Suleikha's Epic Bollywood Recs

Buckle up, folks. This is a huge recommendation list of Bollywood films. For those of you just joining the party, "Bollywood" specifically refers to big-budget Hindi-language films made in Mumbai, India — though I DO have some indie/arthouse Hindi films on this list because they're awesome and you should watch them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If it's one-hundred percent in English, it is not a Bollywood film. It might be Indian arthouse, though. Similarly, Gurinder Chadha, Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta and Danny Boyle are NOT Bollywood filmmakers. Bride and Prejudice is not Bollywood. Fire is not Bollywood. Slumdog Millionaire is absolutely not Bollywood.  
I've split the films up by categories so if a favorite of yours doesn't pop up in one place, it may be listed under something else. I've linked to some reviews where I can. Y'all know what IMDB and Wikipedia are, so I trust you to do that if you need to. Most of these films should be available via Netflix and online retailers. I've tried not to be that jerk who lists movies you can't find.
I will forever be updating this page with new recommendations — but, fair warning, I don't have a whole lot of Salman Khan films on this list because he makes me rage-y.
Classics Through the Decades
Shree 420 (1955)
Mughal-e-Azam (1957) Based on the allegedly real-life tale of future Mughal emperor Jahangir and a dancer named Anarkali, 
Aradhana (1969) Sexiest. Song. Of. All. Time.
Bobby (1973) Forbidden love and a, for its time, shocking portrayal of teen sexuality. 
Sholay (1975) Spaghetti western, desi-style!
Silsila (1981) Scandalous because it allegedly mirrored the actors' real-life affair.
Lamhe (1991) This movie is so wrong, but I love it so hard. A young woman falls in love with an older man who's obsessed with her dead mother. 


Hollywood Remakes
Chori Chori (1956) and Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991) - It Happened One Night
Ek Ladka Ek Ladki (1992) - Overboard
Yeh Dillagi (1994) - Sabrina
Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994) - The Hard Way
Pyar To Hona Hi Tha (1998) - French Kiss
Kaante (2002) - Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects
Ghajini (2008) - Memento
We Are Family (2010) - Stepmom
Period Pieces
1942: A Love Story (1994) A sweeping epic set during the Indian independence movement.
Lagaan (2001) It's all about cricket. I hate this movie, but other people like it. 
Devdas (2002) See above. I like the 2009, modernized, Dev D. much better.
Jodhaa-Akbar (2008) One of the most famous Indian love stories, about Muslim emperor Akbar and his Hindu bride, Jodhaa.
The Dirty Picture (2011) Based on the life of 1980s South Indian film star Silk Smitha.
Lootera (2013) An exquisite love story set in 1950s Bengal. Just pretend the last five minutes don't happen. 
Modern Love 
Taal (1999) 
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) 
Hum Tum (2004) 
Namastey London (2007)
Jab We Met (2007)
Band Baaja Baaraat (2010)
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)


Family Dramas
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)
Kapoor & Sons (2016)

Ladies in the Lead
Dushman (1998) Kajol is a badass and the villain is TERRIFYING.
Chameli (2004) Kareena Kapoor plays a world-weary, foul-mouthed sex worker. 
Black (2005) Rani Mukerji as a quasi-Helen Keller.
Dor (2006) An exquisite friendship between Gul Panag and Ayesha Takia.
Aaja Nachle (2007) Madhuri Dixit's "comeback" film.
Kahaani (2012) Vidya Balan plays a pregnant widow searching for answers in this taut thriller.
English Vinglish (2012) In which Sridevi makes us all cry.
Queen (2014) Kangana Ranaut is a revelation in this.
Dear Zindagi (2016) Alia Bhatt plays a self-involved young woman who actually seeks therapy to deal with her various issues. 
Khaaaaaaan!
Whether it's Shahrukh, Salman, Saif or Aamir, there's no denying the Khans have ruled the last three decades of Bollywood cinema. Here is a short list of films that aren't in other categories.
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) Warning: This is a Romeo & Juliet story.
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992) College romance centered on a bike race.
Deewana (1992) In which SRK takes the hero role and the girl from Rishi Kapoor.
Darr (1993) SRK used to play villains. He makes for one CREEPY stalker.
Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994) A big, splashy film that was a '90s watershed.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) The longest-running Hindi film of all time.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) One of my favorite movies of ALL TIME.
Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) - I hate this movie but love the soundtrack.
Rang De Basanti (2006) Social justice and a history lesson. I cried.
Chak De India (2007) SRK's in it, but it's really about kickass lady sportsing!
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) SRK's nebbish-y hero woos his wife by pretending to be a cooler guy.
The Big B
Amitabh Bachchan is one of the most famous actors in the world, and with good reason. I'm putting some repeats from other categories on this list. Because duh.
Deewaar (1975)
Sholay (1975)
Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)
Don (1978)
Lawaaris (1981)
Silsila (1981)
Coolie (1983)
Mahaan (1983)
Sharaabi (1984)
Kaante (2002)
Black (2005)
Bunty Aur Babli (2005)
Piku (2015)
Pink (2016)
Auteur, Auteur
Mani Ratnam - a) awesome and b) they dubbed a lot of his Tamil films in Hindi.
Roja (1992)
Bombay (1995)
Dil Se (1998)
Yuva (2004)
Guru (2007)
Zoya Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar - These siblings make GREAT films.
Dil Chahta Hai (Farhan, 2001)
Rock On!! (Farhan produced, 2008)
Luck By Chance (Zoya, 2009)
Karthik Calling Karthik (Farhan produced, 2010)
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Zoya, 2011)
Dil Dhadakne Do (Zoya, 2015)


Vishal Bhardwaj - His Shakespeare series is just BRILLIANT.
Maqbool (Macbeth, 2003)
Omkara (Othello, 2006)
Haider (Hamlet, 2014)
Moves I Haven't Seen Yet That Other People Rec A Lot
Fanaa (2006)
Ishqiya (2010) and Dedh Ishqiya (2014)
Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
Get Your Crack Right Here
Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) Brothers separated as kids, raised Hindu, Muslim and Catholic.
Mahaan (1983) Amitabh Bachchan in a TRIPLE ROLE.
Nagina (1986) She's a snake. Literally.
Khiladi (1992). College guys in drag. Murder. Angst. Really catchy songs.  
Kishen Kanhaiya (1990) Corsican twins separated at birth. Like, you hit one and the other feels pain.
Khalnayak (1993) A lady cop goes on the run with a criminal with questionable hygiene.
Jai Kishen (1994) Twins separated at birth. One is a blind martial artist.
Karan Arjun (1995) Reincarnation. Superhomoerotic fraternal twins.
Munnabhai MBBS (2003) A mob kingpin pretends to be a doctor to impress his parents.
Dhoom (2004) Motorcycle racing thieves, paper-thin plot, lots of chases.
Bunty Aur Babli (2005) A much happier, cuter, Bonnie and Clyde.
Om Shanti Om (2007) Another one of my favorites, featuring reincarnation, Bollywood meta references and gratuitous wind machine.



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