All one needs to be a movie buff, or to be fancier, a “connoisseur” of films, ideally, is a love for cinema. I say “ideally”, because the age of Netflix and Mubi clearly demands something else – money. Let’s be real, not all of us can afford subscriptions to those platforms. That is where YouTube comes in, with a plethora of great films we can watch for free! Here are the 15 best Bollywood movies you can watch on YouTube for free.
1. Gangs of Wasseypur
Co-written, directed and produced by acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap, this 2012 film along with its sequel is a must-watch. It tells the story of three families engaged in the coal mafia business, and the trajectories of their lives. The cast includes renowned actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Richa Chaddha, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi and Huma Qureshi at the fore.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz3uCM-MrGY
2. Garam Masala
Now a cult classic, this 2005 film starring Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Rimi Sen and Paresh Rawal in the lead roles is one of the most loved films of its genre in popular cinema. The plot revolves around two photographers and their comical efforts to save their careers.
Link to the film: https://youtu.be/gxBERAhEU7w
3. Love, Sex aur Dhoka
A film by Dibakar Banerjee, it is an anthology of three loosely-connected films based on the DPS MMS scandal of 2004. The 2010 film received rave reviews from critics the world over.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx12eSF9SDI
4. Hera Pheri
It is a series of films, with the first one being a remake of the Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking. Starring stars like Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Suniel Shetty, the films are the epitome of slapstick comedy.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIQ5hrfermg
Yet another film by Dibakar Banerjee, this 2015 film takes us through the journey of an IAS officer who is tasked with probing the death of an anti-government campaign. It stars Kalki Koechlin, Emraan Hashmi and Abhay Deol in lead roles.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m6SsPQxIUw
The first film of Ram Gopal Varma’s trilogy of films about organised crime in India, this film tells the story of a migrant who comes to Mumbai and is lured into the underworld of the city. It stars J.D Chakravarty as the titular character.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7m1-x8rzZ4
A masterpiece by the master Satyajit Ray, this short film based on Premchand’s story of the same name is an absolute must watch. Smita Patil and Om Puri bring the characters to life in this horrific narration of the plight of the oppressed castes.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRpaPV3QayY
Directed by Govind Nihalani, Tamas is a television drama set against the backdrop of the Partition and the horrors it unleashed on the Sikh and Hindu migrants from the other side of the borders. The 1988 film stars Om Puri, Deepa Sahi, Bhisham Sahni and Surekha Sikri in pivotal roles.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmC8q5NnNuM
The first of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare Trilogy, Maqbool is based on the play Macbeth. With an ensemble cast of Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur and Piyush Mishra among others, the film tells the story of the troubled Maqbool and Nimmi. The couple, blinded by love and ambition, end up finding themselves trapped in a web of crime and lies.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ABFI8-mjlQ
This was the directorial debut of famed filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan, which achieved critical success and recognition. Starring Richa Chaddha, Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi in pivotal roles, the film talks about a lot of issues at the core of our society without being preachy in its portrayal. A must watch.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI-lB8CLuyQ
Shahid was based on the life of a lawyer and activist Shahid Azmi, who was assassinated in 2010 by four assailants who objected to the kind of work he was engaged in, namely defending cases for alleged “terrorists”. The 2013 film was directed by Hansal Mehta and Rajkumar Rao played the titular character.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MyDCOczQ6w
Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, starring Shabana Azmi and Kulbhushan Kharbanda as the leads, this 1982 film was Bhatt’s attempt at a semi-autobiographical piece. It draws on his relationship with Parveen Babi. The film is memorably associated with the most beautiful compositions by Chitra Singh and Jagjit Singh.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZGVf2AqLow
13. Shatranj ke Khiladi
Another masterpiece by Satyajit Ray, the film talks of the state of the country on the eve of the British takeover. The 1977 film was based on a story of the same name by Munshi Premchand.
Link to the film’s Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je26TvXakyk&list=PLD787A9F467130846
Based on a Punjabi novel of the same name written by Amrita Pritam, Pinjar stars Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee and Sanjay Suri in the lead roles. The film, set against the backdrop of the Partition, acquired critical acclaim and also won a national award.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NBTPoNV4sY
Directed by Deepa Mehta as the second film of her trilogy, Earth is yet another film set amidst the Partition, talking about how the event eroded human values and relationships to reveal the demons lurking inside us all. It stars Nandita Das, Aamir Khan and Rahul Khanna as the main characters.
Link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z2-EXkFfEY
Here’s hoping these 15 best Bollywood movies on YouTube you can watch for free, take you on a cinematic adventure!