The pace of life is getting faster day by day. It leaves us no room for an afternoon siesta and a family screening of films every evening on TV. Our generation is essentially deriving its pleasures from various streaming service providers’ subscriptions readily accessible on our smartphones at all hours. But our endeavors often lead us to an alley of confusion on what to watch, especially when it comes to Hindi films which continue to rule our hearts. However, they are somewhere lost in the crowd of tons of web series/shows, films, and international content. With the advent of OTT, which has revolutionized how we see movies, the streaming giant Netflix has given a resurgence to low-budget Bollywood movies, which could hardly find screens in the competitive market.

Related Read – Changes in Bollywood in 10 Years

Netflix has given hope to several upcoming filmmakers. They get to tell their story without the burden of distribution, screen numbers, and censor board. Netflix is keen to expand in India. It has been aggressively marketing as well. It has announced ten new original films for India in partnership with top directors and producers of Bollywood, comprising Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, and Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP, Hindustan Times reported. Below is our attempt at bringing you a bunch of the best Bollywood movies available on Netflix, which you must watch if you haven’t and which you can re-watch anytime if you already have, for they never get old.

1. Lakshya | Farhan Akhtar | 2004

Lakshya

Riding on the tremendous success of his landmark, coming-of-age debut ‘Dil Chahta Hai,’ Farhan Akhtar’s sophomore feature ‘Lakshya’ is subdued and understated in its narrative. It is about an indecisive & lackadaisical youngster who lacks awareness about the functioning of the world outside his campus.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Hrithik Roshan’s Karan is not an unintelligent guy but a lazy chap who got everything easily in his life. What he lacks is an aspiration (Lakshya) and the need to have one, which almost everyone struggles with. It circles back to the obligation to have an aspiration for youngsters born with a silver spoon.

Middle-class youngsters don’t have the luxury of time & need since the Indian middle class has traditionally carved the path for their children from their birth. Karan finds motivation after his self-respect is devalued by his family and his firebrand & blunt girlfriend. This event does stick out like a sore thumb for its labored writing and implausible, quick change in his character. What follows is his gradual transformation from a careless, lethargic youngster to a determined and brave soldier who, down the line, understands his family and girlfriend better. 

2. Paheli | Amol Palekar | 2005

Paheli

One of the least talked about Shahrukh Khan’s good films is multi-talented Amol Palekar’s whimsical folklore ‘Paheli.’ It’s an official remake of Duvidha by Mani Kaul based on the short story written by Vijayadan Detha. The film addresses an age-old concern – whether a woman tied to a man through marriage has any claim to her romantic desire, which often gets neglected in the patriarchal society.

When Rani Mukerji’s Lachchi is confronted with a conundrum to accept the love in the form of a ghost (shapeshifts to her husband Kishan, who left on business the very next morning of their marriage), she hesitantly accepts it, acting on her desire. The ghost in the film is a metaphor for a paradigmatic man. In one of the scenes, the ghost character of Shah Rukh Khan says he is love. He lives in the women’s heart. He literally does, signifying a metaphor for the woman’s heart and his eternal, real-life romantic persona.

3. Dil Chahta Hai | Farhan Akhtar | 2001

Bollywood Movies Netflix - Dil Chahta Hai

Dil Chahta Hai is a film to have gained cult status with time, but it has also found its fair share of detractors. As great as it is to some, with a strong nostalgia attached, it also does not appeal to many in this age. Nevertheless, it deserves mention for its influence on screenwriting in the Hindi film industry.

It has great elements of the ways in which love happens and how conflicts can be resolved with time. It inspired a generation by showcasing forms of romance rooted in reality and bonds of friendships people can connect with. Moreover, it showed how love and compassion are to be prioritized for the health of relationships. And its sweet, entertaining character is perhaps the merit by which Dil Chahta Hai remains a recurring name.

4. Paan Singh Tomar | Tigmanshu Dhulia | 2010

Paan Singh Tomar on Netflix

Paan Singh Tomar juxtaposes the ordered and disciplined life of a soldier-athlete with that of a rebel. In the process, it traverses the couloirs with fury as it goes on to explore the real-life events of Paan Singh Tomar. After having a celebrated career as a steeplechase athlete in the Indian army, he is forced to return to his native village to resolve a feud. He is ultimately forced into an ugly world of oppression when the system turns a blind eye to his difficulties.

