The Finest Bollywood Films of the 2010s


Sweaters are out, heating is on—it’s time to begin your countdown to the top of the 12 months. And in 2019, that additionally means we’re additionally inching towards the top of the last decade.

Large strides have been made for the reason that early aughts in storytelling content material, on-screen expertise, and distribution in each Hollywood and Bollywood. This decade furthered conversations round marginalized communities, psychological sickness and feminism, and filmmakers and studios lastly started to showcase numerous faces, generally even tapping into worldwide markets. Many of those new sorts of initiatives have been ushered into existence by new avenues like Netflix and Amazon; the panorama turned extra fractured than ever earlier than, with streaming platforms changing into a brand new breeding floor for unique content material.

Platforms took an curiosity in worldwide tales, with each Amazon Prime and Netflix putting new offers abroad. Bollywood, one of many largest movie industries on the planet, cashed in on the shifts with some A-list administrators and actors turning to streaming originals in lieu of the standard theatrical launch. Whereas the strikes are gradual, and nearly all of this decade’s Bollywood releases continued to succeed in the lots in theaters world wide, the 2010s set in movement a brand new means of working. 

Right here’s one of the best of one of the best from Bollywood with tales spanning from crime thrillers to unconventional love tales, and all the things in between. 

Director: Anurag Basu


Priyanka Chopra is now a family title throughout America, however in 2012, her clout prolonged solely to those that have been conscious of Bollywood. Certainly one of her finest turns of the last decade got here in Barfi! the place she performs Jhilmil Chatterjee (Chopra), an autistic lady born to a rich household who falls in love with the titular Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor), who occurs to be deaf and mute. When Jhilmil is kidnapped and her fortune is threatened, Barfi is decided to do all the things in his energy to get her again. Half motion thriller and half love story, Chopra and Kapoor ship performances worthy of worldwide consideration. Even higher, the story, which loosely resembles The Pocket book, is good with out being saccharine.

Director: Shelly Chopra Dhar


Whereas Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is partly on this record because of the sheer significance of its existence as the primary mainstream lesbian Bollywood movie, it’s additionally right here due to the tactic by which the story is instructed. Sweety (Sonam Kapoor) is suffering from her household’s fixed marriage inquiries when she meets Sahil (Rajkummar Rao), a flailing playwright who’s immediately smitten along with her. After months of his persistence, she lastly tells him that she’s in love with a girl. Unfazed, Sahil recalibrates and commits himself to serving to her inform her household about her reality in the one means he is aware of how: an elaborate musical play. Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga was launched to a lot fanfare, and is a surefire tearjerker about proudly owning your identification and familial acceptance that wasn’t all the time seen in earlier many years. It’s infused with coronary heart and understanding that reveals promise for this sort of storytelling in Bollywood for years to come back.

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra


Set within the aftermath of India and Pakistan’s Partition, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag tells the life story of Milkha Singh, an Indian runner within the Sixties, as he’s invited to compete in a “pleasant” race in opposition to Pakistan, whose crew homes the supposed quickest man in Asia. Fastidiously fusing the excessive stakes of a sports activities epic with the emotional heartstrings of two warring nations, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag doesn’t pressure you to take sides, although Farhan Akhtar’s portrayal of Milkha Singh has you rooting for him the entire means across the pitch.

Director: Anurag Kashyap


Gangs of Wasseypur was initially conceived as a 319-minute movie, however launched in two components in 2013. An epic crime drama about warring mafia households in Northern India, the movie excels in its intricate, intergenerational storytelling and the impeccable path from Kashyap. Gangs of Wasseypur spares no drama, backstabbing or bloodshed, however manages to make all of it imply one thing within the course of. A pointy script punctuates its status and makes a case for its legacy for years to come back.

