Movies that took Hindi Movies to the next level in the last Decade.

Just a list of the movies that I believe have changed the way Bollywood tells it's stories, and treats it's subjects.

List is in no particular order.
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
Company (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A small-time gangster named Chandu teams up with Malik, a low-level enforcer for a criminal syndicate. Together they eliminate all their enemies, becoming the most feared gangsters in Mumbai. (155 mins.)
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
“ Company is believed to be an almost true-story based depiction of the D-Company split between Mumbai crime lords Dawood Ibrahim and Chotta Rajan. Company is India's best offering in the crime genre. While Satya shows the consequences of joining crime, Company shows how crime works. It's a dirty business hidden under false moral codes that ultimately don't exist because the only aim of criminals is profit. ” - Dipanjan Das
Three Walls (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of a documentary movie-maker who films the reformation story of three hardened criminals within the prison walls - and in the process, finds redemption in her own life. (115 mins.)
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
“ A story that is nevertheless unusual and gripping. But you may not really agree with the way it ends. Touches of irony, in an otherwise grim situation, give this film its element of faint chuckles. ” - Dipanjan Das
Maqbool (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The intrigue of the Shakespearean tragedy 'Macbeth' is transposed to the Mumbai underworld. (132 mins.)
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
“ The movie is based on Macbeth; and oh does it stay faithful to the story. For setting, Vishal trades the Lord & Lady for 'Bhai' (Gangster) and Mistress in today's Mumbai underworld complete with corrupt cops, loads of handguns and conniving politicians. Give Vishal Bharadwaj a solid pat on the back, and sit back waiting for his next movie. This man seethes brilliance in his film-making. His dialogues, his script, his music, and his direction - all are top-notch. ” - Dipanjan Das
Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Geeta Rao has two admirers - one is Siddharth Tyabji and the other is Vikram Malhotra circa 1969 West... (120 mins.)
Director: Sudhir Mishra
“ Technically, the movie is very good, with nice camera work and precise scissors of the editor. Some scenes are breathtaking in their beauty. Dialogues are sometimes difficult to understand, but that ends up adding to the over all tension of the movie. A must watch for any lover of good cinema! ” - Dipanjan Das
Yuva (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Michael, Arjun and Lallan, three men from three different stratas of society, cross paths one morning in Calcutta and change one another's lives forever. (161 mins.)
Director: Mani Ratnam
“ Sure it isn't perfect, and not near most of Ratnam's tamil movies, but it is definitely worth watching. The story is about 3 young men who come from vastly different backgrounds and schools of thought. One incident on a bridge brings them together, changing their fates forever. ” - Dipanjan Das
Black Friday (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Black Friday is a film about the investigations following the 1993 serial Bombay bomb blasts, told through the different stories of the people involved --police, conspirators, victims, middlemen. (143 mins.)
Director: Anurag Kashyap
“ It's powerful, pointed and hard-hitting cinema that needs to be seen. Not for entertainment, but for soch-vichar. And no, let's have no state, city, town, village, panchayat, self-appointed moral-political custodian acting as a super censor, this time please. ” - Dipanjan Das
Ek Hasina Thi (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A woman falls for a charming and mysterious businessman. The whirlwind romance turns sour when she is framed for his underworld crimes. Now, finally out of prison she is ready for sweet revenge. (120 mins.)
Director: Sriram Raghavan
“ Ek Hasina Thi is a wonderful film. It is interesting, realistic, thrilling, gripping, and successfully adopts the style of Ram Gopal Varma's film-making. The development of this thriller is well done; it is a simple romance at first, and later it is gradually filled out with great suspense and shocking proceedings. ” - Dipanjan Das
Ab Tak Chhappan (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
An honest cop named Sadhu Agashe makes a name for himself by killing criminals in sting operations instead of locking them up in prison... (129 mins.)
