Netflix is aiming at winning at least a 100 million more subscribers from India in the coming years. This has led the California-based streaming giant (that experienced a massive subscriber base decline in 2019’s Quarter 2) to work on a lower-priced model while simultaneously bringing diverse, original, and entertaining content to the 373 million smart phone users in the country.
In the past 2 years, Netflix has made some interesting original offerings like Sacred Games, Lust Stories, and Love Per Square Foot. It recently dropped the trailer of Bard of Blood – an Emraan Hashmi starrer and Shah Rukh Khan co-produced original web series based on a novel of the same name by Bilal Siddiqi. The 2-minute long trailer has left a good first impression.
Apart from the multiple interesting, original, and big projects in the pipeline, Netflix currently streams quite a lot of Hindi films. So here we bring to you, a list of the best Hindi movies on Netflix.
Synopsis: A visually-impaired piano player accidentally gets involved in a murder that leads to some more murders, and a series of other mishaps.
Why You Should Watch It: Andhadhun is helmed by Sriram Raghavan, who earlier directed the critically-acclaimed Badlapur (2015). This film’s achievement is its deft screenplay co-written by Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar and Hemanth Rao and convincing performances. While Tabu is delightful to watch in a role that counts as one of her most memorable performances, Khurrana went on to receive his first National Film Award for best actor for this film. Like a good thriller, the movie keeps you guessing till the end.
Synopsis: Three young women (Tapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Andrea Tariang) caught up in a crime have to defend themselves to prove their innocence.
Why You Should Watch It: Impactful screenplay, honest performances, and an argument, which got everyone in India talking on the subject of molestation and rape much before the #metoo movement is what makes this film so important. It also has Amitabh Bachchan delivering one of his career best performances.
Synopsis: Deepak (Vicky Kaushal), who works in cremation ghats falls in love with an upper caste woman. Devi (Richa Chadda) and her father (Sanjay Mishra) are harassed by a police officer for money after he manages to take a video of Devi and her boyfriend in a hotel room. Masaan follows two different narratives that eventually come together.
Why You Should Watch It: Vicky Kaushal has come a long way as an actor since his critically-acclaimed debut performance in Masaan. This 102-minute drama is also the debut feature of filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan (Sacred Games 2). The minutely-observed, heart-warming screenplay comes from Varun Grover (Sacred Games 1 and 2), who also wrote some beautiful lyrics for the film. Masaan has many reasons to be on top of your watch-list, if you haven’t watched it yet.
4. Special 26
Synopsis: A group of cons posing as income tax officials raid homes and offices of corrupt politicians and businessmen to steel their money. All goes well until a police officer is appointed to look into it.
Why You Should Watch It: Inspired by the 1987 Opera House Heist, Special 26 or Special Chhabbees is written and directed by Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday). With an ensemble cast comprising Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee, Jimmy Shergill, and Divya Dutta, Special 26 is one of those films where you cheer for the lawbreakers. Believable performances and intelligent screenplay make this movie a favourite of many.
5. Madras Cafe
Synopsis: Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is a special intelligence officer who is assigned with the task of heading covert operations in Sri Lanka, where a conspiracy to assassinate the prime minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, is being hitched.
Why You Should Watch It: While John Abraham playing a police officer has started to become a bore now (courtesy Force 1 and 2, Satyameva Jayate, and the recent Batla House), it is safe to say that Madras Cafe remains one of his best performances till date. This political thriller, directed by Shoojit Sircar (Piku), certainly has its flaws but remains effective in illustrating worthlessness of wars.
Synopsis: A pregnant woman (Vidya Balan) travels from London to Kolkata to find her missing husband who was on a secret assignment in India. Things turn dangerous as an assassin is assigned to kill her.
Why You Should Watch It: Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani is a gripping thriller aided with impressive performances by Vidya Balan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Parambrata Chatterjee, and Saswata Chatterjee. The screenplay of the film won a National Film Award in 2013.
Synopsis: An alien (Amir Khan) loses his remote, his only hope to go back home, to a thief. As he begins his quest to find the remote, he is faced with religious dogmas. His innocent questions about religion, sex, and love frustrate some and amuse some.
Why You Should Watch It: Directed by Rajkumar Hirani (3 Idiots, Munnabhai MBBS), PK is a delightful comedy drama that asks important questions that we seldom ask, either out of fear or ignorance. Watch it for laughter and a cleverly-done criticism on religious maxims.
8. Dil Se
Synopsis: Aman (Shah Rukh Khan) falls for a mysterious girl Meghna (Manisha Koirala) who is involved with a terror group operating in Northeast India. Having no hope of ever seeing Meghna again, he agrees to marry Preeti (Preity Zinta). Things change as one day Meghna turn up before him asking for help.
Why You Should Watch It: Dil Se is Mani Ratnam’s third installation in his thematic trilogy, the first two being Roja and Bombay. The film has some beautiful songs composed by A.R. Rahman and is an important film to understand political unrest in the Northeast India.
9. Rang De Basanti
Synopsis: A young documentary filmmaker Sue (Alice Patten) hires a group of apolitical students from Delhi University to play India’s greatest freedom fighters. While portraying their ancestor’s struggle through India’s independence movement coupled with a personal tragedy, they come to realize their responsibility to bring an end to political corruption even if it calls for personal sacrifices.
