Valentine's Day is here and so are the daily ads asking you to buy a gift for your partner and recommending you to take a step back and travel with them to a new destination. The social media is swarming with Valentine's Week celebrations (and memes) – while all you want to do is settle on your couch and binge on a good film – with yourself, a partner, a friend or just family. You may or may not be a believer of the day, but who minds watching a film, as long as it suits your mood?
And so, here's a list of contextual watches that you can easily fall back to. Worry not, there's something (hopefully) there that'll fit your mood too.
We all know that one person who lives and breathes romantic movies. They enter a room with a filmy dialogue, expect the wind to blow their hair while coming across a potential date, and anticipate their foot popping up while having their first kiss. Imtiaz Ali's debut romance, Socha Na Tha, is a good choice for those who seek the role of destiny in love, and believe in the concept of soulmates. Viren (Abhay Deol) and Aditi (Ayesha Takia) are young, a tad clueless and have no intentions of being with each other. What starts as an instant connection and friendship soon turns into a romance that none of them had seen coming. They are forced to make hard choices, introspect and become the people they were always meant to be.
Other recommendations: Hasee Toh Phasee, Before Sunrise, OK Kanmani.
For those on the lookout for a light, breezy, fun watch, what better than a good ol' romantic comedy to add some merriment to your Valentine's Day celebrations? '90s kids would even vouch for a Shah Rukh Khan film if the genre had anything to do with romance. And comedy was one genre both Khan and co-actor Juhi Chawla excelled at. Starring as two ambitious, lovable people seeking the best for their careers, they initially seem too similar to be on the same boat – or have a romantic track. As the story progresses, however, their comfortable chemistry magnifies, their sense of humor sparkles and we realize that you need not be polar opposites to attract. Similar people often make the most fun couples too.
Other recommendations: Band Baaja Baaraat, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, Ohm Shanthi Oshana.
Sometimes, falling in love can make you want to become a better person. In several coming-of-age romances, you see people finding themselves on their journey of finding love. Ayan Mukerji's Wake Up Sid belongs to that category of cinema. It's endearing, hopeful, and changes both Sid (Ranbir Kapoor) and Aisha (Konkona Sensharma) for the better. On the outset, while it may look like more of a transformation for Sid, who comes into his own, learning to cook, clean and become more at peace with himself, Aisha transforms too, internally, understanding what she wants better and learning to stand up for her beliefs, even if they went against conventions.
Other recommendations: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, 10 Things I Hate About You, C/o Kancharapalem.
Can we have a show of hands from all those who continue to cry for Aman Mathur? For people who love bittersweet cinema that gives you closure and yet makes you cry your heart out, Nikkhil Advani's romantic drama makes for a solid revisit this Valentine's Day. Of course, there are portions in the film that haven't aged well at all (Sweetu deserved better), but the core love story of the three central characters and just the inherent niceness that Aman (Shah Rukh Khan) oozes, is sometimes enough to make you want to live in the moment and enjoy a film that celebrates friendships that turn into love, and love that leaves lasting imprint of fond friendships.
Other recommendations: Laila Majnu, The Potrait Of A Lady On Fire, 96.
Not everyone is a hardcore fan of romantic cinema. A thriller, on the other hand, is one genre that people can seldom get enough of – irrespective of generational gaps. So, on Valentine's Day, isn't it apt to combine both genres and watch something that goes with the day and leaves you on the edges of your seats too? In Hindi cinema, Abbas Mustan were the uncrowned kings of the genre for several years – their plot points and twists now becoming a part of massy cinema's folkore. One such film was Humraaz, starring Bobby Deol, Ameesha Patel and Akshaye Khanna, that goes beyond a typical love triangle, becoming more of a game of who-cons-who-faster. It's fun, entertaining, engaging and watching it in 2022, it can even leave you unintentionally in splits. A win win, indeed.
Other recommendations: Mayaanadhi, Ghost, Gupt. Or any Abbas Mustan film, really.
Can Sunil (Shah Rukh Khan) officially be made the brand ambassador of the broken-hearted, please? A flawed but immensely talented person who's hopelessly in love with someone for as long as he knows, he embodies a realistic but rare mixture of vulnerability and resoluteness that a human being brings within once they accept their heartbreak. Initially, he displays a possessive, manipulative streak, but as he grows, a very human and relatable Sunil develops into a person who went beyond his broken-heartedness. He refused to be defined by it, and remained his hopeful self instead of becoming bitter. His character becomes that comforting cookie that many need when things aren't looking up, assuring us that things will be alright; that heartbreaks, just like love, are a part of life.
Other recommendations: Lootera, La La Land, Premam.
Self love is true love. You can never go wrong with it. For the ones looking for a morale booster this Valentine's Day, and in need of something that empowers and enables the light in you, Queen works like a charm. It's about falling in love with oneself and giving that self a real shot at life – something that each one of us rightfully deserves. When Rani (Kangana Ranaut) gets ditched right before her wedding, she is left picking up the pieces of all her post-wedding desires. It's only when she travels solo on what was supposed to be her honeymoon trip does she realize the red flags in her ex-fiance's behavior, the misogyny hidden in his honey-laced words, and her conditioning that normalized every unjust 'adjustment' she had undergone in the name of marriage. Slowly and steadily, she becomes her own person and learns to genuinely value herself and her existence. Her independence – from her life and baggage back home – gives her the freedom to come out of her shell, and love herself the way she hoped to be loved.
Other recommendations: English Vinglish, Legally Blonde, Bulbul Can Sing, The Great Indian Kitchen.
If you're in the mood of having some much-needed bonding time with your best friends, or even family for that matter, the Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer is both enjoyable and makes you ponder. Sense of humour intact, it subtly points towards the repercussions a child faces when they go through immense parental pressure and the difficulty even a relatively well-educated, modern man has in the face of a rejection. It talks about creating and maintaining boundaries and the beauty of a love story that can very well conclude in healthy friendships.
Other recommendations: Dil Chahta Hai, 27 Dresses, Kumbalangi Nights.
There is always a group of people in any circle who aren't exactly into love stories. They don't mind romances, but love a more plotted, deeper introspection of human emotions. The Neeraj Ghaywan short provides just that. It is about love, of course, but the emotion is only a layer in the larger scheme of events. Bharti Mondal (Konkona Sensharma) and Priya Sharma's (Aditi Rao Hydari) is not your simple romance. It rather deals with human complexities in a way Hindi films rarely have touched upon. Exploring themes of marginalization, casteism and othering, the film narrates the story of a Dalit, queer woman who is forced to manipulate her way to where she wants to be. And ultimately, the results are empowering.
Other recommendations: Life… In A Metro, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Super Deluxe, Aamis.
Not interested in Valentine's Day or any kind of romantic genre at all? No worries. The unique world of Go Goa Gone will take you to a completely different territory – far, far away from anything that has to do with the day. It's quintessential Raj and DK – hilarious, thrilling and supremely engaging. The plot, characterizations – and the zombies – keep you on your toes, as the main characters attempt to escape a land infested with the creatures. This results in obvious madcap chaos, an epic background music and supremely funny moments, led by Saif Ali Khan's Russian-Delhiite Bosco.
Other recommendations: Vikram Vedha, Kahaani, Black Swan, Titane.