Throughout the years, Bollywood has created innumerable films that have won the hearts of people all over the world. These films are remembered for their larger-than-life characters, intricate plots, and unforgettable music. Bollywood has something for everyone, from epic love stories to heart-warming comedies.
We've put together a selection of some of the finest Bollywood movies of all time that you should see. These films have endured the ravages of time and remain popular with audiences of all ages. Each of these films offers a distinct story and highlights the talents of some of the industry's most talented actors, directors, and composers.
These films are a must-see for anybody who appreciates cinema, whether you are a die-hard Bollywood fan or just starting in this lively film industry. So, get some popcorn, sit back, and prepare to be entertained by these timeless classics.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
"Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" is a famous Bollywood love film directed by Aditya Chopra and produced by Yash Chopra that was released in 1995. The film, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, tells the tale of Raj and Simran, two young Indians living in London who fall in love while traveling around Europe.
Raj and Simran begin the film by traveling to Europe with their separate buddies. While they don't get along at first, they finally fall in love. Simran's traditional family in India, on the other hand, has already arranged for her marriage to another guy. Raj pursues Simran back to India in order to win over her family and persuade them to allow them to be together.
(Here is a still from the film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Credits: Hindustan Times)
The film is a traditional Bollywood romance, with wonderful music, dancing scenes, and breathtaking locales in Switzerland and India. "Palat, palat, palat," the movie's signature phrase, and Shah Rukh Khan's character's name, "Raj," have become conceptual frameworks in India and beyond.
This film is widely regarded as one of the most famous and iconic Indian films of all time, breaking box-office records and winning multiple accolades.
Sujoy Ghosh directed the thriller Kahaani. The film stars Vidya Balan as Vidya Bagchi, a pregnant woman who arrives in Kolkata from London in search of her missing husband, Arnab Bagchi. Vidya's search for her husband leads her to uncover a conspiracy involving a terrorist plot, crooked police officers, and a man named Milan Damji.
Vidya's hunt for her husband continues, and she learns that he might not be who she believed he was. She enlists the assistance of a sympathetic police officer, Satyoki "Rana" Sinha (played by Parambrata Chatterjee), in her investigation.
(Here is a still from the film Kahaani, Credits: Odisha TV)
Vidya becomes increasingly involved in the conspiracy as the plot unfolds, putting her life in danger. She must race against time with the help of Rana and a few other allies to find out the truth about her husband and prevent a devastating terrorist attack.
Kahaani is a suspenseful thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The film's taut screenplay, strong performances, and expert direction earned it critical acclaim.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Karan Johar directed the 1998 Indian romantic drama film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The lead actors are Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, and Rani Mukerji.
The storyline centers on Rahul Khanna (Shah Rukh Khan), a college student who becomes infatuated with Anjali Sharma, his closest friend (played by Kajol). He is, however, unaware of her feelings for him and falls in love with another girl, Tina Malhotra (played by Rani Mukerji). Please proceed with caution if you wish to avoid spoilers!
Rahul and Tina marry soon after graduation, but tragedy strikes when Tina dies while giving birth to their daughter, whom she names Anjali after Rahul's best friend.
(Here is a still from the film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Credits: MensXP)
Years later, Rahul is a single parent raising his daughter Anjali (Sana Saeed), who discovers a collection of letters written by her mother before her death. Tina was aware of Anjali's feelings for Rahul and wanted her husband to reconcile with his best friend, according to the letters.
Anjali decides to reunite Rahul and Anjali (Kajol), who had dropped out of college to marry someone else. Rahul and Anjali are initially hesitant to confront their feelings for each other, but they eventually realize they are in love. The film is a moving story about love, friendship, and the power of memories. It was praised for its strong performances, innovative storytelling, and memorable music.
Anurag Basu directed the Indian romantic comedy-drama film Barfi!. The film's lead actors are Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, and Ileana D'Cruz.
The story is set in the 1970s and follows Barfi (Ranbir Kapoor), a deaf and mute guy who is well-liked in his hometown of Darjeeling because of his joyful and mischievous demeanor. Shruti (played by Ileana D'Cruz), a beautiful woman from a wealthy family, falls in love with Barfi, but their love is doomed because Shruti is engaged to someone else. Barfi and Shruti are unable to be together despite their best efforts, and Shruti tends to leave Darjeeling to marry her fiancé.
