India is a land of many languages, sub-cultures, and traditions that each one share one main factor in frequent: a love for cinema. Bollywood, the nation’s Hindi-language movie business, churns out over 1,000 movies annually (greater than double that of Hollywood), making it some of the prolific on the planet. With so many films to select from, the place do you have to start?
We’ve compiled an inventory of 40 of the all-time greatest Bollywood films that may act as a place to begin to navigate the booming business. Whereas this is not an exhaustive record by any means, the films listed right here each play into and shatter the stereotypes of what the business is and span each style to fit your each temper.
40 Finest Bollywood Motion pictures of All Time
Andhadhun (Translation: “Blindly”): 2018
On this black comedy/thriller, a piano participant pretending to be blind finally ends up entangled in a criminal offense when he occurs to witness a homicide. Will he step in and switch within the perpetrator, or will he proceed together with his recreation to additional his profession? Starring Anshumann Khurrana and Tabu, this movie will preserve you guessing till the very finish.
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Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Translation: “One thing Occurs”): 1998
A love triangle spanning a long time, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is the best introduction into Bollywood. The movie is likely one of the hottest Hindi films ever, and follows greatest associates Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) and Anjali (Kajol) by means of school the place Rahul is the campus womanizer and Anjali is the varsity’s tomboy. After Anjali realizes her emotions for Rahul aren’t reciprocated, she flees. Years later, the 2 are reunited by Rahul’s daughter (additionally named Anjali) and should face what’s been beneath the floor of their friendship. That includes basic songs, iconic choreography, and performances that may make you cry, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is a must-see ’90s Bollywood primer.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (transl: “Typically Happiness Typically Disappointment”) – 2001
Director Karan Johar’s follow-up to the smash hit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (generally known as K3G) is a household drama backed by Bollywood’s largest superstars. Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) is adopted into an especially rich household and is his mother and father’ favourite son set to take over the household enterprise till he falls in love with a standard villager Anjali (Kajol). Rahul’s mother and father disown him and his brother (Hrithik Roshan) spends his grownup years attempting to convey his household again collectively. A tear-jerker, the movie is one other basic with timeless songs.
Lagaan (Translation: “Taxation”): 2001
India’s final movie to obtain an Oscar nomination, the Aamir Khan-led interval sports activities drama informed the story of poor villagers who stand up in opposition to their ever-increasing taxes beneath colonial rule (Lagaan interprets to “Taxation.”) Whereas prolonged, the movie is completely engrossing as we watch a rag-tag group of villagers study the English recreation of cricket and play the sport of their lives for salvation.
The story of Devdas dates again to a 1917 Bengali novel of the identical identify. Remade a number of instances all through Indian cinema and theater and throughout many languages, it’s a timeless and tragic story a few love triangle between Devdas, his childhood flame Paro and a former courtesan Chandramukhi. As Devdas descends into alcoholism and despair, he solely longs for one factor: his real love. Remade final in 2002 by Sanjay Leela Bansali, this model boasts three of essentially the most iconic Bollywood actors in starring roles with Shah Rukh Khan as Devdas, Aishwarya Rai as Paro and Madhuri Dixit as Chandramukhi.
The Lunchbox: 2013
In an effort to get nearer to her husband, a younger spouse Ila (Nimrat Kaur) begins placing love letters in her husband’s tiffin, which is a sterling silver lunchbox that’s delivered by means of an intricate system of supply males. Although usually extraordinarily correct, Ila’s tiffin retains getting delivered to a single man named Saajan (Irrfan Khan), who in the future decides to write down again. The 2 start a pen pal relationship and ultimately resolve to fulfill up in actual life. An offbeat drama about two lonely souls who’re related by means of phrases will win you over with its delicate truths about human connection.
Saathiya (Translation: “Companion”): 2002
After defying their mother and father with a younger marriage, newlyweds Suhani (Rani Mukerji) and Aditya (Vivek Oberoi) cope with all the ups and downs that include each marriage and their middle-class standing — together with a traumatic occasion that might change every thing. The chemistry between Oberoi and Mukerji is palpable and the story is a plausible love story aided by improbable songs.
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Dil To Pagal Hai (Translation: “The Coronary heart Is Loopy”): 1997
Bollywood loves its love triangles, and Dil To Pagal Hai’s focuses on two dance troupe members (Karishma Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit) who fall in love with their choreographer (Shah Rukh Khan) and should compete for each his love and their place within the troupe’s musical. It’s good for nostalgic ‘90s viewers and followers of zany love tales.
