The Indian film Industry produces a few hundred Bollywood movies every year. Most of the movies are beaten to death track, in terms of content. Dominated heavily by budgeted Masala movies that resort to slapsticks and outrageously unrealistic action scenes for popularity, there are few notable productions that are immune to this dominance and stand out from the crowd to deliver to the audience, an enthralling and real picture of the story portrayed.
Movies which are entertaining, engaging, provoking, and yet firmly grounded in reality are quite uncommon in Indian cinema. Here we are listing 10 such movies, which have come out different from the stereotype of mainstream Bollywood cinemas and which will surely instill lots of hope in you towards Indian cinema.
10. Raghu Romeo
Director: Rajat Kapoor | Writer: Rajat Kapoor (screenplay), Saurabh Shukla (dialogue)
Cast: Vijay Raaz, Nishikant Dixit, Sadiya Sidiqqui, Maria Goretti, Saurabh Shukla
Raghu Romeo is the brainchild of critically acclaimed director and also talented actor Rajat Kapoor. The movie is about Raghu, a 30-year-old man who comes from a lower-middle-class family. He’s a guileless human being hand pecked by his mother, he works as a waiter in a dance bar in Mumbai. A man heavily confused between real and reel life, Raghu is insanely in love with Neeta but the problem is Neeta is not real.
Raghu Romeo is a striking comedy because the director keeps himself from using slapstick clichés. He makes us laugh at his characters and the picture of reality they present through their performance. Raghu Romeo also boasts a unique economic endeavor in Indian cinema because it gathered its financial sources from crowdfunding.
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor | Writer: Nagesh Kukunoor (screenplay, story), Mir Ali Husain (story), T.A. Razak
Cast: Ayesha Takia, Shreyas Talpade, Gul Panag
Nagesh Kukunoor’s fascinating movie, Dor, is a story of two women, one in the desert of Rajasthan and the other in the hills of Himachal brought together by a common cause of loss and forgiveness. Though the movie is a remake of the Malayalam film “Perumazhakkalam”, Kukunoor is able to create a distinctive cinematic experience through elegant writing and strong portrayal of characters.
A simple story about a woman who’s seeking forgiveness to save her husband’s life, who’s an ex-pat working in Saudi Arabia, Dor presents its characters as complex individuals in chaotic circumstances. The melodramatic situations in the movie are enthused with subtle performances by a talented cast that makes Dor one of the most captivating Bollywood movies of 2010.
8. Miss Lovely
Director: Ashim Ahluwalia | Writers: Ashim Ahluwalia (story), Uttam Sirur
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Niharika Singh, Anil George
Miss Lovely is a drama film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia that explores the criminal extent of Mumbai’s C-grade movie industry. Miss Lovely revolves around the story of the Duggal brothers who produced sordid sex-horror films in the 1980s.
One of the best Bollywood movies of the decade, Miss Lovely has everything that a Bollywood audience does not have an appetite for. It takes you into the dark stinky lanes of C grade horror-porn movie industry where the smell actually reaches your nostrils. The movie’s depiction of the story is so pragmatic, that watching this movie is uncomfortable, painful, and at some points horrible.
Director: Rituparno Ghosh | Writers: Rituparno Ghosh, O. Henry (adapted from the story “gift of magi”)
Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Ajay Devgan, Annu Kapoor
Raincoat is a Hindi drama film that tells the story of two separated lovers who meet again one rainy day. This meeting enables each of them to realize the truth about the horrible lives they are living. It is an adaptation of the short story The Gift of Magi (1906) by O. Henry.
This National Film Award winner for Best Feature Film in Hindi is an acute portrayal of two depressed lovers. Aishwarya Rai has done absolute justice to her character of a passive housewife but a passionate lover and so has Ajay Devgan with his character of a depressed, doubtful, and heartbroken man.