Director: Shimit Amin
“ As events unfold, Ab Tak Chhappan takes us through the daily routine of encounter specialist Sadhu Agashe, whose tally of staged encounter killings stands at 56. To Amin's credit he never resorts to the bar-girled clichés and highly oratorical fare that surround most Bollywood cop films. ” - Dipanjan Das
Swades (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A successful Indian scientist returns to an Indian village to take his nanny to America with him and in the process rediscovers his roots. (210 mins.)
“ An insight on the problems of India whose underdeveloped part is somehow or other responsible for itself for the underdevelopment. The social jinx in the rural India which should have been broken long before are now hampering the progress of the villages. Swades hits you where your heart hurts the most; patriotic and root feelings of an individual with good intentions overcoming societal obstacle. It's brilliant, heartfelt and touching. The 'We, People' film really makes us feel like it's our film. We see in the film what we see everyday, the places as they are. It's very much contemporary and it's our story. ” - Dipanjan Das
Iqbal (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Iqbal, the deaf and mute son of a farmer, has a passion for the game of cricket and seeks the tutelage of a washed-up, alcoholic ex-player. (132 mins.)
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
“ Iqbal brings a smile to the face and a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat and a racing of the heartbeat in slight twist and sweet turn and more than makes up for the time and money it takes to invest in watching a film - much more than that. ” - Dipanjan Das
I Did Not Kill Gandhi (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Widowed Uttam Chaudhary lives a comfortable lifestyle with his college-going son, Karan, a daughter... (100 mins.)
Director: Jahnu Barua
“ Subtlety is rarely seen in Hindi movies. Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara has plenty of it. The humor, the score, the acting and the story, all come together to make this wonderfully understated film. Yet this movie shows so much depth and understanding of human nature that its able to elicit from the viewer, genuine regard for its characters. ” - Dipanjan Das
Being Cyrus (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
"Being Cyrus" is a dark, comedic venture by the debutante director Homi Adajania that spins around the Sethnas - a Parsi family. (90 mins.)
Director: Homi Adajania
“ For a directorial debut, Homi Adajania's work is commendable and one wonders how he managed to clinch such a stellar cast on his initiation. He has shown his versatility in comedy and drama scenes as well as evocative dream sequences. Considering how unpredictable the plot is, it has been stitched together well. ” - Dipanjan Das
The Blue Umbrella (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Young Biniya lives a poor lifestyle in a small village in the mountainous and snowy region of Himachal... (90 mins.)
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
“ Nothing can make you smile like a fable.

Well, then, consider Blue Umbrella a fable in it's own idyllic setting. ” - Dipanjan Das
Rang De Basanti (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
This story is about six friends who help an English filmmaker create a documentary about Indian freedom struggle. During filming, this group of friends learn about those before them and the importance of fighting for their rights. (157 mins.)
“ Successfully weaving historical facts with contemporary themes and characters, it's thanks to Mehra's smart writing and direction that you are instantly drawn into Rang De Basanti's absorbing plot, which flits smoothly from past to present. Accomplished and universally appealing, this is the way Bollywood films should be made. ” - Dipanjan Das
Khosla Ka Ghosla! (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A Delhi based retired middle class man tries half-heartedly to get his land back from a swindling property dealer with the help of his sons and their friends. (135 mins.)
“ The only inspiration that the film derives is from real life. The semi-autobiographical script by Jaideep Sahni is original, amazing and entertaining. Debutante director Dibakar Bannerjee extracts fine performances from every member of the cast and never lets anybody go overboard or under-act. The comic timing of the characters is simply flawless. ” - Dipanjan Das
Chak de! India (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Kabir Khan is the coach of the Indian Women's National Hockey Team and his dream is to make his all girls team emerge victorious against all odds. (153 mins.)
Director: Shimit Amin
“ The movie should stand out because of the delicate balance it creates between the excitement of the game and the emotions of the players. The problems faced by the national sport of the game, the apathy shown by their own association is well displayed and one earnestly hopes that the film does bring in more audience for the game. ” - Dipanjan Das
Like Stars on Earth (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An eight-year-old boy is thought to be a lazy trouble-maker, until the new art teacher has the patience and compassion to discover the real problem behind his struggles in school. (165 mins.)
