Indian Coming-of-age movies: A 50-50 fare

Hmm, now that I sit back and think about it, there are Indian movies in the Coming-of-age genre. In fact, many of our current top actors and actresses have begun their careers (or at least, shot to fame) after acting in movies related to this genre. While some of these movies are very creative, thought-provoking and nostalgic, most of them are wooden. However, I compiled a list of such movies which were box-office hits and became cult movies. So, why wait? Let’s begin…
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  • Student of the Year (2012)
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    Starring: Siddarth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan & Alia Bhatt.Usually, I wouldn’t be prescribing this movie to anyone, but when it comes to recent movies of the above said genre, I found this movie as the best example.Abhi (Siddarth Malhotra) is a brilliant kid, is good in both studies and sports, but is poor. So when he gets into a very prestigious and elite school on Scholarship basis, he finds that there’s a huge divide between the Rich and the Poor kids in the School (strictly speaking, it’s more like a college than like a School!). Rohan (Varun Dhawan) is the rebelling younger son of a multimillionaire father, who encourages the divide between the rich and the poor students. Shanaya (Alia Bhatt) is Rohan’s rich girlfriend. From the very beginning, Abhi challenges the rich-poor divide, and that causes tension between him and Rohan. Later on, they form a grudging admiration, which slowly leads to friendship. But their budding bromance is spoiled when Abhi falls in love with Shanaya and she too reciprocates his love.The situation is worsened when the School announces it’s annual Student of the Year competition where the students are expected to top studies, sports and also culture.
    Watch it only for the brief bromance and the songs. The rest of the story is predictable and over-the-top. Don’t expect to be hit with nostalgia though.
  • Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
    Kuch-Kuch-Hota-Hai-kuch-kuch-hota-hai-26176828-1000-1500
    Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Kajol & Rani Mukherjee.Now, this is what everyone calls as the original Coming-of-age movie. With the King of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan, in the lead role, this movie did wonders at the box office too!Super-cool Rahul (Shahrukh Khan) and the tomboyish Anjali (Kajol) are best friends in college. Everybody knows how inseparable they are, and some even thought that they’re a romantic couple. However, that kind of thought didn’t enter both their minds yet. Enter Tina (Rani Mukherjee), a gorgeous girl who returned from London and happens to be the daughter of the college’s principal. Rahul falls in love with her at first sight. Anjali, who starts to harbour feelings for him, gets disappointed. Soon, she leaves college to help her sick mother, but in reality she actually wants to leave so that she can nurse her broken heart. Rahul and Tina get married and become parents to a baby girl who they name Anjali. When Tina dies, little Anjali is guided by a series of letters from her mother to reunite Rahul and Anjali Sr.But obstacles come in the form of Anjali’s fiancé (Salman Khan), who’s handsome and every girl’s dream.
    While this movie, too, may be a bit over-the-top, the friendship and chemistry between the leads is convincing. Even the music is awesome.
  • Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)
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    Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Aditya Roy Kapur, Kalki Koechlin.

    A fun-filled tale about how old School friends reunite on a journey to Manali (a hill-station in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh) and rediscover the meaning of friendship, love and relationships.The story starts with Naina Talwar(Deepika Padukone) who’s a medical student complete nerd and doesn’t know how to enjoy life (Honestly, I’m tired with how the world potrays nerds! I am a nerd, and I still enjoy my life!). So, one day, she decides to sneak away on a trip to Manali where all her old school friends are going. There she meets Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) who’s completely opposite from her. He always used to fail in school (seriously, how do people manage that?!), hates books (you’ve got to be kidding me!) and doesn’t believe in relationships. The rest of the story revolves around how they fall in love and battle past the issues of their conflicting personalities.

  • 3 Idiots (2009)
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    Starring: Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani.
    MUST WATCH.

    Now, this is the REAL Coming-of-age movie. And trust me, it even revolutionized the Indian Education System to a great extent, and changed the way people approach the concept of learning.Loosely based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestselling novel ‘5 Point Someone’, the story introduces to our three different protagonists who enter a prestigious and elite college in India where there’s a lot of competition in studies. Rancho (Aamir Khan) is a complete contrast to all the other students, as he doesn’t believe in the rote method employed by everybody in the college and still manages to top all the exams. He challenges the way in which the concepts are taught to all the students. Farhan Qureshi (Madhavan) dreamt of becoming a wild-life photographer, but in order to not disappoint his parents he chose Engineering. Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) is a poor student whose family struggles to get by, and his major drawback is that he’s very afraid for his family and that fear doesn’t allow him to learn. And Viru Sahasra Buddhe aka Virus (Boman Irani) is the Principal of the college who rules them all with an ironfist.  Rancho, Farhan and Raju end up being roommates, and because of Rancho’s controversial beliefs, the three end up coming under Virus’s scanner.After watching this movie, you’ll really feel nostalgic and perhaps you might even end up visiting your old college. This one’s a MUST WATCH.
    This movie also went on to become the highest grosser in Bollywood, crossing the Rs. 300 Crore mark.
  • Rang De Basanti (2006)
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    Starring: Aamir Khan, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi, Madhavan, Kunal Kapoor, Soha Ali Khan, Alice Patten.

