‘Coming of age’ themes in movies refer to plot ideas in which a character grows from childhood to adulthood through the passage of the film. It can also refer to movies in which the protagonist evolves and learns precious things about life, in the course of his or her experiences and interactions with other people or characters. Bollywood has been especially good with coming of age themes. Here is the list in no particular order –
- Rang De Basanti (2006) – This amazing drama film by Rakyesh Om Prakash Mehra is about four aimless youths who get their priority in order, when their life is struck by tragedy and a political cover-up. The movie starred Aamir Khan, Kunal Kapoor, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi and is considered a milestone in Bollywood film-making.
- Taare Zameen Par (2007) – The inspiring story of a dyslexic child who is misunderstood by everyone until the tutor Ram Shankar Nikhumb (played by Aamir Khan) comes to his rescue and helps the child’s parents understand the kid’s true potential, struck a raw chord in our hearts. Darsheel Safary played the little boy’s role. The movie was directed by Aamir Khan
- Queen (2014) – This truly liberating film celebrated the spirit of individuality. The heart-warming film with its humorous moments in place, is about the girl who is heartbroken when her dreams of marriage and honeymoon are shattered with her fiancé walking out on her. Nevertheless, she goes for her honeymoon all by herself, to Paris and Amsterdam, two places that have nothing in common with her. The movie was directed by Vikas Behl.
- Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992) – Even though, it was made a good 22 years ago, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar starring Aamir Khan and Ayesha Jhulka, is a movie that is vividly remembered and avidly watched even now. The Bollywood sports drama movie directed by Mansoor Khan is about a wayward brother of a college sports champion, who chips in for his star brother, after he suffers an accident.
- Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2012)- Probably, the best Bollywood movie on adventure travel, the film is also about soul searching of three men who are looking for something that seems to elude them. The three characters played by Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol discover their real selves apart from discovering fabulous sightings across Europe. The movie was directed By Zoya Akhtar, Farhan’s sister.
- Swades(2004) – Played brilliantly by Shah Rukh Khan, this nostalgic film takes you to home, if you are away from India. It is about an American settled Indian-born NASA scientist who comes to India for a vacation, bonds with the natives and then finds it achingly difficult to back to the US.
- Dil Chahta Hai (2001) – Probably, the most trend-setting movie in Bollywood, the movie is fresh as a hot-baked cake fresh out of even, in spite of having released 13 years ago. The movie starring Preity Zinta, Aamir Khan, Akshaye Khanna and Saif Ali Khan among others, celebrated friendship like never before. The movie was directed by Farhan Akhtar.
- Kuch Kuch Hota Hai(1998) – The frothy romance, which was also the debut direction of Karan Johar(1998) is the story of a tomboy Anjali(Kajol) who has a crush on Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan). But he is smitten on the hot babe Tina (Rani Mukherjee) who ends up marrying him. Rahul never knows that Anjali loved him. A series of unfortunate events happen and with passing time, Rahul walks up to a transformed Anjali.
- Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994) – This beautiful story is about a happy-go-lucky boy Sunil (Shah Rukh Khan) who is loved by everyone except his own father. He is a part of the music band group, and has a secret crush on Anna (Suchitra Krishnamoorthy). Sunil’s best friend Chris is everything Sunil is not – successful, affluent and a charmer. The story takes us through the metamorphosis of Sunil and his bitter-sweet struggles in ilfe.
- Raanjhanaa – This coming of age Bollywood film shows love in various shades – from obsessive to sacrificial. Village simpleton Kundan (Dhanush) is shocked to find out that his teenage romance with Zoya (Sonam Kapoor) is no longer a reality, because after years of college life in Delhi, his girlfriend announces that he is in love with another man. Though Kundan knows that due to their caste-difference, he would never be accepted in her family, he gives in to the girl’s wishes to marry another man, only to realize an ugly truth. In a moment of vengeance, he does a regretful thing; the only way he can seek redemption is by being a part of his girl’s mission in life. Raanjhanaa was directed by Kundan Shah and boasted of a terrifying performance by Dhanush and Zeeshan Ali.