57 excellent modern Indian films

Most people think that Indian films are just elaborate love stories with song and dance sequences. Here are some movies that break that mould and are a lot more than just that. These are some MUST SEE modern Indian films, including both Commercial as well as Arthouse films.
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1.
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
 
2.
Satya (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A young man named Satya (J.D Chakravarthy) comes to Mumbai from South India in search of a job. Jailed for something he did not do... (170 mins.)
Director: Ram Gopal Varma
 
3.
Bhopal Express (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
From producer Deepak Nayer (Buena Vista Social Club, Lost Highway) comes this powerful drama about a newlywed couple whose lives are changed during the lethal gas tragedy in Bhopal, India in 1984. (100 mins.)
Director: Mahesh Mathai
 
4.
Maqbool (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Macbeth meets the Godfather in present-day Bombay. The Scottish tragedy set in the contemporary underworld of India's commercial capital; two corrupt... (132 mins.)
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
 
5.
Parinda (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Two brothers are caught on the different sides of a gang war. (154 mins.)
 
6.
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.)
 
7.
Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Three inseparable childhood friends are just out of college. Nothing comes between them - until they each fall in love, and their wildly different approaches to relationships creates tension. (183 mins.)
Director: Farhan Akhtar
 
8.
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.)
 
9.
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
 
10.
Udaan (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Expelled from his school, a 16-year old boy returns home to his abusive and oppressive father. (134 mins.)
 
11.
Nayakan (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
The aging patriarch of an organized mafia dynasty looks out for a way to die with minimum pain and maximum repletion. (145 mins.)
Director: Mani Ratnam
 
12.
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
 
13.
Droh Kaal (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Riveting suspense thriller about a dedicated cop who leads an under-cover squad against a group of terrorists... (162 mins.)
Director: Govind Nihalani
 
14.
Omkara (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Shakespeare's masterpiece "Othello" set in modern India. A politically-minded enforcer's misguided trust in his lieutenant leads him to suspect his wife of infidelity. (155 mins.)
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
 
15.
The Chieftain's Son (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
The urbane son of a village chieftain struggles between his personal aspirations and those of his family. (145 mins.)
Director: Bharathan
 
16.
Anbe Sivam (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
Nalla Sivam and Anbarasu meet under different circumstances and their lives are changed as they take the journey of their life. (160 mins.)
Director: Sundar C.
 
17.
Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A clash between Sultan and Shahid Khan leads to the expulsion of Khan from Wasseypur, and ignites a deadly blood feud spanning three generations. (320 mins.)
Director: Anurag Kashyap
 
18.
Bandit Queen (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The movie tells the story of the bandit queen Phoolan Devi who was sent to prison in 1983 and got free in 1994... (119 mins.)
Director: Shekhar Kapur
 
19.
Bombay (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A Hindu man and a Muslim woman fall in love in a small village and move to Mumbai, where the have two children. However, growing religious tensions and erupting riots threaten to tear the family apart. (141 mins.)
Director: Mani Ratnam
 
20.
No Smoking (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A man fights against a tyrannical institution for his right to smoke, hence, for individual freedom. (128 mins.)
Director: Anurag Kashyap
 
21.
The Duo (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Mani Rathnam's take on the real-life rivalry between M.G. Ramachandran and Karunanidhi. (140 mins.)
Director: Mani Ratnam
 
22.
Stanley Ka Dabba (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A school-teacher, who forces children to share their food with him, forbids one from entering the school until he brings his own Tiffin/Lunch-box. (96 mins.)
Director: Amole Gupte
 
23.
Fire (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Ashok runs a family business that sells takeout food that also has a video rental store at the side... (108 mins.)
Director: Deepa Mehta
 
24.
Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A little girl is told by her parents that she is adopted. Determined to find her birth mother, her family eventually agrees to take her to Sri Lanka, where they are abducted by the terrorist group known as the Tamil Tigers. (123 mins.)
Director: Mani Ratnam
 
25.
Earth (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
It's 1947 and the borderlines between India and Pakistan are being drawn. A young girl bears witnesses to tragedy as her ayah is caught between the love of two men and the rising tide of political and religious violence. (110 mins.)
Director: Deepa Mehta
 
26.
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
 
27.
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The people of a small village in Victorian India stake their future on a game of cricket against their ruthless British rulers. (224 mins.)
 
