Well! Who doesn’t love to watch a movie? Entertainment is now a multi-billion dollar industry and booming with each passing day. Honestly, I have never been much of a fan of Bollywood movies, because Bollywood movies in a nutshell are all about dances, bad guy beaten up by the hero, love songs, and happy endings. But some directors go beyond the usual way and come with masterpieces which really compels us to think. Here is a list of my top 15 favorite movies, which I guess everyone should watch at least once.
English Vinglish is a 2012 Indian comedy-drama film, written and directed by Gauri Shinde. The film’s narrative revolves around a housewife who enrolls in an English-speaking course to stop her husband and daughter mocking her lack of English skills and gains self-respect in the process. English Vinglish was originally made in Hindi; later it was re-shot in Tamil and released along with a Telugu dubbed versions on 5 October 2012. The film marked Sridevi’s return to filmmaking after a 15-year hiatus; it features French actor Mehdi Nebbou, Adil Hussain, and Priya Anand. Amitabh Bachchan and Ajith Kumar had cameo appearances in the Hindi and Tamil, Telugu versions respectively.
English Vinglish swept all the Best Debut Director awards of 2012 for Gauri Shinde. The film was also shortlisted as India’s official entry for the Academy Awards in Best Foreign Language Film category.The film earned global acclaim at several international festivals across the world and Sridevi was hailed as the ‘Meryl Streep of India’ and the “female Rajinikanth in Japan”.(SOURCE)
Dil Chahta Hai (English: The Heart Desires, but billed as Do Your Thing) is a 2001 Indian comedy-drama film starring Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Preity Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni, and Dimple Kapadia. The first film written and directed by Farhan Akhtar, it is set in modern-day urban Mumbai and focuses on a major period of transition in the lives of three young friends.
Dil Chahta Hai was critically acclaimed, it received a rating on 8.6 out of 10 which is among the top rated Bollywood films. It also won that year’s National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. Over the years, it has attained a cult status. Rediff named it as one of the top 10 Bollywood movies of the decade.
This movie is about three childhood friends, Aakash Malhotra (Aamir Khan), Sameer “Sam” Mulchandani(Saif Ali Khan), and Siddharth “Sid” Sinha (Akshaye Khanna) who, after college, fall in love. In the beginning, Aakash does not believe in love, so he does not keep girlfriends for more than two weeks. Sam is a genial, well-meaning, desperately romantic but confused guy who is prone to romantic infatuations and believes to have found true love whenever he gets attracted to a girl. Sid, an artist by profession and the most mature of the three, is not interested in trivial romances and is dedicated to his work. For more twists and turns, surely watch the movie.(SOURCE)
Kahaani is a 2012 Indian thriller film directed and co-produced by Sujoy Ghosh. It stars Vidya Balan as Vidya Bagchi, a pregnant woman searching for her missing husband in Kolkata during the festival of Durga Puja, assisted by Satyoki “Rana” Sinha (Parambrata Chatterjee) and Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Shot in Kolkata, the crew often employed guerrilla filmmaking techniques on the city’s streets to avoid attracting attention. The film was noted for its deft portrayal of the city and for making use of many local crews and cast members. Kahaani explores themes of feminism and motherhood in male-dominated Indian society.
Kahaani was released worldwide on 9 March 2012. Critics praised the screenplay, the cinematography and the performances of the lead actors. Due to critical acclaim and word-of-mouth publicity, the film became a sleeper hit, earning INR 1.04 billion (US$17 million) worldwide in 50 days. At the end of its theatrical run, the film won several awards, including three National Film Awards and five Filmfare Awards. The latter included trophies for Best Director (Ghosh) and Best Actress (Vidya).(SOURCE)
No One Killed Jessica is a 2011 Indian political crime thriller film starring Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan, produced by UTV Spotboy and directed by Rajkumar Gupta. In the film, the character of Jessica’s older sister, Sabrina Lal, is played by Vidya Balan, and the character of the news reporter following the story is played by Rani Mukerji. Upon release, the film garnered positive critical reviews and enjoyed a successful outing at the box office.