Director: Ram Madhvani


Named for a heroic flight attendant who sacrifices herself throughout a airplane’s hijacking, Neerja options one in all Sonam Kapoor’s finest appearing turns so far. As Neerja lives out her previous few days, it’s clear that she’s only a regular lady who is devoted to her pals and her job. However when she experiences the worst nightmare doable, it’s Kapoor’s efficiency, layered with equal components panic and stoicism, that makes Neerja a must-see. It’s a fantastically shifting movie about human connection and obligation, and is a touching tribute to the braveness of an unassuming younger lady. 

Director: Advait Chandan


The closing title card of Secret Celebrity reads “To Moms And Motherhood.” Certainly the movie facilities on a mom’s relationship when, because the title suggests, the kid is thrust into a lifetime of secret stardom through social media. Insia (Zaira Wasim) yearns to enter a singing competitors however is forbidden to take action by her overbearing and strict father, Farookh. Her mom, Najma—supportive although in the end depending on Farookh—buys her a laptop computer, and Insia begins recording music beneath the YouTube guise of “Secret Celebrity.” However when Farookh finds out, he threatens to destroy all the things the mom and daughter have completed. Secret Celebrity was one of many highest-grossing movies of 2017 and is among the most profitable Hindi-language movies to characteristic a feminine protagonist—it’s uplifting and passionate in its depiction of motherly love, and makes the case for following your passions irrespective of the fee.

Director: Abhinay Deo


For many who like poop jokes, few movies take a sophomoric set-up to better heights than Delhi Stomach. Additionally an Indian colloquial time period for diarrhea, Delhi Stomach is a comedy of errors that basically does characteristic poop at its core. Three roommates get entangled in a high-stakes underground crime caper when a beneficial bundle will get combined up with one of many roommates’ stool samples. After discovering the bundle holds prized diamonds, the trio try to promote them for revenue solely to finish up discovering themselves deeper in shit. A pointy script and laugh-out-loud performances from Imran Khan, Kunaal Roy Kapur and comic Vir Das make Delhi Stomach one of the graphic, absurd and really entertaining Bollywood movies of the last decade.

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali


An epic interval piece, Padmaavat, although it solely got here out final 12 months, is already one of the controversial Hindi movies ever made. Primarily based on a historic tyrant sultan (Ranveer Singh) and his obsession with the Rajput queen Padmaavati (Deepika Padukone), its launch drew violent protests and threats from each Hindu and Muslim teams throughout India because of the portrayals of the Muslim-Hindu union. Rioters took difficulty with the grotesque nature with which the Muslim Sultan had been drawn whereas Rajput organizations criticized the misrepresentation of the queen—all of which delayed the movie’s unique launch date initially of December 2017. Regardless of all of this, the movie thrives on lush visuals, pitch-perfect appearing and exquisite unique music. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is thought for “spectacle” movies with intricate set design and excessive manufacturing worth, and Padmaavat solely builds on his earlier achievements.

Director: Shoojit Sircar


For these with a delicate spot for movies that happen on the street, Piku brings offbeat personalities collectively beneath one very small roof. A hypochondriac father (Amitabh Bachchan) and strong-headed daughter (Deepika Padukone) take a street journey from Delhi to their household dwelling in Kolkata, annoying one another and their driver (Irrfan Khan) alongside the best way, whereas additionally studying new issues about what they each worth in life. Each leads obtained accolades for his or her performances, and critics embraced and praised the attractive simplicity of the story. A sentimental household drama, Piku will encourage you to hug your family members that a lot tighter.

Director: Ayan Mukerji


Dialed into millennial dissatisfaction, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani particulars an impulsive journey by medical pupil Nina (Deepika Padukone) to the Himalayas after feeling pigeonholed by her mother and father’ expectations. A shy lady, Nina pushes herself to befriend a few of her former classmates on the journey, ultimately falling in love with one of the rebellious boys in her 12 months, Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor). However earlier than she will categorical her emotions, he informs her that he’s shifting away to America for graduate college. Years later, the 2 meet once more at a buddy’s marriage ceremony—Nina is now a profitable physician and Bunny is a world-traveling TV host. They attempt to rekindle their flame, nevertheless it’s unclear if marriage suits into the equation of both of their lives. It is a splendidly reasonable romantic comedy for anybody who has skilled the highs of pushing themselves outdoors of their limits and the lows of unrequited love.

