The year is 2005. You have your summer vacations going on. Having nothing else to do, you decide to re-watch your favourite movie. You insert the DVD into your sturdy DVD player, only to be horrified by the fact that it doesn’t work. Damn those scratches! Old memories, right? Personally, I believe streaming is the best thing to happen in the 2010s. What is more comfy than getting into your pyjamas, turning on your laptop, and having thousands of movies at your fingertips? However, with so many options, it can be a little hard to navigate streaming platforms. And since we understand how precious your time is, we have compiled this list of 20 Bollywood movies on Netflix you can watch next time you decide to have a good time.
Now, back to our list of the best Bollywood movies on Netflix you can watch right away:
1. Tanu Weds Manu
Tanu weds Manu follows the story of an NRI doctor from London who comes to India to get married in an arranged setting. In India he meets Tanu, and is instantly enamoured by her. But Tanu loves someone else, and tells Manu the same, and Manu decides to walk away. However, he soon realises that he cannot get over her. When he meets Tanu again at a wedding, he decides to try and woo her. Tanu Weds Manu was praised for its screenplay and unpredictability; the cast was also lauded for its work. Incidentally, this was also the film that proved Kangana’s immense talent as an actor.
Barfi! follows the story of Barfi, a young man who is deaf and speech-disabled, but is extremely street-wise. He falls in love with a beautiful girl named Shruti, who leaves him for another man on her mother’s behest. Sometime later, they meet again, only this time Barfi has in his care an autistic girl he kidnapped, who is now in love with Barfi. Barfi was a huge commercial and critical success, and won several accolades. It was especially praised for its music and refreshing script.
3. Welcome to Sajjanpur
Directed by legendary director Shyam Benegal, Welcome to Sajjanpur is one of those gems which is now forgotten by most. The movie is a heartwarming tale following the story of Mahadev, an unemployed graduate who earns a living by writing letters on behalf of the illiterate people of his village. The villagers are surprised by his ability to touch people with his writing. Despite a slow start at the box office, the movie eventually became a sleeper hit. It was very well-received by critics.
Based on Hamlet, one of Shakespeare’s best works, Haider is part of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy, which also includes Maqbool and Omkara. Haider follows the story of its eponymous protagonist, who returns to his home in Kashmir during the 1995 Kashmir insurgency. His father, a doctor, has disappeared after being accused of harboring terrorists. On returning, Haider is shocked to find his mother, Ghazala, totally unperturbed, and is disturbed by her growing closeness with his uncle, Khurram. The movie upon its release was praised for its unconventional storytelling, and was called Vishal Bhardwaj’s finest.
5. Udta Punjab
Udta Punjab is a hard hitting movie that explores the drug crisis going on in North India. Its main characters find themselves in the middle of the chaos created by the crisis: Tommy is a rockstar who glorifies drug abuse in his songs and is also heavily addicted to cocaine. Bauria is a young girl from Bihar who wants to join the Hockey team but unwittingly gets caught by drug peddlers. Preet is a doctor and an activist trying to fight against the drug problem, and Sartaj is a police officer who is tired of watching his seniors do nothing. Udta Punjab was received very well upon its release. It was praised for delivering a very important message about drug abuse. Udta Punjab is one of the best Bollywood movies on Netflix and is totally worth your time.
Manto follows the real-life story of pre and post independence-era writer Saadat Hasan Manto, who wrote extremely effective and hard-hitting short stories about the faults of the world. Despite his unwillingness to identify as an Indian or a Pakistani, he was forced to move to Pakistan because of the violence against Muslims post-independence, where he was tried on charges of obscenity. The movie also integrates various stories by Manto in its biographical narrative. Nawazzuddin Siddiqui does a great job playing Manto, and Nandita Das’s storytelling skills are at their best.
7. Kapoor & Sons
Kapoor & Sons is a sweet run-of-the-mill tale about a seemingly dysfunctional family struggling to strike a balance. Or so would you think. The movie follows Arjun and Rahul, two brothers who seem to be always at odds. Their issues are intensified when Arjun finds out that the girl he has feelings for, Tia, kissed his brother. However, that is not all. The movie has quite a surprise for the viewer, and a very kind message at the heart of it. Kapoor & Sons is one of the best Bollywood movies on Netflix that you should not miss.
Ludo follows four seemingly different stories that ultimately converge through one character, Sattu Tripathi. The various characters of the movie are likened to the players of a ludo game, all of whom are trying to win. Ludo was one of the few movies to come out in 2020 and it was praised immensely for its out-of-the-box story, unpredictable situations, and unexpectedly humorous moments.
A film that could only have been made in early 2010s, OMG or Oh My God! is a 2012 movie starring Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar in lead roles. The movie follows the story of an atheist man named Kanji, whose shop is destroyed due to an earthquake. Kanji learns that his insurance doesn’t cover natural calamities, as they are an “Act of God.” Rather than resigning to his fate, Kanji decides to file a lawsuit against God. As the trial begins, Kanji is harassed by bands of religious goons. The movie was well-received upon its release, and was praised for thoughtfully handling its brave theme.
10. Dil Chahta Hai
Another classic that was more or less a rite of passage for young millenials when it was released, Dil Chahta Hai is a timeless tale about friendship and love. But most importantly, it is the one time a group of friends was successfully able to execute a Goa plan. Jokes aside, the movie is a must watch. It was praised especially for its realistic portrayal of the youth and its unconventional humor.
Soni follows the story of a young policewoman named Soni against the backdrop of the rising crisis of gender-based violence, especially against women. Soni does not receive help from the system, and instead is pushed into a corner in her professional life. Meanwhile, her personal life has issues of its own. Soni was lauded for its subtle but wholly feminist narrative and realistic portrayal of life.
Perhaps the best performance in Abhishek Bachchan’s career, Guru follows the story of Gurukant Desai, a small-timer from a village in Gujarat who wishes to make it big as a businessman. Loosely based on the life of Dhirubhai Ambani, the wildly successful founder of Reliance, Guru follows a similar tale of humble beginnings, career setbacks, and eventual success. Guru was widely acclaimed at the time of its release. It received wide recognition, especially for Bachchan’s performance and the music.
13. gangs of Wasseypur
A movie that has amassed a cult following over the years, Gangs of Wasseypur follows the history of Dhanbad and Wasseypur, and traces the various gang wars that happened over the years in the now infamous districts. Gangs of Wasseypur is based on true events. The movie was well-received by critics as well as audiences. It also did financially well despite having been produced on a very small budget.
14. the Lunchbox
The Lunhbox follows the heartwarming tale of an about-to-retire accountant, Saajan Fernandes, and a young housewife, Ila. Ila cooks and sends lunch to her husband with a note, but due to a mistake by the dabbawalla, the lunch reaches Saajan instead. The two soon begin a friendship by writing to each other regularly. The movie was immensely popular with the critics, and received a standing ovation after its screening during the Cannes Film Festival.
One of the best remembered works of Vidya Balan, and rightly so, Kahaani follows the story of a pregnant woman, Vidya Bagchi, who arrives in Kolkata from London to look for her missing husband. The movie was made on a small budget, but thanks to word-of-mouth marketing, eventually earned more than 12 times its budget. The movie was especially praised for Balan’s performance, and its mystifying narration.
Perhaps one of the best movies of the decade, Masaan is a story set in Varanasi following a young woman named Devi, and a young man named Deepak. After being caught with a student from her computer institute in a hotel room, Devi and her father are blackmailed by the police for money. Meanwhile, Deepak is a young engineering student who’s fallen in love with a girl named Shaalu. However, Deepak belongs to a lower caste, while Shaalu is a Brahmin. Masaan received wide acclaim upon its release, and Neeraj Ghaywan’s direction was especially praised. The movie’s realistic depiction of caste identity and women’s sexual life was also appreciated. Masaan is one of the best Bollywood movies on Netflix streaming right now.
Naina is a successful entrepreneur. Despite being married, she has a love affair with another man, and chaos ensues once her lover turns up dead. To prepare her for a court trial, she hires a successful lawyer named Badal Gupta. What follows is a retracing of Naina’s steps, as Badal prods her with questions. Badla received critical acclaim, and was also liked by movie-goers. The movie has been praised for its unconventional story-telling method and its twists and turns.
Set in 19th century Bengal, Bulbbul follows the story of the eponymous character who is married off at the age of five to a man named Indranil, who is much older than her. She however likes Satya more, Indranil’s brother who is closer to Bulbbul’s age. Satya is sent abroad to study, and when he comes back as an adult, he finds Indranil gone, and the village gripped in fear as a supernatural being seems to be targeting and murdering men. Upon its release, Bulbbul received almost unanimously positive response. Tripti Dimri’s portayal of Bulbbul was especially praised, and Anvita Dutt’s direction was well-liked.
Probably Kangana’s finest work as an actor, Queen, follows the story of a devastated Rani whose fiance breaks up with her right before the wedding. Rather than moping around sadly, Rani decides to go to her honeymoon all by herself, and during this journey, discovers her identity and confidence. Queen received wide acclaim upon its release. Kangana’s performance, the screenplay, and the quirky storyline were unanimously lauded.
A young woman named Ratna, from a village moves to Mumbai in order to earn a living as a maid to support her sister’s education. There, she works for a man named Ashwin, who’s just moved back from New York to support his ailing brother. The two form an unconventional bond and eventually fall in love, however, Ratna insists to not act upon their feelings because of the social repercussions. Despite its limited release, Sir created a ripple among quarantined viewers after it was picked up by Netflix. The movie was praised for its uniquely refreshing story, and the performance by the main cast.
Did you like our suggestions for the best Bollywood movies on netflix? Which one was your favourite? Comment below to let us know!