Precisely directed with a rustic appeal in its cinematography, Paan Singh Tomar is a rare biographical film that doesn’t sensationalize history. It remains rooted in purely artistic intent. An honest and courageous approach to filmmaking garnished with an exemplary act by Irrfan Khan makes Paan Singh Tomar a must-watch.

5. Soni | Ivan Ayr | 2019

After traveling across several International Film Festivals in 2018, Netflix picked Ivan Ayr’s Soni as a part of the Netflix India Program. And without a doubt, it is one of the best Netflix original Hindi movies. It’s a low-budget independent movie about violent crimes against women. Ivan Ayr doesn’t resort to sensationalism and theatrics to address the plaguing issues ranging from gender prejudice and sexual harassment to the power distribution among different strata that manipulates the law. Keeping the women police officers at the vantage point, he captures the helplessness of women in Indian society within the law and outside of it, reflecting the gender disparity and prejudices within the family of female cops.

Soni was featured in our list of The 10 Best Indian Movies of 2019

6. Andhadhun | Sriram Raghavan | 2018

Andhadhun featured

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Ranked among one of the best thriller movies in Bollywood, Andhadhun took everyone by surprise. Sriram Raghavan has a panache for making intense thrillers around quirky characters and circumstances. Andhadhun is a testament to it. Raghavan puts a blind (or maybe not) protagonist at the center of this wicked thriller that unfolds in the heart of Pune.

He patiently sketches the characters to give them a personality, even if no one is black and white and compels us to root for them. Dripping in the neo-noir genre, the camera follows multiple characters across Pune and various subplots that touch on the moral and ethical dilemma of an individual and a loosely handled organ traffic subplot which is a significant complaint in a terrific film otherwise.

Related: The Best Bollywood Movies 2018

7. Kaminey | Vishal Bhardwaj | 2009

Bollywood Movies Netflix - Kaminey

A truly chaotic gangster dramedy, Kaminey is a testament to Vishal Bhardwaj’s meticulous direction that enhances an already great short story by rendering it into a film. In a hyperlinked narrative where people get entwined into a chase for money, power, and love, Kaminey becomes increasingly interesting as it progresses.

Featuring Shahid Kapoor in a dual role of distinct characters, Kaminey confirms the talent of the actor that later gets established in Haider. If you praise Shahid as an actor in general conversations, people might wonder. But you won’t be able to help yourself if you have watched him here. Kaminey should be a more frequent part of conversations around the Hindi cinema of the 21st century.

8. Barfi | Anurag Basu | 2012

Barfi is a tale of the fulfillment of love along with its unrequited portions. It celebrates love through the purity of its characters, who act selflessly for each other without diplomatic intentions. Ultimately, Barfi becomes a compassionate tale of a beautiful relationship and the extraction of maximum happiness from satisfaction.

On the technical front, Barfi is full of merits. Anurag Basu has his brand of aesthetics. His mise en scene is full of lustrous shades of colors, the costumes are glorious. The production design adds as much to the warmth one experiences as the script does.

I have my set of reservations against the film, for it treads on the thin line between inspiration and plagiarism in many sequences, stumbling to the other side. But indigenous elements compensate for all disturbances you have. It also happens to be one of those films in which Ranbir Kapoor establishes himself as a fine actor.

9. Taare Zameen Par | Amole Gupte | 2007

Taare Zameen Par is a film that was created out of pure love for children. It doesn’t see them as builders of a nation, as resource potentials requiring capital investments. It sees them as tender saplings that need love and care. The film argues that only their happiness matter. Children aren’t objects of aspirations or prestige. They aren’t obliged to perform. The obligation lies with parents who choose to bring children into the world. And when parents rise above their self-interest, they can see the gap between what their child(s) needs and what the child(s) is being provided with.

Taare Zameen Par leaves a strong impression on our memory and emerges as something unforgettable. It has a significant social impact in terms of increasing awareness of dyslexia. Even if education institutions had teachers for specially-abled children, Taare Zameen Par became an argument of emphasis and encouraged capacity building.

