Mumbai, the city that never sleeps, also never stops entertaining you with its unique attractions, glamour, and glamour. Mumbai is known as the "city of dreams." As their backdrop, countless Bollywood movies over the years have written love letters to India's most famous cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
Bollywood has portrayed Mumbai in a variety of ways, sometimes romanticizing its slums, other times exalting its underworld, and still other times showing the gritty side of the predominately glitzy film business.
Here are five films from Bollywood that perfectly capture the essence of Mumbai's small lanes and heritages.
Wake Up Sid
We see Bombay through the eyes of Aisha Banerjee (Konkona Sen Sharma), an aspiring writer from Kolkata who relocates to the city of dreams to pursue her career, and Sid (Ranbir Kapoor), a young spoilt brat who is born and raised in the city, in the 2009 Hindi drama film Wake Up Sid, a coming-of-age story. We catch a glimpse of a young and optimistic Bombay from the first rains to Aisha enjoying tea at Marine Drive by the sea. After watching Sid and Aisha's friendship develop over the course of a stroll through the city's alleyways, the movie depicts a metropolis that you will fall in love with right away.
Where to watch: Netflix
Mumbai's two lifelines—the dabbawalas and the local trains—are beautifully portrayed in the movie The Lunchbox, starring Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur. The movie tells the tale of how a lovely and sincere friendship forms between the two when a lunchbox accidentally ends up with the incorrect person and how Khan discovers Shaikh (Nawazzuddin Siddiqui) among the villagers as a buddy and a protege.
Where to watch: Disney+ Hotstar
The Kiran Rao-directed movie Dhobi Ghat, which stars Aamir Khan, Kriti Malhotra, Prateik Babbar, and Monica Dogra, tells the tale of four people from very different backgrounds. One is a washerman who wants to be an actress; another is a banker who wants to be a photographer; a third is a painter; and the fourth is an immigrant who just got married. These four people are all tied by fate and the continual unpredictability of Mumbai. The city has a significant impact on how they live in this movie.
Where to watch: Netflix
The 2014 Hindi drama film City Lights, directed by Hansal Mehta and starring Rajkummar Rao and Patralekha, portrays the reality of the multitudes of visitors to Mumbai who travel there in the expectation of accomplishing something extraordinary and unforgettable but ultimately fall short of doing so. The movie depicts Mumbai through the eyes of a regular guy with enormous goals who is striving to get by in the big, glamorous city and its problems.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV
Salaam Bombay, a Mira Nair film, was unpolished and well ahead of its time. The movie depicts youngsters living on the streets of the city as well as the seedy alleys of Bombay's red-light district through the lanes of young Krishna, poetically referred to as Sola Saal, who was sold to a brothel. After Mother India, the national award-winning movie received its second Oscar nomination.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video