Best Indian Cinematography

by aditya_vashisht | created - 14 Jan 2011 | updated - 02 Dec 2012 | Public

The list includes the movies which according to me are the best Indian ones in terms of cinematography.

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1. Nayakan (1987)

Not Rated | 145 min | Crime, Drama

A common man's struggles against a corrupt police force put him on the wrong side of the law. He becomes a don, who is loved and respected by many, but his growing power and influence exact a heavy toll.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Saranya Ponvannan, Delhi Ganesh, Janagaraj

Votes: 11,295

Here the cinematography adds to the drama. A deserving National Award for P.C.Sreeram.

2. Pather Panchali (1955)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama

Impoverished priest Harihar Ray, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work.

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Kanu Bannerjee, Karuna Bannerjee, Subir Banerjee, Chunibala Devi

Votes: 17,264 | Gross: $0.54M

3. Iruvar (1997)

140 min | Biography, Drama

The real-life rivalry between M.G. Ramachandran and Karunanidhi is given the Mani Ratnam treatment.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Mohanlal, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Gautami

Votes: 3,347

All Mani Ratnam movies are cinematography marvels.

4. Dil Se.. (1998)

Not Rated | 163 min | Drama, Romance

The clash between love and ideology is portrayed in this love story between a radio executive and a beautiful revolutionary

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, Preity Zinta, Raghuvir Yadav

Votes: 22,884

Santosh Sivan is a genius.

5. Trikal (Past, Present, Future) (1985)

137 min | Drama

Set in 1961 Goa, this is a story of a rich and influential Goan family and what happens to them over a period of time. The movie is narrated in past-tense by one of the friends of the ... See full summary »

Director: Shyam Benegal | Stars: Leela Naidu, Neena Gupta, Anita Kanwar, Soni Razdan

Votes: 147

Ashok Mehta brought visuals of international standards to Indian screens. He deserves to be recognized. Just watch the scene in the movie shot completely in candlelight. Piece of art.

6. Junoon (1979)

141 min | Drama

Set during the 1857 War of Independence, an obsessed Indian Nawab desires to wed a young Anglo-Indian woman, but the girl's obstinate mother stands between them.

Director: Shyam Benegal | Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Nafisa Ali, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah

Votes: 411

Had we sent, would definitely have won an Oscar.

7. Kaminey (2009)

130 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

The desperate lives of two estranged twin brothers converge over missing drugs, politics, racial prejudice, corrupt cops and an unplanned pregnancy.

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj | Stars: Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Deb Mukherjee, Shivkumar Subramaniam

Votes: 14,416 | Gross: $1.29M

A whole new generation of cinematographers rising up.

8. Dev.D (2009)

Not Rated | 144 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

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?

Director: Anurag Kashyap | Stars: Abhay Deol, Mahie Gill, Kalki Koechlin, Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Votes: 24,293 | Gross: $0.01M

Breaks the stereotype and has a style of its own.

9. Rang De Basanti (2006)

Not Rated | 157 min | Comedy, Drama

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.

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra | Stars: Aamir Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi

Votes: 92,908 | Gross: $2.20M

Hats off to Binod Pradhan.

10. Vijeta (1982)

151 min | Drama

Vijeta (The Victor) is the coming of age story of Angad (Kunal Kapoor). Confused like any other teenager trying to find himself and caught in between the marital problems of his mother ... See full summary »

Director: Govind Nihalani | Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Rekha, Supriya Pathak, Kunal Kapoor

Votes: 219

The only Indian film with aerial shots of jet planes. Don't know why the movie is forgotten.

11. Road, Movie (2009)

Not Rated | 95 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

A young man's journey across the mythic Indian landscape becomes a life changing odyssey.

Director: Dev Benegal | Stars: Abhay Deol, Satish Kaushik, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Mohammed Faizal

Votes: 1,546

Is a desert so beautiful? This tribute to cinema was shot beautifully.

12. Paan Singh Tomar (2012)

Not Rated | 135 min | Action, Biography, Crime

The story of Paan Singh Tomar, an Indian athlete and seven-time national steeplechase champion who becomes one of the most feared dacoits in Chambal Valley after his retirement.

Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia | Stars: Irrfan Khan, Ravi Bhushan Bhartiya, Hemendra Dandotiya, Mahie Gill

Votes: 27,321 | Gross: $0.04M

13. Agni Natchathiram (1988)

Not Rated | 146 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Two men having the same father , but different mothers hate each other and often get into fights. But they are forced to join hands when their father's life is endangered.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Karthik, Prabhu, Vijayakumar, Amala Akkineni

Votes: 1,023

14. Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)

148 min | Musical, Romance

Suresh Sinha, a famous director, discovers star potential in Shanti, a woman he stumbled into one rainy evening, and casts her as the lead in a film. In a twist of fate, Shanti becomes a superstar and Suresh faces a decline in his career.

Director: Guru Dutt | Stars: Waheeda Rehman, Guru Dutt, Kumari Naaz, Johnny Walker

Votes: 1,583

15. Udaan (2010)

Not Rated | 134 min | Crime, Drama

Expelled from his school, a 16-year old boy returns home to his abusive and oppressive father.

Director: Vikramaditya Motwane | Stars: Rajat Barmecha, Sanjay Gandhi, Ronit Roy, Manjot Singh

Votes: 36,643 | Gross: $0.01M

16. Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama, War

A little girl is told by her parents that she is adopted. Determined to find her birth mother, she begs to be taken to Sri Lanka, where her mother works with a militant group of activists.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Madhavan, Simran, Keerthana Parthiepan, Nandita Das

Votes: 5,538

17. Rock On!! (2008)

Not Rated | 145 min | Drama, Music

Four friends reunite to relive their moments of glory as a rock band.

Director: Abhishek Kapoor | Stars: Arjun Rampal, Farhan Akhtar, Luke Kenny, Purab Kohli

Votes: 17,991

18. Sholay (1975)

Not Rated | 162 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

After his family is murdered by a notorious and ruthless bandit, a former police officer enlists the services of two outlaws to capture the bandit.

Director: Ramesh Sippy | Stars: Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan

Votes: 43,375

19. Tahaan (2008)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama

A tender fable about childhood innocence amid the realities of war is set against the rugged landscape of Kashmir, so long a flash point for the territorial claims of neighboring India and ... See full summary »

Director: Santosh Sivan | Stars: Victor Banerjee, Purav Bhandare, Rahul Bose, Ankush Dubey

Votes: 659

20. Roja (1992)

137 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

A woman from a village in Tamil Nadu marries a sophisticated city dweller and moves with him to Kashmir, where all is rosy - until he gets kidnapped by militants.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Arvind Swamy, Madhoo, Pankaj Kapur, Nassar

Votes: 8,999

21. Kutty Srank: The Sailor of Hearts (2009)

127 min | Drama

Kutty Srank is a short-tempered, lonely, but law-abiding boatman whose work leads him to travel the back waters of Kerala. One day, when the local police station discovers an unidentified ... See full summary »

Director: Shaji N. Karun | Stars: Mammootty, Kamalinee Mukherjee, Meena Kumari Perera, Padmapriya

Votes: 415

First ever National Award or any other awards to an Indian female cinematographer. Kudos to Anjuli Shukla.

22. Virasat (1997)

Not Rated | 165 min | Drama, Family, Musical

After completing his studies in London, England, Shakti Thakur returns home to India in a small town where his family resides. Accompanying him is his leggy girlfriend, Anita, who he is in ... See full summary »

Director: Priyadarshan | Stars: Anil Kapoor, Tabu, Pooja Batra, Milind Gunaji

Votes: 2,142

23. Maachis (1996)

160 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A realistic, hard-hitting portrayal of terrorism and youth in the Punjab after the 1984 riots.

Director: Gulzar | Stars: Om Puri, Tabu, Chandrachur Singh, Kanwaljit Singh

Votes: 1,645

24. Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities (2004)

Drama, Musical, Romance

Delving into the limitless world of creative endeavors, and vicissitudes in the way of such endeavors, this tale of an artist and his muse, like a painting, leaves itself open to interpretations and readings by every viewer...