Director: Ritesh Batra


Bored and lonely in her marriage, housewife Ila (Nimrat Kaur) tries to get the eye of her inattentive husband by packing him a particular lunch. However when the tiffin field will get delivered to a different unassuming employee on accident, Ila strikes up a friendship with the widower who’s receiving her husband’s meals (Irrfan Khan), largely by way of written notes. Irrfan Khan delivers one in all his finest performances on this candy and delicate story about human connection. Initially conceived as a documentary in regards to the intricate and huge dabbawala (or lunchbox supply) system in India, The Lunchbox situates itself squarely in one of many busiest cities on the planet and succeeds in telling a narrative about loneliness. Its danger pays off in its understated drama and class in its storytelling, and showcases the breadth of what Indian filmmaking has to supply.

Director: Shakun Batra


A household drama about estranged brothers who return to their household dwelling after their grandfather has a coronary heart assault, Kapoor and Sons has related beats to the novel-turned-Hollywood-film This Is The place I Depart You. Each movies, although unrelated, contact on the private secrets and techniques that households usually cover from one another, and the long-held grudges and jealousies which can be dropped at the forefront when the entire household will get collectively after years of being aside. Brothers Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun (Siddharth Malhotra) compete in each their careers and romantic pursuits, whereas their mother and father’ arguments are disintegrating their marriage. All the pieces involves a head on the celebration of the grandfather, the one one who’s desperately making an attempt to protect the “Kapoor and Sons” moniker. The movie deftly reveals the curious means that we protect the folks closest to us from probably the most intimate components of ourselves, dropped at life by glorious performances from each Khan and Malhotra. 

Director: Shonali Bose


Impressed by the director’s cousin, a incapacity rights activist, Margarita with a Straw will stick with you lengthy after viewing. The movie is an exploration of self-understanding and love by way of the lens of wheelchair-bound Laila (Kalki Koechlin). Laila—who lives with cerebral palsy—strikes to New York Metropolis on a scholarship, decided to see a unique life than the one she was residing in Delhi. Whereas increasing her horizons at NYU, Laila has to face questions on her independence, sexual orientation and identification. Shonali Bose directs Koechlin with spectacular compassion because the actress delivers one in all her finest performances in a majority non-verbal efficiency. Margarita with a Straw leaves one with a way of buoyant optimism.

Director: Vikas Bahl


Typically, the worst day of your life can flip into the best alternative. Rani (Kangana Ranaut) is blindsided when her fiance ditches her the day earlier than their marriage ceremony, citing her conservatism as an incompatibility of their relationship. Shocked, Rani decides to set out on their European honeymoon by herself. Whereas galavanting in Paris and Amsterdam, Rani meets folks from all walks of life, and learns who she is and what she desires. Queen is a robust piece of feminist artwork that stands for girls’s independence and self-sufficiency, and proves that just a little push into the unknown can wind up being the best boon.

Administrators: Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar


An anthology movie from 4 of India’s most outstanding administrators, Lust Tales explores the themes of intercourse and attraction in its many varieties, and locations them in modern-day India the place these kind of conversations don’t usually happen so overtly. Every director’s quick movie focuses on a stigma—whether or not it’s a possessive relationship between a trainer and pupil, a forbidden tryst between members of two completely different social courses, an adulterous marriage, or an exploration of sexual satisfaction—and dives deep into the varied views at play. The format makes Lust Tales simply digestible, and the movies themselves are glorious slices of development inside the business and tradition at giant. That it premiered as a Netflix unique is simply one other hat tip to the dynamism of the last decade’s artwork.