Also, Read – The 10 Best Aamir Khan Movies

10. Dev D | Anurag Kashyap | 2009

The most interesting aspect of Dev D has to be its origin and its consequences. Because Anurag Kashyap does not like the source material, he wouldn’t write the script and instead ask Motwane to write one for him. Then Anurag went on to make changes to the script written by Motwane, who would later say that his script had been butchered. Subsequently, Anurag will go on to make Dev D and catch the film industry’s attention. The film continues to be his most successful film from a commercial perspective. It is one of his films that Scorsese watched and implicitly preferred over Gangs of Wasseypur.

Dev D is about a man coming to terms with his toxicity and escaping complete self-destruction through redemptive behavior. Dev is a high-voltage version of everything wrong with masculinity and its socially approved tenets. In his being, he represents all of us in parts or whole; therefore, he acts as a warning. Adorned with an evergreen soundtrack, Dev D has only grown in relevance as a film.

Read More – All Anurag Kashyap Movies Ranked, from Worst to Best

11. Kapoor & Sons | Shakun Batra | 2016

Kapoor & Sons

Shakun Batra’s ‘Kapoor & Sons’ provides a much-needed antithesis to neat, convenient, and epic family dramas that Sooraj Barjatya and Yash Raj churned out. Though it’s a different topic of conversation about how good or bad the films were, the operatic melodrama of affluent families in crisis was no less than a fantasy.

Dharma Productions’s Kapoor & Sons was a pleasant divergence from their traditional & conservative character writing. The film’s strength lies in its relatable characters having tangible familial problems that we could relate to. It takes a generic plot to have a microscopic look at the foible of individuals and interpersonal issues with a dash of intrinsic humor.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

12. Haider | Vishal Bharadwaj | 2014 

Haider Bollywood Movies on Netflix

Haider is the final part of Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy, consisting of Maqbool (Based on Macbeth and with Mumbai underworld as its backdrop) and Omkara (based on Othello in the backdrop of UP politics). Vishal Bharadwaj has very wisely chosen the treacherous Kashmir of 1995. He doesn’t use it as a mere beautiful backdrop but makes it a character in itself. He picks up issues of the daily life of Kashmiris to give dimensions to Prince Hamlet, Gertrude, and Claudius.

Haider unfolds at a leisurely pace, but it is so powerfully character driven that every small character matters, including Salman and Salman, who are die-hard fans of Salman Khan, providing comical relief to this dark saga of revenge. Here there’s more actual politics about Kashmir, intricately woven with human drama, while Omkara and Maqbool emphasize only on personal politics.  Read the complete review of Haider

13. Delhi Belly | Abhinay Deo | 2011

The quintessential adult comedy of errors from Bollywood, Delhi Belly, is aware of its characters, their idiocy, and their motivations. The satire is exaggerated on purpose, and the film takes pleasure in treating its characters like objects.

It tries to escape contrivance in the screenplay but doesn’t rise like an absolute success in the department. However, there are enough quirky and thrilling events to keep one hooked until the chaos settles. The salient element of this comedy is the constipated part of Delhi, far from neon lights and shining structures.

14. Dil Dhadakne Do | Zoya Akhtar | 2015

Dil Dhadakne Do is Zoya Akhtar’s self reflexive best. It feels mostly honest because she taps into a world of caste-class privileges and reveals their broken selves within the system the elite have built for themselves and nurtured. The rich aspire for peace while trapped in prisons of their design.

If not for a terribly hurried climax, Dil Dhadakne Do would have been a near masterpiece of Hindi cinema. While the industry elite can show some self-awareness and be self-critical, what it always fails to get is the perspective of a class they don’t belong to. Compassion prevents them from inadvertently punching down, but no portrayal escapes stereotyping. Barring a few hiccups in character and plot development, Dil Dhadakne Do is truly a wonderful tale of familial dysfunctionality and money’s role in exacerbating the same.

15. Eeb Aalay Ooo! | Prateek Vats | 2019

Bollywood Movies on Netflix Eeb Aalay Ooo!

Prateek Vats’ sharply written social-critique drama about a young migrant from Bihar looking for a work opportunity in the capital of India works as both: a scathing commentary on the wide class divide reflecting in toxic power dynamics and a personal struggle of an individual trying to fit in the social mold.