(Here is a still from the film Barfi, Credits: My Good Times)
Barfi, who is heartbroken, meets Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), an autistic woman who has been abandoned by her wealthy family. The two form a strong bond, and Barfi looks after Jhilmil, assisting her in escaping her family's clutches. Their joy is short-lived, however, as Jhilmil is kidnapped, and Barfi must navigate a dangerous underworld to save her.
The film is a moving drama about love, friendship, and self-discovery. It was praised for its unusual storyline, compelling acting, and breathtaking cinematography.
OMG: Oh My God!
Umesh Shukla's satirical comedy-drama film OMG: Oh My God! was released in 2012. The film's lead actors are Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, and Mithun Chakraborty.
The plot revolves around an atheist named Kanji Lalji Mehta (played by Paresh Rawal) who owns a shop that sells religious idols. When an earthquake destroys his shop one day, he files an insurance claim to cover the losses. His claim, however, is denied because the insurance company views the damage as an "Act of God."
(Here is a still from the film OMG: Oh My God!, Credits: MUBI)
Kanji, feeling frustrated and disillusioned, decides to sue God himself. He enlists the assistance of a young lawyer named Hanif Qureshi (played by Om Puri), and together they confront the contradictions and hypocrisies of organized religion.
The film is a lighthearted yet thought-provoking examination of organized religion, religious dogma, and superstition. It challenges viewers' blind faith and promotes a message of humanism and rational thought.
The film received praise for its performances, direction, and storytelling. It was also a commercial success and received numerous awards.
Yash Chopra directed the romantic film Veer-Zaara. The film's lead actors are Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Rani Mukerji.
The film's plot revolves around Veer Pratap Singh (Shah Rukh Khan), an Indian Air Force pilot who falls in love with a Pakistani woman, Zaara Hayat Khan (Preity Zinta), while on a mission in Pakistan. They meet by chance and form a deep bond, but their love is forbidden by the governments of their respective countries.
(Here is a still from the film Veer-Zaara, Credits: Weltbild )
Veer returns to India and waits for Zaara, who does not appear. He learns that she has been imprisoned in Pakistan by her family, who have arranged for her to marry another man. Veer travels to Pakistan to save Zaara and assists her in escaping to India.
Veer is imprisoned for 22 years after Zaara's family accuses him of being a spy. In the present, a young lawyer named Saamiya Siddiqui (played by Rani Mukerji) takes on Veer's case and attempts to reunite him with Zaara.
The film is a moving love story that transcends borders and cultural differences. It was praised by critics for its strong performances, beautiful music, and expert direction.
"Hera Pheri" is a 2000 Bollywood comedy film directed by Priyadarshan and produced by A.G. Nadiadwala. The film's ensemble cast includes Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, and Paresh Rawal in leading roles.
The story revolves around three people: Baburao Ganpatrao Apte (Paresh Rawal), Raju (Akshay Kumar), and Shyam (Suniel Shetty), who are all struggling to make ends meet in their current societies. One day, they receive a phone call from an unknown number offering them a job working in a bungalow for Rs. 50,000 per month.
(Here is a still from the film Hera Pheri, Credits: Koimoi)
The trio arrives at the bungalow and meet the owner, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, who has actually placed the advertisement for a servant. However, due to a misunderstanding, the trio believe they have been hired for the position and decide to stay to earn money.
The film follows the trio's hilarious misadventures as they waddle their way through the kidnapping plot, frequently making things worse rather than better. When the real kidnappers arrive on the scene, chaos ensues as the three hapless friends attempt to outwit them and obtain the ransom.
"Hera Pheri," a cult classic in Indian cinema, is known for its rib-tickling humor, witty one-liners, and loveable characters.
"Dhoom" is a 2004 Bollywood action-thriller film directed by Sanjay Gadhvi and produced by Aditya Chopra. The film stars an ensemble cast led by John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Esha Deol, and Rimi Sen.
