Best Bollywood movies

by av-ankur | created - 10 Nov 2012 | updated - 07 Apr 2016 | Public

The finest of Hindi-Urdu movies (or, in other words, Bollywood), from India, across genres and eras; some of them are known, and some of them, even though fine features, are in the realm of unknown.

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Fight against colonialism, and then fight against feudalism

2. Frozen (2007)

109 min | Drama

This is a touching and somber journey of Lasya, who lives with her father Karma and younger brother Chomo in a remote village in the Himalayas. Pristine snow capped mountains surround their... See full synopsis »

Director: Shivajee Chandrabhushan | Stars: Danny Denzongpa, Gauri, Aungchuk, Shakeel Khan

Votes: 184

Poetry: a young woman tries to make meaning of life in a village on the border where armies violate the land's sanctity

3. Sanshodhan (1996)

Not Rated | 165 min | Drama

Parmino is a small village in Central India, headed by a Village Committee comprising of all males. When the Government of India notifies the Committee that a third of them must be women, ... See full summary »

Director: Govind Nihalani | Stars: Manoj Bajpayee, Vanya Joshi, Kishore Kadam, Harish Khannaa

Votes: 50

Fight for social reforms by a woman who dares to raise voice

4. Khamoshi: The Musical (1996)

Not Rated | 159 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

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. Flavy gets pregnant and gives birth to a daughter ... See full summary »

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali | Stars: Nana Patekar, Salman Khan, Manisha Koirala, Seema Biswas

Votes: 2,098

Stunningly beautiful romance, with Goa as the landscape

5. Jagte Raho (1956)

153 min | Comedy, Drama

In hopes of improving his lifestyle, a poor peasant re-locates to Bombay virtually penniless. It is late at night and he is thirsty, and he is unable to find water anywhere. A singing drunk... See full summary »

Directors: Amit Mitra, Sombhu Mitra | Stars: Pradeep Kumar, Sumitra Devi, Smriti Biswas, Pahadi Sanyal

Votes: 730

A beautifully crafted comedy about the absurdity of urban existence. Rivalling, and even surpassing, Jacques Tati in every respect.

6. 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: 8,837

A thriller with terrorism as its background

7. 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: 64,260 | Gross: $2.80M

An irreverent romance

8. Raincoat (2004)

Unrated | 117 min | Drama, Romance

All he wanted was to see her just once. Manu was from a village in the backwoods. Neeru was the girl next door, his lost love.

Director: Rituparno Ghosh | Stars: Ajay Devgn, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Annu Kapoor, Mouli Ganguly

Votes: 3,249

Poetry: an O'Henry story beautifully adapted to Indian settings

9. Saaransh (1984)

Not Rated | 137 min | Drama

An old couple lend a room on rent after recent death of the bread earner of the family, their only son. A budding actress starts living with them, who is in love with a local politician's only son. The movie shows what later ensues.

Director: Mahesh Bhatt | Stars: Rohini Hattangadi, Anupam Kher, Soni Razdan, Madan Jain

Votes: 1,424

A man's fight against corruption, marked by one of the finest acting performances that the world has seen (by Kher)

10. 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: 22,873

A love story at its best

11. 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: 24,286 | Gross: $0.01M

A critical, harsh examination of hedonists

12. Nishabd (2007)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

A man, who has been married for 27 years, falls in love with his 18-year-old daughter's friend.

Director: Ram Gopal Varma | Stars: Amitabh Bachchan, Jiah Khan, Revathy, Nassar

Votes: 1,386

A film celebrating lust

13. 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: 4,222

About the angst of an artist, and how creativity is born from that

14. 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: 1,644

A critical look at State machinery: why so-called terrorists are born in the first place - and who's right, in reality?

15. Khamosh (1985)

101 min | Mystery, Thriller

When a starlet is murdered on a film location, her detective brother arrives there to solve the mystery.

Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra | Stars: Shabana Azmi, Amol Palekar, Sudhir Mishra, Soni Razdan

Votes: 759

A low-key suspense thriller, with no let-up in pace

16. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)

PG | 174 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A rich brat and a poor chap try to woo a girl, with their rivalry culminating in the most prestigious college event - the marathon cycle race.

Director: Mansoor Khan | Stars: Aamir Khan, Ayesha Jhulka, Deepak Tijori, Pooja Bedi

Votes: 17,907

Romance, sports and teen flick, all in one

17. Saaheb (1985)

150 min | Drama

Mr. Sharma (Utpal Dutt) lives with his four sons (Biswajeet, Vijay Arora, Dilip Dhawan) and a daughter, Geeta or Butlie. Only the youngest son, Sunil (Anil Kapoor) and Geeta are unmarried. ... See full summary »

Director: Anil Ganguly | Stars: Rakhee Gulzar, Anil Kapoor, Amrita Singh, Utpal Dutt

Votes: 380

A poignant look into lower-middle-class India

18. Saudagar (1973)

Not Rated | 131 min | Drama, Family

Moti sells gurd in the market. He collects the raw material and takes them to an older woman, Mahjubhi, who makes exemplary gurd. Moti loves a village girl but is unable to afford to pay ... See full summary »

Director: Sudhendu Roy | Stars: Amitabh Bachchan, Nutan, Trilok Kapoor, Padma Khanna

Votes: 595

Man's battle between sublime and earthly

19. Gangster (2006)

Not Rated | 123 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

In Seoul, a gangster's alcoholic moll falls in love with another man.

Director: Anurag Basu | Stars: Kangana Ranaut, Shiney Ahuja, Emraan Hashmi, Gulshan Grover

Votes: 4,385

Romance triangle - don't be misleaded by the title

20. Parinda (1989)

Not Rated | 154 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Two brothers are caught on the different sides of a gang war.

Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra | Stars: Nana Patekar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Kamal Chopra, Suresh Oberoi

Votes: 2,574

One of the earliest films about the mafia of Bombay, a theme that would prove to be quite productive in later years. A powerful story of how crime never pays - in the end.

21. Umrao Jaan (1981)

145 min | Drama, Musical

In Faizabad, British India, Daroga Dilawar is sentenced to several years in prison after Amiran's dad testifies against him. After his discharge around 1840, he extracts his vengeance by ... See full summary »

Director: Muzaffar Ali | Stars: Rekha, Farooq Shaikh, Naseeruddin Shah, Raj Babbar

Votes: 823

A courtesan's story - not to be missed for the diva that Rekha was

22. Angoor (1982)

Not Rated | 131 min | Comedy

Based on Shakespeare's 'A Comedy of Errors', this is a story of identical twins (2 pairs) and mistaken identities.

Director: Gulzar | Stars: Sanjeev Kumar, Moushumi Chatterjee, Deven Verma, Aruna Irani

Votes: 4,051

Shakespeare's comedy wonderfully adapted to Indian settings

23. Woh Chokri (1994 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 129 min | Drama

Tunu lives and spends her time at the Howrah Railway Station, searching desperately for her father Dinesh Roy, a small-time politician. He abandoned her and her mother, Geeta, who is now a bootlegger and prostitute in order to survive.

Director: Subhankar Ghosh | Stars: Pallavi Joshi, Neena Gupta, Paresh Rawal, Om Puri

Votes: 60

A disturbing look at Indian politics, civic corruption and urban poverty

24. Mother India (1957)

172 min | Drama, Musical, Family

53 Metascore

In this melodrama, a poverty-stricken woman raises her sons through many trials and tribulations. But no matter the struggles, always sticks to her own moral code.

Director: Mehboob Khan | Stars: Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar

Votes: 6,962

An epic story, with a strong feminist element early on

25. Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995)

Not Rated | 160 min | Drama, Romance

An estranged couple battle for the custody of their only son.

Director: Mansoor Khan | Stars: Aamir Khan, Manisha Koirala, Master Adil, Deven Verma

Votes: 3,797

Remake of Kramer vs. Kramer with modifications: a better story and film than the Hollywood original.

