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

by dipdas-howrah | created - 08 Jun 2011 | updated - 03 Mar 2012 | Public

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.

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1. Company (2002)

155 min | Action, Crime, Drama

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.

Director: Ram Gopal Varma | Stars: Ajay Devgn, Mohanlal, Manisha Koirala, Seema Biswas

Votes: 12,519

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.

2. 3 Deewarein (2003)

Not Rated | 115 min | Crime, Drama

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.

Director: Nagesh Kukunoor | Stars: Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, Juhi Chawla, Nagesh Kukunoor

Votes: 1,960

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.

3. Maqbool (2003)

132 min | Crime, Drama

The intrigue of the Shakespearean tragedy 'Macbeth' is transposed to the Mumbai underworld.

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj | Stars: Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah

Votes: 7,203

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.

4. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003)

120 min | Drama

Geeta Rao has two admirers - one is Siddharth Tyabji and the other is Vikram Malhotra circa 1969 West Bengal that is witnessing it's struggle against the ruling Congress party, joining ... See full summary »

Director: Sudhir Mishra | Stars: Kay Kay Menon, Shiney Ahuja, Chitrangda Singh, Ram Kapoor

Votes: 4,247

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!

5. Youth (2004)

Not Rated | 161 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

63 Metascore

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.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Vivek Oberoi

Votes: 7,424 | Gross: $0.28M

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.

6. Black Friday (2004)

Not Rated | 143 min | Action, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

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.

Director: Anurag Kashyap | Stars: Kay Kay Menon, Pavan Malhotra, Aditya Srivastava, Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Votes: 15,237 | Gross: $0.03M

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.

7. Ek Hasina Thi (2004)

120 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

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.

Director: Sriram Raghavan | Stars: Saif Ali Khan, Urmila Matondkar, Seema Biswas, Aditya Srivastava

Votes: 5,100

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.

8. Ab Tak Chhappan (2004)

129 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

An honest cop named Sadhu Agashe makes a name for himself by killing criminals in sting operations instead of locking them up in prison. The film follows his method of working, gives an ... See full summary »

Director: Shimit Amin | Stars: Nana Patekar, Revathy, Yashpal Sharma, Mohan Agashe

Votes: 6,787

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.

9. 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: 71,608 | Gross: $1.22M

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.

10. Iqbal (2005)

Not Rated | 132 min | Drama, Sport

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.

Director: Nagesh Kukunoor | Stars: Shreyas Talpade, Naseeruddin Shah, Shweta Prasad, Yatin Karyekar

Votes: 13,771

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.

11. Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara (2005)

100 min | Drama

Widowed Uttam Chaudhary lives a comfortable lifestyle with his college-going son, Karan, a daughter, Trisha, who is in love with a South-Indian youth named Ashish Reddy, and an elder son ... See full summary »

Director: Jahnu Barua | Stars: Anupam Kher, Urmila Matondkar, Parvin Dabas, Rajit Kapoor

Votes: 664

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.

12. Being Cyrus (2005)

90 min | Drama, Thriller

"Being Cyrus" is a dark, comedic venture by the debutante director Homi Adajania that spins around the Sethnas - a Parsi family.

Director: Homi Adajania | Stars: Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia, Saif Ali Khan, Boman Irani

Votes: 2,397

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.

13. The Blue Umbrella (2005)

90 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

Young Biniya lives a poor lifestyle in a small village in the mountainous and snowy region of Himachal Pradesh in India along with her widowed mom and wrestler brother. She entertains ... See full summary »

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj | Stars: Pankaj Kapur, Shreya Sharma, Deepak Dobriyal, Rahul Kumar

Votes: 1,561

Nothing can make you smile like a fable.

Well, then, consider Blue Umbrella a fable in it's own idyllic setting.

14. 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: 96,170 | Gross: $2.20M

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.

15. Khosla Ka Ghosla! (2006)

Not Rated | 135 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

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.

Director: Dibakar Banerjee | Stars: Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Parvin Dabas, Tara Sharma

Votes: 18,733 | Gross: $0.03M

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.

16. 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: 63,530 | Gross: $1.11M

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.

17. Taare Zameen Par (2007)

PG | 165 min | Drama, Family

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.

