India has been known to the world through its cultures and traditions and what better than the medium of films to delve into the colours of our country? If America has Hollywood, let’s not forget that we have a film industry which has lasted for more than a century. Bollywood, however, has been ill conceptualized in front of a global audience. The usual expectation out of a Bollywood film is dance and music. But I’m sorry to burst your bubble, because al Bollywood movies aren’t musicals!

India is the land of Film lovers where every child has grown up hearing the names of film stars around him/her. After all, 1041 films are made in Bollywood yearly, as opposed to 500 films made by Hollywood yearly! Mixed in these 1041 films, are mostly the good ones which deserve recognition whereas some do not tend to catch the lime light even though they deserve to be known. Bollywood cinema is much more than just drama, music and dance. There’s a truckload full of matter too.

Here is a list of 8 lesser known best Bollywood Movies which deserve to be seen:

 1. Titli

This movie is symbolic of the fact that every family is not happy one. It is a story about three brothers who are car-jackers and live on the outskirts of Delhi. All of them are emotionally traumatized and do not have any plan for the future. They are just drifting from one day to the next in a plain fashion. It’s this oppressed section of the society which is untouchable for the growing ‘corporate’ India. Once you’re sucked in, the makers of the movie make you believe that the injustice behind the rough exterior is systematic. It could be anything from the patriarchal mindset to the hurried urbanization, or maybe it’s a mixture of both and many more twisted theories.


2. Dhobi Ghat

This movie is definitely not what you would expect out of Bollywood. The story revolves around the city of dreams- Mumbai- where the lives of four people get entwined by fate or luck. The story is about a washer-man who wants to become an actor, a banker-turned-photographer, a painter looking for inspiration, and a newly-married immigrant who journals her experiences on home video. The drama that the story manages to create around their lives is something which is very abstract. Perhaps it a commentary on the ever fleeting lifestyles of the people of Mumbai whose dreams never die. Or maybe it is about the fact that every individual living in the city is different with innocent yet firm motives and when all these lives come together under one roof, the city of Mumbai stands for what it is.


3. Ship of Theseus

It is based on the ‘Ship of Theseus’ paradox wherein it asks if the parts of a ship are replaced, bit-by-bit, does it still remain the same ship? The story explores questions of identity, justice, beauty, meaning and death through an experimental photographer, an ailing monk and a young stockbroker. It touches upon issues of organ theft through the theme of morality. All the characters face a philosophical dilemma and eventually the film somehow manages to connect all of the stories in a poetic finale.


4. Udaan

This is a coming of age movie about a boy who had been abandoned at a boarding school for eight years and then suddenly he returns home to his abusive father and a half-brother. He is forced to join his father’s factory and to study Engineering and give up his wishes and dreams of becoming a writer. The movie is about how the protagonist finds his way through the mess and fulfills his dreams. Truly moving and with exceptional acting, the film touches the audiences’ hearts.


5. Dasvidaniya

The movie is based on the lines of ‘The Bucket List’. Here, the protagonist, a person who loves making to-do lists, finds out that he has third stage cancer and makes a final bucket list for him to finish before he dies which includes getting back at his boss whom he doesn’t like and conveying his feelings to the girl he likes. However, he is not aware of the trauma that awaits him when he is about to tell his deaf and widowed mother about his illness. It is one of the  most heart-warming bollywood movies which will leave behind some food for thought.


6.My Brother Nikhil

This is one of the first mainstream Bollywood movies to address the issue of homosexuality. It also touches upon the issue of HIV AIDS. It was an insight into the Indian society and how homosexuals are perceived with a judgmental eye. A mature movie for its times, which made the audience realize it’s worth much later but nevertheless a gem of a film!


7. Tere Bin Laden

The movie is set in Karachi where a reporter, whose dream is to live the American Dream, devices a way to earn money for his fake passport and hits upon a scheme where he gets a Osama Bin Laden look-alike and makes videos of him to be sold to the media. The video turns out to be too successful and the United States starts panicking.  This huge mess of a simple plan gone humorously awry is what makes this movie a cheek in the tongue comedy.


8. Ankhon Dekhi

Ankhon Dekhi is a film about the protagonist, who is the patriarch of a joint family, suddenly decides that he will no longer believe what he hasn’t seen with his eyes. It is a film which urges you to join it in an existential journey and question what is being offered to you. It is a film about freedom, independence of thought, individuality and about mass silent revolt against societal norms. It is definitely an offbeat film worth each frame in today’s times of mainstream dancing and singing in Bollywood Movies.

By Arundhati Roy


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