Director: Aamir Khan
“ TZP is not just a movie about kids, it's a movie about life, society and yourself as a personality. The story moves you, into nostalgic days of your childhood when you were forced and pressured by your parents or teachers, into the world of a child who is ill-treated an misunderstood, into the hard truths of our society were failure is looked down on. The film is sure to touch the lives of anybody and everybody who watches it. ” - Dipanjan Das
Religion (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The movie is about a Hindu priest Pandit Chaturvedi (Pankaj Kapur) who is one of the most highly respected priests in the entire city of Varanasi... (105 mins.)
Director: Bhavna Talwar
“ Dharm is not an ordinary film. Its power lies in the fact that it gives us a progressive interpretation of religion, straight from the head pontiff who has pursued a life of unwavering religiosity. Brilliant photography, a very good soundtrack and a top class performance from Pankaj Kapoor. ” - Dipanjan Das
Life in a Metro (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Six different stories, about nine people, each with different issues and problems, all occurring within one place: the METRO. (132 mins.)
Director: Anurag Basu
“ Life in a Metro is not without it's flaws, but it is interesting and has many great moments of moving drama and funny comedy. The film will be mainly memorable in years to come for its portrayal of the big city, its music and above all, it's performances, which make it an altogether worthy picture. ” - Dipanjan Das
Manorama Six Feet Under (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Rajasthan-based Satyaveer Singh Randhawa works as a Junior Engineer with Lahkot Municipality's Public... (137 mins.)
Director: Navdeep Singh
“ Inspired from Roman Polanski's movie 'Chinatown', 'Manorama Six Feet Under' is a film for those who like unconventional cinema. At times bizarre, at times fascinating, the movie is arguably the first of it's kind in offbeat Hindi cinema. ” - Dipanjan Das
Aamir (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A doctor of Indian origin returning to Mumbai from London is forced to participate in a terrorist plot. (99 mins.)
Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
“ For a first time director, Raj Kumar Gupta surely treads a risky path as he tackles a burning issue in India head on. He enforces the ideologies that are so often taken for granted and makes the protagonist finally attempt the perfect antithesis of terror and a terrorist. ” - Dipanjan Das
A Wednesday (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A retiring police officer reminisces about the most astounding day of his career. About a case that was never filed but continues to haunt him in his memories - the case of a man and a Wednesday. (104 mins.)
Director: Neeraj Pandey
“ Like many other films made recently, this one is different from the typical Hindi masala flicks (nothing against them, I think they're wonderful), there are no songs, there is no combination of different genres in one film, it is not a three-hour film. It's a simple, small film, yet it succeeds to depict an entire world in this limited time. ” - Dipanjan Das
Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A burglar reflects on his life and loves; while the media speculates how he managed to pull off so many heists. (125 mins.)
“ Stylish, Witty, and Entertaining, this film is a must watch for all the people out there who have been suffering brain damage at the hands of leading Bollywood formulaic directors, for years. ” - Dipanjan Das
Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Five people whose lives are affected by the 2006 Mumbai train bombings. (134 mins.)
Director: Nishikant Kamat
“ Though the theme is primarily morbid, the film is extremely positive and non judgemental, and subtly makes its point. There are plenty of highly charged scenes that move you to tears or just shake you, but the triumph of the human spirit is simultaneously comforting. ” - Dipanjan Das
Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An educated man spends his days writing letters for the varied inhabitants of his small, poor, and illiterate village, in this political and social satire. (133 mins.)
Director: Shyam Benegal
“ It's simple, uncomplicated storytelling that leaves a smile on your face. ” - Dipanjan Das
Dev D (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After breaking up with his childhood sweetheart, a young man finds solace in drugs. Meanwhile, a teenage girl is caught in the world of prostitution. Will they be destroyed, or will they find redemption? (144 mins.)
