With the most incredible production values and exotic locations I have ever seen, not to mention the beauty of such actresses as Kajol, Rani Mukharjee and Preity Zinta, lavish musical numbers and hopelessly romantic storylines, I was hooked.
When it comes to the new Bollywood there are two names you need to know. Kajol and SRK, short for Shah Rukh Khan. These two stars are simply the most magical and charismatic onscreen pairing of the Hindi cinema or any cinema today. Their onscreen chemistry is legendary throughout the world. Watching them together in such films as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) will charm you and make you fall in love no matter what your age or background. Their films have so much heart and humor it is no wonder that they are the most celebrated onscreen couple of the Hindi film industry.
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s classic film gems from Dilwale Dhlhania Le Jayenge (1995), which is the start of the ShahRukh era of Bollywood, to Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) are now some of Bollywood’s most beloved classics, but these films are virtually unknown to North American audiences. The production values, music and sheer visual splendor contained in many of these films alone is worth preserving and introducing to a brand new market that has never seen the likes of these beautiful films. But what really makes these films stand out in Bollywood is the emotional heart and the moral values contained in these universal stories that translate easily to any audience. I have witnessed first-hand the power of these films on people who did not even understand the Hindi language or subtitles, but were moved by the story purely based on the visuals and the performances.
For anyone starting their Bollywood experience for the first time here is a list of must see films starring the King of Bollywood, one of its most endearing and charming actors anywhere, Shah Rukh Khan. Hopeless romantics at heart will not be disappointed.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge 1995
Dil Se… 1998
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai 1998
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham 2001
Chalte Chalte 2003
Kal Ho Naa Ho 2003
Main Hoon Na 2004
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna 2006
Chak De India! 2007
Om Shanti Om 2007
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi 2008
My Name is Khan 2010
There are of course many other great Bollywood films with heart worth seeing that do not star SRK, but I would start here for the best of Bollywood and compare the rest to them. You will be hard pressed to find anything as good. Movies I did find comparable and are very good are as follows:
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) Aamir Khan
Jab We Met (2007) with Kareena Kapoor & Shahid Kapoor
Tare Zameen Par (2007) with Aamir Khan
3 Idiots (2009) with Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor
But I’m hardly an expert and have not seen nearly as many Bollywood films as the average Hindi Bollywood fan who watches them on the Asian TV channels every week.