Netflix an amazing hub for popular mainstream movies and TV shows, but did you know that the streaming giant is also host to a fine curation of foreign cinema? Here, we’ll shine a light on Netflix’s amazing trove of Hindi films. Featuring stories from many different genres, these Bollywood entries are part of an expanding canon of content that Netflix is helping to shepherd and support. We’ve scoured the platform’s many selections, from current hits to classics, to bring you our breakdown of the best Hindi films on Netflix. Read on to see what Bollywood flicks we love the most.
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Writer/director Anurag Basu’s anthology crime drama is a mesmerizing Indian-ensemble film divided into four segments, with each story representing the different colored sides of a ludo game board (including the dice). We’re treated to a gangster drama, a sex-tape rescue mission, a cat and mouse struggle for treasure, and a murder mystery. All four tales intertwine, along with the fates of many players. Balanced somewhere between comedy, drama, and thriller, Ludo is a big film with a lofty and evolving premise, and we’re fans of the grand effort.
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Stars: Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao
Director: Anurag Basu
Runtime: 149 minutes
A piercing romance-drama, Haraamkhor (The Wretched) takes place in the small village of Gujarati. Shyam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a school teacher, begins an extramarital affair with Sandhya (Shweta Tripathi). As their secret relationship deepens, friends, relatives, and outsiders start picking up on their love. Loaded with powerhouse performances, Haraamkhor manages to branch into multiple genres (comedy and drama, specifically) while delivering a relatable and rather fearless story about a teacher-to-student fling that evolves into something much bigger.
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Stars: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi, Irrfan Khan
Director: Shlok Sharma
Runtime: 148 minutes
Game Over (2019)
Swapna (Taapsee Pannu) is reeling from a horrid trauma. Living alone, she spends her time consumed by video games, fearing the dark, and doing whatever she can to get through her anxieties. Her egg-shell life is shattered though when a notorious serial killer selects Swapna as their next target. A clever extrapolation of the home invasion subgenre, Game Over manages to stand tall as an effective psychological thriller with a number of brilliant homages to tech, gaming, and one’s identity.
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Genre: Mystery & Thriller, Drama
Stars: Taapsee Pannu, Parvathi T., Vinodhini Vaidynathan
Director: Ashwin Saravanan
Runtime: 97 minutes
The Blue Umbrella (2005)
Biniya is a 9-year-old girl living a small life in a small village. When she comes into possession of a blue Japanese umbrella, her fellow villagers become smitten by the beauty of the artifact, particularly Khatri, a local shopkeep that wants the umbrella for himself. When Rajaram, Khatri’s assistant, pockets the sacred umbrella, Biniya will stop at nothing to reunite herself with her most prized possession. Bold and heartfelt, The Blue Umbrella is one you won’t want to miss.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Genre: Animation, Romance, Kids & Family
Stars: Pankaj Kapur, Shreya Sharma, Dolly Ahluwalia
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Runtime: 90 minutes
Shiv (Naseeruddin Shah), an elderly professor, and Tara (Kalki Koechlin), a woman in her late twenties, meet under peculiar circumstances at their community hospital. It turns out that both their loved ones (Shiv’s wife and Tara’s husband) have fallen into comas. An unlikely bond forms between both parties, in which the duo begins spending a ton of time together. As Shiv and Tara get to know each other on a deeper level, emotions run high when both must decide how to handle the health of their loved ones. An endearing film about the power of love, Anu Menon’s Waiting is an exemplary Hindi film and one we’re glad to recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Stars: Naseeruddin Shah, Kalki Koechlin, Arjun Mathur
Director: Anu Menon
Runtime: 98 minutes
I Am Kalam (2010)
Kalam (Harsh Mayar), a poor boy, has big ideas of becoming a top-ranking official. Specifically, the president. Inspired by his friendship with the son of a nobleman, as well as his affinity for the former President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Kalam decides to commit to a life of education, a new state of mind he hopes to harness to meet India’s former top official. A coming-of-age tale filled with heart and plenty of emotion, I Am Kalam more than deserves its laurels and a place in our lineup.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Gulshan Grover, Harsh Mayar, Pitobash
Director: Nila Madhab Panda
Runtime: 88 minutes
Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai (2020)
A struggling bank employee named Sarita (Saiyami Kher) is at her wit’s end. Her husband’s mighty debts are weighing down the household and the couple just can’t seem to get ahead. That is until one day when Sarita discovers the answer to her prayers in the form of a backed-up kitchen sink that spouts money. What begins as a gift that’s simply too good to be true soon spirals into an unforeseen mess for Sarita’s family. Praised for its high-caliber performances, intriguing concept, and big-budget financing (courtesy of Netflix), Choked more than measures up to the rest of Netflix’s self-financed productions.
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Stars: Saiyami Kher, Roshan Mathew, Amruta Subhash
Director: Anurag Kashyap
Runtime: 114 minutes
When Nanki’s (Kiara Advani) boyfriend is accused of sexual assault by Tanu (Akansha Ranjan Kapoor), a close-knit circle of friends is thrown into sudden disarray. Nanki, shocked and confused over the accusations, decides to take matters into her own hands by investigating. Leaning on the expertise of Danish Ali Baig (Taher Shabbir), her boyfriend’s defense attorney, Nanki will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. Kiara Advani shines as Nanki, portraying the rattled teen as an emotionally intelligent but complex individual that wears her heart on her sleeve.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Stars: Kiara Advani, Akansha Ranjan Kapoor, Gurfateh Pirzada
Director: Ruchi Narain
Runtime: 119 minutes
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