Why You Should Watch It: India’s official entry for the 79th Academy Awards, Rang De Basanti remains relevant even today as it awakened a generation by connecting with the youth and challenging them to become a change maker rather than a whiner. For a film that’s dealing with themes of patriotism and revolution, it’s easy for it to take the preachy tone but director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra avoids that and rather goes for “art imitates life, life imitates art” concept and the result is a cult classic. Another reason to watch Rang De Basanti is its ensemble cast of Amir Khan, Siddharth Narayan, Atul Kulkarni, Kunal Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, and Soha Ali Khan.
Synopsis: Mahavir Phogat (Amir Khan), a former wrestler, against all odds, sets out to realize his unfulfilled dream of winning a gold medal for India by training his daughters to become India’s first world-class female wrestlers.
Why You Should Watch It: Based on the real Phogat family, Dangal is an inspiring and thrilling sports drama. While Amir Khan plays the father, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra play Geeta Phogat. This sports drama is also one of the highest-growing Hindi films ever.
11. Udta Punjab
Synopsis: Lives of four people are affected in a drug-ridden state of Punjab.
Why You Should Watch It: Written and directed by Abhishek Chaubey, Udta Punjab follows four people whose lives take a different turn due to wide-spread use of drugs by or around them. The film is aided with impressive performances by the cast that comprise Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor, and Diljit Dosanjh. It also has some great music numbers.
12. Taare Zameen Par
Synopsis: Ishaan (Darsheel Safary) has dyslexia and has given up on school. His parents send him to a boarding school hoping things would get better but to no avail until one day, Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Amir Khan) shows up as a proxy teacher and discovers Ishaan’s potential.
Why You Should Watch It: Taare Zameen Par or Like Stars on Earth is an important film to watch, especially if you’re a parent or an educator. The effective screenplay is supported by endearing performances by Darsheel Safary and Amir Khan. Also, this 2-hours-and-45-minutes-long film is a real tear-jerker, so keep some tissues handy if you’re planning to watch it.
13. Lust Stories
Synopsis: An anthology of four short films that explore sexual desires of four women in modern India.
Why You Should Watch It: Directed by prominent Indian filmmakers – Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Bannerjee, and Karan Johar, Lust Stories feature women who are bold and complex; they know what they want and are not afraid of expressing their desires in a gender-biased society. With Lust Stories, Netflix has taken a step forward in depicting women’s lust on screen in Indian cinema. Strong scripts and impressive performances make each of these shorts enjoyable.
Synopsis: Rani (Kangana Ranaut), a meek and shy girl, is dumped by her fiancé (Rajkumar Rao) just a day before their marriage. Heartbroken, she decides to go on her pre-arranged honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam, all by herself.
Why You Should Watch It: Queen is a heart-warming, coming-of-age story of a young Indian woman. Ranaut’s remarkable performance received overwhelming response from critics and audience alike and won her a national film award for best actress. Watch it if you’re looking for a cheerful, feel-good story.
15. Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa
Synopsis: Sunil (Shah Rukh Khan) loves two things in life: Anna and music. Anna (Suchitra Krishnamoorthi) doesn’t love him back and his father doesn’t approve of him pursuing music. Nevertheless, he continues to pursue both of them until he realizes he has to let go one.
Why You Should Watch It: Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa is a film ahead of its time (you have to watch it to know why) and surely unlike many other Shah Rukh Khan films that came after this one. SRK gives an endearing, memorable performance, and despite his flawed character, we root for him from the start.
Synopsis: Soni (a junior policewoman) and Kalpana (her superintendent) are fighting growing crimes against women while they struggle with misogyny professionally and in the confines of their homes.
Why You Should Watch It: Directed by Ivan Ayr, Soni does not depend on heavy dialogues or adrenaline-pumping scenes to prove its point but rather portrays struggles of two women quietly and subtly, mostly through its camerawork. The film received standing ovation at the 75th Venice International Film Festival. It’s also regarded by some critics to be India’s best film on Netflix so far. Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra has given impeccable performances as Soni and Kalpana respectively in this gritty police drama cum social commentary.
Synopsis: Bhuvan (Amir Khan) unites people from different strata of the society to prepare them to defeat the masters (British) in their own game (cricket) to avoid paying three times their current taxes.
Why You Should Watch It: There are two things that bring Indians together: Patriotism and Cricket. Lagaan has both of these, which is why this film never gets old with Indian audiences. While the first half may be a little exhausting, the second half is no less than a nail-biting Indian cricket match. Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, Lagaan has given some memorable scenes in the history of Indian cinema and some rich music numbers.
Synopsis: In Chanderi, a small town of Bhopal, the spirit of a woman calls men in the night. The one who turns back is abducted by her, leaving only his clothes behind. To protect their men, the residents have “O Stree, Kal Aana” or “O Stree, Come Tomorrow” written outside their homes.
Why You Should Watch It: Stree, a horror-comedy, is helmed by Amar Kaushik and stars Rajkumar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor as lead actors. Barring a couple of unnecessary songs and some awkward performances, Stree is a very interesting take on women’s position in the society and remains an important contribution to India’s horror movie genre, which needed some serious revival since a long time. The movie is as funny as it is scary and should be on your watch-list.
19. Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
Synopsis: Surya (Abhimanyu Dassani), who is born with a rare medical disorder that makes him insensitive to physical pain, gets inspired by the one-legged Karate genius Mani and decides to learn martial arts to take down criminals.
Why You Should Watch It: Vasan Bala’s Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is a funny tale of a man who feels no pain and is an ode to classic Bollywood action films. It’s an out-and-out entertaining film and deserves to be watched.
Which of these films are long pending on your watch-list? Let us know in the Comments section below. Also, don’t forget to share the list with your friends, partners, family members, and anyone who you would want to recommend these films.