This long weekend is all about being thankful for the family you’re celebrating with. They may be nutty and annoying sometimes but hey, they’re fam. They’ve got your back and you’ve got theirs. For Thanksgiving, most families already have set traditions of things they do.
Whether it’s watching the parade or the big game, you’re definitely plopped on that couch after your big feast. We’ve got a better idea of what to do on Thanksgiving: movie night (which is also a great idea for Friendsgiving). Evoke all your familial bonds and emotions by huddling together and pressing play with these Bollywood movies that are up to the task.
1. “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham”
You had to know this would numero uno. It’s the ideal family drama with possibly one of the most epic casts Bollywood has pulled off. Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Kajol, Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and Hrithik Roshan? Dream team. Bachchan plays rich dude Yash Raichand, the strict family patriarch who becomes distant with his adopted son Rahul (SRK) because he marries the middle-class Anjali (Kajol). The youngest Raichand, Rohan, sets off years later to reunite his family. You can watch it for the first time or the 100th, it’ll never get too old. It will teach you some life lessons.
2. “Dil Dhadakne Do”
This movie stunned with its unexpectedly modern approach to family drama, which is exactly why you should watch it with your family this Thanksgiving. he Mehra family looks polished from the outside but is scrapping through from the inside. Kamal (Anil Kapoor) and Neelam (Shefali Shah) are in an unhappy marriage but they celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary on a big cruise across the Medittarean, inviting their friends and relatives. Their daughter Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra) is trapped in an unhappy marriage of her own while their son Kabir (Ranveer Singh) wants to be a pilot but is forced into the family business. 10 days trapped on a boat provides a beautiful scenery for the family drama to come crashing down.
3. “English Vinglish”
If you want a movie that will make you appreciate every family member around you, watch this. Shashi (Sridevi, in her magnificent Bollywood comeback) is a housewife who sells laddoos for a living. She’s weak with English, which sometimes leads to her husband and daughter insulting her. She goes to New York City to help her sister out with a family wedding. After a humiliating experience, she makes it her mission to learn the language and uses her money on group classes. It leads to a simple yet beautiful ending with Shashi emphasizing the importance of understanding and non-judgemental behavior in a family.
4. “Taare Zameen Par”
One of Aamir Khan’s finest offerings, this sweet family movie works because of the exceptionally talented child actor Darsheel Safary. The movie is on the heavier side and you will need tissues. At least you can go hug your family after! The story focuses on 8-year-old Ishaan (Safary). He is unable to grasp subjects at school and is great at painting. After failing repeatedly, he is sent to boarding school, where he feels lonely and depressed. It’s only when the new art teacher Ram (Khan) befriends him do we learn that Ishaan is dyslexic. Like I said, tissues and hugs.
5. “Chup Chup Ke”
If you prefer tears of joy and laughter, opt for this silly comedy, instead. It will leave your family (especially if you’re a Gujarati) consistently in splits. It tells the story of Jeetu, a man on the run because of the debt he owes to his fellow villagers. He pretends to be deaf and mute when he becomes the servant of a rich Gujju family. The family warms up to him because their daughter Shruti (Kareena Kapoor Khan) is actually mute. They fall in love, obviously, and try to hide several truths from the family, leading to complete chaos.
Apparently, Bollywood and Cricket are like religions in India. Imagine the wonder when both are combined to make a classic, Oscar-worthy movie? “Lagaan” is all that and more. It will cater to the sports and the drama lovers, so you know it will have everyone in your family hooked. The film centers on the town of Champaner circa 1893, where the high taxes are impossible to meet. It leads to Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) to challenge the British Commanding Officer to a cricket match with the villagers, despite not knowing how to play. Suffice it to say, loads of drama ensues but it all works very well.
7. “Hum Aapke Hai Koun”
Another legendary classic, this movie is all the family drama dose you’ll ever need. It may focus on the love story between Prem (Salman Khan) and Nisha (Madhuri Dixit-Nene) but at the core, it’s all about family. Literally, because when Nisha’s sister Pooja meets a fatal end after giving birth to her child, the former is told by her family to marry her brother-in-law, who is also Prem’s actual brother. It’s complicated and may sound unreal but it echoes to familial sentiments of early 90s Bollywood. It’s well worth a watch.
8. “3 Idiots”
For almost every Indian kid, no matter where they’ve grown up, pursuing our passion versus what our parents expect us to be (doctors, engineers, lawyers) is our big fight. This movie tackles this very issue in a very sharp manner. It’s the story of three engineering college students, Rancho (Aamir Khan), Raju (Sharman Joshi), and Farhan (R. Madhavan), and the hardships and pressure they face at home and with their studies. It’s a story that both, parents and their children, will relate to.
9. “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge”
Your Thanksgiving movie night just got 1000 times better. India’s longest running box office hit, this Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol love story is one for the ages, yes, but it’s more than that. Their characters Raj and Simran battle it out with the latter’s family in order to be together, while Raj’s supportive father is ultimate #dadgoals. It’s interesting to see the larger family dynamics played out in the movie, especially because it’s in the 90’s. Plus, you shouldn’t miss any opportunity to indulge in some DDLJ-lovin’.
For many Indian-Americans, this will always be a special movie. In it, Mohan (Shah Rukh Khan) has been working with NASA but visits India so he can find his caretaker Kaveri Amma (Kishori Ballal) from when he was growing up there and bring her back to the U.S. He finds in her a small village at the home of his childhood friend Gita. Mohan witnesses the plight of the villagers due to poverty and casteism. He works with Gita to bring progress in their lives. It’s a movie that will tug at all your heart strings and leave you with a smile at the end of Thanksgiving. Perfect!
11. “Kapoor & Sons”
The Kapoor family is dysfunctional at best. Harsh (Rajat) and Sunita (Ratna Pathak Shah) are unhappy in their marriage because he cheated on her, their two sons Arjun (Sidharth Malhotra) and Rahul (Fawad Khan) are both writers but the former successful, making his parents favor him more. The two return home to celebrate their grandfather’s 90th birthday and boy, oh boy, a buttload of family secrets are revealed, which makes for a raw, emotional journey. The movie is grounded in reality, which is why it should be your Thanksgiving pick.