The comedy. Action-Adventure. Horror. You know standard genres all too well. And since Netflix is overflowing in every division, you might not have been inspired to jump into a new universe in a while. But there’s a beauty that comes with today’s streaming sites: we now have access to genres we’d never consider if not already to be preloaded into our queues. It’s time you stopped ignoring that. Such a kingdom? Bollywood, which we must add is the biggest film industry in the world, so you’re incredibly late to the party. India’s cannon offered more to the movie world than any new fan probably realized.
So what exactly do Bollywood movies offer? Glad you asked! Yes, bright colors and elaborate musical numbers, but more importantly, an expanse of rich, previously unknown (to you) storytelling waiting to be explored, from star-crossed lovers vignettes to films highlighting individuals. stigmatized within the local culture. They all aim to portray a message, and with some of the world’s biggest stars at their helm (Aishwarya Rai’s name might ring a bell), they’re sure to strike a chord or even start a dance-a-thon. or two.
So, for anyone hoping to dive into a new realm of entertainment, or those who’ve already surrendered to massive fandom, we’ve rounded up the best Bollywood movies from Netflix. Trust us, you won’t want to stop watching once you get started. (And you don’t have to, be sure to also check out our list of the best Bollywood movies of all time.)
Jab we met
It’s the story of star-crossed lovers, but with a modern twist. The film follows Aditya, a depressed young man who has just found out that his ex has gotten married. On a train ride to Bombay, he bumps into Geet, a human sunshine but committed to his lover back home. Although they feel an immediate connection, it isn’t until they reunite years later that Aditya realizes he must save her, just as she saved him long ago.
Om Shanti Om
A must-have modern Bollywood film, it follows an aspiring young actor who, after dying to save his true love from the reigns of his abusive film producer husband, suddenly comes back to life three decades later. The only problem? He now lives the life of a successful star, trying to avenge his original fate years before. It’s an homage to old school movies in the format, and it’s sure to keep you glued to your seat.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
Sweety is extremely frustrated with her family. They want to marry her as soon as possible, but she hides a huge secret: she is in love with a woman. An adoring playwright soon decides he’s going to help Sweety come out to her family the only way he can think of: through a great musical he’s willing to write for her. It’s certainly a pioneer in blending Bollywood with LGBTQ+ identity, but it’s also just a story about self-acceptance and pride, however manifested.
When Lakshmikant “Lakshmi” Chauhan discovers that his wife uses a dirty cloth every month during her menstrual cycle, he is alarmed by the backward practice. He embarks on the ultimate mission: to create a pad that could be both hygienic and affordable for even the poorest woman in the country. Based on a true story, the film tells a story filled with resilience and the strength it takes to question what you know in society.
When it comes to Bollywood, the exploration of mental health as a topic is relatively new. Focusing on depression in 21st century India, the film explores a woman’s dissatisfaction with the way she lives her life through a series of therapy sessions. Not only will it affect you, but it will also confront you with your life choices and your wonders, What exactly am I looking for?
It’s Bollywood meets Romeo and Juliet! When Akbar, a Mughal and Muslim king, and Jodhaa, a Rajput and Hindu princess, get married to create an alliance between the two regions, no one expects them to actually fall in love. But as their affections for each other grow deeper and deeper, external factors threaten to tear the couple and their kingdoms apart. Not only does it portray a unique look at 16th century India, but it also features Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai in one of the lead roles.
An anthology film from four prolific directors, Lust stories explores the stigma behind sex and attraction in the 21st century. Whether it’s love between two different social classes or the rise and fall of a marriage, every story is different. And because it’s in this format, each feels like a good gateway to understanding the culture as a whole.
A former professional wrestler desperately wants to get married and have a son to follow in his footsteps. The first half of the equation comes together easily, but the twist is in the second: he ends up having only daughters. This isn’t just a film exploring female power; it’s a good story about the love a father has for his daughters.
Rani is in a bit of a predicament. She was just dumped by her fiancé just a day before her wedding, and now she has a European honeymoon she must use before she’s wasted. It was then that the idea came to her: go on vacation anyway and explore what she is looking for in life. Think of this movie as the Bollywood version of Eat Pray Loveonly with better clothes and a bigger push for female independence.
If there’s one Bollywood movie you should start with, this is it. Telling the story of a cricket match between Indian villagers and British colonizers over the removal of rising taxes, this is a film that illustrates the power of resilience and teamwork. It is also famous for receiving India’s third Oscar nomination, and it comes with an excellent soundtrack by renowned film composer AR Rahman.
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