Discover Bollywood enduring affair with auto-rickshaws! From iconic movie promotions to cultural symbolism, explore how these vehicles drive stories of romance, adventure, and urban life on the big screen.

Bollywood’s passion for autorickshaws never goes away, whether it is for scheduled movie promotions or spontaneous rides. This is how B-town is connected to their preferred public transportation system.

Bollywood Enduring Affair: The Everlasting Charm of the Auto-Rickshaw

Sandeep Bacche, an auto driver, goes by the unusual moniker Munnabhai SSC. The ardent Sanjay Dutt admirer has chauffeured celebrities on his three-wheeler, including Madhuri Dixit Nene, Sonali Kulkarni, Raju Hirani, Suniel Shetty, and Malaika Arora.

Sandeep said:

Since I was a young child, I have admired Sanjay Dutt’s style and would love to emulate it. The Nargis Dutt Foundation provided me with financial support once my mother developed a terrible illness. I vowed not to wear shoes until Sanjay Dutt was released from prison when he was first arrested.

When he was released, he invited me home for tea after reading about this, according to Sandeep. His car has a TV, Wi-Fi, coffee and tea, and even a first aid kit!


Due to the autorickshaw’s widespread use as a mode of transportation for the general population, publicity teams for movies or specific celebrities have occasionally turned to three-wheelers to generate positive buzz. According to a publicist who wishes to remain anonymous,

certain celebs’ PR teams urge them to travel by rickshaw as part of image construction, thus not every photo is organic; others are merely photo ops.

Here are a few instances of auto-rickshaws being used to promote movies: To promote their movie Rowdy Rathore, Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha organized a “Rowdy Rickshaw Rally” in 2012. Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor promoted their movie Street Dancer 3D in 2019 by posing on a rickshaw.

Sara Ali Khan and Vicky in 2023 Salman Khan is one actor that drives an auto instead of a car without hesitation. Salman Khan and filmmaker Ramesh Taurani were featured in widely shared images in 2017.

We went from Mehboob Studio to Salman’s house because the cars were taking a while to get out of parking, and Salman enjoys doing fun things like this.

Similar to this, Shraddha Kapoor was photographed in 2023 driving to her gym while being followed by paparazzi. There is nothing better than a rickshaw ride, she said when asked why she did not arrive in her automobile.

Bollywood movies started to use auto-rickshaws more frequently in the 1970s and 1980s, not simply as props but as essential parts of the story. Movies like “Taxi Driver” (1973) and “Do Bigha Zamin” (1953), while not exclusively focused on auto-rickshaws, depicted them as essential components of their stories, highlighting their function as means of conveyance for characters navigating India’s busy streets.

In Bollywood, the 1990s were a big decade for autorickshaws. Movies like “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” (1995) and “Bombay” (1995) had iconic sequences with autorickshaws acting as a means of expression for the protagonists as they navigated the intricacies of life.

These sequences not only emphasized the auto-rickshaw’s adaptability but also further cemented it in the Indian audience’s cultural consciousness. Bollywood’s screen representation of autorickshaws changed as the industry did.

They were first used figuratively by directors to signify a variety of themes, including revolt, love, and freedom. The auto-rickshaw was used as a metaphor for the protagonists’ journey of self-discovery and transformation in movies like “Jab We Met” (2007) and “Delhi-6” (2009), where they found themselves against the chaotic backdrop of metropolitan India.

Apart from their symbolic meaning, auto-rickshaws also provide comic relief in movies such as “Hera Pheri” (2000) and the “Golmaal” series (2006 onwards), where the characters’ unexpected adventures and eccentric drivers contributed layers of amusement to the story.

On the other hand, auto-rickshaws have demonstrated their adaptability in several film genres by being employed to heighten tension during chase sequences through tiny alleyways in dramatic dramas like “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008).

In addition to their narrative functions, autorickshaws were deeply embedded in Bollywood culture. Auto-rickshaw-themed songs and dance routines gained popularity as a result of choreographers’ inventive use of their small space to create dramatic dance maneuvers.

Famous songs such as “Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna” from “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” demonstrate how auto-rickshaws evolved from mere means of transportation to essential components of spectacular filmmaking.

Bollywood has seen a change in the way autorickshaws are portrayed on screen in recent years. The lives of autorickshaw drivers are being explored in greater detail by filmmakers, as seen in the films “Piku” (2015) and “Tumhari Sulu” (2017), which challenge preconceived notions by portraying these characters with greater nuance and sensitivity.

International film has been impacted by Bollywood’s depiction of autorickshaws, even outside of India. Filmmakers from Thailand, Bangladesh, and even Hollywood have been influenced by Bollywood’s inventive use of auto-rickshaws, incorporating them into their own stories to create an impression of urban realism and cultural authenticity.

In conclusion, autorickshaws are a symbol of urban life, romance, and adventure, and Bollywood has a long-standing love affair with them that crosses decades and genres. Auto-rickshaws have evolved from simple means of transportation to famous icons in storytelling.

They represent the vibrancy of India’s busy cities and the human experiences that take place there, and they continue to propel stories forward. Bollywood’s depiction of these commonplace cars changes with the times, too, guaranteeing that the auto-rickshaw will always be a treasured and essential component of the moviegoing experience for future generations.

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