Sholay (Translation: “Embers”): 1975
Sholay is considered one of many all-time greatest Hindi movies. An motion/crime drama, the movie follows two petty criminals who’re enlisted by a policeman to seize a infamous bandit Gabbar Singh. The movie boasts legendary performances from iconic Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra, and cemented Amjad Khan as one of many business’s go-to villainous actors. Regardless of premiering in 1975 the movie is a timeless basic and continues to be usually referenced in Bollywood discourse in the present day.
Don: 1978, 2006
Don, an Indian crime franchise, has spawned three movies together with a 2006 reboot of the unique 1978 movie and plenty of South Indian-language remakes. The unique movie stars Amitabh Bachchan in a twin position: Don, the underworld crime boss, dies from accidents sustained throughout a police chase however is subsequently changed by a villager lookalike who goes undercover to glean info for the police. The unique is the one to begin with, although the 2000s Don and Don 2 are additionally well-regarded.
Amar Akbar Anthony: 1977
A comedy, Amar Akbar Anthony follows the lives of three brothers separated in childhood and raised in households of various faiths: respectively, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. A few years later they’re reunited and are available collectively for a selected trigger: to rescue Anthony’s girlfriend. Releasing in 1977, the movie was lauded for its non secular secularism because it showcases males of three of essentially the most distinguished faiths in India working collectively.
Dil Chahta Hai (Translation: “The Coronary heart Needs”): 2001
The movie that put author/director Farhan Akhtar on the map, Dil Chahta Hai is about three associates and their trials and tribulations in love, profession, and life usually after graduating from school. The movie was groundbreaking on the time of its launch in 2001 resulting from its offbeat nature and its give attention to nontraditional love tales. It’s held up over time as a movie that captures what it’s prefer to really feel misplaced in an maturity that’s thrust upon you.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (Translation: “The Massive-Hearted Will Take the Bride”): 1995
A narrative about star-crossed lovers, this movie is likely one of the seminal Bollywood movies loving known as DDLJ. It’s so essential to Indian tradition, it’s been enjoying in a single Mumbai theater for over 26 years. Starring Bollywood’s premier heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan and his main main girl Kajol, the romantic drama about lovers attempting to win over their conventional households options a number of the most iconic traces and songs of all time.
Dangal (Translation: “Wrestling Competitors”): 2016
In a profession reinvention within the 2000s, Aamir Khan started focusing extra power on producing distinctive tales. Dangal, a female-centric sports activities story, is one such movie. Primarily based on a real story, Dangal is a few former boxing champ who begins coaching his daughters within the sport to enact revenge on his final loss. Whereas there are some melodramatic moments that steer away from the general story, Dangal tells each an uplifting and brutal story about sexism, sports activities, and achievement in Indian society.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Translation: “You Solely Dwell As soon as”): 2011
With comparable vibes to Dil Chahta Hai, Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol and Farhan Akhtar star as three childhood associates looking for life’s that means on a European highway journey. The buddies are all coping with totally different points — love, profession, and household — and discover that with the assist of each other they will overcome something. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a good meditation on the significance of friendship and residing every day to its fullest; in spite of everything, the title interprets to “you solely dwell as soon as.”
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Gully Boy (Translation: “Road Boy”): 2019
Lauded as India’s model of 8 Mile, Gully Boy was India’s submission to the Oscars in 2019. Helmed by famous person director Zoya Akhtar and starring Ranveer Singh, the movie follows a lower-class boy who falls in love with hip-hop and enters the underground Mumbai rap scene to make a reputation for himself. The movie excels in its portrayal of sophistication dynamics and conservative household expectations, and in its depiction of a burgeoning underground rap scene.
Kahaani (Translation: “Story”): 2012
Translating to “story,” this thriller follows a pregnant girl in the hunt for her lacking husband. Vidya (Vidya Balan) is aided in her search by a compassionate police officer. However because the story unfolds, everybody’s motivations and truths are in query. A movie that retains you on the sting of your seat and would possibly produce an audible gasp on the closing reveal, this one is price a stream.
Primarily based on Othello, Omkara is a part of Vishal Bhardwaj’s trio of Shakespeare diversifications. Within the movie, Omkara (Ajay Devgn) abducts his lover Dolly (Kareena Kapoor). However when he denies his most loyal supporter Langda (Saif Ali Khan) a promotion, Langda comes for blood. An exhilarating epic, Omkara is likely one of the most well-regarded movies in current Bollywood historical past.
Andaz Apna Apna (Translation: “Everybody Has Their Personal Model”): 1994
A cult comedy starring Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Raveena Tandon, Karishma Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, and Shakti Kapoor, Andaz Apna Apna follows two middle-class boys who lengthy for a millionaire’s daughter and get caught up with a neighborhood gangster within the midst of their pursuit. Slapstick and with iconic dialogue, this movie is a good nostalgic watch.
