Bollywood. Could India have lived without it? I think not. It’s as much an integral part of Indian culture as is our religion and spirituality. Though it is notorious for coming up with some of the worst flicks ever, it is more renowned for coming up with some of the best masterpieces that cinema has seen. From melodramatic plots to elaborate dance sequences, from mainstream slap stick comedies to intensely profound, parallel cinema – Bollywood has indeed evolved tremendously over the last five decades. Though some may say that our film industry has passed its golden age, it is undeniable that Bollywood is incredibly popular even across international borders. Counting down the best bollywood movies it has ever produced may be quite a taxing job but here are some of what I think are the best bollywood movies of the past decade.
This article is part of the series and we will soon be publishing the next two parts too!
- Zubeidaa (2000) – directed by Shyam Benegal and starring Karishma Kapoor, Rekha and Manoj Bajpai. Even though it was not well received at the box-office, in my opinion it is one of the best commercial movies made. An excellent story, great music and stellar performances by the cast make it a delight to watch.
- Hey Ram (2000) – directed by Kamal Hassan and starring Kamal Hassan, Rani Mukherjee and Shah Rukh Khan. It is a controversial film released both in Tamil and Hindi. It is a semi-fictional plot built on the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and India’s partition. Though not successful at the box office, it got positive reviews from the critics for the heavy duty performances by the cast.
- Kaho Na Pyar Hai (2000) – directed by Rakesh Roshan and starring Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel. It is the debut film of both actors and made Hrithik into an overnight sensation. Hugely popular at the box office with numerous melodious songs and a sweet plot, it is a pleasant movie to watch.
- Lagaan (2001) – Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar and starring Aamir Khan. This film manages to capture our undivided attention for 3 plus hours. The plot and the music build a feeling of inspiration in us and leave us feeling exhilarated at the end. The movie had a close encounter at at the Oscars in USA that year when it stood the chance to win the award for the best foreign language film.
- Dil Chahta Hai (2001) – directed by Farhan Akhtar and starring Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna. It is an intelligent film that is meant especially for our generation. Great dialogues, a mellow mood and a perfect synthesis of 3 different stories of 3 different people while at the same time highlighting the values of friendship.
- Daman: A Victim of Martial Violence (2001) – Directed by Kalpana Lazmi and starring Raveena Tandon and Sayaji Shinde. This film is my personal favourite because its stark portrayal of reality forces us to open our eyes to the hidden sadism of married men and the helplessness of the Indian woman. Not a film for the masses however, Raveena’s performance is worth watching.
- Devdas (2002) – directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai. It is a must watch for all the die-hard romantics especially because SRK’s performance leaves us with a huge lump in our throats. An adaptation of Sarat Chandra’s classsic novel, the onscreen version has some excellent music and visual sets which make the movie highly entertaining.
- The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) – directed by Rajkumar Santoshi and starring Ajay Devgan, it is high on my list of movies worth watching. Superb performances, music that enhances the mood of the film and great cinematography fill the audience with a passion that is quite rare to produce.
- Mr and Mrs. Iyer (2002) – directed by Aparna Sen and starring Aparna Sen, Konkona Sen Sharma & Rahul Bose, this is an ‘A’ class movie. It is a love story set in the midst of violence and much more. This film by virtue of direction and the versatile cast bring out so effectively the poignancy of the myriad of human emotions.
- Munnabhai MBBS (2003) – Inspired from the Robin Williams’ starrer, ‘Patch Adams’, Munnabhai MBBS is directed by Rajkumar Hirani and stars Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi. This movie provides side splitting laughter right from the start till the end. But the reason why this is such an important movie is because of its amazing simplicity and effectiveness in conveying the message of love and empathy. Brilliant acting by the entire star cast, the Mumbaiya humour and ‘tapori’ language also gives the movie its unique charm.
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