10 Good Indian Movies

Wednesday, January 19 by Charlie Walker

Western culture’s interest in Bollywood movies and Hindi blockbusters has grown in recent years, prompting our contributors to compile a list of 10 good Indian movies to satisfy your curiosity. If you’re wondering what all the hubbub’s about, check out these cool flicks, spanning from the 1950’s to some of today’s hottest box office door busters. From this list, you’ll get a good idea where Bollywood started and how far they’ve come in recent years. After all, there’s more to Hindi movies than just musicals. Many of these films have received numerous awards.

  1. "Awara" (1951): A district judge throws out his wife and young son, who take up with a petty criminal. Years later, the son learns the truth about the man who became like a father to him—he caused the break up. The son (Raju), kills the surrogate father and attempts to kill his biological father, the judge. Raju must then stand trial, with his father as judge. It is one of the most famous films in India and considered a classic. Therefore, it is one of many good Indian movies that illustrates the grandeur and pageantry of Hindi cinema in its early days.
  2. "Mughal-e-azam" (1960): It’s the sixteenthth century and the Mughal prince has an affair with a court dancer. The clash of class status sparks a war between the father, the Mughal Emperor, and the son, the Mughal prince. For Westerners, this entry into the list of good Indian movies is the Hindi equivalent to epic English movies such as "Ben Hur", "Cleopatra", "Gone with the Wind", and other similar films from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
  3. "Ram Aur Shyam" (1967): An abusive, evil brother in law propels Ramchandra to run away from home to a small village. He is mistaken for his twin, Shyamrao. Likewise, the brother in law mistakes Shyamrao for Ramchandra. He attempts to beat Shyamrao, who stands up against the abuse, unlike Ramchandra. In terms of good Indian movies, Westerners will find a striking resemblance to "The Man in the Iron Mask."
  4. "Sholay" (1975): Western movie viewers will easily relate to the storyline of this selection for good Indian movies. A policeman’s family is murdered. He hires two ex-cons to catch the murderer, an elusive and highly dangerous criminal, and bring him back alive.
  5. "Arth" (1983): Said to be a semi-autobiographical account of the filmmaker’s extramarital affair, this is one of the best Indian movies of its time. In the early 80’s and into the 1990’s, Hindi films often featured topics relative to polygamy. However, the story of the love affair between Mahesh Bhatt and Parveen Babi was told out of Bhatt’s guilt for cheating on his wife.
  6. "Salam Bombay" (1989): This movie about the lives of street children in Bombay is not for the faint of heart. Some of the movie is hard to watch, but that’s what good drama is all about.
  7. "Munna Bhai MBBS" (2003): With his sidekick, Circuit, a Bhai’s world crumbles when his parents and the father of his future bride find out he’s not really the doctor he claimed to be. Munna is really a big city gangster. For Westerners, think "Patch Adams" meets "The Sopranos."
  8. "Yuva" (2004): If you enjoyed western movies like "Crash", you’ll agree Yuva is one of the good Indian movies with a similar theme. Three unrelated individuals from very different lifestyles are thrown together by circumstance. The experience forever changes each of them.
  9. "Lakshya" (2004): A well-to-do son is undecided about his future and has little ambition. On a whim, he and his friends join the army. When it gets to be too much, he runs away, only to be shamed by his girlfriend. He returns to the army to finish what he started and win back his honor.
  10. "Black" (2005): If you found the story of Helen Keller inspiring, then this entry for good Indian movies is a good choice. Born deaf and blind, sheltered by her family, Michelle becomes violent and uncontrollable until a teacher changes her life.
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