Bollywood Movies

These Bollywood Movies Are Now Classics

November 12, 20239 Mins Read

Bollywood movies are some of the most popular movies around the world, but it’s not just because of the massive Desi diaspora present in many different countries. Bollywood, which is another name for the entertainment industry producing Hindi-language cinema, has become well-known for its long movies that pull out all the emotions throughout their running times. From breakups to make-ups in a romance movie, as well as some pretty epic dance numbers that seemingly include an entire neighborhood getting in on the action, there’s plenty to enjoy with this kind of cinema.

But Hindi cinema can be serious, too, putting on all the tops for action and melodrama. While it’s not representative of all of the movies coming out India, one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse nations in the world, several films have now become well-established classics in the Indian cinema world and can be watched globally on streaming platforms like Netflix. That said, these Bollywood movies might have come out relatively recently, but are now classics due to how loved their characters and stories are.

10 Andaz Apna Apna (1994)

Two men look at something in the distance smiling.
Vinay Pictures

Released in 1994, Andaz Apna Apna stars Aamir Khan and Salman Khan as two young men who find themselves in a similar situation. After learning that a millionaire’s daughter is looking for a husband, they decide that it’s going to be them. When they pursue her, they meet each other and realize they’re competition, leading to some interesting circumstances throughout the course of the movie.

What Makes It Great

Throughout the years, this film has become a cult classic despite not doing too well at the box office. Andaz Apna Apna is an incredible comedy even after time has passed since its release, making it a piece that’s timeless. And for many that grew up with the movie or had their coming of age then, it’s stuck throughout the years as being a vital part of the nineties’ movie scene.

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9 Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge (1995)

dilwale dulhania le jayenge
Yash Raj Films

In Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol star as two young Indians who decide, separately, to go on a trip throughout Europe. When they end up meeting, they fall in love, but because she has been promised to another man by her father, it isn’t going to work out for them — or so it seems on the surface. It is one of the most iconic Indian movies of the ’90s.

What Makes It Great

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is a staple in the filmography of Shah Rukh Khan, and is seeped in nostalgia for one of the greatest periods of Hindi cinema during the 1990s and 2000s. Not only are Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol great in the leading roles, but the movie touches upon many themes still relevant today in Indian families and society when it comes to love and marriage.

Stream on Netflix

8 Queen (2013)

Phantom Films

The protagonist of Queen is Rani (literally the word for Queen), and her life is falling apart before her eyes. Only days before the wedding, her beloved fiancé calls it off, and, in a moment to try and find herself, Rani decides to go on her honeymoon to Europe anyway. Despite her parents’ concern about her going alone, this trip to Europe will prove to be life-changing for this young woman. The people she’ll meet along the way, too, will completely change her perspective on herself and the world.

What Makes It Great

Although there are some questionable forms of representation that lean stereotypical in Queen, the message that this young woman can go off on her own and be who she wants to be is inspiring. Despite the hardship she faces from her fiancé, who completely disregards her feelings, she can still create her own joy. That’s a message many women need.

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7 3 Idiots (2009)

3 Idiots
Reliance BIG Pictures

Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, and Sharman Joshi are the 3 Idiots described in the movie’s title, as they met originally while studying at university. When entering an engineering college, their lives are just about to start, and when friendship and conflict boil over throughout the course of the movie, the definitions of what it means to be a friend shift. 10 years later, things might look completely different for these three, and that’s okay.

Why It’s Great

3 Idiots is a comedy that knows its genre and place while still managing to be a critique of the education system in India at the time. This is a movie that is a work of art despite its title implying that it might not be, and it shows that sometimes the best comedies are the ones that arise from situations that feel personal.

Rent on Prime Video


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6 Lagaan (2001)

SET Pictures

In Lagaan, released in 2001, the setting is a rural village under colonial rule. When the droughts that year prevent the crops from coming on time, the farmers ask the British for an exemption on the tax. An agreement is made: if the farmers can make a cricket team and beat the British team, their taxes can be canceled for the next two years. But if they lose, their taxes will triple instead.

