Sometimes, all you need is a generous dose of laughter – especially in troubled times like now. And so, whenever you feel the need to destress, and switch on the good ol’ Netflix with a bowl of popcorn, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a comprehensive list of comedies – films and web-series included – you can fall back on, across languages.
The Anees Bazmee madcap, starring Akshay Kumar, follows a series of hilarious events as Uday (Nana Patekar), a don, along with his brother Majnu (Anil Kapoor), takes it upon himself to find the most well-suited, gentlemanly groom for his sister.
Sudani From Nigeria (Malayalam)
Starring Soubin Shahir as Majeed, this is a beautiful film tracing the journey of a local football manager’s bond with an African player he has recruited. As the latter gets injured, Majeed offers him a place to stay, and forms a friendship that goes beyond language barriers.
The political satire, directed by Larry Charles, is nothing short of a laughathon. Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) is a sexist, man-child of a dictator in a North African nation called Wadiya. When he travels to New York for an address at the United Nations Security Council, he ends up getting kidnapped by a hitman hired by his uncle. He is then replaced by a lookalike, in a bid to democratize the country while he is away.
This 2011 film was one of Hindi cinema’s first Hinglish comedies and has stood the test of time. Tashi (Imran Khan), Nitin (Kunaal Roy Kapoor) and Arup (Vir Das) are roommates who accidentally end up with a gangster’s diamonds. The gangster in question is none other than Vijay Raaz, who gives one of his best performances as Somayajulu.
Kim’s Convenience (series)
This series is a humorous, heartfelt story of a Korean-Canadian family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. The family of four learn and unlearn concepts of familial bonds, generation gaps, new relationships and old friendships as they adapt to a constantly evolving world. P.S. It’s hilarious to see how similar the dynamics of any Asian family can be.
Andaz Apna Apna
This 90s laugh-a-minute classic never gets old. As two broke daydreamers, Amar (Aamir Khan) and Prem (Salman Khan), compete with one another to woo a rich, beautiful heiress, they find themselves in the middle of gangster Teja’s (Paresh Rawal) ploy to steal her wealth.
Njan Prakashan (Malayalam)
A forever-procrastinating Prakshan (Fahadh Faasil), a qualified nurse, dreams of a glorious life abroad without having to work in what he feels is a thankless job. He goes on hatch a full-length plan of finding a well-to-do spouse living abroad, guaranteeing him a visa. However, when do things ever go as planned?
Schitt’s Creek (series)
Easily one of the funniest and most inclusive series in a long time, Schitt’s Creek is a must-watch for anyone looking for comfort binge. A dysfunctional, bankrupt family is forced to live frugally in a non-functional motel in a town called Schitt’s Creek that they once ‘bought as a joke’. In the process of rebuilding their lives from scratch, they learn to love themselves as well as each other.
My Best Friend’s Wedding
In this P.J. Hogan classic, Julianne (Julia Roberts) is overcome with emotions when she realizes that she is in love with her long-time best friend, after he announces his wedding. She then is left with all but four days to woo him and proclaim her love. Watch it for its refreshingly non-mainstream ending, it’ll stay with you.
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa
Directed by Kundan Shah, this is one of the most endearing coming-of-age films starring Shah Rukh Khan. Sunil (Khan) is a flawed but loving, stopping at nothing to woo Anna, the love of his life. He’s not your quintessential hero who keeps hitting the jackpot. He fails, and fails again, only to carry on, only to keep hoping.
The Good Place (series)
The American fantasy comedy explores the concept of the afterlife with a sharp sense of humor. Kristen Bell stars as Eleanor, a deceased woman who has led an amoral life, but ends up in what seems like heaven. Realising it as a case of mistaken identity, she does whatever it takes to hide her past and find a place in… the good place.
The film, directed by Todd Phillips, created by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, follows a hilarious group of friends who, after a drunken night at a bachelor party in Las Vegas, wake up with no memory of what happened the previous night. To add on to their woes, the to-be groom goes missing. Oh, and there’s a tiger… and a baby too.
