Hindi cinema needs more films to celebrate the Christmas holiday spirit

As we celebrate Christmas today, we look at Hindi cinema’s dismal record of capturing the holiday observed around the world.

Sonal Pandya

Christmas arrives at that time of year when you get together with friends and family to celebrate either in a religious or non-religious manner. Western cinema has hundreds of films revolving around the festival, from the comic (Home Alone, 1990) to the romantic (Love Actually, 2003) to the all-time classic (It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946). The end of the year is the perfect time to revisit them for that extra feeling of holiday cheer. Unfortunately, in Hindi cinema, those occasions are few and far between. There’s usually an occasional song ‘Aao Tumhen Chand Pe Le Jayen’ about Santa Claus and ‘Jingle Bells’ from Zakhmee (1975), but few films have made the holiday season an active part of their plot device like Hollywood films You’ve Got Mail (1998) or The Holiday (2006). Here are some Hindi films that did manage to include Christmas and New Year’s into their stories.

1. Khamoshi: The Musical (1996)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s directorial debut, set in Goa, follows the Braganza family, Joseph and Flavy. They are a deaf and mute couple who suffer a tragedy in life when their young son, Sam, passes away in an accident. Years later, their elder daughter Annie (Manisha Koirala) grows up to be a talented singer who falls in love with Raj (Salman Khan) who encourages her dreams. The film has a lovely sequence that takes place at Christmas, when Annie finally gets the piano she’s coveted all her life. The cheerful ‘Aaj Mein Upar’, written by Majrooh Sultanpuri and composed by Jatin-Lalit, is picturised on Koirala as she celebrates with her house done up with Christmas decorations and a tree in the background. Raj makes a surprise appearance in the song to cheer up Annie.

2. Anjaana Anjaani (2010)

Director Siddharth Anand’s Anjaana Anjaani is situated at a fraught time of the year, the holidays, where the pressure to present your life as perfect as seems in pictures you put up on Facebook is high. Starring Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor, the film is a story of two strangers — Kiara and Akash who meet each other while they are trying to end their lives on a bridge. While they are saved on their first attempt, they still keep at it. Akash is unable to repay a loan of $12 million owing to a stock market crash, while Kiara finds out her fiancé has cheated on her. The two bond on their shared experiences and decide to help each other out, the biggest one being that they will end their lives on New Year’s Eve 2009. Akash and Kiara celebrate their last supposed 20 days with gusto.

3. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012)

The two protagonists of director Shakun Batra’s film, Rahul (Imran Khan) and Riana (Kareena Kapoor) find each other at the office of their shared psychologist in Las Vegas. After a misunderstanding, they meet up to clear the air at a bar on Christmas Eve. After a drink too many, they stumble upon a 24-hour chapel where they get married. The straight and narrow Rahul is currently unemployed, while the usually directionless Riana is a hair stylist who gets evicted from her home. While they agree their quickie marriage is a mistake, Rahul and Riana work on getting to know each other better. In a week’s time, from Christmas until New Year, from Vegas to Mumbai, they try to fix the major problems in their lives. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is an unusual love story where sometimes things do work out the way you want it to.


4. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)

The second film of director Ayan Mukerji, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, featured his Wake Up Sid (2009) actor Ranbir Kapoor with Deepika Padukone, Aditya Roy Kapur and Kalki Koechlin. Bunny aka Kabir (Kapoor), Avi (Kapur) and Aditi (Koechlin) are closeknit group of friends. Naina (Padukone), a studious member of their class, happens to join them for a trekking trip to Manali. Bunny and Naina are at two different stages of their lives — he loves travelling the world as a videographer, while Naina is a doctor at a clinic. The romance showcases how the two finally reconnect eight years later at Aditi’s destination wedding in Udaipur. The film’s finale is set on New Year’s Eve where the contrasting couple finally arrive at a decision about committing to love.

5. Happy New Year (2014)

In an homage to Hollywood heist films like Ocean’s Eleven (2001), director Farah Khan bases Happy New Year at the grand Atlantis Hotel in Dubai. Charlie (Shah Rukh Khan) and his ragtag crew hope to infiltrate the hotel as a dance group and get away with a diamond heist worth millions. The revenge saga is set at one of the busiest seasons for a hotel, Christmastime, and is topped off by the fact that the hotel will host the World Dance Championships. While participating in the global contest, Charlie and his gang with pull off one of the biggest thefts in the world. There was a whole lot going on in Happy New Year — from meta references to lively choreographed numbers, but the film also worked as a tourism ad for Dubai, allowing viewers a closer look at its holiday festivities and famous firework displays on New Year’s Eve.