26. 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: 1,493

Ostensibly a children's film, but marked by beautiful shots of the Himalayas and a touching story

27. 1942: A Love Story (1994)

Not Rated | 157 min | Romance, Action, Drama

A young Indian couple, both from wealthy backgrounds, find themselves caught up in the 1940's Indian revolutionary movement against their families whom are under the thumb a sadistic British general.

Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra | Stars: Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Manisha Koirala, Anupam Kher

Votes: 2,816

A bit too ambitious, but the melodrama still works: great music and Manisha Koirala during the peak of her career

28. Aghaat (1985)

138 min | Drama, Crime

Madhav Verma (Om Puri) is a dedicated, honest, and diligent union representative. He represents the majority of the employees in an organization, which recognizes his union. However, there ... See full summary »

Director: Govind Nihalani | Stars: Om Puri, Gopi, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah

Votes: 98

Labour issues and corruption

29. Aakrosh (1980)

144 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

A public prosecutor discovers the harsh realities about life of the scheduled tribes in India during 1980s while defending a case of a tribesman charged of murdering his wife.

Director: Govind Nihalani | Stars: Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Amrish Puri, Om Puri

Votes: 590

A realistic look into Indian society, corruption and judicial system

30. Lamhe (1991)

Not Rated | 187 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

Yash Chopra's most cherished film with soul-stirring music is a story of moments - moments of passion, of ecstasy and of life-changing love.

Director: Yash Chopra | Stars: Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Anupam Kher, Waheeda Rehman

Votes: 2,194

Romance with elements of incest

31. Khamoshi (1970)

Not Rated | 127 min | Family, Musical, Romance

khamoshi is an intriguing tale of a female nurse trying to maintain a balance between her professional life and her emotions who falls victim to the natural feeling of love and compassion when a person takes care of another person.

Director: Asit Sen | Stars: Rajesh Khanna, Waheeda Rehman, Nasir Hussain, Snehlata

Votes: 443

Strong feminist film, with minimalistic plot, located within a mental asylum

32. 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: 17,725 | Gross: $0.03M

A brilliant, sharp comedy, ruthlessly exposing corruption entrenched in every Indian system

33. Highway (I) (2014)

Not Rated | 133 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama

40 Metascore

Right before her wedding, a young woman finds herself abducted and held for ransom. As the initial days pass, she begins to develop a strange bond with her kidnapper.

Director: Imtiaz Ali | Stars: Alia Bhatt, Randeep Hooda, Durgesh Kumar, Pradeep Nagar

Votes: 21,337 | Gross: $0.53M

A movie of journeys: literal and figurative, outwards and inwards.

34. Satya (1998)

Not Rated | 170 min | Action, Crime, Drama

An innocent man is embroiled in underworld after being falsely charged and sets out to punish the perpetrators who subjected his life to misery.

Director: Ram Gopal Varma | Stars: J.D. Chakravarthi, Urmila Matondkar, Paresh Rawal, Manoj Bajpayee

Votes: 10,430

A realistic look at the Mumbai underworld

35. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

Not Rated | 181 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

When Raj meets Simran in Europe, it isn't love at first sight but when Simran moves to India for an arranged marriage, love makes its presence felt.

Director: Aditya Chopra | Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Amrish Puri, Farida Jalal

Votes: 53,661

The definitive romantic film of the Hindi cinema

36. Do Bigha Zamin (1953)

131 min | Drama

In the hope of earning enough money to pay off his debts and save his land, a poor farmer becomes a rickshaw puller in the Calcutta and faces many difficulties.

Director: Bimal Roy | Stars: Balraj Sahni, Nirupa Roy, Rattan Kumar, Murad

Votes: 1,390

Rich-poor divide and exploitation

37. Chupke Chupke (1975)

Not Rated | 146 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A newly wedded husband plays a practical joke on his wife's family with full support from his wife and friends.