No One Killed Jessica is based on the true story of Jessica Lal, a Delhi-based model and restaurant worker who was shot in 1999 at a New Delhi restaurant by Siddharth Vashisht, better known as Manu Sharma. The killer was the son of the wealthy, influential and intimidating Haryana politician, Venod Sharma, a close aide of the Chief Minister of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
The movie also received 4 nominations at the 57th Filmfare Awards, including the Filmfare Award for Best Film and the Filmfare Award for Best Actress; it won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress for Rani Mukerji’s performance.(SOURCE)
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (English: “Run Milkha Run”) is a 2013 Indian biographical sports drama film produced and directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra from a script written by Prasoon Joshi based on the life of Milkha Singh, an Indian athlete who was a national champion runner and an Olympian. The film stars Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor, Meesha Shafi, Divya Dutta, Pavan Malhotra, Yograj Singh and Prakash Raj. Sports was coordinated by the American action director Rob Miller of ReelSports.
Made on a budget of INR 300 million (US$5.0 million), the film released on 12 July 2013 and gathered a positive response from critics and audiences alike. It performed very well at the box office, eventually being declared a “super hit” domestically and hit overseas. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is the fifth highest grossing 2013 Bollywood film worldwide and became the twenty-first film to gross INR 1 billion (US$17 million).
Singh and his daughter, Sonia Sanwalka, co-wrote his autobiography, titled The Race of My Life.The book inspired Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Singh sold the film rights for one rupee but inserted a clause stating that a share of the profits would be given to the Milkha Singh Charitable Trust. The Trust was founded in 2003 with the aim of assisting poor and needy sportspeople.(SOURCE)
Dhobi Ghat (also known as Mumbai Diaries) is a 2010 Indian drama film directed by Kiran Rao in her directorial debut.Dhobi Ghat had its world premiere in September 2010 at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released on 21 January 2011 in cinemas. The film being mainly tagged an Art and Parallel cinema was critically successful, as it well received and appreciated by critics. The film was longlisted for 65th BAFTA Awards for Film Not in the English Language.
Arun (Aamir Khan), a reclusive artist, moves into a run-down flat in the older part of Mumbai. After attending an exhibition of his works, he meets Shai (Monica Dogra), an American banker who has come to Mumbai to devote time to her hobby, photography, and takes her back to his flat, where they have a one-night stand. The next morning, Arun expresses his disinterest in continuing the relationship and Shai angrily storms out.
Shortly after, Munna (Prateik Babbar), a dhobi (washerman) who dreams of getting a break in Bollywood, arrives to deliver Arun’s laundry. Arun moves into a new apartment the next day. While unpacking, he finds a small container that had been left by the previous tenant of the apartment. In it, he finds a silver chain, a ring, and three videotapes (Pehli chitti, Doosri chitti and Aakhri chitti) by Yasmin Noor. The tapes turn out to be video diaries in which Yasmin communicates with her brother. In the tape, she is generally happy and shows her apartment, which is the same one Arun is occupying now. The next morning, Arun is informed by his manager that art dealers, impressed with his art, have decided to open a gallery in Sydney featuring his works. Arun is pleased by this, as it would also give him a chance to visit his ex-wife and child, settled in Australia. He begins to work on a new painting. For more twists and turns, surely watch the movie.(SOURCE)
Udaan is a 2010 Hindi drama film produced by Sanjay Singh, Anurag Kashyap, and Ronnie Screwvala; and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane.It is roughly based on the real life of Anurag Kashyap.The film was officially selected to compete in the Un Certain Regard (A Certain Glance) category at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. The film was not immediately successful at the box office when released, but is regarded as a cult film.
17-year-old Rohan is expelled from the reputed Bishop Cotton School, Shimla boarding school along with three friends Vikram, Benoy and Maninder when they are caught by their warden watching an adult movie off campus.
