100 Essential Indian Movies

by Greenidge_Lewis | created - 13 May 2016 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

100 must watch Indian movies

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1. Hello Bombay! (1988)

Not Rated | 113 min | Crime, Drama

78 Metascore

The boy Krishna is abandoned by his mother at the Apollo Circus and she tells him that he can only return home when he can afford 500 rupees to pay for the bicycle of his brother that he ... See full summary »

Director: Mira Nair | Stars: Shafiq Syed, Hansa Vithal, Chanda Sharma, Raghuvir Yadav

Votes: 8,320 | Gross: $2.08M

2. Like Stars on Earth (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: 159,496 | Gross: $1.22M

3. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)

Not Rated | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

Two friends, attempting to start-up their own photo studio, come across shady dealings, corruption and murder, and must fight to bring the guilty to light.

Director: Kundan Shah | Stars: Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Bhakti Barve, Satish Shah

Votes: 12,586

4. Anand (1971)

Not Rated | 122 min | Drama, Musical

The story of a terminally ill man who wishes to live life to the fullest before the inevitable occurs, as told by his best friend.

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee | Stars: Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Sumita Sanyal, Ramesh Deo

Votes: 27,064

5. 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: 21,555 | Gross: $0.54M

6. Dev.D (2009)

Not Rated | 144 min | 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: 27,916 | Gross: $0.01M

7. Vikram Vedha (2017)

Not Rated | 147 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

Vikram, a no-nonsense police officer, accompanied by Simon, his partner, is on the hunt to capture Vedha, a smuggler and a murderer. Vedha tries to change Vikram's life, which leads to a conflict.

Directors: Gayatri, Pushkar | Stars: Madhavan, Vijay Sethupathi, Shraddha Srinath, Kathir

Votes: 23,463

8. 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, Ronit Roy, Manjot Singh, Ram Kapoor

Votes: 41,186 | Gross: $0.01M

9. Gol Maal (1979)

Not Rated | 120 min | Comedy, Romance

A man's simple lie to secure his job escalates into more complex lies when his orthodox boss gets suspicious.

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee | Stars: Amol Palekar, Bindiya Goswami, Deven Verma, Shubha Khote

Votes: 17,033

10. Drishyam (2013)

Not Rated | 160 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A man goes to extreme lengths to save his family from punishment after the family commits an accidental crime.

Director: Jeethu Joseph | Stars: Mohanlal, Meena, Asha Sharath, Ansiba

Votes: 29,403

11. Pakeezah (1972)

147 min | Musical, Romance, Drama

The story of a prostitute, with a pure heart (PAKEEZAH), and grand dreams...

Director: Kamal Amrohi | Stars: Ashok Kumar, Meena Kumari, Raaj Kumar, Veena

Votes: 1,408

12. Rang De Basanti (2006)

Not Rated | 167 min | Comedy, Drama

The story of six young Indians who assist an English woman to film a documentary on the 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: 107,817 | Gross: $2.20M

13. Mother India (1957)

Not Rated | 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: 8,228

14. Aruvi (2016)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama

A gentle girl born and brought up amidst the ever growing eco-social-consumeristic environment finds it difficult to fit in the society. She decides to take it hard on the people. What she does is the rest of the story.

Director: Arun Prabhu Purushothaman | Stars: Aditi Balan, Padmashri Mohammad Ali, Pradeep Anthony, Arnold

Votes: 9,973

15. Andhadhun (2018)

Not Rated | 139 min | Crime, Thriller

A series of mysterious events change the life of a blind pianist, who must now report a crime that he should technically know nothing of.

Director: Sriram Raghavan | Stars: Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, Radhika Apte, Anil Dhawan

Votes: 63,257 | Gross: $1.37M

16. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

PG | 224 min | Adventure, Drama, Musical

84 Metascore

The people of a small village in Victorian India stake their future on a game of cricket against their ruthless British rulers.