Director: M.F. Hussain | Stars: Tabu, Raghuvir Yadav, Nadira Babbar, Kunal Kapoor

Votes: 273

25. Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007)

Not Rated | 138 min | Drama, Romance

A crazy love story full of lies, deceits and a complicated quadrangle where each one has to think quickly and dance around each other's emotions.

Director: Shaad Ali | Stars: Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Bobby Deol, Lara Dutta

Votes: 2,735 | Gross: $0.70M

A special mention for Ayananka Bose.

26. Shaitan (2011)

Not Rated | 121 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Five substance-abusing friends decide to fake a kidnapping in order to bribe a police constable for covering-up a hit-and-run accident.

Director: Bejoy Nambiar | Stars: Kalki Koechlin, Shiv Pandit, Gulshan Devaiah, Rajeev Khandelwal

Votes: 6,943

27. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

Not Rated | 155 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Three friends decide to turn their fantasy vacation into reality after one of their number becomes engaged.

Director: Zoya Akhtar | Stars: Katrina Kaif, Hrithik Roshan, Naseeruddin Shah, Farhan Akhtar

Votes: 53,517 | Gross: $3.08M

28. Anjali (1990)

Not Rated | 150 min | Family, Drama

Chitra, her husband, Shekar, and two children, Arjun and Anu live in a rural area in India. When Chitra is expecting her third child, she is taken on a stormy night to a hospital where she ... See full summary »

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Revathy, Raghuvaran, Prabhu, Saranya Ponvannan

Votes: 2,100

29. Eklavya: The Royal Guard (2007)

Not Rated | 105 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

As the kingdom of Devigarh comes apart at the seams, an aging bodyguard attempts to protect the Royal Family, as well as keep its darkest secrets from ever coming to light.

Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra | Stars: Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Vidya Balan

Votes: 2,826 | Gross: $1.10M

30. Chak de! India (2007)

Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Family, Sport

68 Metascore

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.

Director: Shimit Amin | Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Malvade, Sagarika Ghatge, Shilpa Shukla

Votes: 61,239 | Gross: $1.11M

31. Tamas (1986– )

297 min | Drama

This TV miniseries ("Darkness" in English) became famous in India in the mid/late 80s for its realistic depiction of the partition of the Indian subcontinent. In 1947, the sub continent ... See full summary »

Stars: Om Puri, Deepa Sahi, Amrish Puri, Bhisham Sahni

Votes: 252

32. Delhi-6 (2009)

Not Rated | 141 min | Comedy, Drama

45 Metascore

A story about love, hope and self-discovery set in the walled city of Delhi (zip code 6) and its chaotic but touching life that forces us to ask questions about ourselves.

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra | Stars: Waheeda Rehman, Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor

Votes: 6,007 | Gross: $0.88M

33. Chanakya (1990– )

Drama, History

This is a historical saga of establishing the Mauryan Empire in India

Stars: Hemant M. Pandya, Ashok Banthia, Sudhir Dalvi, Jazz Gee

Votes: 664

34. Swades (2004)

Not Rated | 189 min | Drama

A successful Indian scientist returns to an Indian village to take his nanny to America with him and in the process rediscovers his roots.

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker | Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Ballal, Smit Sheth

Votes: 69,322 | Gross: $1.22M

35. Vanaprastham (1999)

119 min | Drama

A depressed Kathakali artist falls in love with a member of an aristocratic family.

Director: Shaji N. Karun | Stars: Mohanlal, Suhasini, Mattanoor Shankara Marar, Kalamandalam Gopi

Votes: 1,252

36. Morning Raga (2004)

110 min | Drama

Morning Raga is about the meeting of worlds. It is a story that brings the modern and traditional together, unites the past with present, Carnatic music with Western music, as never before ... See full summary »

Director: Mahesh Dattani | Stars: Shabana Azmi, Prakash Kovelamudi, Lillete Dubey, Perizaad Zorabian

Votes: 283

37. Hey Ram (2000)

Not Rated | 186 min | Crime, Drama, History

Saketh Ram's wife is raped and killed during direct action day riots in Calcutta. He is convinced that Mahatma Gandhi is responsible for all the problems happening in the country and sets out to kill him.