Related to Bollywood Movies on Netflix – The 20 Best Indian Movies of 2019

Prateek Vats’s experience as a documentary filmmaker shows in his unflustered narrative & choice of framing that helps realize the internal turmoil of Anjani as well as his incessant struggle to conform. The sound design and direction of the photography of the film are exceptionally good. Nevertheless, what stands out is Shardul Bhardwaj’s uninitiated but powerful performance as a young man reluctant to give up a head full of dreams. Eeb Aallay Ooo! is an underrated gem of Indian cinema from the last decade and one of the best Bollywood movies of 2019, streaming on Netflix.

16. Sir | Rohena Gera | 2018

One of the most important questions Sir raised for me was if love is completely independent of the ability to love. The inherent cruelty of society is revealed when obligations paralyze you or pessimism makes you immobile. It is often seen that the decision-making in love is compromised due to our social positions. Ratna is congested and pushed back due to regressive decisions derived from cultural norms that people fancy more than individual happiness. Ashwin is in a vacuum because resources do not guarantee contentment.

Sir allows its protagonist to breathe with dignity, know her choices, and finally, use her agency to not just dream but also to dream forward and work upon it. Now I won’t try to advocate in favor of a love of life, or the “one,” but Sir ends at a point where if Ashwin decides to hold a candle for her, then their future could be interwoven into a permanent bond. It does matter because every story doesn’t have to be a story of rebellion and eventual emancipation. Every story can’t and shouldn’t have a savior. Sometimes, what’s more, important is what’s wanted by those who exist in the story.

Also, Read – Is Love Enough? Sir [2020] Review: An Intelligent Romance that Understands Atypical Confinements

17. Manto | Nandita Das | 2018

Best Hindi Films of 2018 Featured

Saadat Hasan Manto’s brutal, gut-wrenching, and contentious five short stories are weaved together into the personal arc of Manto’s life and his relationship with his family and friends. The meta-narrative structure allows Nandita Das to address the urgent issue of “freedom of expression” in India that is now relevant more than ever before.

Every frame bleeds with bitter truths of life, the moral decline, and the social stigma that is still plaguing society. The aesthetical lyricism elegantly captures the disposition of several characters. Though, at times, the film feels uneven with multiple subplots crammed together, it is Nawazuddin’s internalized performance and Das’s sly writing that manages to capture Manto’s restlessness and emotional turmoil after the division of India. Nandita Das’s interview.

Related to Bollywood Movies on Netflix – 10 Underrated Hindi Films of 2018

18. Udaan | Vikramaditya Motwane | 2010

Udaan Bollywood Movies on Netflix

Vikramaditya Motwane penned what could possibly depict the angst more precisely than any other film could have. ‘Udaan’ is a remarkable feat in what one could achieve with a highly personal approach with respect to the milieu surrounding the subject.

Rajat Barmecha portrays all the required nuances of a young poet breaking out of his own cage in this coming-of-age drama. And along with the soulful tracks, the film presents a realistic portrayal of what it is to survive with a paternal force without the required warmth.

19. Life in a Metro | Anurag Basu | 2007

Bollywood Movies on Netflix Life in a Metro

Amidst all the outlandish musical dramas which were often distant from reality, Anurag Basu presented this collection of stories that intersect one another in the crowded streets of Mumbai. The romantic narratives were rooted in reality while presenting the characters trying to make it work in the middle of all the taboos or social prejudices.

The film was backed by an original soundtrack of Pritam, whose band pops in between the intersections. The film’s approach was welcomed within the industry, creating an impact on similar future projects.

20. Peepli Live | Anusha Rizvi | 2010

Peepli Live remains one of the most potent satires made in the country, and it has not lost its relevance, unfortunately, because the condition of farmers is increasingly worsening. At a time when journalistic integrity has died, and the “fourth” pillar of democracy has become the legs in the chair of the saffron power elite, Peepli Live emerges as a haunting contemporary tale as well as a preordainment.

It shows a neoliberal democracy’s ability to commodify human existence as well as death and turn every aspect of human life into a profit-making opportunity. Misery is a source of political romance, and ignorance has become a naturalized tendency. In such a world, Peepli Live only narrativizes a harsh truth.