Pricey Zindagi (Translation: “Pricey Life”): 2016
A part of a more moderen development of Bollywood films tackling critical and prescient material, Pricey Zindagi talks about psychological well being head-on. Kaira (Alia Bhatt) seeks out remedy after a string of failed relationships. When she meets Dr. Jehangir (Shah Rukh Khan), he helps her see life by means of a brand new, extra spontaneous lens. Pricey Zindagi is uplifting and Bhatt and Khan have chemistry on display screen though this movie steers away from turning their connection right into a romance.
The Sky Is Pink: 2019
Produced by and starring Priyanka Chopra, The Sky is Pink tells the true story of Aisha Chaudhary, a motivational speaker and creator who suffered from an immunodeficiency. Chopra and Farhan Akhtar play her mother and father, from whose viewpoint the story is informed, as they navigate their daughter’s sickness and the results it has on their lives transferring ahead. It’s one of many sadder tales on the record because the mother and father’ and household’s ache is visceral.
Om Shanti Om: 2007
It’s masala, however masala carried out nicely. The movie begins within the Nineteen Seventies the place an aspiring actor named Om (Shah Rukh Khan) falls in love with the established lead actress Shanti (Deepika Padukone). Om witnesses Shanti’s husband, an evil producer, homicide her in a hearth and in attempting to avoid wasting her Om additionally dies. Om is reborn as a profitable actor who avenges Shanti’s life when he meets Shanti’s doppelganger and remembers his earlier life. It’s a wild premise, however an especially enjoyable journey.
Jab We Met (Translation: “When We Met”): 2007
Two reverse souls—Aditya, a businessman on the verge of suicide, and Geet, an upbeat girl about to elope along with her boyfriend—meet on a practice in India and check one another, finally falling in love. Fueled by an actual life romance on the time between co-leads Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor, the movie’s power is contagious.
A uniquely feminist movie by Bollywood requirements, Queen follows a conventional younger girl whose fiance leaves her a day earlier than their marriage ceremony and decides to deal with the breakup by happening their European honeymoon. Having by no means been in another country, the newfound freedom permits her to seek out herself and open her eyes to new experiences. The movie stars Kangana Ranaut (who, it ought to be famous, is a right-wing political extremist) in a career-making efficiency that’s appropriately cringe and uplifting in numerous methods.
Jodhaa Akbar: 2008
Jodhaa Akbar tells the true story of the wedding between Mughal emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar (Hrithik Roshan) and Princess Jodhaa Bai (Aishwarya Rai). Akbar, a Muslim, and Jodhaa, a Hindu, enter into a wedding of comfort for stability of energy between the 2 households, and the 2 slowly fall for one another by means of exterior forces attempt to intercede within the relationship. It’s a terrific historic drama with interval splendor and nice performances from each Roshan and Rai.
Bajirao Mastani: 2015
Bajirao Mastani tells the true story of the 1700s-era chief of the Maratha Empire, Bajirao (Ranveer Singh), and his courtship together with his second spouse Mastani (Deepika Padukone). Mastani is a Muslim warrior princess and Baji continues to be married to his first spouse Kishibai (Priyanka Chopra), inflicting issues for Baji’s new love affair. Visually spectacular and opulent, the movie directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali additionally options beautiful performances by the primary forged.
Kal Ho Naa Ho (Translation: “Tomorrow Could By no means Come”): 2003
A part of a Karan Johar trifecta (together with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham), the New York Metropolis-based Kal Ho Naa Ho is one other heartfelt love story, this time sophisticated by a secret sickness. Rohit (Saif Ali Khan) loves his MBA classmate Naina (Preity Zinta) who in flip has emotions for her new neighbor Aman (Shah Rukh Khan). Some features of the movie haven’t aged nicely (just like the homophobic housekeeper) however the love triangle is equal components enjoyable and melancholic.
From 1973, Bobby tells the story of a rich man who falls in love with a lower-class girl. Each their positions in society and their mother and father oppose their union, however they’re decided to discover a technique to be collectively. Bobby was one of many first movies to introduce this trope to Bollywood audiences and has been copied many instances over — however as at all times, the primary iteration is the perfect.
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Taal (Translation: “Rhythm”): 1999
A dance drama, Taal is one more love triangle with thorns of sophistication discrimination. Mansi, the daughter of an acclaimed although poor singer, falls in love with Manav, who comes from a wealthy household that doesn’t fully settle for her humble roots. Scorned, she quickly meets a well-known music producer and turns into his muse, ultimately accepting a wedding proposal from him regardless of her true emotions for Manav. Taal has a number of the most basic and haunting songs from composer A.R. Rahman’s illustrious profession, and was a extensively seen and revered movie of Nineties Bollywood.
