I spent a delightful Friday evening watching Love Aaj Kal and eating samosas with some “sheep” from Northwestern’s Shepard Residential College. I feared my audience would flee the first time Saif Ali Khan started to dance. Quite the opposite occurred. They picked up their copies of Anupama Chopra‘s essay “Can Bollywood Please All The People, All the Time?” Far more than I expected had seen Bollywood films before.They seemed duly impressed to learn that Ms. Chopra, the world’s best known Bollywood film critic, and Tejaswini Ganti, the leading scholar of Bollywood as a cultural phenomena, are both Northwestern alumnae. Most importantly, they stayed to watch and discuss. Then they shocked me by asking for my recommendations for further Bollywood viewing. I decided it was due time I make a list categorized by the issues each film tackles for my filmi-fan readers here as well as my scholarly sheep! Each film is hyper-linked to its IMDb.com entry. An asterisk indicates a particularly memorable set of song and dance numbers.
Immigration/NRIs(Non Resident Indians): Devdas*, Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenga*, Dostana*, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom*, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna*, Kabhie Kushi Khabhie Gham*, Kal Ho Na Ho*, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai*, Love Aaj Kal*, My Name is Khan, Paa, Pyaar Impossible, Swades, What’s Your Rashee?