    This was another blockbuster with an ensemble cast, and while I was a bit young when I watched it in the theatres, the music had me hook, line and sinker!
    A British independent filmmaker Sue McKinsley (Alice Patten) accidentally comes across her grandfather’s diary. Her grandfather used to be a jailor in the British-ruled India. So, Sue beelines to India and joins hands with her friend Sonia (Soha Ali Khan) to make a film on Indian Freedom Fighters. Soha ropes in her friends Daljit “DJ” (Aamir Khan), Karan (Siddharth), Aslam (Kunal Kapoor) and Sukhi (Sharman Joshi) to play the roles of Indian Freedom Fighters. Later on, they also bring in Lakshman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni) a right-wing political activist who hates Aslam. All these people lose themselves in their characters and start to bond. Just when everything seems to be going on well, Sonia’s fiancé Ajay (Madhavan) who’s an ace pilot dies in a plane crash. This causes all of them to rally behind Sonia and find the true cause of Ajay’s death. What they get to know changes their lives forever, as they sink deeper and deeper into the dirty canvas of Indian Politics.WARNING: You might find it difficult to understand who all the Freedom Fighters are, but nevertheless, you can go ahead and enjoy the careless feel of the movie.

  • Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (2008)
    JaanetuyajaanenaStarring: Genelia D’Souza, Imran Khan, Prateik Babbar.

    While this isn’t strictly a Coming-of-age movie, I found it compelling nevertheless.
    Rats (Imran Khan) and Meow (Genelia D’Souza) are college best-buddies. While Rats is extremely non-violent, Meow is aggressive. Everyone thinks that they’re a perfect match for each other. However, they both never had any romantic feelings. After college ends, they decide to find a partner for each other. Rats falls in love with Meghna (Aditi Rao Hydari) at first sight after saving her from two goons. Initially, Meow encourages them both, but then starts to feel lonely. She agrees to marry her father’s friend’s son Sushant (Ayaz Khan) who’s actually a spoiled playboy. As distance grows between Rats and Meow, they start to realize how much they mean for each other. And Meow’s brother (Prateik Babbar) helps her in realizing that Rats is the one for her. Meanwhile, Rats also realizes that he’s fallen in love with Meow.

  • Taare Zameen Par (2007)
    220px-TaareZameenParStarring: Darsheel Safary, Aamir Khan, Tisca Chopra, Vipin Sharma, Tanay Chheda, Sachet Engineer.
    MUST WATCH.After 3 Idiots, this is my favourite movie. It made me cry and laugh at the same time. It’s so heartwarming and touching that you’ll find yourself pressing the replay button once the movie is done.
    The title literally meaning ‘Stars on Earth’, the story introduces us to Ishaan (Darsheel Safary) a young boy who finds studies difficult. He loves painting and drawing and playing around with stray dogs and fishes. He even plays hooky from school. While his mother Maya (Tisca Chopra) outwardly doesn’t mind the fact that her son isn’t able to perform well in studies, she’s disturbed nonetheless. His father Nandkishore (fantastic job by Vipin Sharma) is a different matter altogether. He’s a successful business executive and he hopes that his children will follow his footsteps and excel in everything. His elder son Yohaan (Sachet Engineer) is the ideal son, excelling in both sports and studies, and is often cited as an example to Ishaan, with his father making unfair comparisons between both of them.
    Ishaan’s parents banish him to a boarding school, and the loneliness causes him to become withdrawn and silent. Enter Ram Nikumbh (Aamir Khan) ordinarily called “Nikumbh sir”, who’s the new Art teacher. He has a different concept on how kids should be taught. When he sees Ishaan, he recognizes the natural talent in the boy and tries to get close to him. But Ishaan pushes him away. Nikumbh sir realizes that Ishaan is actually suffering from Dyslexia (a learning disorder). The rest of the story deals with how Nikumbh sir strives to get Ishaan out of his shell and prove to the world that he’s as good as anybody else.
    Aamir Khan and Amole Gupte (Director) have done it again, by weaving a beautiful story on a dyslexic child. Even this movie created waves in India and became a hot topic for debate across the country. It reinforced the belief that every child is special. And after watching this movie, many people realized the struggles and ridicules that children with special needs undergo in our society.
    The songs are spot-on and the lyrics will move your heart. You have to watch this movie without fail!

Thank you for reading this, guys! Again, let me tell you, the descriptions of the movies listed here are all mine. Even the choice of the movies listed here are mine. Our opinions may differ, but you are welcome to engage in a healthy debate on these movies!

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