Rohan returns home to Jamshedpur to a stern and abusive father and a 6-year-old half-brother, Arjun (whose existence Rohan hadn’t known about), not knowing what’s in store for him. His father forces him to jog every morning and race him at the last leg. Rohan then must work at his father’s metal works factory and attend engineering classes at the local university immediately afterward. His father’s disappointment takes the form of verbal and physical abuse and constant humiliation. Rohan’s kind uncle supports his ambitions of being a writer but his father will have none of it. One night he sneaks out of the house, takes his father’s car and goes to a local bar. There he meets some seniors from his college who try to rag him but later become his friends. This – taking his father’s car and drinking at the bar – becomes a regular habit. For more twists and turns, surely watch the movie.(SOURCE)
Stanley (Partho Gupte) is a fourth grader at Holy Family school in Mumbai and is very popular among his friends. He is talented and well liked by his peers. The English teacher, Ms. Rosy, (Divya Dutta) is particularly impressed with his creativity, wit, and humor. Stanley is shown with a bruised face in the opening scene of the movie. On being questioned about it by Ms. Rosy, he concocts an elaborate story, much to her amusement. His humorous essays and offhand poem recitations make him her favorite in class. However, his imagination is not always rewarded (his science teacher (Divya Jagdale) rebukes his attempt at constructing a lighthouse as part of the class project since it does not adhere to the topics covered in class).
It is shown early on that he doesn’t bring his lunch box or ‘dabba’ to school, unlike all his other classmates. Verma (Amole Gupte), is a ravenous Hindi teacher; a phagomaniac who does not bring his own dabba either but lusts after everyone else’s, also stealing food on occasion. The kids at school nicknamed him as ‘Khadoos’ (cantankerous person). He has a poor reputation among his peers for his mindless and inconsiderate gluttony. He particularly eyes the dabba of one of Stanley’s friends and shamelessly joins the group in class as soon as the lunch bell goes off to gorge on their food. A lot of his class time is spent discussing what his students brought for lunch. For more twists and turns, surely watch the movie.(SOURCE)
The Lunchbox is a 2013 Indian epistolary romantic film written and directed by Ritesh Batra, and produced by Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap, and Arun Rangachari. The film was jointly produced by various studios including DAR motion pictures, UTV Motion Pictures, Dharma Productions, Sikhya Entertainment, NFDC (India), ROH Films (Germany), ASAP Films (France), and the Cine Mosaic (United States). It stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in lead roles. The film was screened at International Critics’ Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and later won the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award also known as Grand Rail d’Or. It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released in India on 20 September 2013. The film has done well at the box office.
Saajan is a lonely accountant about to retire from his job. Ila is a young wife seeking her husband’s attention, looking for ways to put romance back in her marriage, and tries to cook her way to her husband’s heart. A neighbor who lives in the apartment above her gives her advice on cooking and marriage through shouted instructions. Through a rare mix up of the famous “dabbawalas”(a complicated system that picks up and delivers lunches from restaurants or homes to men at work) of Mumbai, the lunchbox with the delicious food Ila prepared for her husband instead gets delivered to widower Saajan.(SOURCE)
Harpreet Singh Bedi (Ranbir Kapoor), a Sikh B Com graduate with approximately 39 percent marks becomes a salesman with a big corporate computer assembly and service company, AYS. His idealistic vision of the working world shatters quickly. Within a few days, a client asks for a kickback. Harpreet is against and files a complaint only to find out that this is how AYS operates. The top salesmen at AYS acquire large client contracts through bribery. In such corrupt company culture, Harpreet’s honesty only brings him a demotion and humiliation. After making concessions to a client for the company, Harpreet realizes that sales success is dependent on the customer; so if the customer is satisfied then bribery will not be necessary to secure these contracts. No one agrees with him but Harpreet remains firm on his belief and forms his own company, Rocket Sales Corporation, from within AYS. Rocket Sales is being managed from the AYS offices where the Rocket partners were still employed. Unlike AYS, Rocket Sales Corporation’s overall strategic goal is customer service and customer satisfaction as opposed to just selling the product through bribes and providing zero customer service. Other disgruntled employees of AYS find their way to Rocket Sales – a place where even the guy who serves tea is an equal partner because he brings talent to the table. For more twists and turns, surely watch the movie.(SOURCE)
Ship of Theseus is a 2013 Indian drama film written and directed by Anand Gandhi, and produced by actor Sohum Shah. The film explores “questions of identity, justice, beauty, meaning and death through the stories of an experimental photographer, an ailing monk and an enterprising stockbroker”, played by Aida El-Kashef, Neeraj Kabi and Sohum Shah.
After three years in development, the film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, where it received great critical acclaim and was touted as “the hidden gem of the year”.It has received highly positive reviews from both Indian and international press and has been hailed as “the most significant film to come out of India in a very long time”.Film critic Derek Malcolm has called it a “life-changing film” and Variety commended it’s “unexpected grandeur”.