What Makes It Great

Lagaan is a classic Bollywood movie in how it takes this extremely dramatic subject and turns it into something else with the implementation of a musical format. It’s unlike many movies that came before it due to how it does this, and because of that uniqueness, it stands out in the history of Hindi cinema as a movie that is not only epic, but a love story and musical at the same time.

Stream on Netflix

5 Om Shanti Om (2007)

Deepika Padukone
Eros International

Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone star in the film Om Shanti Om, which is the story of a poor young man’s dreams of becoming a Bollywood star. After falling in love with a major actress, he gets tangled up in her affairs and ultimately loses his life for it. But when he reincarnates as another successful actor, he remembers what he lost and thirsts for revenge.

What Makes It Great

There are some moments in Om Shanti Om that are just so out of the box that the movie will make any viewer’s jaw drop, making it a delight to watch on-screen. Not only is the production value of the movie also excellent, but it has some superb songs and dance numbers contained within as well.

Rent on AppleTV


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4 Chachi 420 (1997)

Chachi 420
Raaj Kamal Films International

Released in 1997, Chachi 420 is a remake of a Tamil movie that’s based on the American movie Mrs. Doubtfire. The film opens with Jaiprakash and Janki fighting over a divorce case, and when the proceedings end and everything is finalized, Jaiprakash ends up losing his right to visit their daughter after he tries to steal her back. Despite this, he disguises himself as a female nanny to continue befriending her.

Why It’s Great

Fans of the original movie Mrs. Doubtfire will certainly love the content of this movie, as it’s pretty much similar except in a more Indian context. Although it’s vastly underrated in the landscape of Hindi cinema, it’s the perfect example of how a tight script, production, and cast can create an experience that’s unique to cinema.

3 Karan Arjun (1995)

Two men and one woman hold out arms.
Film Kraft

Karan Arjun is an epic ’90s movie, and there are plenty of reasons why. Two brothers (Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan) have to cope with the death of their father, but once they realize he has actually been murdered by their uncle, they decide to go down the path of revenge. But when he kills them too, they reincarnate and remember what they set out to do in their past lives.

What Makes It Great

This is a story of revenge taken to the max, featuring some of the most beloved Bollywood tropes before they became even more solidified in the later part of the decade and in the early 2000s. Karan Arjun is quite unforgettable because of the twists it implements, raising the stakes and drama to all-new heights just when you think it couldn’t get any higher.

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2 Haider (2014)

Man with shaved head ties rope around his neck.
UTV Motion Pictures

Haider is a Bollywood take on Shakespeare‘s Hamlet, but set specifically within the context of the conflict happening in Kashmir. Its protagonist is Haider, who returns home to Kashmir in search of what happened to his missing father. When he realizes people he trusted might have been involved with the potential murder, Haider slowly begins to go mad, questioning everything and everyone he once believed to be innocent.

What Makes It Great

Haider can be a disturbing movie to watch because of the content it depicts, and while it is fictional, what is happening in the region isn’t fictional. Movies have a unique medium to capture the essence of a movement happening in certain regions, and Haider does just that with the Kashmir conflict, humanizing a character who was radicalized by betrayal and the loss of his father.

Stream on Netflix

1 Barfi! (2012)

UTV Motion Pictures

Ranbir Kapoor stars in the lead role of Barfi in Barfi!, and his character, while living in Darjeeling as a young man, is considered the local troublemaker. When he falls in love with a girl, he is rejected because he is disabled and doesn’t have money, but this isn’t the end to his story. When an autistic childhood friend (played by Priyanka Chopra) is kidnapped, he finds her, and they run away to Kolkata together.

What Makes It Great

Barfi!, although it doesn’t cast disabled actors in its lead roles, was a step towards moving for representation in film. Its main characters are disabled and considered neurodivergent by those around them, yet they’re considered humanely in the context of the film and how they’re depicted. There’s quite a bit of a story packed into Barfi!, making it a wonderful ride of a film to go through, leaving some in tears by the time it reaches its climax.

Stream on Netflix

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