Every kid wants to be an adult and most adults want to be kids again. One can say that it is the circle of life. The idea of living alone, earning for yourself, cooking what you eat, making life decisions and independence is one which every child loves to imagine for themselves.
There are certain movies that we grew up watching that shaped our aspirations and ideas of being an adult. Although far from the actual experience of adulthood, they have contributed to our expectations of it while growing up.
1. Wake Up Sid
Ayan Mukherji's successful directorial debut inspired a number of young people to aspire for a life in the city of dreams. Wake Up Sid is the coming-of-age story of an unmotivated, lost and bursting with creativity. It is also the story of every girl from a small city building a new and independent life, away from the comfort and shelter of her childhood home. Aisha inspired Sid and us to rely on our feet in the city that never sleeps. (But...Does Sid pay rent, though? How does she afford their living?)
This dialogue sums it up.
Who doesn't want to be the girl in a new city in a brightly painted apartment, working at a cool magazine and spending days with interesting neighbors and flat mates?
Kangana Ranaut's breakout role was a major success. The story of a meek, fearful and obedient Rani transforming into an independent, confident and self-respecting girl is an inspiring one. Rani gets dumped by the man who pursued her first, one day before their wedding, because she is not "modern" enough. He tries to curb her personality and change her to conform to his ideals.
The movie was inspiring to young girls who were not allowed to play outside their homes after 6pm, let alone travel without a man. In a country where men take it upon themselves to be "protectors" and women are described as "khuli tijori" if alone, Queen was refreshing. It made many dream of solo travelling, owning our sexualities and standing up against patriarchy as adult women.
3. Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na
Raise your hand if you thought that your college life, farewell and friendships would be like the ones shown in the movie! Yes, you're not alone. Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na was the perfect rom-com of its time. A number of us imagined college to be just as fun and a cute bestfriend serenading us when we are sad (Why is my name not Aditi?). The characters were hilarious, real and layered, their parents were incredibly cool and their bond was beautiful. All of us wanted lifelong friends like Jignesh and Rotlu.
On a less mainstream front, a lot of closeted LGBTQIA+ children picked up on Shaleen's character being queer-coded and wanted to be like her.
Where is our non-violent-but-violent-to-defend-us Jai Singh Rathore?
4. Dil Chahta Hai
One sentence: Impromptu Goa trip with your best friends where everybody's schedules and budgets align. Yep, that's the dream, and Dil Chahta Hai is the reason why.
An honest look at friendships, growing up, respect and love- this classic remains timeless for a reason. As children, we imagined ourselves in leather pants dancing to Koi Kahe with our friends (in hindsight, we'll pass on the pants) and going on a road trip with our best friends. The movie made adult friendships look freeing, fulfilling and familial.
5. 2 States
The movie made balancing love, family and education easy. Although, yes, it did show how sometimes love takes a backseat, how break ups suck and the importance of therapy. It made college seem way more fun and open than reality, especially one as rigorous as IIM.
Young viewers grew up imagining a college romance as whirlwind as the one in 2 States and the unrealistic ease of fixing and maneuvering relationships with toxic parents.
6. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
In recent years, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani has received some criticism for its homophobia and sexism (chashma out, beauty in? No, thanks). However, at the time of its release, the movie was extremely popular within young people for its characters, music and story.
It showed a beautiful story of everlasting friendships, world travel, love and family. You wanted to travel the world and see the beautiful places in exotic lands like Bunny, have friends and family as supportive as his, go on a trekking trip and be an independent woman like Naina as a child. Aditi's arc from being ignored and disrespected by her crush to finding herself, real friendship and a respectful man became the dream for many. Bunny became the staple "cool guy" and young boys aspired to be like him.
7. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Still secretly hoping for a road trip in Spain with our school bestfriends for a bachelors' trip. But teeno ka budget mila ke bhi itna nahi hai. The movie is a classic coming-of-age story of travelling, identity and friendships. Who did not dream of walking the streets of Costa Brava and sleeping under the stars on a first date? It gave travel and friendship goals, probably inspiring a lot of pacts among young audiences.
Akhtar siblings, first Goa, Spain and then a cruise, can you please stop giving us unrealistic travel goals?
Adulthood may have looked glamourous and aspirational as a child because none of these movies showed taxes, paying bills, 9-5 jobs and the pain of outgrowing friendships. Rani knows our actual mood towards adulthood as real adults:
Cheers to being an adult...Right?