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee | Stars: Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri

Votes: 8,922

A heart-warming comedy, which can be seen again and again

38. 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

A rare attempt to understand what happened during the Partition (of India-Pakistan)

39. Filmistaan (2012)

Not Rated | 117 min | Comedy

In Mumbai, affable Bollywood buff and wanna-be-actor Sunny, who works as an assistant director, fantasizes on becoming a heart-throb star. However, at every audition he is summarily thrown ... See full summary »

Director: Nitin Kakkar | Stars: Sharib Hashmi, Inaamulhaq, Kumud Mishra, Gopal Dutt

Votes: 2,967

Ode to Hindi films in the form of comedy, and a lesson to humanity over what truly matters

40. 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

An artist and his muse - a tragic love story

41. Aavishkar (1974)

107 min | Drama, Family, Romance

Amar and Mansi are in love, and decide to get married. They do so, and still continue to be in love. They get to their first wedding anniversary, and decide to hire a taxi-cab for a day, ... See full summary »

Director: Basu Bhattacharya | Stars: Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore, Dina Pathak, Dennis Clement

Votes: 140

A rare example of some brilliant editing work in a Hindi film, the story is of how a marriage is slowly poisoned as time goes along and ideals are forsaken.

42. Sheesha (1986)

113 min | Drama

The wife of a senior executive must deal with his arrest for attempted rape.

Director: Basu Chatterjee | Stars: Mithun Chakraborty, Moon Moon Sen, Vijayendra Ghatge, Mallika Sarabhai

Votes: 29

Whose word do people believe? A look at how the judicial system works when it comes to rape

43. Damini (1993)

Not Rated | 175 min | Crime, Drama

After witnessing a rape in her own household, Damini fights for justice for the deceased victim. However, she faces a bunch of challenges until she meets a disgraced lawyer who decides to fight the case and bring the culprits to justice.

Director: Rajkumar Santoshi | Stars: Rishi Kapoor, Meenakshi Sheshadri, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Rohini Hattangadi

Votes: 2,344

A melodrama with rape and fight for justice at its core

44. Raavan (2010)

Not Rated | 130 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

A bandit leader kidnaps the wife of the policeman who killed his sister, but later falls in love with her.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Govinda, Vikram

Votes: 3,653 | Gross: $0.71M

Modern-day retelling of Ramayana, but where Raavan is the hero and Ram the villain: stunning locales, great music and fluid structure

45. Haider (2014)

Not Rated | 160 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A young man returns to Kashmir after his father's disappearance to confront his uncle - the man he suspects of playing a role in his father's fate.

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj | Stars: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor, Kay Kay Menon

Votes: 43,129 | Gross: $0.90M

An Indian adaptation of Hamlet: a world of insecurities and deceptions, with the backdrop of Kashmir and its politics.

46. Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)

162 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

A young man and young woman fall in love against their feuding fathers' wishes in this version of 'Romeo and Juliet' set in contemporary India.

Director: Mansoor Khan | Stars: Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, Goga Kapoor, Dalip Tahil

Votes: 8,645

Two fresh faces playing two teens, and a story of doomed love between them

47. 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: 43,358

The only Indian Western; not a bad job: great moments of comedy, and one could watch it for Sanjeev Kumar

48. Bawarchi (1972)

Not Rated | 130 min | Comedy, Musical, Drama

Squabbling Sharma family has a dubious reputation of not having any cook last there for more than a few months. Word spreads out about this family to such an extent that no person wants to ... See full summary »

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee | Stars: Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Bhaduri, Usha Kiran, Harindranath Chattopadhyay

Votes: 2,845

A gem of a comedy, which also slips in many lessons about how to live

49. Chameli Ki Shaadi (1986)

Not Rated | 136 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Charandas lives a poor lifestyle in a small town in India along with his older brother, Bhajandas, and Bhabhi. He is unemployed and commits himself to be a wrestler with Ustad Mastram ... See full summary »

Director: Basu Chatterjee | Stars: Anil Kapoor, Amrita Singh, Om Prakash, Amjad Khan

Votes: 1,274

Bubbly little comedy