Part 3 of our series dives into the Hindi-language films that dive into coming of age! We have some top picks to get you going!

Written by: Riddhima Dave – August 14th, 2021 8:51 pm pst

Hindi language films to watch

Credit: UTV Motion Pictures

Coming of age movies have recently become pretty big in Hindi cinema and tend to do well both commercially and critically. Audiences of all ages are able to relate to these characters are somehow these movies feel more personal than others. Coming of age in India sometimes comes with a lot of expectations- from family to society. Navigating through this and finding your way is something that all of us experience. These movies depict a dramatized, sometimes bittersweet and sometimes hopefully version of such experiences. Here are eight coming-of-age Hindi movies you must watch.

Wake Up Sid

This coming-of-age movie is for every young person who feels a little lost as they experience life, responsibilities and growing up. When I first watched it, I was a little too young to understand some of the things in the movie but as a young adult, I relate to the titular character Sid more. The bratty rich kid feigns responsibilities and struggles to live up to his self-made father’s expectations. We see him go from an unmotivated kid cruising through to a person who has finally found some purpose in life. We all experience some of these feelings in our early twenties. As a 22-year-old in my final year of college, I totally do. But the movie gives me some comfort and perhaps a little hope. Also, it has some glorious shots of my city, Mumbai on film which makes me feel close to home. I want everyone to see my city in all its glory through this movie.

Watch on Netflix.

Queen

Rani is left by her soon-to-be husband, and her wedding is called off. Heartbroken, she decides to go on her honeymoon alone. She sets off to Paris and Amsterdam and in this process makes friends, finds a little romance but most importantly begins believing in herself. Indian women are far too often seen as daughters, wives, mothers— dependents. Queen tells us a story of a girl who was set in these molds and was even looking forward to being a wife. But as life dealt her a bad hand, she established her independent identity and did away with these customary labels. Liberation, freedom, and self-love are the takeaways of this fiercely feminist movie.

Watch on Netflix.

Dear Zindagi (Dear Life)

Mental health issues still carry a lot of stigma in India and seeking help can often be an invalidating experience for Indians. The topic is still a hush-hush issue and Dear Zindagi deals with all of it very gracefully. Kaira is a young cinematographer who has been going through insomnia. We learn early on that she has attachment problems in her romantic life and is internally struggling. She comes back to her parent’s home for a little while and comes across a therapist. Soon she begins therapy and experiencing internal freedom and expression. We see a realistic depiction of mental health issues as it builds throughout the movie. The shots of beautiful goa and song truly helpful life lessons make Dear Zindagi an essential watch.

Watch on Netflix.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (Youth Is Crazy)

Studious Naina takes off on a trip alone to Shimla after running into her schoolmate Aditi who mentions it in passing. There she meets Avi and Bunny, Aditi’s best friends, and the group makes memories for life. Bunny is soon leaving for Northwestern University to realize his desire to become a photojournalist. Naina has her own big goals and wants to become a doctor though she harbors secret feelings for Bunny. Years later Naina and Aditi are best friends and they all reunite for Aditi’s wedding. Bunny has been neglectful of relationships in lieu of his career. We see the group look at the rest of their lives as they stay friends and explore love together.

Watch on Amazon Prime Eros Now.

Dil Dhadakne Do (Let The Heart Beat)

A rich dysfunctional family takes off on a cruise trip with all their high society blue-blooded friends in this dramedy. Cracks in each of their “perfect-looking” lives begin to appear and we see how even though they present themselves as one, they are far from it. Undertones of classism, sexism and parental authority are addressed as a critique of Indian society where individuals often seem to care more about other people’s judgment than their own emotions. Dil Dhadakne Do seems to do very well with looking at these issues through a lighthearted yet focused lens. Laugh, cry and think as you watch Dil Dhadakne Do.

Watch on Netflix.

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane (You May Or May Not Know)

A cute college friendship and romance, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na looks at college life and venturing out in the world as a new adult in a very fresh. Jai and Aditi are best friends and claim they have no interest in each other. They set out to find partners for each other and in the process end up discovering their true feelings. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na realistically looks at love and how young adults approach as they also think about their futures. Jai-Aditi’s friendship that culminates in love is sweet and something the best of us will end up wishing for.

Watch on Netflix.

Udaan (Flight)

Seventeen-year-old Rohan lives in an abusive environment with his father who gears him to work at his factory. But young Rohan wants to become a writer. Tough circumstances and a lack of support make this dream somewhat difficult and distant. Udaan is about struggle, familial heartbreak and dreams. Rohan’s problems and his high ambitions are engaging to watch and help us connect with the character.

Watch on Netflix.

Kai Po Che (I have cut the kite)

Set in the backdrop of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, and the 2002 Godhra riots, Kai Po Che is a story of three young boys and their love of the sport cricket. Ishan, Govi, and Omi are best friends who open a cricket shop together and hope to train young talent there. After moderate success, they plan on expanding but tragedy strikes and they are run into massive losses. The three turn away but Ishaan continues to try and train young talent, Ali. Omi comes from a right-wing political background. The story concludes in a bittersweet manner as the characters deal with personal losses. Kai Po Che is emotional, enthralling and wonderfully shot. Performances by Rajkummar Rao and the late Sushant Singh Rajput are particularly moving.

Watch on Netflix.

About The Author:

Riddhima Dave is a senior journalism student at Emerson College. Originally hailing from Mumbai India, she has previously worked at Harper’s Bazaar India and wants to build a career in multimedia journalism. Along with entertainment, she is interested in social issues, fashion and culture.

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