Khaali Peeli starring Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday just released on 2 October and is currently available for streaming on Zee Plex! In case you haven’t watched it already, do so now because it’s a treat to watch, especially during such depressing times. The story is about two childhood sweethearts Pooja and Blackie who get separated due to certain circumstances when they were kids. Pooja, who is now a prostitute, decides to escape the brothel on turning 18, with a bag full of stolen money. She bumps into Blackie who is now a very “chalu” Bombay taxi driver. He agrees to “drive” her to freedom, in exchange for a hefty amount. This masala flick is an entertainer for sure.
But it also got us thinking: this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen the taxi driver trope in Bollywood, right? Nope, we’ve seen it many, many times before. So we made a list of every Bollywood film that either stars/revolves around a character who is a taxi driver, or a plot that is taxi-centric. And we found some interesting results:
Taxi Driver, 1954
This Dev Anand-Kalpana Kartik starrer was directed by Chetan Anand, Dev’s brother himself. A romantic comedy, Taxi Driver is about Mangal AKA “Hero” who drives a cab and rescues Mala, played by Kartik, from being molested by thugs. Things intensify and soon Hero and Mala are confused by their feelings for one another. But, because it’s Bollywood, they end up happily ever after :))
Sadhu aur Shaitaan, 1968
Starring Mehmood, Om Prakash, Bharati and Pran in the lead roles, Sadhu aur Shaitaan is a remake of the 1966 Tamil hit film, Sadhu Mirandai. Bajrang, played by Mehmood is a kindhearted helpful taxi driver. His simple life, revolving around a school teacher he’s attracted to (Bharati) and a frequent bank employee customer (Om Prakash), becomes complicated when a dacoit named Sher Khan enters his life on the pretense of being a childhood friend. This film has it all: comedy, drama, romance, dacoits classic 60s style, and great music.
Directed by Irshaad and inspired by Martin Scorsese’s iconic Taxi Driver film, Taxi-Taxie is a 1977 Bollywood film that stars Amol Palekar in the lead, operating a taxi in the streets of Bombay. The city is crucial to the narrative; Zaheera, Reena Roy and Rama Vij are supporting female characters who are created by Bombay itself — a Christian landlady, a struggling playback singer, a prostitute. Although this film was made on a low budget, Irshaad did justice to the legendary Hollywood movie.
Amitabh Bachchan plays Govind, who, along with his brother Rajesh (Vinod Mehra), are brought up by a widower named Rahim after being kicked out of their step-brother’s home. Govind takes on the responsibility of providing for his brother’s education by becoming the taxi-driver Chhotu Ustad. In classic 80s style, this movie includes drug smuggling rings, a villain played by Prem Chopra, and a whole legal battle set in court. Full of drama and love and familial tension, and the gorgeous Parveen Babi playing the role of Mary, Khud-Daar is one of those 80s flicks you cannot miss.
Raja Hindustani, 1996
Which 90s kid DOESN’T know Raja Hindustani? The iconic Amir Khan-Karisma Kapoor starrer is one of those films that defined Khan’s career and Bollywood’s dramatic style. Although the plot may seem ancient and Romeo-Juliet-esque, it’s given its own spin. Raja is a poor taxi driver in love with Aarti, a rich girl. They marry against family’s wishes and after a lot of twists and turns, a pregnancy and a kidnapping and greedy stepmother later, Raja and Aarti reunite. Obviously.
Taxi No. 9211, 2006
In this comedy-drama directed by Milan Luthria, we see how the unlikely pairing of Nana Patekar and Arjun Rampal makes for two high-strung, exhausted Bombay men — a taxi driver and a businessman’s son — meeting and screwing each other with their idiosyncrasies. This film is as quirky and hilarious as it is tense and dramatic. A must watch for all those who enjoy movies just on the border of parallel.
Khaali Peeli, 2020
The film released just a few days ago and is still the talk of the town. I’d say watch Khaali Peeli for the mind-numbing entertainer it is, and you def won’t get bored at all. It’s a masala flick and should remain so. Tell us what you think!