Best Indian Movies
First things first, let us get one thing straight – Bollywood does not represent the gamut of Indian movies. It is in fact, just a part of the Indian film industry. A bit and significant part nonetheless. The term ‘Bollywood,’ refers just to the Hindi-language industry with its center in Mumbai.
The Indian Film Industry comprises of many different regional film industries which are spread across the vast country. The most significant among these regional language industries are – Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, and Kannada languages. There might not be many differences between these regional industries, other than the difference of language. Mostly all of them are strung together by the common strands of music, dance, striking costumes and high octane drama and action.
In the recent times, the boundaries of regional cinema have somewhat become porous and have spread not just across the Indian subcontinent but also across the world. The reason behind this expansion has been mainly due to the films being dubbed in multiple languages.
We list down some of the best Indian movies to represent the diverse and myriad palette that is the Indian film industry.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (Hindi Cinema)
The first film from Aditya Chopra, son of Yash Chopra, hit the ball out of the park with this rebellious love story and gave Shah Rukh Khan his most successful film ever. You can’t talk about Indian cinema and not include this 1995 film in the discussion. It is one of the most successful classic romantic comedies to have come out of Bollywood. The film starred a fairly young-to-the-industry Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. The film is a story about two young people who fall in love on a backpacking trip across Europe. Raj played by Shah Rukh, tries to win over Simran’s (Kajol) family so the couple can marry, but Simran’s father has had promised her hand to his friend’s son back in India. The film became the highest grosser for that year and won 10 Filmfare awards. The soundtrack of the film included multiple hit songs that are ever so popular in all big fat Indian weddings even today. It is the longest running film in any theatre and is one of the most popular Indian films of all time.
Sholay (Hindi Cinema)
If you talk about the best products of the Indian film industry, then no list is complete without the mention of one of the greatest films ever made in India. With an ensemble cast this action-adventure Hindi film is a genuine classic. The plot revolves around a retired police chief who sets out to catch a dreaded dacoit—with the help of two small time criminals. Many Indians have watched Sholay a number of times and each time it leaves you in awe. They are left mesmerized by the cast and their performance, the evergreen music and songs and the hilarious comedy of Soorma Bhopali and the Jailor. It’s a movie that you can watch again and again and is a must for all Indian movie fans. It is most definitely one of the best Indian films ever to be made and the success of which has not been matched by many other films.
Nayakan (Tamil Cinema)
The name of the film in English means – Hero and is a 1987 Tamil epic crime drama written and directed by Mani Ratnam. It is about a common man’s struggles against a corrupt police force which puts him on the wrong side of the law. He becomes a mafia don, who is loved and respected by many, but his growing power and influence exact a heavy toll. The film stars Kamal Haasan, Saranya and Karthika. The film was the official submission for the Academy Awards for the Best Foreign Language film in 1988. For his brilliant performance in the film, Kamal Haasan received the National Award for Best Actor that year. The film is a masterpiece and is considered as one of the best Indian films of all times.
Pariyerum Perumal (Tamil Cinema)
Translated in English, the name of the film means ‘The God who Mounts a Horse’. The Tamil film was released in 2018 and was directed by Mari Selvaraj. The film is the story about a youngster who belongs to the oppressed caste, enters into law college with a lot of hope and falls in love with a girl, who belongs to an upper caste. This, in turn irks the girl’s family. The story about how he wakes up to the realities of caste oppression and discrimination. Pariyerum Perumal is a hard-hitting anti-caste drama and is definitely one of the best Indian movies of 2021.
Jagame Thandhiram (Tamil Cinema)
The film is one of the most recent and blockbuster hits of 2021. It is an action thriller Tamil film which has been written and directed by Karthik Subbaraj. The film revolves around a gang member who travels to London to help an overseas crime lord take down their rival, and while he expects it to go smoothly, he ends up being forced to deal with moral dilemmas that he didn’t expect. The film stars Dhanush, James Cosmo, Joju George, Aishwarya Lekshmi and Kalaiyarasan. The film was planned to be released in 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic and was released on Netflix in the summer of 2021. The film is one of the best from Tollywood in the recent times.
