In his acceptance speech at the 2020 Golden Globe, Korean director Bong Joon Ho said: “After overcoming the one-inch-high subtitle barrier, you will be introduced to many other incredible films.”
As Parasite’s explosive popularity and Oscar stack proved, Bong knew what he was talking about. Much of what lies behind this one-inch barrier is on Netflix, including an impressive Hindi movie store.
The average moviegoer now knows that India produces more films than any country in the world in a handful of regional languages. Hindu films – including spectacular Bollywood musicals – are the best known, and Netflix has a fantastic range of films to get you started.
Here are the 15 best Hindi movies on Netflix that you can stream right now.
1. Sir (2021)
Newcomer director Rohena Gera hits the road with Sir 2018, which was only released in theaters in November 2020 and arrived on Netflix in early 2021. Sir is the essential Indian cinema. Tillotama Shome stars as Ratna, an upper middle class Ashwin’s maid. Maids are common in India, where the film is set, but Ratna and Ashwin develop a love that simmers in a slow and socially unthinkable fire.
With Gera’s writing and direction, this unlikely story never seems forced. Love flourishes organically, in stealthy looks and heavy silence and in the confidence they develop when Ashwin recovers from a broken engagement and Ratna tells him about her late husband. The result is a film so smooth and vibrant that it will stay with you long after it is finished. *
Where to watch: Sir is streaming on Netflix.
2. Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Amar (Aamir Khan) and Prem (Salman Khan) are extraordinarily lazy planners who dream of getting rich without moving a finger. When they hear that the rich heiress Raveena (Raveena Tandon) is coming from London to find a husband, the two seek her hand and all the advantages.
The two are sometimes best friends and worst enemies throughout this mission, which also involves Raveena’s assistant (Karisma Kapoor), the dubious manager (Shehzad Khan) and the evil uncle (Paresh Rawal) planning his murder – not to talk about the millions of rupees in diamonds. This cult classic is one of the best comedies in Bollywood and possibly one of the best comedies in the world. *
3. Om Shanti Om (2007)
Extra fight movie Om (Shah Rukh Khan) dreams of being a superstar worthy of his beloved Shantipriya (Deepika Padukone). A casual encounter brings them together, but Shanti’s secret threatens their bond and their lives. Without spoiling its wide-ranging twists, Om Shanti Om is an emotional roller coaster exploding with Bollywood charm from the 1970s to the present day – a sassy love letter to the industry that made it and the timeless fantasy of the all-giving movie right in the end.
Where to watch: Om Shanti Om is streaming on Netflix.
4. Billu (2009)
This charming film shows the variety of the late great actor Irrfan Khan. Khan plays proprietor Billu, a village barber who claims that his best childhood friend is Bollywood superstar Sahir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan in perfect self-parody). Sahir arrives in town for a shoot, putting Billu’s stories to the test and sowing doubts among the residents. Director Priyadarshan’s warm comedy manages to create suspense around Billu and Sahir whether they know each other or not, while making you not care about the truth, falling in love with the peculiar villagers and Billu himself.
Where to watch: Billu is streaming on Netflix.
5. Stree (2018)
This peculiar black comedy based on the South Indian legend takes place in the city of Chanderi. Residents tell the story of Stree, the ghost of a courtesan who knows that it haunts them during annual religious festivities and abducts local men. A tailor named Vicky (Rajkummar Rao) shares all of this with her new client (Shraddha Kapoor), falling in love with her when she visits her during the festival. Vicky’s friends begin to think that her mysterious client may be Stree herself and decide to arrest the spirit and the human to discover the truth and save the city.
Where to watch: Stree is streaming on Netflix.
6. Bombay Talkies (2013)
This collection of shorts comes from acclaimed feature film directors Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar – each presenting a vibrant slice of life in India’s largest city. This format benefits the kind of originality that the mainstream that Bollywood rarely rewards, resulting in refreshing originality from indie figures like Kashyap and also from the beloved commercial Johar. It was such a success that Netflix collaborated with the same four directors for Lust Stories and Ghost Stories.
Where to watch: Bombay Talkies is streaming on Netflix.
7. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
The directorial debut of Karan Johar became an instant Bollywood classic when it hit theaters in 1998. Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) and Anjali (Kajol) are best friends from college until Rahul falls in love with Tina (Rani Mukherji) and Anjali realizes your true feelings for him. The friends split up before Tina’s death, leaving behind a daughter, also called Anjali, in honor of her old friend. Little Anjali grows up reading letters from her late mother and learns about her father’s old friend – her first love. Through her letters, Tina instructs her daughter to track down Anjali and reunite her friends as lovers, once and for all.
Khan and Kajol’s chemistry captivates you all the time, from your provocative college days to the unfathomable sexual tension of the gazebo scene. Despite being famous for their love triangle, the film never pits Anjali and Tina against each other, instead depicting a beautiful friendship between the two women, as well as their respective relationships with Rahul. “Pyar dosti hai”, Rahul declares from the beginning: Love is friendship. And Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is nothing but a timeless story about friends. *
Where to watch: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is streaming on Netflix.
8. Kahaani (2012)
Vidya (Vidya Balan) flies from London to Calcutta during the annual Durga Puja festivities in search of her missing husband. The investigation into her disappearance leads to a dead end after another – sometimes literally, when Vidya’s clues are murdered. From corruption to cover-up, the search for Vidya’s husband reveals a whole mess of interconnected lies that threaten her and her unborn child.
Where to watch: Kahaani is streaming on Netflix.
9. Andhadhun (2018)
Loosely based on the French short film “L’Accordeur”, Andhadhun is a serpentine adventure starring Ayushmann Khurrana as a blind pianist, Aakash. What starts as a romance between Aakash and Sophie (Radhika Apte) takes endless twists and turns before an admittedly weakened ending – but it is well worth the ride. Like Netflix’s I Care A Lot, Andhadhun will keep you on the edge of your seat every turn of the plot, never driving where you expect.
Where to watch: Andhadhun is streaming on Netflix.
10. Udaan (2010)
The debut in the direction of Vikramaditya Motwane stars Rajat Barmecha as Rohan, expelled from boarding school and sent home to live with his abusive father Bhairav (Ronit Roy). He learns that Bhairav has a second son, Arjun (Aayan Boradia), aged six, and tries to stop the child’s beatings by lying to Bhairav when he can. Udaan stays with you long after watching because of the work of these three actors: Barmecha as the rare teenage protagonist in an Indian film, Roy as a villain unlike many in the films, and Boradia as a devastating victim who never loses hope.
Where to watch: Udaan is streaming on Netflix.
11. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
All Kabir (Abhay Deol) wants for his bachelor party in Spain is that his two best friends, Imran (Farhan Akhtar) and Arjun (Hrithik Roshan) get along. But Arjun is obsessed with work, as usual, while Imran hides his real agenda behind endless jokes. Years of history cannot fail to surface, along with old tensions and new secrets.
As specific as it may be, ZNMD can be identified by any group of friends, regardless of nationality or gender – thanks to Farhan and Zoya Akhtar’s formidable team of brothers, co-writing with Reema Kagti, and Farhan in dialogues with Zoya in the chair. principal. He also owes much to Farhan’s 2001 Dil Chahta Hai, also on Netflix.
Where to watch: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is streaming on Netflix.
12. Dangal (2018)
Based on the true story of Indian fighters Geeta and Babita Phogat (Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra, respectively), Dangal reconstructs the sisters’ childhood and training with their father, retired fighter Mahavir Singh Phogat (Aamir Khan). Although the girls refuse their rigorous training (which includes forcing them to cut their hair and start eating meat to gain protein), they cannot fail to respect their methods as they gain momentum as professional fighters. Dangal unveils sexism in Indian sports and families. It is also the first of two collaborations between Aamir Khan Productions and promising young actor Zaira Wasim (Secret Superstar is also on Netflix).
Where to watch: Dangal is streaming on Netflix.
13. Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania (2014)
This 2014 novel adequately pays homage to and updates the 1995 classic Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Rakesh, also known as Humpty (Varun Dhawan), falls in love quickly and strongly with Kavya (Alia Bhatt) while she is visiting Delhi. Their knowledge turns into friendship, which turns into sleeping together and eventually falling in love – but Kavya has to leave the city to go home for her wedding. Passionate and ready to do anything but give up, Humpty takes his friends to the village of Kavya to prevent marriage at any cost, except the love of his life.
Where to watch: Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania is streaming on Netflix.
14. Article 15 (2019)
A search for missing girls leads police officer Ayan Ranjan (Ayushmann Khurrana) to discover collective rape and caste violence in the village of Laalgaon. Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 is not perfect – its perspective is overwhelmingly masculine and sanctifies many of the officers – but it sheds light on critical issues without pretending to resolve them, as many similar films do.
Constitutional Article 15 itself covers a lot of ground; prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, caste or sex – all of which are still rampant in India. This will not be the last film to cover these topics and, hopefully, will pave the way for future work that will raise the bar.
Where to watch: Article 15 is streaming on Netflix.
15. The Blue Umbrella (2005)
Director Vishal Bhardwaj is known for darker dishes (7 Khoon Maaf, also on Netflix, stars Priyanka Chopra as a stylish killer), but also for excellent adaptations (Haider inspired by Hamlet is also broadcasting on Netflix). The Blue Umbrella is based on the 1980 Ruskin Bond novel and follows the young Biniya (Shreya Sharma), who acquires a beautiful Japanese umbrella that delights the rest of her city – especially the shopkeeper Nandu (Pankaj Kapur), who is so attracted by the umbrella he compares with his soul mate. He tries to convince Biniya to give it to him and instead decides to purchase his own. Sharma and Kapur bring this peculiar dynamic to a charming life, in contrast to the stunning mountain scenery of northern India.
Where to watch: The Blue Umbrella is streaming on Netflix.
16. Kapoor & Sons (2016)
Shakun Batra’s 2016 family drama (co-written by Ayesha Devitre Dhillon) sits comfortably on the border between Bollywood drama and silent indie introspection. Fawad Khan and Siddharth Malhotra, two actors who appear to have been raised in a Bollywood hero factory, play distant siblings trying to stay together while visiting their separated parents (Ratna Pathak Shah and Rajat Kapoor) and sick grandfather (Rishi Kapoor, deliberately distracted) of old-age makeup).
The film does a particularly admirable job with Rahul (Khan), who hides a serious boyfriend in London. Kapoor & Sons hit theaters with strong box office and critical adoration in 2016 – paving the way for Shelly Chopra Dhar’s Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (also on Netflix), who centered on a lesbian romance in 2019. Rahul can look confident and comfortable , but the home visit reveals an identity that he worked hard to build. He carries this into every conversation with his mother, brother and new friend Tia (Alia Bhatt), raising Kapoor & Sons in general. The film is an excellent example of the alchemical success of writing, casting and location, creating an engaging story whose details and dynamics stay with you.
Where to watch: Kapoor & Sons is streaming on Netflix.