Everybody watches movies. We fall in love with some characters. We begin to loathe the others. Sometimes, we love and hate the same person. But what makes us associate with a character? When the test of time comes, what do they do?
I think the answer lies in their story, their character arc. When the characters grow, and we see the stark change oozing out from their eyes, a transformation from their former undeveloped self, we develop strong emotions for them. These stories of change and coming of age have given us some really unforgettable characters and films like the following. These are some movies you must watch if you haven’t already.
1. Wake Up Sid
Siddharth Mehra is a ‘typical’ rich and spoilt brat from Mumbai who is clueless about career and life after college. He has a creative flair for photography and is dependent on his father’s wealth. He meets Aisha Bannerjee, a budding and ambitious writer, at his college’s farewell party. He helps Aisha in opening up with the city and setting up her new apartment. Following a brawl with his father, Sid moves out of his house to live with Aisha temporarily. However, his laid-back demeanor and lack of seriousness in life become problematic to Aisha after a few days. She even considers him a ‘kid’ for his easy-going approach to life. Does Sid wake up and ever begin to take life seriously?
Rani is a gullible, vulnerable, and innocent Punjabi girl from Delhi. Vijay, her fiancé, dumps her a day before their wedding. Devastated, she decides to go on her honeymoon all by herself. For the first time in her life, Rani is alone, that too, in a foreign continent. Her adventurous trip is a compelling journey to striking independence, empowering growth, and coming of age. A conservative Rani finds inner strength, self-confidence, and true happiness on her honeymoon with herself. The movie debunks the age-old belief that a woman needs a man to complete her life. No, she doesn’t. She is wholesome regardless of the fact whether she has a man by her side or not. Watch the trailer here.
Karan Shergill has no real goal in life in contrast with his ambitious girlfriend, Romila Dutta. He lives an affluent lifestyle at his parent’s house. He does not have any inkling about what he should do in life. Karan casually fills up an examination form to join the Indian army with his friend. Eventually, he gets selected into the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun. Karan’s family is unsupportive of this decision, while his girlfriend motivates him to chase his passions. However, he is unaccustomed to a life of discipline. Unable to handle the pressure, he runs away from the training center only to meet his disappointed family and find Romi breaking up with him. Shattered, Karan decides to resume his training at the center and change his life forever.
4. Dear Zindagi
Kaira is a confident and ambitious budding cinematographer who finds it hard to navigate life seamlessly. The burden of strained relationships and the uncertainty of her career weighs heavily upon her. When her landlord ousts her from the apartment, she grudgingly decided to shift to Goa to live with her family. Overwhelmed by sleepless nights, pent-up unresolved emotions, and overall dissatisfaction with herself, she decides to consult psychologist Dr. Jehangir Khan who beautifully changes her life. This movie is grounded in our everyday realities. It deals with ‘our issues’ and offers a perspective on the same. This film is, undeniably, a must-watch. More so, because it’s on us!
5. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
Love blooms when scholar and introvert Naina meets free-spirited, former classmate and backbencher Kabir and his group of friends on a hiking trip. Kabir is passionate about traveling. He takes up a course in Chicago to follow his dreams, leaving his family and friends behind. He fails to keep in touch with them. Years later, Kabir and Naina reunite for their friends’ wedding when they rediscover old feelings for each other. Would Kabir forget his family and friends, once again, in his bid to chase his ambitions?
6. Gully Boy
Murad Ahmed is passionate about rapping. He writes compelling raps basis his observation of the loopholes in society. He lives in a Mumbai slum with an abusive father who constantly berates Murad and his mother. He is also in a serious relationship with Safeena who is very possessive of him. He is forced to take up a job as a driver when his passion for rapping overpowers his helplessness. He chases his dreams, forms friendship with a local rapper, and uploads a video on YouTube that draws attention. His story is inspiring because he rises from the ashes with an indomitable spirit and carves a name for himself. What’s best about this film is that it is based on the real-life journeys of popular rappers Divine and Naezy.
7. Rang De Basanti
The lives of a group of free-spirited youngsters from Delhi University change forever when they become actors in a film on revolutionary freedom fighters. The cruel British regime of the past comes to mirror the present in the form of a corrupted bureaucracy. They realize the potential of their voices as youth and call out for change. This movie is timeless. It is inspiring. It is the one that prompts you to be the change if you seek one.
The free-spirited nature of Ved is weighed down by social conventions. Now, he is a slave to his monotonous routine and a boring job which has diminished the creative spark inherent in him. Ved is distraught without actually realizing that he is. When he reunites with Tara whom he met on a holiday vacation in Corsica years ago, she sees through this difference in his personality. When their relationship fails, Ved is triggered into realizing what has gone wrong with him. This film is a moving and atypical story about Ved who reclaims life and his colorful personality, which was snatched away by societal expectations.
The dreams of a seventeen-year-old passionate writer are repressed at the hands of his violent father who forces him to work at a factory. Udaan is filled with heart rendering scenes reflecting the suppressed and miserable treatment Rohan and his younger brother were subjected to. Rohan reclaims his life and flees away from the strangling chains of his father to chase his passion and carve a life for himself and his younger brother in Mumbai.
10. 3 Idiots
Chase excellence, success will follow you automatically. When three youngsters from different walks of life enroll at the top engineering college, their lives become a rollercoaster ride. The central message of this movie seems to be that our lives should not be decided by our parents. We are never going to be good somewhere if our passion lies elsewhere. This movie also reflects the enormous pressures that the Indian Education System entails. Even today, we are told what we are supposed to do. Creative fields are not acknowledged, and we are made to prescribe to a stereotyped pathway for our careers. Watch the trailer here.
So, which one are you watching?