The plot of the film revolves around a gang of bikers who commit daring robberies throughout Mumbai. The gang, led by a charismatic thief named Kabir (John Abraham), uses high-end sports bikes and high-tech gadgets to pull off heists and elude the cops.
(Here is a still from the film Dhoom, Credits: NDTV)
The Mumbai police department assigns the task of apprehending the gang to a blundering but determined police officer, Jai Dixit (Abhishek Bachchan), and his sidekick, Ali (Uday Chopra). They set out to find Kabir and his gang and bring them to justice.
Fast-paced action sequences, thrilling bike chases, and slick direction distinguish the film. It spawned several sequels, each with a new villain and storyline, and has since become a popular film series in Indian cinema.
Ghajini is an Indian action thriller directed by A.R. Murugadoss that was released in 2008. The film's lead actors are Aamir Khan, Asin, and Jiah Khan.
The plot revolves around Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan), a wealthy businessperson who suffers from short-term memory loss due to a brain injury sustained while defending his sweetheart Kalpana (Asin) from a gang of robbers. Sanjay is determined to locate those who killed Kalpana and sets out to do so.
Yet, his state prevents him from recalling important details and piecing together the events leading up to her death. Sanjay takes photographs and tattoos important information on his body as reminders to aid him in his quest.
(Here is a still from the film Ghajini, Credits: IMDb)
Sanjay's investigation leads him to the conclusion that Kalpana's murder was part of a larger criminal conspiracy involving a powerful industrialist named Ghajini Dharmatma (played by Pradeep Rawat). In a showdown, Sanjay confronts Ghajini and his henchmen.
The film is a gripping and intense thriller with a fresh take on the traditional revenge formula. It is remembered for Aamir Khan's outstanding performance as the amnesiac protagonist, as well as for memorable action sequences and music.
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
"Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani" is a film directed by Ayan Mukerji and produced by Karan Johar.
The film tells the story of four companions from various walks of life who reunite for a Himalayan hiking trip. After several years, Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor), a carefree and adventurous travel journalist, meets Naina (Deepika Padukone), a shy and studious medical student.
Bunny and Naina rekindle their friendship and fall in love during the trip. Bunny, on the other hand, isn't ready to settle down in a long-term relationship, since he desires to travel the world and follow his ambitions.
(Here is a still from the film Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Credits: Book My Show )
They split up after the trip, with Bunny moving to Paris to pursue his dream of becoming a travel show host, and Naina focusing on her career as a doctor. Years later, they reunite at Aditi's (Kalki Koechlin) wedding, and Bunny realizes he has feelings for Naina. Naina, on the other hand, is now engaged to a successful doctor, but her heart still belongs to Bunny.
The film addresses themes of love, friendship, ambition, and self-discovery as the protagonists traverse their personal and professional lives. As they journey, they learn to treasure their memories of the past, live in the present, and embrace the future with hope and optimism.
3 Idiots is a comedy-drama film directed by Rajkumar Hirani. The film's lead actors are Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, and Sharman Joshi.
The plot revolves around the lives of three engineering students at the Imperial College of Engineering; Farhan Qureshi (played by Madhavan), Raju Rastogi (played by Joshi), and Rancho (played by Aamir Khan).
Rancho is an unusual and brilliant student who believes in understanding rather than memorization. Farhan and Raju, on the other hand, are pressured by their families to succeed and get well-paying jobs.
(Here is a still from the film 3 Idiots, Credits: Bollywood Hungama)
The three friends face a variety of challenges throughout the film, including a rigid and outdated education system, peer pressure, and societal expectations. They, too, experience the highs and lows of relationships and love.
The film highlights the value of pursuing one's passion and charting one's own life's journey, as opposed to mindlessly complying with conventional standards and expectations. Rancho's unconventional approach to education and life inspires his peers to challenge their assumptions and strive for excellence.
The film is both a pleasant and hilarious picture of the ups and downs of college life and a criticism of the educational system's shortcomings.
My Name Is Khan
Karan Johar directed the film My Name Is Khan. The film stars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in the key roles.
