I am thrilled to have Sona Charaipotra on my blog today! Her debut solo book Symptoms of a Heartbreak releases on July 2nd. It’s about a 16-year-old Indian-American teen who starts her residency at a prestigious teaching hospital right after medical school. This book is #OwnVoices and I’m so excited that Sona (and Saira) are giving us 8 Must-Watch Bollywood Movies! I can’t wait to sit down and watch them all!
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8 Must-Watch Bollywood Movies (And Where to Find Them), According to Saira Sehgal (and her Dad!) from Symptoms of a Heartbreak
In my new book, Symptoms of a Heartbreak, the main character, Saira Sehgal is a big Bollywood fan. It’s a love she’s cultivated with her father, who has schooled her in Indian movies from the time she was a small child, and one she shares with her BFF Vish, too. It’s something that has long connected me to and grounded me in Indian culture (and helped me learn and keep Hindi, to be honest), even though the movies can often be over-the-top and ridiculous (and so often problematic!). They can also be delightful.
Wondering where to start? I’ve got some awesome recommendations. And you’re in really good hands, because I am an expert. I have literally been a Bollywood fan since I was born, many years ago, and my taste is refined and well-versed. And heavy on the hot men, because Saira and Vish would have it no other way. (Read the book to learn more!)
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Amrish Puri
WHY: It’s a classic Bollywood hate-to-love story, and one of the first to feature a real glimpse into the lives of diaspora kids without being all terribly judgey about it. (Ahem, looking at you, Ah Ab Laut Chale.) Also: the music! And Kajol’s unibrow! True story: I was once chatting with my cousin Mona in Delhi, and she was like, “Sona, didn’t you used to have a unibrow?” And my sister was like, “No, that was Kajol.” I don’t really see the resemblance, and no, I never had an actual unibrow, okay? Bert brows, yes, unibrow, no.
Where: Amazon Prime (with Subtitles, free) or YouTube Rentals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbwjDTOvwG8
Starring: Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Anupam Kher
Why: There is so much that is problematic about this outrageous love triangle romance, and yet… Sridevi, in a double role, and the music. This movie has made me want to dance in the rain and in the desert, wearing a mirrorwork lehenga, since the time I was a small child. One day, I tell you. One day.
Where: Amazon Prime (free)
Karz (1980) (Please, only the classic! No remakes!)
Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Tina Munim, Simi Garewal
Why: Sadly, I was unable to find a proper subtitled version of the 1980 Karz, but it is a classic. Reincarnation, murder, treachery, and oh the rockstar antics. The music is decidedly memorable, and there are some iconic mom lines.
Where: YouTube (no subtitles, but free): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbnt7Gd3RaY
What: Om Shanti Om (2007)
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika, Arjun Rampal
Why: This is not quite a remake of the classic Karz, but rather an update and spin, and it stands on its own, but is awesome for viewing in tandem with the original. This is Deepika’s big break out role, and it’s a double role to boot! More reincarnation and murder, plus so much meta-Bollywood humor.
Where: Netflix, Amazon Prime (fee)
What: Jab We Met (2007)
Starring: Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor (no relation)
Why: Okay, so it doesn’t hurt that this road trip romance hit theaters around the time that my husband Navdeep and I were doing our backpacking honeymoon through India. (More on that at IshqInABackpack.com). But also: this features a feisty, non-nonsense Punjabi girl who’s decidedly smitten with herself, and that, in my humble opinion, is a kickass character. It’s also got some great music and amazing visuals of regional Indian communities. Plus a cute romance.
What: Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)
Starring: Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapoor
Why: A modern romance, bright, poppy, colorful and complex, with some kickass music (including one of the best Holi songs in recent memory), complicated relationships, and a smart, won’t-settle-for-less heroine in Deepika.
Where: Google Play (fee), YouTube Movies (fee)
What: Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (2019)
Starring: Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor (her dad!), Rajkummar Rao
Why: Okay, so the plot is a bit of a mess. But this 2019 drama is one of the first major Bollywood releases with big name actors to center an LGBTQIA+ relationship. It’s hardly perfect, but it’s a major stepping stone, and hopefully the first of many.
What: Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela
Starring: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Kapoor
Why: Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for making visually stunning movies that are usually a mess plot-wise and otherwise – though some of his stronger works are Devdas, Hum Dil De Chukhe Sanam, and Bajirao Mastani. This Romeo + Juliet riff (and I do mean the Baz Luhrmann version!) is perhaps his most watchable film, and 98 percent of that is because the crackling chemistry between Deepika Padikone and (her now-husband) Ranveer Kapoor. Be forewarned: there are a lot of bullets and bodies. (Plus, a spicy item number by Priyanka Chopra). But yep, chemistry.
Where: YouTube Movies (fee) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JU7ZRFSzO8s
About the Book
Symptoms of a Heartbreak
by Sona Charaipotra
The youngest doctor in America, an Indian-American teen makes her rounds―and falls head over heels―in the contemporary romantic comedy Symptoms of a Heartbreak.
Fresh from med school, sixteen-year-old medical prodigy Saira arrives for her first day at her new job: treating children with cancer. She’s always had to balance family and friendships with her celebrity as the Girl Genius―but she’s never had to prove herself to skeptical adult co-workers while adjusting to real life-and-death stakes. And working in the same hospital as her mother certainly isn’t making things any easier.
But life gets complicated when Saira finds herself falling in love with a patient: a cute teen boy who’s been diagnosed with cancer. And when
It turns out “heartbreak” is the one thing she still doesn’t know how to treat.
In her solo debut, Sona Charaipotra brings us a compelling #ownvoices protagonist who’s not afraid to chase what she wants. Symptoms of a Heartbreak goes from romantic comedy highs to tearjerker lows and is the ultimate cure-all for young adult readers needing an infusion of something heartfelt
About the Author
The author of the upcoming Symptoms of a Heartbreak, Sona Charaipotra is not a doctor — much to her pediatrician parents’ chagrin. They were really hoping she’d grow up to take over their practice one day. Instead, she became a writer, working first as a celebrity reporter at People (where she interviewed Neil Patrick Harris and asked him about his Doogie days) and (the dearly departed) TeenPeople magazines, and contributing to publications from the New York Times to TeenVogue. These days, she spends a lot of time poking plot holes in her favorite teen TV shows, like Riverdale — for work of course. She’s the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent, and the co-author of the YA dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things series and the forthcoming Rumor Game. She’s also a proud We Need Diverse Books team member.