Director: Kamal Haasan | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukerji, Hema Malini

Votes: 9,306 | Gross: $0.27M

38. Jodhaa Akbar (2008)

Not Rated | 213 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

69 Metascore

A sixteenth century love story about a marriage of alliance that gave birth to true love between a great Mughal emperor, Akbar, and a Rajput princess, Jodha.

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker | Stars: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonu Sood, Poonam Sinha

Votes: 24,722 | Gross: $3.44M

39. Bhumika (1977)

142 min | Drama

Coming from a poor and destitute family, Urvashi is encouraged by her mother, Shanta (Sualbha Deshpande) to be on more than friendly terms with a much older male, Keshav Dalvi (Amol Palekar... See full summary »

Director: Shyam Benegal | Stars: Smita Patil, Anant Nag, Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri

Votes: 389

40. Moksha: Salvation (2001)

Drama, Thriller

An idealistic lawyer wants to help the poor get justice, but lacks finance, so plans to rob a bank, alongside his love interest. His black n white emotional nature, leads to an unforgivable deed, which he severely repents.

Director: Ashok Mehta | Stars: Arjun Rampal, Manisha Koirala, Kalpana Pandit, Suresh Oberoi

Votes: 337

41. New Delhi Times (1986)

123 min | Drama, Mystery

When a politician is killed, a journalist discovers that a member of parliament had the man assassinated. As his editor digs deeper, the complicity of higher-placed politicians comes to the... See full summary »

Director: Romesh Sharma | Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Om Puri, Kulbhushan Kharbanda

Votes: 126

42. Moondram Pirai (1982)

143 min | Drama, Romance

A young woman regresses to childhood after suffering a head injury in a car crash. Lost, she ends up trapped at a brothel before being rescued by a lonely school teacher who falls in love with her.

Director: Balu Mahendra | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Sridevi, Poornam Vishwanathan, Silk Smitha

Votes: 1,680

43. Pyaasa (1957)

Not Rated | 146 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

A talented but indigent poet Vijay struggles for love and recognition in this selfish world.

Director: Guru Dutt | Stars: Mala Sinha, Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman, Rehman

Votes: 4,225

44. Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

Not Rated | 183 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

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.

Director: Farhan Akhtar | Stars: Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Preity Zinta

Votes: 57,338 | Gross: $0.30M

45. Bombay (1995)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

A Hindu man and a Muslim woman fall in love in a small village and move to Mumbai, where they have two children. However, growing religious tensions and erupting riots threaten to tear the family apart.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Arvind Swamy, Manisha Koirala, Tinnu Anand, Akash Khurana

Votes: 9,060

46. Shakespeare-Wallah (1965)

120 min | Drama

The story of a family troupe of English actors in India. They travel around the towns and villages giving performances of Shakespearean plays. Through their travels we see the changing face... See full summary »

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Felicity Kendal, Geoffrey Kendal, Laura Liddell

Votes: 503 | Gross: $0.00M

47. Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977)

Not Rated | 129 min | Comedy, Drama, History

Wazed Ali Shah was the ruler of one of the last independent kingdoms of India. The British, intent on controlling this rich country, had sent general Outram on a secret mission to clear the... See full summary »

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Farida Jalal

Votes: 2,520

48. Barfi! (2012)

Not Rated | 151 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Three young people learn that love can neither be defined nor contained by society's definition of normal and abnormal.

Director: Anurag Basu | Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ileana D'Cruz, Saurabh Shukla

Votes: 64,291 | Gross: $2.80M

49. Duvidha (1973)

Not Rated | 82 min | Drama

Film is Based on Duvidha by Vijayadan Detha, it's about merchant's son, whose relationship with his young bride, Lachhi is thwarted by his work and a ghost who falls in love with her, resulting in the ghost soon impersonating the husband.

Director: Mani Kaul | Stars: Hardan, Manohar Lalas, Ravi Menon, Raisa Padamsee

Votes: 184

50. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

321 min | Action, Crime, Drama

89 Metascore

A clash between Sultan and Shahid Khan leads to the expulsion of Khan from Wasseypur, and ignites a deadly blood feud spanning three generations.

Director: Anurag Kashyap | Stars: Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadha, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tigmanshu Dhulia

Votes: 61,682

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