5 Hindi films to watch for quintessential Kolkata vibes
Featuring yellow taxis and trams to Victoria Memorial, Kolkata is referred to as a city stuck in its past. Often compared to London for its structure, architecture, and transportation, Kolkata was the second capital of the British Empire. Hindi films always stereotyped Kolkata to only white-red border saris and Durga Pujo. However, these films reinvented the city on celluloid in the last two decades.
A mystery thriller with Vidya Balan's character based on the theme of Ma Durga, the Sujoy Ghosh directorial explores a range of places in Kolkata. From the unseen shabby alleys and dockyards to restaurants like Mogambo, it encapsulates the perfect essence of Kolkata. The last sequence of Balan walking during Sindoor Khela will give make you say, "Kolkata dekho toh baaki duniya bekaar hai."
The reinvention of megastar Amitabh Bachchan started when he successfully shed the "angry young man" image and donned some spectacular characters. Shoojit Sircar's road film, Piku—dealing with an eccentric father-daughter duo—is a perfect example. The story around constipation and Bachchan's on-point "Bangaliana" steals the show. Bachchan cycling through various parts of Kolkata with Anupam Roy's soulful music in the background is a visual treat.
This love triangle story is considered an Anurag Basu classic, as Indians aren't usually exposed to such romantic slapstick comedy films with a silent-era charm. Be it the somber tram interiors or the unique Howrah Bridge angle, the Ranbir Kapoor-Priyanka Chopra-Ileana D'Cruz starrer is a visual poetry. The phuchka scene with the trio is one of the most poetic scenes you will ever watch.
Pradeep Sarkar's adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's classic novel might be condemned by today's woke millennials, but the old-world charm accompanied by Shantanu Moitra's music would definitely make you fall in love with Kolkata. Locations like Prinsep Ghat, palatial mansions, and St. John's Church exude the East-West blend at its best. The intricate costume details and grand set designs will also make you drool.
'Meri Pyaari Bindu' (2017)
One of the underrated films of Ayushmann Khurrana, this romantic drama set in Kolkata works on nostalgia. The on-screen chemistry of Khurrana and Parineeti Chopra has the typical Kolkata romance with a subplot on the Mohun Bagan-East Bengal derby. The veteran supporting actors of the Bengali film industry and their impeccable comic timing is the icing on the cake.