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker | Stars: Aamir Khan, Raghuvir Yadav, Gracy Singh, Rachel Shelley

Votes: 101,529 | Gross: $0.07M

17. 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: 80,113 | Gross: $1.22M

18. Go Goa Gone (2013)

Not Rated | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A group of friends, just looking to have a good time in a rave party on a remote island in Goa, find out that the island is infested with Zombies.

Directors: Krishna D.K., Raj Nidimoru | Stars: Saif Ali Khan, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das, Anand Tiwari

Votes: 10,950 | Gross: $0.30M

19. Masoom (1983)

Not Rated | 165 min | Drama

A happy family goes through turbulent times because of a big mistake by one of the family members.

Director: Shekhar Kapur | Stars: Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Jugal Hansraj, Urmila Matondkar

Votes: 3,457

20. Rangasthalam 1985 (2018)

Not Rated | 170 min | Action, Drama

The fear of his elder brother's death starts to haunt an innocent, hearing impaired guy after they both join forces to overthrow the unlawful 30 year long regime of their village's president.

Director: Sukumar | Stars: Ram Charan, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Aadhi, Jagapathi Babu

Votes: 17,603 | Gross: $3.51M

21. Ratra Aarambh (1999)

Drama, Mystery, Thriller

The story revolves around the two worlds inhabited by Prabhakar Phadke / Vasudeo Balwant Thombre - Dilip Prabhavalkar - an ordinary senior citizen who is an avid reader of crime fiction. ... See full summary »

Director: Ajay Phansekar | Stars: Anand Abhyankar, Dilip Kulkarni, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Deepak Shirke

Votes: 20

22. Tumbbad (2018)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A mythological story about a goddess who created the entire universe. The plot revolves around the consequences when humans build a temple for her first-born.

Directors: Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi, Adesh Prasad | Stars: Sohum Shah, Jyoti Malshe, Anita Date, Ronjini Chakraborty

Votes: 22,799

23. 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: Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman, Mala Sinha, Rehman

Votes: 5,139

24. Jibon Theke Neya (1970)

150 min | Drama, Family, War

A political satire of Bangladesh under the rule of Pakistan metaphorically, where an autocratic woman in one family symbolizes the political dictatorship of Ayub Khan in East Pakistan.

Director: Zahir Raihan | Stars: Abdur Razzak, Suchanda, Shaukat Akbar, Rosy Samad

Votes: 1,773

25. Charulata (1964)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Romance

The lonely wife of a newspaper editor falls in love with her visiting cousin-in-law, who shares her love for literature.

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhabi Mukherjee, Shailen Mukherjee, Shyamal Ghoshal

Votes: 4,782 | Gross: $0.08M

26. The Lunchbox (2013)

PG | 104 min | Drama, Romance

76 Metascore

A mistaken delivery in Mumbai's famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an older man in the dusk of his life as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox.

Director: Ritesh Batra | Stars: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Lillete Dubey

Votes: 48,237 | Gross: $4.23M

27. 3 Idiots (2009)

PG-13 | 170 min | Comedy, Drama

67 Metascore

Two friends are searching for their long lost companion. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them "idiots".

Director: Rajkumar Hirani | Stars: Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Mona Singh, Sharman Joshi

Votes: 328,415 | Gross: $6.53M

28. Visaaranai (2015)

Not Rated | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Four labourers are tortured by the police to confess to a theft they have not committed.

Director: Vetrimaaran | Stars: Dinesh, Samuthirakani, Anandhi, Murugadass

Votes: 6,329

29. 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 Basu Prasad, Yatin Karyekar

Votes: 15,471

30. Maqbool (2003)

132 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

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: 8,963

31. Raatchasan (2018)

Not Rated | 170 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

A Sub-Inspector sets out in pursuit of a mysterious serial killer who targets teen school girls and murders them brutally

Director: Ram Kumar | Stars: Vishnu Vishal, Radha Ravi, Sangili Murugan, Nizhalgal Ravi

Votes: 17,726

32. A Wednesday (2008)

Not Rated | 104 min | Action, Crime, Drama

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, Aamir Bashir

Votes: 72,004

33. Ulidavaru Kandanthe (2014)

Not Rated | 154 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A journalist sets out to uncover the truth behind an incident, through the perspectives of different people, unraveling how they and their lives are intertwined with it.