Director: Anurag Kashyap
“ Dev D is indeed a coming-of-age film, not merely for the protagonist, Devender Singh Dhillon, but it is a brilliant breakthrough for Bollywood too. Not only does it rewrite the technique of the artistic medium, with its unusual cinematography, dizzy editing, non-linear plot narration, turn-of-the-century dialogues and breathtakingly bizarre audio track (music: Amit Trivedi, lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya), it completely revises the ancient text which has already made its mark in its various avtars , the latest being the high-pitched rendition of the self-destructive hero by Shah Rukh Khan in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas. ” - Dipanjan Das
Gulaal (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A law student witnesses deception, homicide, and crime after being elected as General Secretary of his college. (140 mins.)
Director: Anurag Kashyap
“ Gulaal is a very impressive piece of cinema that will be cherished by only a few due to its unconventional story telling. It is a dark and evil tale of India itself. As we progress in these times with our ambitious goals, we are often obstructed by our culture, history and orthodox values and Gulaal shows us a shockingly real picture of that confrontation. It is time we adopt this kind of cinema with the richness that it has in its script, screenplay, lyrics, dialogs, performances and Anurag Kashyap's relentless pursuit of his vision. ” - Dipanjan Das
Luck by Chance (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
When Vikram gets tapped to play the male lead in a Bollywood film, he can't believe his luck. But it may ruin his relationship with his girlfriend. (156 mins.)
Director: Zoya Akhtar
“ The film is an unabashed take on Hindi Cinema and it does not hold back from mocking it. The most noticeable aspect of this film is how sincere and understated it is. There is very little use of background music and embellishments. The film completely hinges on the superbly-written drama and acting. ” - Dipanjan Das
Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A story of a fresh graduate trying to find a balance between the maddening demands of the 'professional' way, and the way of his heart. (150 mins.)
Director: Shimit Amin
“ Rocket Singh might not be everyone's idea of a good time. It's not a film that grips you from the word go, or one that leaves you rolling in the aisles, but it's an impassioned effort that tosses skepticism out the window. Watch it, really. ” - Dipanjan Das
Ishqiya (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
While on the run from goons, a man and his nephew fall for a kidnapper's seductive widow. (118 mins.)
“ Ishqiya is a zany little black comedy that may be completely desi in its idiom, its lingo, its landscape. In Ishqiya lingo, the film is a sutli bomb (firecracker) that tickles and explodes. ” - Dipanjan Das
LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A video camcorder, a store security camera, and concealed cameras candidly expose lives in three loosely-linked tales. (155 mins.)
“ A film that not only dares to take up every sleazy story that has grabbed the headlines of Indian newspapers in the recent past, it also endeavours to tell it differently. Like Steven Soderbergh's Sex Lies and Videotape and the more recent Paranormal Activity, the film uses the hand-held camera as an integral character in the story, even as it narrates the entire plot through its jerky, shaky, intimate angles. ” - Dipanjan Das
Udaan (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Expelled from his school, a 16-year old boy returns home to his abusive and oppressive father. (134 mins.)
“ Udaan resonates with absolutely anyone who has had to break away from convention and suffer oppression in order to pursue one's dreams. It is a film about hope and every teenager will connect with Rohan when he rebels in his own ways by sneaking out after hours in his father's car and drinking with new found mates, by bunking college and blissfully penning poems along railway tracks and disobeying his father time and again. Vikramaditya Motwane has struck gold and each chord in our hearts with his directorial debut and this film is sure to linger in your minds for long. ” - Dipanjan Das
Peepli (Live) (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An impoverished farmer's threat to end his life invites attention from politicians and media. (95 mins.)
“ The high point of the film indeed is its smart and sassy script. But more than all this, it's the life-like portrayals that add a refreshing authenticity to the film. The music of the film deserves a special mention, with folksy lyrics and tunes by Indian Ocean, Nageen Tanvir, Brij Mandal and the rest. By and large, Peepli Live is a lively and living document on the `other' India, that lives beyond the neon lights and the cruising metros. ” - Dipanjan Das