6. Main Meri Patni Aur Woh
Director: Chandan Arora | Writers: Gunjan Joshi (story), Rajpal Yadav (story), Pankaj Saraswat (dialogue)
Cast: Rajpal Yadav, Rituparna Sengupta, Varun Vadola, Kay Kay Menon
Critically acclaimed for the non-clichéd plot, subtle cinematography, and Rajpal’s realistic portrayal of an insecure and self-conscious person, Main Meri Patni Aur Woh tells a story that is easy to relate to creating believable characters.
The movie is about a short yet qualified and well-to-do middle-aged man named Mithilesh played by Rajpal Yadav and his insecurities about his height and personality when he gets married to a significantly taller woman Veena played by Rituparna Sengupta.
5. Manorama Six Feet Under
Director: Navdeep Singh | Writers: Devika Bhagat (story), Navdeep Singh (story), Manoj Tapadia, Abhinav Kashyap
Cast: Abhay Deol, Raima Sen, GUl Panag, Vinay Pathak
Manorama Six Feet Under is an Indian thriller film, it’s a neo-noir that revolves around an amateur detective in a small town from Rajasthan who in course of solving a mystery finds himself entangled in a web of deceit, lies, and murder. This movie is inspired by Chinatown (1974) by Roman Polanski. In one scene you can even see Chinatown playing on TV.
Critically acclaimed especially for excellent dialogues, the movie is stuffed with clever writing, impressive visuals, and praiseworthy portrayal of characters. As the name of the film suggests with its sub-heading ‘In the desert nothing is as it seems’, in Manorama 6 Feet Under nothing is true as it seems.
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali | Writers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali (screenplay), Bhavani Iyer (dialogue)
Cast: Hritik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shernaz Patel
Guzaarish is a 2010 Indian drama film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, starring Hritik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. The only mainstream Hindi Cinema on this list, Guzarish, is a story about a paraplegic magician Ethan Mascarenhas, who after fourteen years of enduring paralyzed life, finally appeals to the court for euthanasia (mercy killing).
Besides raising the issue of euthanasia, Guzaarish also beautifully showcases the platonic compassion between Ethan and his nurse for twelve years, Sofia D’souza played by Aishwarya. Richly colored visuals and beautiful portrayal of characters by a talented cast make this movie worth your time.
3. Chandni Bar
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar | Writers: Mohan Azaad (dialogue and screenplay), Madhur Bhandarkar, Masud Mirza
Cast: Tabu, Atul Kulkarni, Rajpal Yadav
Chandni Bar is a depiction of the life of Mumbai Underworld that includes dance bars and prostitution, besides crime. The movie won four National Awards and brought Tabu and Rajpal into the limelight.
Tabu, who also won a National Award for this movie did a splendid job playing the central character Mumtaz, a bar dancer. Firmly grounded on reality, the movie is engaging and educational, but ultimately heart-wrenching
Director: Anurag Kashyap | Writer: Anurag Kashyap
Cast: Rahul Bhatt, Surveen Chawla, Ronit Roy
As the name suggests, the movie clearly depicts how ugly by heart, a human can get. The story is about Rahul Kapoor, a struggling actor played by Rahul Bhatt, and his quest for finding his kidnapped daughter Kali.
Amazing plot, detailed scenes accompanied by foley, and realistic portrayal of characters make Ugly a must-watch thriller movie of the decade. Rahul Bhatt, in this movie, has well carried the role of a struggling professional and a stressed father while Ronit Roy is impressive as always.
1. Ankhon Dekhi
Director: Rajat Kapoor | Writer: Rajat Kapoor
Cast: Sanjay Mishra, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Pahwa
Ankhon Dekhi has been deliberately chosen as the show-stopper of the list. It’s a movie that can create a distinctive aura through its imaginative characterization, marvelous story, and an undertone of comedy with a touch of philosophy.
The story of this movie revolves around Raje Bauji, a father, the head of the family, and a respected resident of the locality, who after a dramatic incident, decides that he’ll believe only what he sees with his eyes. The development of the plot and portrayal of characters is what makes this movie one of the finest of the decade.