Director: Rakshit Shetty | Stars: Kishore Kumar G., Rakshit Shetty, Thara, Achyuth Kumar

Votes: 6,488

34. Ustad Hotel (2012)

151 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

An urbane chef from a well-to-do family with very high ambitions goes on to find approval from his conservative father, true love and the real purpose of his life.

Director: Anwar Rasheed | Stars: Dulquer Salmaan, Thilakan, Siddique, Nithya Menen

Votes: 10,851

35. Black Friday (2004)

Not Rated | 143 min | Action, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

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 Srivastav, Dibyendu Bhattacharya

Votes: 17,803 | Gross: $0.03M

36. Guide (1965)

Not Rated | 120 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

When mistaken to be a sage by some villagers, an ex-tour guide reflects on his past and lost love to search for spiritual wisdom to guide the villagers.

Director: Vijay Anand | Stars: Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Leela Chitnis, Anwar Hussain

Votes: 7,065

37. Harishchandrachi Factory (2009)

Not Rated | 96 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

In 1913 India's cinema industry is born from Dadasaheb Phalke's efforts to make Raja Harishchandra (1913), India's first feature-length B&W silent film.

Director: Paresh Mokashi | Stars: Nandu Madhav, Vibhawari Deshpande, Atharva Karve, Mohit Gokhale

Votes: 2,000

38. Mughal-E-Azam (1960)

Not Rated | 197 min | Drama, Romance, War

A 16th century prince falls in love with a court dancer and battles with his emperor father.

Director: K. Asif | Stars: Prithviraj Kapoor, Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Durga Khote

Votes: 6,974 | Gross: $0.16M

39. Take Off (2017)

139 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

In 2014, a group of Malayali nurses was captured when terrorists took over the city of Tikrit in Iraq. This movie recounts the ordeal suffered by the nurses following their capture.

Director: Mahesh Narayan | Stars: Parvathy Thiruvothu, Fahadh Faasil, Kunchacko Boban, Prakash Belawadi

Votes: 4,316

40. 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, Manoj Bajpayee, Urmila Matondkar, Paresh Rawal

Votes: 12,787

41. Khosla's Nest (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: 21,597 | Gross: $0.03M

42. Aparajito (1956)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

Following his father's death, a boy leaves home to study in Calcutta, while his mother must face a life alone.

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Pinaki Sengupta, Smaran Ghosal, Kamala Adhikari, Lalchand Banerjee

Votes: 10,781 | Gross: $0.17M

43. Shwaas (2004)

107 min | Drama

36 Metascore

This story is about how an old man tried to show his grandson the preciousness and beauty of life in a no win situation such as cancer. It is about keeping a positive attitude towards life.

Director: Sandeep Sawant | Stars: Arun Nalawade, Ashwin Chitale, Sandeep Kulkarni, Amruta Subhash

Votes: 1,383 | Gross: $0.00M

44. Devasuram (1993)

Not Rated | 187 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

The heir to a village elder's family squanders his inheritance and bullies all and sundry.

Director: I.V. Sasi | Stars: Mohanlal, Revathi, Nedumudi Venu, Innocent

Votes: 4,461

45. The World of Apu (1959)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama

This final installment in Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy follows Apu's life as an orphaned adult aspiring to be a writer.

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Soumitra Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore, Alok Chakravarty, Swapan Mukherjee

Votes: 11,079 | Gross: $0.02M

46. Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

Not Rated | 183 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance