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Good Hindi Movies to Stream Now
Comedy. Action-Adventure. Horror. You know the standard genres all too well. And since Netflix is brimming in each division, perhaps you haven’t been inspired to branch out into a new universe in a while. But there’s a beauty which comes with today’s streaming sites: we now have access to genres we’d never consider if not for already being pre-loaded into our queues. It’s time you stopped ignoring that. One such realm? Bollywood—which, we gotta add, is the largest film industry in the world, so you’re incredibly late to the party. The canon out of India has offered more to the world of cinema than any new fan has probably realized.
So what exactly do Bollywood films have on tap? Glad you asked! Yes, bold colors and elaborate musical numbers, but more importantly, a breadth of previously (to you) unknown, rich storytelling waiting to be explored, from vignettes about star-crossed lovers to films highlighting stigmas individuals within the local culture. They’re all about portraying a message, and with some of the world’s biggest stars leading them (the name Aishwarya Rai may ring a bell), they’re sure to pull a heartstring or even start a dance-a-thon or two.
So for anyone out there who is hoping to dive into a new area of entertainment, or those who’ve already surrendered to massive fandom, we rounded up Netflix’s best Bollywood films. Trust us, you won’t want to stop watching once you start. (And you don’t have to, don’t forget to check out our best Bollywood films of all time list as well.)
Jab We Met
It’s the story of star-crossed lovers, but with a modern take. The movie follows Aditya, a depressed young man who’s just discovered his ex got married. On a train ride to Bombay, he stumbles upon Geet, a human ray of sunshine but who’s committed to her lover back home. Though they feel an immediate connection, it’s only when they meet up a few years later that Aditya realizes he needs to save her—just as she saved him long ago.
Om Shanti Om
An essential modern Bollywood film, this follows a young aspiring actor who, after dying to save his true love from the reigns of her abusive film producer husband, suddenly comes back to life three decades later. The only problem? He’s now living the life of a successful star, trying to avenge his original fate years prior. It’s an homage to old-school films in the format, and it’s surely going to keep you glued to your seat.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
Sweety’s extremely frustrated with her family. They want to marry her off as soon as possible, but she’s hiding a massive secret: she’s 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 grand musical, which he’s willing to write for her. It’s definitely a trailblazer in blending Bollywood with LGBTQ+ identity, but it’s also just a story about self-acceptance and being proud, however it manifests.
When Lakshmikant “Lakshmi” Chauhan discovers his wife has been using a dirty rag each month during her menstrual cycle, he’s alarmed by the backwards practice. He sets out on the ultimate mission: create a pad which could both be sanitary and affordable to even the poorest woman in the country. Based on a true story, the film tells a tale filled with resilience, and the strength it takes to challenge what you know in society.
When it comes to Bollywood, the exploration of mental health as a subject is fairly new. Focusing on depression in 21st century India, the film explores a woman’s unhappiness with the way she’s living her life through a series of therapy sessions. It not only will tug on your heartstrings, but it will also have you facing your life choices and wonder, 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, marry in order to create an alliance between the two regions, no one expects for them to actually fall in love. But as their affections toward each other grow deeper and deeper, so do the external factors threatening to tear the couple—and their kingdoms—apart. Not only does it portray a unique look at 16th century India, but it also stars Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai in one of the lead roles.
An anthology film from four prolific directors, Lust Stories explores the stigmas behind sex and attraction in the 21st century. Whether it be love between two different social classes or the rise and fall of a marriage, each tale is different. And because it’s in this format, each one feels like a good gateway into understanding the culture as a whole.
A former pro wrestler wants desperately 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. It’s not just a film exploring female power; it’s a feel good story about the love a father has for his daughters.
Rani is in a bit of a hard place. She’s just been dumped by her fiance just a day before her wedding, and now she has a European honeymoon she has to use before it goes to waste. That’s when the idea strikes: go on the vacation anyway and explore what she’s looking for out of life. Think of this film as Bollywood’s version of Eat, Pray, Love, only with better clothes and a bigger push for female independence.
If there’s any Bollywood movie you should start with, it’s this one. Telling the story of a cricket game between Indian villagers and the British colonizers over the removal of increasing taxes, it’s a movie which exemplifies the power of resilience and teamwork. It’s also famous for receiving India’s third-ever Oscar nomination, and it comes with a great soundtrack from famous film composer A.R. Rahman.
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