Director: Zoya Akhtar


Cashing in on quarter-life anxiousness and existential crises, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is Bollywood’s Euro Journey, besides with extra coronary heart and fewer dick jokes. Three childhood pals go on a transformational bachelor celebration/street journey in Spain the place they instantly butt heads over the lives they’ve individually constructed. Arjun (Hrithik Roshan) is a workaholic who can’t chill, Imran (Farhan Akhtar) is a copywriter who had an affair with Arjun’s ex-girlfriend, and Kabir (Abhay Deol) is a groom-to-be second-guessing his choices. The three reconnect over a collection of maximum occasions—starting from skydiving to a run with the bulls in Pamplona—and so they in the end return to their previous lives utterly modified. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara actually means “You gained’t get this life once more,” aptly infusing a sense of urgency into an in any other case commonplace coming-of-age story. By humor and drama alike, Akhtar’s movie will make you need to name your folks and plan your personal life-altering getaway.

Director: Gauri Shinde


Some subjects are taboo in Indian tradition, and psychological sickness tends to be a kind of topics. Expensive Zindagi is a chic portrayal of melancholy in twenty first century India, and is a uncommon mainstream Bollywood movie to overtly speak about psychological sickness and the best way it impacts the inflicted. Explored through a collection of remedy visits, Kaira (Alia Bhatt) explains her discontent with life to her therapist Jug (Shah Rukh Khan), who in the end helps her see life by way of a brand new lens. Expensive Zindagi is a crucial entry into the self-love canon, and is an ideal showcase for the evolution of latest Indian filmmaking.

Director: R. Balki


One other story primarily based on actual occasions, a social entrepreneur creates a low-cost sanitary pad machine for rural Indian girls in an effort to sort out India’s backwards method to menstruation. Lakshmikant “Lakshmi” Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) is ostracized from his village for his diligent concentrate on making a pad for his spouse (Radhika Apte) after discovering that she was utilizing a grimy rag each month. However failure and his new standing as an outcast doesn’t deter Lakshmi from his purpose. Armed with the information that pads might assist stop illnesses and sicknesses, he continues to work on his prototype till he perfects it and is acknowledged by an entrepreneur competitors, which leads him to large fame and success. is a story of resilience and insistence on difficult the established order that’s notably apt in at the moment’s society.

Director: Nitesh Tiwari


Primarily based on a real story, Dangal follows a former professional wrestler who, after getting married and failing to have a son to observe in his footsteps, decides to coach two of his daughters as an alternative and raises them to turn into champions. Aamir Khan is each intimidating and goofy because the patriarch Mahavir Singh Phogat, whereas newcomers Zaira Wasim and Fatima Sana Shaikh present pitch-perfect performances. Dangal is a narrative of overcoming societal expectations and of feminine energy and energy, and in the end, is a feel-good story in regards to the bond between a father and his daughters.

Director: Zoya Akhtar


Launched in early 2019, Gully Boy is a late however impactful entry to the last decade. Worldwide audiences will discover that it has related beats to the uncooked and actual >8 Mile, as Gully Boy tells the story of slumdweller Murad (Ranbir Kapoor) as he rises from being a poor road child with desires to a famend rapper. Whereas residing in an abusive dwelling and dealing odd jobs, Murad begins writing lyrics in regards to the social and sophistication disparities he observes round him, and ultimately begins recording his raps. With the assistance of a longtime fellow rapper, MC Sher (in a formidable breakout efficiency by Siddhant Chaturvedi), Murad features the arrogance to stay life on his personal phrases and observe his personal path. Gully Boy was directed by Zoya Akhtar, whose delicate contact on humanistic tales has turn into her calling card. The movie was lately introduced as India’s official Oscar entry, and it’s clear why: it’s expertly crafted with unbelievable performances and a universally interesting story of sacrifice, willpower, and drive.

Radhika Menon is a pop culture-obsessed author and filmmaker residing in New York Metropolis. Her work has appeared in NY Publish’s Decider, Brown Woman journal, and Syndicated Journal. She is a proud alumna of the College of Michigan and is one-half of the comedic video duo, PromRad. She loves puns and thinks she’s humorous on Twitter.


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