The Death of Stalin
The hard-hitting dark comedy, directed by Armando Iannucci, revolves around the aftermath of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s death, and the frantic power struggle that follows to replace him.
The life of a Dalit hairstylist takes a complete U-turn as his becomes the deciding vote in an election where the opposing political parties are headed by two half-brothers. Directed by Madonne Ashwin, Mandela is a smartly-executed satire that presents a hard-hitting commentary on casteism and othering that continues to prevail in India.
Crazy, Stupid, Love
The rom-com, starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, is yet another classic. When a middle-aged Carl, on the brink of a heartbreaking separation with his wife, starts taking dating advice from a popular ‘ladies’ man’ Jacob, little does he know that the latter is here to stay in his life.
A one-of-its-kind Hindi horror-comedy, this Amar Kaushik film revolves around a small town haunted by Stree, a female spirit that attacks and kidnaps men at night during the festive season, leaving only their clothes behind. Presenting an alternate reality where men are constantly told what to wear and when to go out, Stree not only makes you laugh, but think too.
Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!
Dibakar Banerjee’s charming, National-award winning film is so Dilli that even people living away from the city would love it. Lucky (Abhay Deol) is smart, and he knows it – well enough to use it to go from a small-time thief (who steals for fun) to a big-time criminal.
Harishchandrachi Factory (Marathi)
The film, written and directed by Paresh Mokashi, is a poignant and witty tribute to Dadasaheb Phalke, and what went into the making of India’s first feature-length silent film, Raja Harishchandra.
Sex Education (series)
What happens when a teenager, whose mother is a successful sex therapist, starts running a sex-therapy clinic of his own in his school? The series, created by Laurie Nunn, is packed with deep revelations, profound realizations, and a sublime understanding of sexuality and identity. All this, with a sense of humour that leaves you with a grin.
Always Be My Maybe
The 2019 rom-com, directed by Nahnatchka Khan, centres on childhood sweethearts Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park), who reconnect after breaking up 15 years ago. Sparks fly again, and they find comfort in the presence of each other. The glitch? Right before Marcus is about to lay his heart open, Sasha meets a stunning… Keanu Reeves!
Bablu and Mannu (Shah Rukh Khan) are doppelgangers who are poles apart (and no, they aren’t related). While one is an innocent and naïve chef, the other is a cunning criminal, trying to escape the police. When they learn of each other’s existence – and are pushed to exchange lives – it’s safe to say that all hell breaks loose.
After a Chinese Consul’s daughter gets kidnapped, an honest Hong Kong inspector is forced to team up with an eccentric LAPD detective. Starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, this action comedy is directed by Brett Ratner.
Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (Telugu)
Directed by Trivikram Srinivas, this action comedy stars Allu Arjun and Pooja Hegde in the lead. Two babies, born on the same day, are switched at birth. One of them, Bantu (Arjun) is constantly subjected to his father’s wrath, who discourages him to pursue further studies. When he discovers the truth of his birth, he decides to win his real family’s heart.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (series)
The series follows the lives of Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Sandberg) and his lovable, diverse team of colleagues as they solve crimes across Brooklyn.
Between Two Ferns: The Movie
Directed by Scott Aukerman, the 2019 film is a spin-off of the web-series of the same name. Zach Galifianakis, after becoming a viral sensation – and a laughing stock – on the internet, takes charge to reclaim his reputation as a talk show host by completing a set of high-profile celebrity interviews.
This coming-of-age comedy drama is comforting, as well as inspiring. A devastated Rani (Kangana Ranaut) decides to go on her honeymoon all by herself after her fiancé breaks their engagement a day before their wedding. As she stumbles upon new friendships and unexpected experiences, she not only realises her self-worth, but also finds her way to valuing independence.