The premise of the film centers around a Muslim guy named Rizwan Khan (played by Shah Rukh Khan) who has Asperger's syndrome, a type of autism. Rizwan relocates to the United States and falls in love with Mandira, a Hindu woman (played by Kajol). They marry and live happily ever after until the September 11th attacks.
(Here is a still from the film My Name is Khan, Credits: IMDb )
Following the attacks, Mandira faces discrimination and hostility from her Hindu community, so she changes her surname to a Muslim one to protect her son. When their son is killed in a racially motivated attack, Mandira blames Rizwan for not being able to stop it.
Rizwan sets out across the country to meet the President and deliver the message, "My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist," determined to make amends and prove his love for his wife. He encounters discrimination and prejudice along the way, but he also meets allies who assist him in his quest.
The film is a striking statement on prejudice, discrimination, and the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. It also illustrates the problems that Asperger's syndrome sufferers endure, as well as the significance of respecting diversity and acceptance.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Zoya Akhtar directed the 2011 Indian coming-of-age drama film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif, and Kalki Koechlin are the lead characters.
The plot revolves around three childhood friends, Arjun (Hrithik Roshan), Imran (Farhan Akhtar), and Kabir (Abhay Deol), who reunite for a bachelor road trip to Spain. Each of them has personal and emotional baggage that they must face during the journey.
While in Spain, they engage in a range of sports, such as skydiving, scuba diving, and bullfighting. They meet Laila (Katrina Kaif) and Nuria (Ariadna Cabrol) along the way, two free-spirited women who challenge their friends to confront their fears.
(Here is a still from the film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Credits: Times of India )
Arjun, who is getting married, is dealing with career and commitment issues. Imran is a writer who is struggling with his identity and childhood emotional scars. Kabir is unsure about his upcoming marriage because of his father's expectations.
Friends learn valuable lessons about life, love, and the importance of living in the present moment through their experiences in Spain. The film is a celebration of life and friendship, and it urges viewers to live their lives to the fullest and to take advantage of every chance that comes their way.
Gully Boy is a film which stars Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, and is based on the lives of Indian street rappers Divine and Naezy.
The film's plot revolves around Murad Ahmed (Ranveer Singh), a young man from a poor family in Mumbai who aspires to be a rapper. Murad's journey is fraught with difficulties, which include his father's disapproval, poverty, and social inequality.
(Here is a still from the film Gully Boy, Credits: DNA India)
Murad begins to find success in Mumbai's underground rap scene, known as the "gully" (street) rap scene, with the help of his friend and fellow rapper, MC Sher (played by Siddhant Chaturvedi). Sky (played by Kalki Koechlin), a music producer, recognizes his talent and assists him in recording a song and launching his career as a rapper.
The film offers a strong commentary on India's urban poor's challenges and successes, as well as a celebration of music's capacity to bring people together. It was widely praised for its powerful music, innovative storytelling, and strong performances.
Ashutosh Gowariker directed the film Swades. Shah Rukh Khan plays Mohan Bhargava, an Indian-American NASA scientist who returns to India to find his childhood nanny and learn about his roots.
Mohan travels to the village of Charanpur, where he meets Geeta (Gayatri Joshi), a young schoolteacher who is passionate about educating the children of the village. Mohan becomes increasingly conscious of the challenges that affect rural India as he explores the area, such as poverty, illiteracy, and a lack of basic amenities.
(Here is a still from the film Swades, Credits: George Eastman Museum)
Mohan decides to use his knowledge and resources to assist the villagers and begins working to bring electricity to the village. He also assists Geeta in establishing a small school for the village's children and becomes deeply involved in the lives of the villagers.
Mohan begins to question his own identity and values as he becomes more integrated into the community. He realizes that his success in America has come at the expense of his connection to his homeland and his obligation to his fellow Indians.
The film is a powerful commentary on rural India's issues, as well as a poignant reminder of the importance of reconnecting with one's roots. It received praise from critics for its strong performances, realistic depiction of rural India, and expert direction.
These are some of the most popular and timeless Bollywood films for you to add to your watchlist. However, do you believe that we may have forgotten to add some noteworthy films? Do share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.