28.
Kaun? (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
While alone in the house, a woman hears news of serial killer on the loose. And then a stranger rings the doorbell... (90 mins.)
Director: Ramgopal Varma
 
29.
Wake Up Sid (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A spoiled young adult living in Mumbai experiences a change in his lazy ways when he meets a woman at a party, who inspires him to "wake up". (138 mins.)
Director: Ayan Mukherji
 
30.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Three friends decide to turn their fantasy vacation into reality after one of their number becomes engaged. (155 mins.)
Director: Zoya Akhtar
 
31.
Kahaani (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A pregnant woman's search for her missing husband takes her from London to Kolkata, but everyone she questions denies having ever met her husband. (122 mins.)
Director: Sujoy Ghosh
 
32.
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
 
33.
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.)
 
34.
Khosla Ka Ghosla! (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 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.)
 
35.
Manichithrathazhu (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Unexpected happenings occur when the forbidden rooms of an old bungalow which is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a revengeful dancer, is opened. (169 mins.)
Director: Fazil
 
36.
Shool (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Police Inspector Samar Pratap Singh is transferred to Motihari, in the Indian state of Bihar, along with his wife... (138 mins.)
Director: E. Nivas
 
37.
The Well (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Sameer and Nachiket are relatives and friends. Nachiket, who is the more mature of the two, wants to escape his stifling surroundings... (120 mins.)
 
38.
Water (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The film examines the plight of a group of widows forced into poverty at a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. It focuses on a relationship between one of the widows, who wants to escape the social restrictions imposed on widows, and a man who is from the highest caste and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. (117 mins.)
Director: Deepa Mehta
 
39.
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.)
 
40.
Company (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 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
 
41.
Kaminey (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The desperate lives of two estranged twin brothers converge over missing drugs, politics, racial prejudice, corrupt cops and an unplanned pregnancy. (130 mins.)
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
 
42.
Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Harpreet Singh Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor) has just graduated, and his marks are, well, let's say a little embarrassing... (150 mins.)
Director: Shimit Amin
 
43.
Taare Zameen Par (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An eight-year-old boy is thought to be lazy and a 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
 
44.
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
 
45.
Delhi Belly (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Three struggling room-mates unknowingly become potential prey of a ruthless gangster. (103 mins.)
 
46.
Khamoshi: The Musical (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Goa based Joseph Braganza and his wife Flavy, devout Catholics, are both deaf and mute. He makes a living selling soap bars door to door... (159 mins.)
 
47.
Kala Pani (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Govardhan, a doctor by profession, is wrongly accused of bombing a train and is jailed by the British in Cellular Jail, also known as Kala Pani in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He witnesses sufferings of hundreds of Indian prisoners there. (178 mins.)
Director: Priyadarshan
 
48.
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.)
 
49.
Jab We Met (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A depressed wealthy businessman finds his life changing after he meets a spunky and care-free young woman. (138 mins.)
Director: Imtiaz Ali
 
50.
Peddlers (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Peddlers tells the story of a young drug peddler (Siddharth Menon), a young immigrant mother facing a fatal disease (Kriti Malhotra) and a corrupt cop (Gulshan Devaiah). (116 mins.)
Director: Vasan Bala
 
51.
Black (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The cathartic tale of a deaf, mute and blind girl, and her teacher who brings a ray of light into her world of BLACK. (122 mins.)
 
52.
Chak de! India (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A disgraced hockey player coaches the women's national team to win back his honor and dignity. (153 mins.)
Director: Shimit Amin
 
53.
Rang De Basanti (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The story of six young Indians who assist an English Woman to film a documentary on the extremist freedom fighters from their past, and the events that lead them to relive the long forgotten saga of freedom. (157 mins.)
 
54.
Shor in the City (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Various residents and career-criminals face challenges in crime-laden Mumbai. (112 mins.)
 
55.
Striker (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Amidst strictly enforced curfew by Bombay Police during December 1992 following Hindu-Muslim riots, Suryakant...
Director: Chandan Arora
 
56.
Ab Tak Chhappan (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Aan 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
 
57.
Love Aaj Kal (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An old-fashioned romantic tells his personal love story to a modern man who has just broken up with his girlfriend. Has love really ever changed? (128 mins.)
Director: Imtiaz Ali