Directors: Aamir Khan, Amole Gupte | Stars: Darsheel Safary, Aamir Khan, Tisca Chopra, Vipin Sharma

Votes: 130,599 | Gross: $1.22M

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.

18. Dharm (2007)

105 min | Drama, History

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. A man who lives for his religion, soaked ... See full summary »

Director: Bhavna Talwar | Stars: Pankaj Kapur, Supriya Pathak, Pankaj Tripathi, Daya Shankar Pandey

Votes: 866

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.

19. Life in a Metro (2007)

132 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Six different stories, about nine people, each with different issues and problems, all occurring within one place: the METRO.

Director: Anurag Basu | Stars: Dharmendra, Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kay Kay Menon

Votes: 9,266 | Gross: $0.15M

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.

20. Manorama Six Feet Under (2007)

Not Rated | 137 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Rajasthan-based Satyaveer Singh Randhawa works as a Junior Engineer with Lahkot Municipality's Public Works Department and lives a middle-class lifestyle with his wife, Nimmi, and son, Raju... See full summary »

Director: Navdeep Singh | Stars: Abhay Deol, Gul Panag, Raima Sen, Sarika

Votes: 5,323

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.

21. Aamir (2008)

99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A doctor of Indian origin returning to Mumbai from London is forced to participate in a terrorist plot.

Director: Raj Kumar Gupta | Stars: Rajeev Khandelwal, Aishwarya, Vasan Bala, Chinkal

Votes: 9,135

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.

22. A Wednesday (2008)

Not Rated | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

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.

Director: Neeraj Pandey | Stars: Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Sheirgill, Deepal Shaw

Votes: 65,429

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.

23. Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008)

125 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A burglar reflects on his life and loves; while the media speculates how he managed to pull off so many heists.

Director: Dibakar Banerjee | Stars: Abhay Deol, Paresh Rawal, Neetu Chandra, Archana Puran Singh

Votes: 13,843 | Gross: $0.08M

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.

24. Mumbai Meri Jaan (2008)

134 min | Drama

Five people whose lives are affected by the 2006 Mumbai train bombings.

Director: Nishikant Kamat | Stars: Paresh Rawal, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, Madhavan

Votes: 4,915 | Gross: $0.01M

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.

25. Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008)

Not Rated | 133 min | Comedy, Drama

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.

Director: Shyam Benegal | Stars: Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao, Ravi Kishan, Ila Arun

Votes: 2,782

It's simple, uncomplicated storytelling that leaves a smile on your face.

26. 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: 25,019 | Gross: $0.01M

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.

27. Gulaal (2009)

140 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A law student witnesses deception, homicide, and crime after being elected as General Secretary of his college.

Director: Anurag Kashyap | Stars: Kay Kay Menon, Raj Singh Chaudhary, Jesse Randhawa, Deepak Dobriyal

Votes: 11,844

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.

28. Luck by Chance (2009)

Not Rated | 156 min | Drama

58 Metascore

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.

Director: Zoya Akhtar | Stars: Farhan Akhtar, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia

Votes: 8,586 | Gross: $0.36M

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.

29. Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009)

Not Rated | 150 min | Comedy, Drama

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.

Director: Shimit Amin | Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Prem Chopra, Mukesh Bhatt, D. Santosh

Votes: 15,404

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.

30. Ishqiya (2010)

Not Rated | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

While on the run from goons, a man and his nephew fall for a kidnapper's seductive widow.

Director: Abhishek Chaubey | Stars: Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Salman Shahid

Votes: 8,730

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.

31. LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha (2010)

Not Rated | 155 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A video camcorder, a store security camera, and concealed cameras candidly expose lives in three loosely-linked tales.

Director: Dibakar Banerjee | Stars: Nushrat Bharucha, Anshuman Jha, Neha Chauhan, Rajkummar Rao

Votes: 4,648

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.

32. Udaan (2010)

Not Rated | 134 min | 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: 37,588 | Gross: $0.01M

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.

33. Peepli (Live) (2010)

Not Rated | 95 min | Comedy, Drama

69 Metascore

An impoverished farmer's threat to end his life invites attention from politicians and media.

Directors: Anusha Rizvi, Mahmood Farooqui | Stars: Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghuvir Yadav, Shalini Vatsa, Farrukh Jaffar

Votes: 10,505 | Gross: $0.75M

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.



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