The title of the film alludes to Theseus’ paradox, most notably recorded in Life of Theseus, wherein the Greek historian and philosopher Plutarch inquires whether a ship that has been restored by replacing all its parts remains the same ship.
The film released in India on 19 July 2013.It won the award for the Best Feature Film of the year at the 61st National Film Awards.(SOURCE)
Chak De! India (English: Go India!) is a 2007 Hindi-language Indian sports drama film about field hockey in India. Directed by Shimit Amin and produced by Yash Raj Films, with action by Rob Miller of ReelSports, the film stars Shah Rukh Khan as Kabir Khan, the former captain of the Indian hockey team. In the plot, after a disastrous loss to the Pakistan hockey team, Khan is ostracized from the sport. He and his mother are further forced from their ancestral home by angry neighbors. Seven years later in an attempt to redeem himself, Khan becomes the coach for the India women’s national field hockey team with the goal of turning its sixteen contentious players to win the women hockey world cup. His team at first hates him due to his strict training regime (and attempts to make them work as a team) and pressurizes him to resign.But soon his team realizes its mistake and apologizes to him. He then convinces the administration to allow the women’s team for world cup and wins the world cup astonishing everyone and leading the women’s team to the Gold, Khan restores his reputation and returns with his mother to their home, welcomed by those who had shunned them years before.(SOURCE)
In the small village of Champaner, (now in the State of Gujarat, in western India) during the height of the British Empire in India in 1893, Captain Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne), the commanding officer of the Champaner cantonment, has imposed high taxes (“lagaan”) on people from the local villages which they are unable to pay due to a prolonged drought. Led by Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), the villagers beg Raja Puran Singh (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) to help them. He tells them that much to his regret, he is also bound by British law.
It is after their visit to the Raja that the people of the village first witness a cricket match. Bhuvan mocks the game and gets into a fight with one of the British officers. Taking an instant dislike to Bhuvan, Russell offers to cancel the taxes of the whole province for three years if the villagers can beat his men in a game of cricket. If the villagers lose, however, they will have to pay three times the amount of their normal taxes. Bhuvan accepts this wager on behalf of all the villages in the province, without their consent. When the other villagers find out about the bet, they are furious with Bhuvan. He argues that it is important for everyone to fight against British rule. For more twists and turns, surely watch the movie.(SOURCE)
Mohan Bhargava (Shah Rukh Khan) is a Non-Resident Indian working as a Project Manager at NASA. He had been a student at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school. After the death of his parents and twelve years in the US, he decides to return to his village, in India to find his nanny, Kaveri Amma (Kishori Balal), with whom he has lost touch. After visiting the Old-Age home where Kaveri Amma resided, he finds out through her friend, Kaveri Amma was taken to a village Charanpur. Along the way, he meets a number of interesting people; there’s the village postmaster, eager to know more about e-mails and the Internet, while also having a keen hobby of wrestling; the ex-freedom fighter who teaches history at the local school and is a lone voice of reason amongst the village elders; there’s also a cook who harbors ambitions of opening a dhaba on a US freeway, and sees in Mohan an opportunity to get a visa.
While Mohan soon adapts to life in the village and endears himself to its people, he also develops a cat and mouse romance with his childhood acquaintance Gita (Gayatri Joshi), who actually brought Kaveri Amma from the Old-Age Home to be with her and her brother, Chiku. Gradually he also encounters some of harsher aspects of the village; among them are poverty, caste discrimination, child marriage, illiteracy, child labor, a general disregard for education and an apathy to change. He tries in his own way to bring about some change, even succeeding to the point of dissuading the village elders from moving the local school to smaller and far-away premises. In doing this, he earns the respect of Gita, who also runs the local school. For more twists and turns, surely watch the movie.(SOURCE)
The film explores the life and imagination of eight-year-old Ishaan (Darsheel Safary). Although he excels in art, his poor academic performance leads his parents to send him to a boarding school. Ishaan’s new art teacher (Aamir Khan) suspects that he is dyslexic, and helps him to overcome his disability. The film made its theatrical debut in India on 21 December 2007, and UTV Home Entertainment released a DVD for Indian audiences in 2008. Disney’s release of the international edition DVD in 2010 marked the first purchase of distribution rights for an Indian film by a global company.(SOURCE)