How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days
Starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, this film is about two extremely similar, ambitious and competitive people who meet each other hoping to fulfil their own set of goals, but end up falling in love.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
This cleverly-written rom-com, directed by Sharon Maguire, tracks Bridget Jones’ (Renée Zellweger) year of adventures and misadventures as she resolves to get her life in order, start a diary, become fitter, and find her Mr. Right.
Tanu Weds Manu
In a classic opposites attract love story, Manoj Sharma aka Manu (R Madhavan), a calm and composed NRI living in London, returns to India in search of a suitable bride. Along the way, he meets a feisty and eccentric Tanuja (Tanu), and ends up falling head over heels in love with her. The hitch? Tanu already has a boyfriend she plans to elope with.
Jab We Met
Who doesn’t love this Imtiaz Ali rollercoaster? An effervescent and optimistic Geet (Kareena Kapoor) meets a morose and pessimistic Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) in a train, and changes his life. She wants to run away and get married, while he… just wants to run away. They strike an unlikely friendship, Aditya falls in love, Geet does run away, and the rest, as they say, is history.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
When Toula (Nia Vardalos) meets Ian (John Corbett), she instantly feels butterflies. As their relationship progresses, and Ian proposes, Toula must convince her traditional Greek family to open their arms to the love of her life – also, the only non-Greek, vegetarian man in her family.
Jane The Virgin (series)
Starring the immensely-talented Gina Rodriguez, the series revolves around Jane, who gets artificially inseminated by mistake, leading to a series of events she never signed up for.
Hunny (Pulkit Samrat), Choocha (Varun Sharma), Lali (Manjot Singh) and Zafar (Ali Fazal) plan to make a quick buck to ensure a better future, getting affiliated with a local gangster, Bholi Punjaban (Richa Chaddha). What follows is a two-hour long laugh riot.
Who says weddings are all fun? After Annie’s (Kristen Wig) best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged, she asks her to be her maid of honour. Annie, a pastry chef currently out of work and broke, says yes, but is overwhelmed by the tasks at hand. To add on to her misery, Helen (Rose Byrne), a bridesmaid, indulges in some not-so-healthy competition with her after getting jealous of her friendship with the bride.
Derry Girls (series)
Set amidst the political conflict of Northern Ireland in the 1990s, the critically-acclaimed sitcom navigates the lives of high-school student Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) and her friends, who are, at the end of the day, teenagers.
Hasee Toh Phasee
Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra) is set to get married to his girlfriend of seven years, Karishma, but finds himself constantly getting pressurized to become a successful businessman. Meeta (Parineeti Chopra), Karishma’s estranged sister, is under pressure too – she is a prodigal scientist but needs funding. When the two meet, and subsequently find solace in one another, they realize that sometimes, love happens when you’re not even looking.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
As the name suggests, the film, starring the amazing Steve Carell, revolves around Andy, who despite his age, is yet to have sex. After his friends push him to start a relationship, he finds himself in a mess of awkward encounters before finally hitting it off with a local shop owner, Trish (Catherine Keener).
Munna Bhai MBBS
Rajkumar Hirani’s directorial debut, Munna Bhai MBBS traces the hilarious yet heart-warming journey of a local goon Munna (Sanjay Dutt), who wants to become a doctor – by hook or crook – to fulfil his father’s wishes. As he manages to enter medical college, he becomes a witness to the many sufferings of the patients around him. While studies aren’t his strong suit, compassion and jadoo ki jhappis become his style of treatment.
After Life (series)
Written, directed and acted by Ricky Gervais, this series tells a bittersweet tale of Tony, a man who was once surrounded by happiness and love, before losing the love of his life. The now pessimistic man, grieving and depressed, decides to cope by taking out his dejection on the people around him.
This Rajkumar Hirani film, starring Aamir Khan, R Madhavan and Sharman Joshi, revolves around three friends studying in a top engineering college, trying to work through the constant pressure of performing well. The film challenges the societal conditioning that decides a person’s worth by their paycheck. Even though the topic is hard-hitting, the treatment is humourous, managing to make the viewers laugh even while shedding a tear.