NYFA Mumbai: Inspiration From Bollywood

March 24, 2017

Oh, Bollywood! From tragic epics to side-splitting comedies, the Hindi film industry  based in Mumbai, India) has blessed us with numerous classic films since its inception in 1913. As one of the world’s largest film industries, Bollywood provides no shortage of inspiration; deep character portrayals, riveting love stories, and humorous adventures lie in wait for the intrepid viewer. Whether you’re preparing to study at NYFA Mumbai or are simply a film enthusiast, here are a few great Bollywood movies to satisfy, intrigue, and inspire you along your film journey.

“Mughal-e-Azam” (1960)


This epic historical drama is considered a landmark in Hindi cinema, holding the top-grossing box office record for 15 years after its release — and for good reason. It’s the tale of a sweeping romance between a young Mughal prince and his forbidden love, which leads to a war between the prince and his father the king. Also of note is the soundtrack, which received universal critical acclaim and features some of Bollywood’s most famous songs. The sheer scope of this movie, as well as its high cost for the time, set a new high standard for Hindi film quality.  

“Anand” (1971)


With a title meaning “Bliss,” this graceful drama tells the story of a physician who draws inspiration from a lively and cheerful end-stage cancer patient. Although originally a low-budget film, it has become a cult classic since its release. Lead actors Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan both received significant praise for their emotionally resonant performances. If you’re in the mood for a film with pure heart, rent “Anand” to restore your faith in humanity.

“3 Idiots” (2009)

You know a comedy is pure gold when it’s remade as far away as Mexico and China. This riotous romp follows the lives of three students learning that friendship isn’t just something out of an engineering textbook. Its appeal reached beyond India, becoming one of the most popular movies in Southeast Asia — and even Hollywood briefly dabbled with creating an American version. If you’re feeling crushed under the weight of your studies, take a short break to watch the light-hearted “3 Idiots” and sympathize with the stress of school.   

“Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” (1998)


If you’re looking for an excellent coming-of-age story, look no further than this film from famed director Karan Johar. This heartfelt drama combines two intertwining love triangles set years apart. On-screen pair Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan have an undeniable chemistry that cements this film as a cult classic. Don’t forget to check out a young Sana Saeed, a NYFA alumna, as a young girl struggling under the weight of family secrets. This was the first Bollywood film to ever crack the UK’s Top Ten.

“PK” (2014)

Bollywood isn’t all romance and tragedy, as this science fiction satire proves. “PK” tells the story of an alien who falls to earth and becomes friends with a television journalist. It received both critical and commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time. Aamir Khan, one of Bollywood’s most influential actors, played the scene-stealing lead role of the confused alien to much praise from viewers.

Inspired to learn more about filmmaking? Study with NYFA Mumbai!