Jai Bhim (Tamil Cinema)
The film is a Tamil legal drama film directed by T. J. Gnanavel. The film is based on a true incident which occurred in 1993, which involves a case fought by Justice K. Chandru. The film tells the tale of a tribal man who is arrested for a case of alleged theft, his wife turns to a human-rights lawyer to help bring justice. The film stars Suriya, who has also produced the film. It also includes Lijomol Jose, K. Manikandan, Prakash Raj, and Rao Ramesh. Jai Bhim was released just before Diwali in 2021 and was also dubbed in Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi along with the original version. The film was very well received and was praised the story, performances, direction and social message.
Mayabazar (Telugu Cinema)
The film is an epic fantasy directed by K.V.Reddy. The film was simultaneously shot in Telugu and Tamil and was released in 1957. It is one of the masterpieces of South Indian Cinema and one of the most famous Indian movies ever made. The story revolves around Balarama who promises Subhadra to get his daughter married to her son. But when the Pandavas lose their kingdom to the Kaurava’s, Balarama breaks his promise. The film starred the heavyweights of Telugu Cinema – N.T.Rama Rao, Savitri Ganesan and S.V. Ranga Rao. It received success and response in both Telugu and Tamil versions and later became the first Telugu film to be digitally re-mastered and colorized.
Ulidavaru Kandanthe (Kannada Cinema)
One of the gems of the Kannada film industry, it was released in 2014 and is a crime drama film. The story centers on a journalist who 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. The film was written and directed by debutant Rakshit Shetty who also starred in the film. The other cast includes Kishore, Tara, Achyuth Kumar and Yagna Shetty. The movie tipped a hat and pays homage to films like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Scarface and Sholay. The film received rave reviews and Rakshit Shetty was credited for the success of the film.
Sandesham (Malyalam Cinema)
This is a 1991 political satire film directed by Sathyan Anthikad and written by Sreenivasan. This film starred Thilakan, Sreenivasan, Kaviyoor Ponnamma and Maathu. The story of the film revolved around a satire on contemporary Kerala politics where brothers turn local leaders of rival parties, leading to distress for their aged and once-proud parents. It is one of the best films to come out of the Malyalam film industry and was a mega commercial success upon its release. The film is regarded as a classic and one of the top Indian movies.
Nayak: The Hero (Bengali Cinema)
The film was released in 1966 and was written, and directed by Satyajit Ray. It was his second entirely original screenplay. The story of the film revolves around a movie star who is on a train journey from Kolkata to Delhi to receive a national award. En route Delhi, the Bengali film star reevaluates his success through his fellow passengers, dreams and past experiences. He ends up revealing his mistakes, insecurities and regrets to a young journalist, who realizes that behind his entire arrogant facade lies a deeply troubled man as his life’s story is gradually revealed. The cast of the film included Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore with their wonderful performances bagging the film the coveted National Award for best film in Bengali.
We have selected the top Indian films from across the regional spectrum of movies. This includes the most loved, critically acclaimed and commercially successful and famous Indian films of all times.
The Indian film industry is so vast and diverse that it is absolutely impossible to pick one film. How do you select? You will have to have nominations from every regional language industry within the mammoth ocean that is the Indian film industry. Besides the mainstream Hindi cinema, there is Tamil or Tollywood, or Telugu or Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi and the list goes on. All of them boasting high value production and performances, that can be comparable to the best in the world.
During and till recent times, not many Bollywood studios and producers had the courage to release their films or many who lost patience decided against waiting for the theatres to open up and released their films on the OTT platforms. The film that waited out the pandemic and released around Diwali was Jagame Thandhiram, which starred Dhanush and can be considered as the No. 1 movie in India in 2021. The film was dubbed and released in 17 languages across 190 countries.
How do you judge the countless movies that are churned out of Bollywood each year? If you just go by the commercial success and crown the No. 1 movie in Bollywood then it will have to be the Aamir Khan starrer Dangal, which has the biggest global collection till now.
The never-before-seen or heard amount of US$28 million in any Indian film production was first tagged to Bahubali: The Beginning. At the time it was the most expensive Indian film. That was in 2015, after which there have been many films that have breached the US$30 million figure, with the most expensive film currently being the tamil film – 2.0. The films cast includes Rajnikanth and Akshay Kumar and was directed by S. Shankar