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The COMING-OF-AGE Films You Must Watch

Films have been known to depict life in its various shades. To get a true perceptive of life, it’s best to delve deep into the minds of the individuals and see life through their eyes. Some coming-of-age stories are indeed the most reliably emotional and memorable staples in the world of Hindi films.

Here’s a list of some of the finest Bollywood movies that dared to break the mold and showed us some of the unforgettable characters discovering life.  Coincidentally, all these films hit the silver screen during the first decade of the 21st century. Wondering about these coming-of-age films you should watch? Check out this list of must-watch movies.

DIL CHAHTA HAI

When the bulk of Hindi films was made in the utmost stereotypical ways of drugs, politics, strife, and family melodrama with loose screen-plays, Farhan Akhtar supplied at once an adolescent fabric of friendship, heartbreak, disillusionment and self- discovery of a type unfamiliar at that point of time. The story revolves around three friends – boys with totally different natures and with their different ways to seek the meaning of life. The film is a stunning anomaly, a breath of fresh air with the beginning of the new millennium. All the actors have done justice to their individual roles. While Aamir Khan simply reaffirmed his talent, Saif Ali Khan was unbelievably good. Akshaye Khanna emerges as a natural and true artist who played the role of Sid to perfection. With wit and pathos, the film elegantly captures the coming-of-age moments when maturity is gained and lessons are learned and lifelong memories are made. This 2001 film marked the beginning of a new generation of Bollywood films.

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LAKSHYA

Part of discovering life is looking into the abyss of your ambitions and aims. This movie builds up a nice ethos by using a careless-about-life guy as the main character. The film navigates a morally complex territory where a goal makes the life of the aimless protagonist meaningful. His attitude soon changes and it gradually transforms him into a man who discovers both himself and his future goals. Hrithik Roshan brings raw energy and power to his performance which exude an emotional force that imbues the coming-of-age setting with a feeling of imminent implosion. German cinematographer Christopher Popp does an excellent job in beautifully lensing the exquisite beauty of Ladakh and Kashmir. He also succeeds in capturing vividly the grimness and rawness of the war scenes.  Lakshya came as the second venture of Farhaan Akhtar in 2004 and the movie is a fine example of directorial finesse. A great self-realization tale, this film remains one of the finest ventures in Bollywood till date.

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ROCK ON!!

This 2008 film explores the joy of friendship and recounts the tale of four friends who were aspiring musicians in their college days. Though they chucked up their dream of taking their band to the professional level, but life offered them a reunion ten years later and they decided to gear up for one last gig. The story telling is tight with each character perfectly defined. The movie’s basic plot stays faithful to the blueprint of the standard coming-of-age film. Director Abhishek Kapoor promises a true-blue band flick. He uses to the maximum, the effect of the interleaving style of narration to maintain a sense of suspense and to heighten the emotions as the screen-play advances. The rock concerts are captured with every bit of the kinetic frenzy and euphoria of such events. Farhan Akhtar as Aditya is the mainstay and he does a good job for his debut. The music is reminiscent of vintage rock and one would catch oneself humming ‘Pichle Saat Dinon Mein’ as well as the title track ‘Rock On’ at the end of the film. If you haven’t watched it, watch it!

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WAKE UP SID

While the movie is very interesting with the message it shows, there’s a lot of subtle things to appreciate. It’s Ayan Mukherji (story, screenplay and direction) behind the camera delivering what could arguably be a very good film and deserves much praise for his directorial debut venture. The 2009 film focuses on growing up and coming of age of Siddarth Mehra (Sid, as his friends call him) who is self-centered, arrogant and has an absolute disrespectful attitude to financial dealings. He virtually takes everything for granted in life so far, including family and friends. Later on, he wakes up to the realization that life is not only about driving expensive cars and partying. Ranbir Kapoor has given one of his finest performances as the lead character. A very touching attempt and it’s the clarity in the realistic approach over a simple plot that wins the viewers over. A must watch for all!

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3 IDIOTS

A perfect amalgamation of humour and emotional quotients in the right proportion, this 2009 film is a landmark of Indian Cinema. Through ridiculous situations, the film explores the overarching awkwardness and reality of our educational system and college life. The film screams the moral: “We study to learn and not to come first in the class.” Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel ‘5 Point Someone’ makes the leap to the big screen in this comedy about three engineering students whose friendship stands the test of time. The film has turned into a laugh-riot and tear-jerker at the same time. Aamir was brilliant in most of the scenes; Madhavan and Sharman were equally good. Omi Vaidya’s portrayal of Chatur a.k.a. Silencer the ‘rattu popat’ draws much attention and is a surprise package in the film, who enacts the highly-competitive, Hindi-learning student who can make a Parrot ashamed with his ability to mug up. Rajkumar Hirani’s direction is flawless in terms of theme, plot, setting and casting, as each character justifies his/her role to the hilt. The movie was an excellent piece of cinema and is one of the best films of the decade in Bollywood.

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Watching these films will add a layer of sentimentality, making you care about your future and your aims in life. Expecting plenty more of great coming of age movies to hit the big screen in the coming years. Go for the list, you won’t be disappointed.

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