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Four Indian Movies (Post 2000) that will Hook You on Indian Films

Updated on February 4, 2019

Introduction to Indian Films

Most people that do not understand Indian films only see them as overdrawn out musical and incoherent storyline. What most people are exposed to are films from Bollywood, but Bollywood is not the definition of Indian cinema. I will admit I was one of these naïve people that thought that and I still have difficulty in distinguishing what genre, region, or dialect the Indian film I am watching is from. I may not be a film savant but I know a good movie when i see one. I recommend for you to watch these four movies from India and maybe you will come around and give them a chance. There are 1.6 billion Indians that can't be wrong.

1. Barfi (2012)


Barfi tells a story of a love triangle that started in the 1970s. Barfi, the lead character, is a lovable mischievous mute who falls in love with two women, Shruti and Jhilmil. Shruti rebuff the love of Barfi and regrets her mistake since witnessing the act of true love from Barfi to Jhilmil, who, herself is autistic.

Trailer (in English)


This Bollywood film felt like one of a kind even though some themes and scenes looked oddly familiar. It had a 1950s musical vibe to it even though it was set in the 1970s. Most people see a dash of Singing in the Rain. The main character feels like a copy of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. The director, Anurag Basu, admitted the similarities but defended the movie as homage to the movies he paid tribute to. I'm keen to believe him because paying tribute has been Quinton Tarantino's crutch throughout his film career and his movies are still original and entertaining.

Barfi Music Video Montage

Musical numbers always seem to be out of place during storytelling but not in the case of Barfi. The song and dance cuts seamlessly tie into the plot and adds to the charisma of the characters. The lead actor and the two actresses play their roles convincingly especially Ranbir Kapoor who plays the title character.

The movie is not straightforward. It takes a lot of twist and turns that were unexpected but made the movie watching experience even more compelling which is surprising because it is mostly a comedy. Every frame of the movie was picturesque much like a Wes Anderson film.

The three stars of Barfi, from left to right, Ileana D'Cruz, Priyanka Chopra, and Ranbir Kapoor
The three stars of Barfi, from left to right, Ileana D'Cruz, Priyanka Chopra, and Ranbir Kapoor | Source

Still not convince to watch this movie? Barfi was India's official entry to the 85th Annual Academy Awards and was one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films domestically and internationally.

2. 3 Idiots (2009)


Two friends reminisce while searching for the third friend from their trio. During their college years, the missing friend guided them to think differently while everyone else, including friends and family thought of them as idiots. A promise of a reunion ten years after graduation failed to reunite the three friends and force the two to find out why the third is missing.

Trailer (with English Subtitles)

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This is the first Bollywood film I've ever watched in it's entirety. I've never watched a Bollywood movie in its whole, only clips here and there, because of the misunderstanding of the culture. I am thankful that I saw this movie first though. It thought me to appreciate other cultures humor and style. 3 Idiots opened my eyes to a bigger world of film.

3 Idiots is a fantastic look at the Indian culture. It questions the parenting style of the country, its education system, the dichotomy of social classes, and the meaning of your existence all while being sincere and humorous. The chemistry of the cast was spectacularly believable. The music and dance scenes were a little corny but were very fun to watch and admittedly catchy. You'll be humming along "All is well" by mid-chorus.

I'm Slim Aamir, Yes, I'm the real Aamir, All you other Slim Aamir are just imitating
I'm Slim Aamir, Yes, I'm the real Aamir, All you other Slim Aamir are just imitating | Source

The main star, Aamir Khan (who looks spot on post-Rehab Eminem), is one of India's premiere actors. He played the wise enigma, Rancho, so well that he convinced me that he was the smartest man alive. The other standout role was the antagonist, Virus, acted by Boman Irani. He was so believably despicable but not cartoonishly evil. The rest of the cast played their role perfectly.

This movie will make you rethink about your life and what will you do for it to make it better. Also, it will make you question about the burdens you put on your child.

3. Stanley Ka Dabba (2011)


A schoolboy is banished from school by a strict teacher who eats school children's lunchboxes unless the banned schoolboy brings a lunch of his own.

Trailer (without English Subtitles)

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Also known as Stanley's Tiffin Box is one of the most heartwarming movies I have ever seen. Every schoolboy brings their own dabba, lunch, but one of the teachers in the school always takes a bite out of the children's lunch because he never brings his own. When he finds out that the other children share their lunch with Stanley because the child hardly ever brings his own lunch he bans him from coming to school so he can take what would have been Stanley's share.

The child who plays the lead role brought the character to life. The story was very heartbreaking but Stanley made the movie very engaging and thoughtful. There are lots of children actors in the world but Partho Gupte, playing the role of Stanley, has to be one of the most convincing epitome of child wonderment caught on film. All the supporting actors including the other children and faculty did a fine job in progressing the story and development of Stanley.

As the story progressed, the truth about living conditions and school systems in India unraveled and it needed that spotlight to reveal the flaws of the system. The movie wasn't insulting the system, just exposing some truth that the country needed to face.

Standard dabba in India. It's what the teacher and Stanley fight over.
Standard dabba in India. It's what the teacher and Stanley fight over. | Source

Official Song

Movie Theme Song

I really enjoyed this film because of the truth it told but not in a preachy, I told you so type of way. Also, this movie does not have any of the song and dance numbers that you would normally associate with Indian movies but the soundtrack was very moving. The despised teacher is actually played by the director and is the real life father of the young actor who is lead character.

Don't be turned off if you think the movie is a kids movie. It is not but can be enjoyed by the whole family. If you are still hesitant in watching an Indian movie because you think it will have strange dance sequences and music, do not worry. This movie has none but it is still a Hindi movie and it is still a funny but sincere movie.

4. A Wednesday (2008)


A retiring high ranking police officer recollects a day that almost shattered the city of Mumbai without the general public ever knowing. The day in question was just an ordinary Wednesday until one single terrorist brought the police down to its knees.

Trailer (with English Subtitles)

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India does not just do musicals and romantic comedies. They can also do a suspense thriller and this is a definite intense thriller. It does start off slow just to introduce all the characters and the plot but the anticipation leading up to the climax is like the night before Christmas, so exciting that you can't think of nothing else.

The cast are great actors but the two leads, the retiring police officer (Anupam Kher) and the unknown terrorist (Naseeruddin Shah), have great rapport with each other. They feed off each other's skills and deliver thought provoking dialogue and monologue. The movie has a lot of sense and the direction was very tight.

Plight of the Common Man in India
Plight of the Common Man in India | Source

Clip (without English Subtitle)

This movie reminded me a lot of Die Hard with a Vengeance. It was a battle of wits. It has lots of action. Once it gets going, it becomes fast paced with lots of twist and turns. It is a very highly entertaining suspense thriller. It has been remade in several other dialects of India and also has a remake in English starring Ben Kingsley but the original A Wednesday is the must see.

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