If you find yourself feeling stressed and panicked by the incessant WhatsApp forwards, constant updates, and wondering if you have enough groceries for the day, this list may come in handy.

Coronavirus Entertainment Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 17:01

India has shut down for 21 days. It is a huge change for most people, especially when each day brings frightening news about just how fast the coronavirus is spreading. The best we can do, we've been told, is to stay home and practise social distancing.

However, that's easier said than done. If you find yourself feeling stressed and panicked by the incessant WhatsApp forwards, constant updates on new cases, and wondering if you have enough groceries for the day, this list may come as a life-saver.

Here are 21 films we can think of – in English, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu – which will take your mind off the situation. 21 fun films – romcoms, comedies, black comedies and family dramas – that will help you chill. One for each day of the shutdown, in whatever order you wish to watch them!

Telugu

1. Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (Netflix): This Allu Arjun film is about a greedy father who exchanges his baby with his rich boss's child at birth. Why? So that his son can lead a luxurious life, one that was denied to him. Allu Arjun is super entertaining in this absurd premise as the son who's constantly ridiculed by his father. The film has all that a proper Indian masala entertainer demands, and is surprisingly well put together.

2. Oh Baby (Netflix): The remake of a Korean film, Oh Baby is about an elderly woman who finds herself back in her 24-year-old body and tries to make up for the lost years. Samantha is hilarious in the role of Baby, as she goes about behaving like a trenchant old woman who's quick to take offence.

3. Mathu Vadalara (Amazon Prime): This comedy thriller is similar to Hollywood's The Hangover. The film is about how an underpaid sales executive resorts to cheating, gets caught and accidentally kills the woman whom he tried to cheat. The film has wild, unexpected twists certainly never witnessed before in Telugu cinema, and is full of popular culture references and laugh-out-loud moments.

Tamil

4. Super Deluxe (Netflix): It all begins when a married woman decides to have sex with her ex-boyfriend...and he ends up dying in bed. The hyperlink film has several threads and fans are still busy connecting all of them. Especially heartwarming is the bond between trans woman Shilpa, played by the wonderful Vijay Sethupathi, and her son Raasukutty.

5. Power Paandi (Netflix): Mainstream films are usually youth-focused, so this lovely little film about an old man who tries to find his long-lost love stands out. With Raj Kiran and Revathy playing the lead, the film takes surprising turns when it comes to questions of love and morality.

6. Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanam (YouTube): If you watch this film without knowing that it's based on a true life story, you'd think it's completely unrealistic. A man with short-term memory loss, who can't even remember his girlfriend, getting married to her! And his 'supportive' friends doing their best to make it happen without his knowledge. With Vijay Sethupathi in the lead, this film will leave you in splits for sure.

7. Soodhu Kavvum (MX Player): What can get wackier than a kidnapper with an imaginary girlfriend? And not only that, he's joined by three 'assistants' who add to the merriment. This black comedy reached cult status in Tamil cinema, thanks to the numerous hilarious twists and the comic timing of its cast.

Malayalam

8. Premam (Hotstar): The title means 'love' and that's what this film is about – a coming of age story about a man and love at different stages of his life. Put like that, it sounds like a cliche but Premam is full of situational comedy and unexpected moments. The film made Nivin Pauly's career but it doesn't just revolve around him. There are several characters, from Malar Miss to Vimal Sir, who stand out.

9. Bangalore Days (Hotstar): Three cousins and their love lives. Anyone who's grown up with close cousins – sharing secrets, fighting and making up – will love this film. Starring Dulquer Salmaan, Fahadh Faasil, Nivin Pauly, Parvathy, Nazriya and Nithya Menen, the film has lots of hilarious and feel-good moments that will make you root for each character.

10. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum (Hotstar): What would you do if a thief swallowed your gold chain? Would you still want it back? This is the premise of the enormously fun Dileesh Pothan directorial with Nimisha Sajayan, Suraj Venjaramoodu, and Fahadh Faasil in the lead. Every character in the film, no matter their screen time, makes an indelible mark.

11. Ustad Hotel (Hotstar): This film is about a young man who wants to become a chef and ends up reconnecting with his grandfather who runs an old restaurant. Dulquer Salmaan and Thilakan share a warm bond on screen which is made even more special by all the visuals of delicious food. Nithya Menen also makes a spunky appearance as a young woman from a conservative family who has aspirations that they will not approve of.

Kannada

12. Ondu Motteya Kathe (Netflix): A fun film about a bald Kannada professor with an inferiority complex who is trying to find a bride. Raj B Shetty is hilarious as the hapless Janardhana who's far from perfect but expects a beautiful woman to marry him.

13. Katheyondu Shuruvagide (Amazon Prime): A warm romance film about a resort owner and a guest – each with their own set of problems – who meet and strike up a rapport. This is one of those rare films where you feel at the end that you know these characters and could be in their shoes. Pooja Devariya and Diganth Manchale are both wonderful in their respective roles.

Hindi

14. Andhadhun (Netlix): A blind piano player finds himself entangled in a murder that he did “not” witness. The film is packed with hilarity and suspense both, and keeps you guessing till the end.

15. Stree (Netflix): One of the best horror comedies to come out of Bollywood, this film will scare you as much as it will make you laugh. There is some social messaging too, but it’s so well imbued with the film and its comic timing that at no point does it take away from the riot that Stree is.

16. Hera Pheri (Voot, MXPlayer): A cult comedy classic in Bollywood, the film revolves around a landlord and his two tenants who intercept a ransom call for a kidnapping and try to use it to solve their financial troubles. Hilarity ensues when they find themselves in unanticipated situations. The film is a remake of the Malayalam Ramji Rao Speaking.

17. Queen (Netflix, SonyLiv): A coming of age film where age is just a number, this is a heartwarming and fun film about an Indian woman who, after being abandoned by her groom, decides to go on her honeymoon to another country, alone. She discovers love, friendship and independence and finally, herself.

English

18. Murder Mystery (Netflix): A supremely fun but always-fighting couple ends up on a rich-people boat and gets caught up in the middle of a murder mystery. This film starring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler is a laughter riot, and a proper mystery – the perfect recipe to take your mind off the pandemic for an hour-and-a-half.

19. Chef (Amazon Prime): This film by Jon Favreau is a sort of return to basics – both for the film's director (who is also its lead star) and the protagonist. It tells the story of Chef Caspar who, following a small crisis of faith and a public showdown with a food critic, returns to his roots to discover the joy of cooking all over again. In a lovely film filled with loads of little human moments, what stands out is the lip smacking food shots – from grilled cheese sandwiches to pasta to tacos and loads more.

20. Otherhood (Netflix): We all know the classic conflict – parents always want to see their kids as, well, kids; while adult children in their quest to be independent fail to see their parents as people. In this film, the conflict takes a comic twist when three moms, who are best friends, decide to gatecrash their adult sons’ lives one fine day. And then of course they go about getting into weird situations, fights, some old-school bonding etc.

21. Dumb and Dumber (Netflix): It cannot get more mindless than this. Two men, one dumb and the other dumber, find a suitcase full of money and go on a cross-country trip to return it. Except, the suitcase was actually left behind on purpose. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are brilliant at acting dumb and if you love screwball comedy, go for it.