Have you been scrolling through Twitter news feed every ten minutes? Or is Instagram telling you way too often you are all caught up? Is social distancing, and constantly reading about increasing the number of detected cases and death toll of COVID-19 giving you anxiety? Then you are not alone. Working from home, this is what my day looks like: I wake up and check the latest info on coronavirus the first thing. I read the newspaper (which has been discontinued today onwards in the household as a part of the social distancing exercise) over my morning breakfast, with pages after pages of news on, yes, you guessed it, coronavirus. Then I sit down to work and it is a perennial struggle to resist the temptation to check my phone on what all has changed amidst this pandemic in the last ten minutes. This constant checking and scrolling goes on through meals, playtime with the kid, cooking, other household chores and I am pretty sure my right-hand index finger keeps scrolling through the night time air, long after I fall asleep.
To beat this coronavirus induced restlessness and anxiety, I have taken to watching feel-good Hindi films now. These are not out and out comedy films, or those laden with a strong social message, but just films that don’t need much brainpower to process and make you fuzzy- albeit temporarily, thus helping you beat the stress from which there seems to be no escape these days. So here’s my list of feel-good films that you can watch while social-distancing to get on a happy vibe.
1. Good Newwz: Let’s start with the latest one. This Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan starrer is about fertility clinic mix-up and if you manage to look beyond its controversial stand on adoption and fart jokes, it is a light-hearted watch. Easy on the brain, Good Newwz also packs in a message on how it is women’s choice, whether they want to work during pregnancy or not, but none of it becomes preachy or heavy. Watch it for the laughs and the slick brand Dharma production values.
2. Badhaai Ho: While we are on the subject of pregnancy, this 2018 film, is a light comedy that is powered by strong performances from actors like Surekha Sikri, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana and good subject. Since we are all living in close quarters with our families 24 by 7 these days, the daily spats in Kaushik household are so relatable. But what wins over the heart is the chemistry between Gupta and Rao, a middle-aged couple who gets pregnant, but has each other’s back despite being shamed by their family and near ones.
3. Qarib Qarib Singlle: I was so looking forward to Angrezi Medium, whose release has been unfortunately marred by the coronavirus outbreak in India, as it marked Irrfan Khan’s return to the big screen after a hiatus due to health reasons. But safety first, and while one cannot catch Irrfan on the big screen, this film by Tanuja Chandra, in which he stars alongside Parvathy Thiruvothu showcases the actor at his funniest. There is an ease in Irrfan’s mannerism that he brings to Yogi, which Parvathy compliments with her constantly wound up Jaya, giving us a rom-com cum road movie, which in my opinion is quite underrated.
Easy on the brain, Good Newwz also packs in a message on how it is women’s choice, whether they want to work during pregnancy or not, but none of it becomes preachy or heavy
4. Bareilly Ki Barfi: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s sweet ode to the small town rebel girls is memorable not just for its strong ensemble cast (Pankaj Tripathi, Seema Pahwa, Rajkummar Rao, Kriti Sanon and Ayushmann Khurrana) but for its lovely music too. This film will remind you of all things sweet about growing up in a small town; the bookstall on a railway station, a greasy spoon selling chow mein or serving sweet corn soup in their trademark white plastic bowls, winters spent eating mungfali in the afternoon and malpua at night. Bareilly Ki Barfi is simplistic when it comes to the plot, but there is so much nostalgia and fun-packed in that you invest in the ride effortlessly.
5. Socha Na Tha: So I picked this one over the other Imtiaz Ali feel-good film Jab We Met, because I think we do not talk enough about this Ayesha Takia and Abhay Deol starrer. This 2005 film in a way set the template for numerous films in the new millennium that touched on the subject of commitment issues and lack of clarity. Aditi and Viren are well-off urban youngsters, infected by the very millennial problem that is the inability to make up one’s mind. For someone who had just hit her twenties when this film came out, Socha Na Tha is relatable on many levels. Curiously though, the film doesn’t feel outdated on re-viewing after so many years. Wonder what that says about the like of me who love this film.
Speaking of born with a silver spoon, do you think star kids do get preferential treatment in the industry? Is every star kid undeserving of the hype created around them? Here’s our video on how Sara Ali Khan may be different though.
6. Wake Up Sid: So this is the coming age film of all times for me. The transformation of carefree Sid from an entitled but absolutely lovable college kid to a man who discovers his passion and purpose in life may seem too easy to many, who grew up on the 80s and 90s brand of masala films, where the ‘hero’ built his life with a lot of sweat and little blood (from bashing up the bad guys). Directed by Ayan Mukerji, Wake Up Sid is both breezy and sincere at the same time and somehow that just works. We have Sid who is purposeless, and then we have Aisha (who is older than him, mind you) who has so much clarity that it rubs off on Sid. Armed with a beautiful score by Amit Trivedi and its love for the city of Mumbai this is a perfect film to watch in seclusion, once the rest of your tribe is off to sleep and you can cherish some solace. Although it may goad you into catching up digitally with your long lost buddies, and that’s not a bad thing.
Wake Up Sid is both breezy and sincere at the same time and somehow that just works. We have Sid who is purposeless, and then we have Aisha (who is older than him, mind you) who has so much clarity that it rubs off on Sid.
7. Do Dooni Chaar: The Duggals dream of owning a car. But for a middle-class Delhi family, where the father is a school teacher and mom a housewife, and both the kids are completing their education, even the dream of buying a car is a luxury that Duggals can barely afford. But Mr. Duggal’s resolve to buy a car for the family come what may, sets us up for a laugh riot all the while offering a sharp commentary on what a thankless job teaching is in India. It is a treat to watch Rishi and Neetu Kapoor play a middle-class couple struggling to keep things afloat on a tight budget in this 2010 film by Habib Faisal.
8. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu: Before he made the cult favourite Kapoor And Sons, director Shakun Batra gave us this peppy and sleek romantic comedy starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and Imran Khan. Spun from the familiar yarn of people with two contrasting personalities ending up together under circumstances, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu ads a refreshing twist to what we have grown to identify as a “happy ending”. Here’s another memorable score by composer Amit Trivedi, and songs like Gubbare and Kar Chalna Shuru Tu will uplift your mood in an instant.
9. Dum Laga Ke Haisha: Raise your hands if you are a 90s kid and if even the mention of Kumar Sanu or audio cassettes triggers happy memories. A film with small-town-in-90s setting, Dum Laga Ke Haisha sends a strong message about acceptance, self-love and notions of beauty. In Sandhya (then debutant Bhumi Pednekar) and Prem (Khurrana) we have an everyday couple who is far from being glamourous and riddled with complexes. How the two learn to love each other and themselves forms the very crux of this lovely film that may not be an epic saga of romance, but closer to reality than most Bollywood love stories are.
10. Piku: What better way to end this listicle with a film about loving your aging parents, fussing over them and their eccentricities. Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan as the irritable and temperamental Bengali daughter and father are simply endearing to watch. Add to that Irrfan Khan’s chemistry with the both of them one on one. While his relationship with Bhaskar is temperamental, the bond Rana and Piku share is so sensuous. The two spent nearly half of the film sitting next to each, there is never a hint of any physical intimacy between them, and yet there is this palpable chemistry that winks at us through the course of the film.
The views expressed are the author’s own.