Bollywood cinema has never really met the appreciation it deserves in the Western hemisphere. Unlike East Asian cinema that quickly gained a foothold in Western tastes via kung fu and action films, Indian cinema has generally been seen as overlong and inaccessible. However, this is far from the truth. Modern Indian cinema at its best explores a massive and diverse nation, examining some of the unique historical and cultural points that define the subcontinent. We’re going to take a look at some of the most popular Bollywood movies that the world’s second-biggest cinema industry has to offer.
This psychological noir thriller is as fast-paced, tense, and unsettling as any you’ve seen. Set in Mumbai during monsoon season, the entire film takes place at night, against an urban backdrop where the rain never stops. Following a police chief searching for abducted girls, one of whom is his own daughter, this dark piece of cinema is deeply unsettling, following Joshi as his mind gradually unravels in the pursuit of the kidnapper.
This Indian classic brings together an all-star cast for an all-time favourite. Inspired by Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, the film follows two thieves in a small town who find themselves entangled in a revenge plot by an ex-police chief seeking justice for his murdered wife. The film is a true epic, traversing a huge range of topics and is unsurprisingly one of the best-loved films for many Bollywood fans. Much as Norsk Casino is for gaming fans.
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3. 3 Idiots
This popular comedy has earned a reputation as one of the best comedy Bollywood movies, with a heart to match. The plot follows two engineering students who befriend one of their contemporaries, the mysterious but charismatic Rancho. He enriches the lives of all around him in some way, and when he mysteriously disappears, the two friend set off in search of him.
4. Mother India
This epic is probably the most important depiction of a woman in Indian cinema. Set during the transition to independence, it follows one woman and the trials that await her. The star performance is stunning, and the film is probably one of the most important in the canon of classic Bollywood movies.
This film touches on that uniquely Indian obsession – cricket. In all parts of the world where the sport is played, there is perhaps nowhere where it is better loved than here. This film, set in Gujarat during the era of British India, is a unique story that touches at the heart of the nation’s obsession with the sport, told against the backdrop of British colonialism.
This stunning piece of cinema is an all-time Bollywood classic. Set against a backdrop of the Mughal empire, and with some of India’s most iconic actors involved, this is one the Bollywood movie dramas that every Indian knows. It was, for fifteen years, the highest grossing and most expensive film the industry had produced. If you see it, you’ll understand why.