21. Rang De Basanti | Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra | 2006

Rang De Basanti Best Bollywood Movies on Netflix

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s artistically ferocious call against the establishment, which parallelly retold the story of legendary Indian rebels who died for the cause of our freedom, not only redefined how Indian cinema approached patriotism but also went on to become one of the most culturally influential Indian films of all time.

In a “Jésus de Montréalesque” narrative where our protagonists start to mirror the lives of five revolutionary freedom fighters as they act in a documentary film on them, they champion a better version of themselves and reflect what the youth of India aspires its country to be. Rang De Basanti is not driven by star power, nor do done-to-death plot devices mire it. It is a refreshing piece of cinema with profound philosophical indulgence that has the spark to ignite a fire in the coldest of hearts.

22. Yuva | Mani Ratnam | 2004

Best Bollywood Movies on Netflix Yuva

Mani Ratnam’s coming-of-age political drama sees three youngsters from different strata crossing each other’s path in this hyper-linked narrative. It bombed at the box office upon its release, and the audiences were so frustrated with the narrative structure that they found it confusing and tasteless. However, since then, it has gained a cult status among millennials for its gritty and sharp portrayal of youngsters. Though the politics in the film hardly goes beyond what meets the eye, it does manage to reinvigorate the political discussion among youngsters more seriously. 

Abhishek Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, and Vivek Oberoi all put their best foot forward. Esha Deol and Kareena Kapoor are sidelined, unfortunately, but Rani Mukherji plays a memorable part. Despite the close to 3-hour running time, at no point was I bored or unengaged. Both Mani Ratnam’s direction and writing shine.

23. Swades | Ashutosh Gowariker | 2004

Swades Best Bollywood Movies on Netflix

Arguably one of the finest films to come out of the Hindi film industry in the 21st century. It also consists of Shah Rukh Khan’s one of the most powerful performances of his career. Swades is a film capable of invoking the sense of national duty without adapting to a propagandist approach. It respects its culture without the crutches of ethnocentric sentiments and braves to dissolve the shackles of ignorance.

What makes Swades an important piece of cinema is its aspiration to instill a scientific temperament in everyone. It feels more relevant in today’s time when people are increasingly bargaining a rational and scientific temperament for a political and religious one. Swades is essentially loaded with all emotions. It has a brilliant soundtrack. And it has elements that take us to the depths of our reality. The film enjoys a healthy cult following among the many Bollywood Movies streaming on Netflix.

24. Dil Se | Mani Ratnam | 1998

Bollywood Movies on Netflix Dil Se

 The Mani Ratnam – A. R. Rahman duo is a match made in heaven. Dil Se is the epitome of their skills. And it was rightfully rewarded at the Berlin International Film Festival from that year. The melodrama was handled with utmost grace and sincerity with a topic that is relevant even now.

The musical numbers still feel fresh so do the performances. And the cherry on the cake is the excellent performances by the leads, especially Manisha Koirala, whose mere presence evokes all the emotions needed to convey. This SRK-starrer isn’t considered a classic for no reason.

25. Jodha Akbar | Ashutosh Gowarikar | 2008

Bollywoood Movies - Jodhaa Akhbar

Jodha Akbar is an under-discussed film, perhaps because when it came out, it offered nothing new to its audience. The tale of an unlikely romance and a beautiful couple at the center of it was nothing exclusive to the Hindi film industry, except for its historical setting. But it also came at a more tolerant time when people didn’t rally against anything interreligious relationships, even if they held the same Islamophobic tendencies. But in today’s time, militant sentiments are on the rise, and the very existence of a Muslim is threatened by the majority as well as those in power.

We live in a time when the state has sanctioned cultural erasure, which is also reflected in the will of the power from their apathetic stance. Therefore, Jodha Akbar lives to tell the tale of love, even if heavily fictionalized. It features a prominent Muslim protagonist who isn’t detached from his identity and the film champions benevolence. Except for the really bad editing, Jodha Akbar is also a technically sound film with a soulful soundtrack from AR Rahman.

More lists related to Bollywood Movies on Netflix;

The 10 Best Netflix Original Movies of 2018

The Best Netflix Original Movies of 2019

The 10 Best Netflix Original TV Shows

The 25 Best Hindi Films of the Decade (2010s)

 

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