One other of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare diversifications, Maqbool is loosely primarily based on Macbeth. Going down in Mumbai’s prison underworld, the movie facilities on Maqbool’s (Irrfan Khan) betrayal of his boss Jahangir Khan (Pankaj Kapoor), and the way the betrayal haunts him without end.
3 Idiots: 2009
Loosely primarily based on the Chetan Bhagat novel “5 Level Somebody,” Farhan, Raju, and Rancho are thick as thieves in school, sometimes getting in bother and outsmarting their lecturers. However when Rancho leaves faculty and nobody hears from him for years, Farhan and Raju take up a chance to seek out their lengthy misplaced good friend. A coming of age and touching movie about friendship, 3 Idiots spans the spectrum of feelings within the nearly three-hour runtime.
Drishyam (Translation: “Visible”): 2015
Tailored from a Malayalam movie, Drishyam stars Ajay Devgn as Vijay, a police officer who covers up a criminal offense that his daughter dedicated unintentionally. Anju, Vijay’s daughter, is being harassed by a boy in her class. When the boy involves her dwelling to demand sexual favors, Anju strikes him with a pipe and kills him. Vijay jumps into motion and stays one step forward of the police investigating the boy’s disappearance. Drishyam is fast-paced and expertly plotted, with an ending that may make you need to press play yet again.
The final of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare diversifications, Haider takes its inspiration from Hamlet. Starring Shahid Kapoor in an off-type position, Haider follows a younger man’s quest for vengeance after he discovers that his uncle could also be answerable for the loss of life of his father.
Mom India: 1957
Often known as the primary Indian movie to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, the 1957 movie facilities on a pair who take out a mortgage to finance their marriage ceremony. As rates of interest start to pile up and their capability to pay them lessens, Radha and Shamu are compelled to surrender their property and take low-wage jobs. When Shamu’s arm is crushed in a farming accident, they discover themselves at their wit’s finish and Radha should discover a technique to preserve her household afloat. Emotional and provoking, the movie exhibits follow your values even within the worst circumstances.
Pad Man: 2018
Akshay Kumar stars as a person devoted to increasing entry to sanitary merchandise in rural India after witnessing his spouse utilizing a unclean rag as a pad. Primarily based on a real story and lifetime of Tamil activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, Pad Manis a social values movie that’s fairly transferring, even when it reinforces the truth that ladies’s liberation is usually unimaginable with out the assist and funding of males.
Veer Zaara: 2004
Faith, and disagreements primarily based on it as a result of 1947 Partition between India and Pakistan, permeate South Asian relationships to at the present time — notably for Hindus and Muslims. Veer Zaara stars Preity Zinta and Shah Rukh Khan as star-crossed lovers who’re separated for 22 years after Veer (Khan) is captured and imprisoned on false expenses by Zaara’s (Zinta) politician father. The movie was hailed for its delicate portrayal of the tender relationship between the 2 international locations.
The Soiled Image: 2011
For a society that’s nonetheless largely conservative in the case of sexuality, The Soiled Image traversed a novel a part of Indian tradition: the erotic Indian movie star. Impressed by the lives of Silk Smitha and Disco Shanti, the movie options Vidya Balan within the lead position as a girl who runs away from dwelling to begin a profession as an actress. Nevertheless, her sensual dance strikes catapult her into a distinct kind of performing profession. Balan was praised for her efficiency and the movie was a essential and business hit when it was launched in 2011.
A younger maid and her rich employer in Bombay start a relationship—each pleasant after which romantic—which is misunderstood by everybody of their lives. The movie explores gender and sophistication dynamics and surprises audiences in who has extra to lose from the state of affairs. Premiering at Cannes in 2018, this Rohena Gera movie will not be your typical Bollywood masala flick and as an alternative focuses on a humanistic story of two souls drawn to one another regardless of society attempting to maintain them aside.
Taare Zameen Par (Translation: “Like Stars on Earth”): 2007
Tackling studying disabilities and the Indian mentality round tutorial achievement, Taare Zameen Par is a story a few younger boy who’s compelled to attend a boarding faculty and finds solace in a bond with a instructor who’s attuned to his particular studying wants. Because the boy has to regulate to a life away from dwelling, the story is each tear-jerking and heartwarming on the similar time.
Dil Se… (Translation: “From the Coronary heart”): 1998
A romance movie with a twist, 1998’s Dil Se… is ready in opposition to the backdrop of separatist actions and violence within the Indian state of Assam. Shah Rukh Khan stars reverse Manisha Koirala as star-crossed and ideologically reverse lovers. The movie is riveting and tragic, and options one of many all-time nice Bollywood music sequences in Chaiyya Chaiyya,” the place SRK dances atop a transferring practice singing alongside to the A.R. Rahman basic.
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