Iconic Bollywood movies are usually a major hit or miss. Over the years, the focus has shifted to earning a huge box office collection rather than making a great piece of cinema that an audience will genuinely enjoy. Most Bollywood movies rely on cliched love interests, the same old boring plotline, cringe dialogues, and overly dramatic reactions. Such movies choose to cast huge names as the leads to lure their huge fan following into the theatre.
However, there is an occasional movie that is just perfect. They have watertight storylines, great casting choices, organic dialogues, and subtle ways of showing the biggest emotions. While such movies may be rare, over the years there have been quite a few iconic Bollywood movies that never get old, even after multiple watches. Here are the top iconic Bollywood movies that you should watch on a family movie night:
1. Piku – One of the most Iconic Bollywood Movies
Director Shoojit Sircar hits the bullseye once again with this underrated gem. Piku does boast of a star-studded cast with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, and the late Irrfan Khan. However, the casting choices here are just perfect. Piku is unlike anything you’ve seen in mainstream cinema before. An ageing old man is overly protective of his far too serious daughter, which brings them at constant odds with one another. The result is a hilarious and emotional mix alluding to nostalgia and childhood memories. Definitely, an iconic Bollywood movie that must be on your watch list. This movie is available to stream on SonyLiv.
2. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – The Jack and Master of all
Zoya Akhtar’s travel comedy has been a fan favourite ever since it released and for good reason too. This movie is best described as an onion. It has layers and layers and layers to it, each making you either sob or laugh out loud as you discover just how magnificent this piece of filmmaking is. One of the most iconic Bollywood movies over the years, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a story of three friends on a bachelor trip to Spain.
While all seems just fine and dandy on the surface, it’s actually the opposite. All the characters are dealing with their own internal struggles, and in a way, this trip becomes the answer to all their problems. Set against the picturesque and quaint backdrop of Spain, this is a love story, a travel comedy, and a reunion film all in one. Of course, an added bonus is the languid compositions of the literary veteran Javed Akhtar, always managing to strike a chord deep in the heart, triggering emotions you never thought to be plausible. A masterstroke of Bollywood movies, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is available to stream on Netflix.
3. AK vs. AK – Perfect for All Bollywood movies fans
Like most of his work, Vikramaditya Motwane chooses to swim against the steam once again with AK vs. AK. Metacinema is always a risky business, and executing one to perfection isn’t an easy feat. AK vs. AK is a wacky film, which is less than believable, but that’s where most of the fun lies.
Following a public feud, a filmmaker kidnaps the daughter of a Bollywood superstar, and films his journey in real-time as the star desperately tries to save her before sunrise. Anurag Kashyap and Anil Kapoor play heightened versions of themselves as they engage in a cat and mouse chase that has no real end.
It’s interesting to see films like these come up in an industry that is so dominated by storylines that are a tad too exaggerated, trying to be passed off as real life. So, when a film which almost seems like fanfiction with its absurdity, it definitely makes for an interesting watch. Despite this, Motwane manages to sprinkle enough truth to make it seem authentic. Motwane doesn’t hesitate in dropping the occasional truth bomb about the dark side of the industry that is often brushed off into the wings among all the glitz and glamour. Another one of the iconic Bollywood movies that are currently streaming on Netflix.
4. A Death in The Gunj – An underrated gem by Konkana Sen
It’s easy to feel left behind when you have only dishevelled adults looking for a cheap adrenaline rush and a six-year-old who can only suffice for so long. Amidst these artificialities, Shutu vehemently resists the act of “growing up”, instead choosing to draw dreamy figures in his journal, examine moths by daylight and hold burials for dead ants. Being the runt of the litter is not all for laughs though, as things start to spiral out of hand in a succession of events.
Konkana Sen has been phenomenal in front of the lens and she proves to be promising behind it too. Laced with subtleties and rich character development, A Death in the Gunj is an underrated masterpiece with the perfect cast. She blurs the lines between a book and a movie and unveils how modern art is more about context, and not just content. She leaves you wanting to know just a little bit more, even though all the cards are on the table and you’ve never seen a more beautiful hand. This is one of the most criminally underrated Bollywood movies and can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.
5. Ankhon Dekhi – An Intellectual and Iconic Bollywood Movie
Rajat Kapoor’s feature film does an applaudable job of achieving that with a cast full of great actors that are often pushed to the sidelines in order to accommodate the so-called legends of the industry.
Aankhon Dekhi incorporates philosophical outlooks and places them in a setting that is almost second nature to all of us. Throughout the feature film, there is a certain absurdity ingrained into the script that borders on comical but instead forces you to look past societal constraints and face reality. The film cannot be interpreted as black or white, mixing and blending points of view and incidents to give you a brilliant shade of grey.
However, the film does have its fair share of flaws. Towards the very middle, the plot introduces too many characters without a proper introduction, so much so that at one point, you tend to stare at the screen, trying to figure out who’s who. Apart from this, the movie will make you laugh, cry and purge you into a thought spiral you can just sit back and enjoy. Stream these iconic Bollywood movies on Netflix.
What do you think is the one flaw with Bollywood? What are some of the most iconic Bollywood movies we missed? Tell us in the comments below.