo movement, “Angry Indian Goddesses” is perfect.
3. “Student of the Year” (2012)
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt
School years can be tough and falling in love can be even harder. “Student of the Year” highlights the story of three friends; Rohan, Shanaya, and Abhi, caught in a love triangle. The story goes back and forth between the present, 10 years after graduation, and the past when the three friends participated in a student of the year competition. With fun songs and comedic dialogue, “Student of the Year” is an ideal movie depicting the importance of friendship for not only those in their youth but elder generations as well.
4. “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” (2011)
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, and Abhay Deol
First of all, this is the film you watch if you’re planning a trip of any kind with your friends. It takes you on a journey of a lifetime from your couch itself. It focuses on three friends who travel to Spain for a bachelor trip for Kabir (Deol). They go on all kinds of adventures, from scuba diving to sky diving, in turn reveling in their lost years and reconnecting through their problems. A great movie depicting self-discovery and friendship, “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” is a must-see for a chill night in.
5. “3 Idiots” (2009)
Starring: Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Sharman Joshi
All is well. Get ready to laugh and cry your heart out with your best pals while watching this coming-of-age film. It focuses on 3 friends in engineering school, one of whom disappears without a trace after graduation. The movie follows two of them as they go on a quest to figure out what happened to him. Flashbacks reveal their time in college and touch upon sensitive topics in India, especially when it comes to the pressures of the education system. Comedic and heartwarming, “3 Idiots” is an eye-opening film for everyone who watches it.
6. “Dostana” (2008)
Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham and Priyanka Chopra
With a title like “Dostana,” this movie had a lot to live up to. Luckily, it delivers. Abraham and Bachchan play Kabir and Sam, two strangers who pretend to be gay to move into a an apartment. They become best friends with their roommate Neha and fall in love with her while she oblivious due to their pretenses. The movie ends up being really funny and even depicts LGBT relationships positively.
7. “Kal Ho Naa Ho” (2003)
Starring: Sharukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Preity Zinta
Grab the tissues, you’re gonna need them. In this humorous yet tear-jerking film, SRK’s Aman comes to New York City for cancer treatment, a fact unknown to his neighbors whom he befriends. One of them is Naina (Zinta), who falls for him. He makes it a mission to ensure she leads a life full of love even after his death, setting her up with Rohan (Saif Ali Khan). The plot may sound routine but the film subverts it into a heartfelt, bittersweet, and enjoyable story.
8. “Dil Chahta Hai” (2001)
Starring: Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Preity Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni and Dimple Kapadia
With an unbeatable soundtrack and beautiful imagery “Dil Chahta Hai” is a Bollywood classic. The movie was a trendsetter of sorts, something Bollywood hadn’t seen before. It shows the ups and down experienced by three very different but very close college friends, Akash, Sameer, and Siddharth. From road trips to Goa to supporting each other’s careers to having fall outs over love, this movie has it all. It’s a 3-hour binge you and your friends won’t regret.
9. “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” (1998)
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, and Rani Mukherjee
Making friendship bracelets ‘cool’ past elementary school, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hain” is a 90s classic. Still quoted worldwide, this film broke the charts and gave hope to millions that there is a possibility to escape the friend zone. Although the film comes with some problematic views, such as women need to be all dolled up to be notices, it also has many moments of true friendship.
10. “Sholay” (1975)
Staring: Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra
“Sholay” provided us with the epic song on friendship, “Ye Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge.” One of the most watched movies in Bollywood, this movie is about best friends and lowly thieves Jai and Veeru, who are hired by a village leader to help eradicate the villainous bandit Gabbar Singh. “Sholay” will always be evergreen.
Aysha Qamar is a Pakistani-American feminist and self-proclaimed chef, born and raised in New Jersey. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Journalism Media Studies and Political Science from Rutgers University. As a poet and freelance writer, Aysha has been published in various publications including Brown Girl Magazine, Blue Minaret, the Huffington Post, The Muslim Observer, and the New York Post’s Decider. In her free time, Aysha likes to binge watch movies and read Superhero comics.