Top 10 Best Indian Movies on Netflix
In pursuit of global expansion, Netflix has made substantial investments in Indian content. The streaming service boasts an extensive library of Indian films, comprising a wide range of Bollywood movies and also some from non-Hindi industries like Tollywood. These films are accessible to audiences around the world through the platform.
India's rich cultural diversity is beautifully reflected in its movies, which encompass drama, romance, action, and the iconic dance sequences. Indian films are known for their entertainment value and are some of the most enjoyable movies you can watch. Some of these films are not only good but also highly underrated.
1. 3 Idiots (2009)
"3 Idiots" holds the top spot among Indian films on Netflix, and it's a celebrated classic college comedy that also features Aamir Khan (who is indeed quite a beloved actor). If you've grown up in an academically competitive society, whether it's in India, South Korea, China, or within immigrant communities in the West, you'll likely find "3 Idiots" highly relatable.
The movie satirizes the culture of academic competitiveness through the perspective of three students at the fictional Imperial College of Engineering (ICE), which is modeled after the prestigious IITs. Aamir Khan portrays Ranchoddas “Rancho” Chanchad, the quirkiest of the trio. Rancho has an insatiable thirst for knowledge and quickly realizes that ICE's hypercompetitive and inhumane educational system discourages true learning. He embarks on a journey to subvert this system through hilarious antics, which earn him the disdain of ICE's director, the infamous Professor Viru “Virus” Sahastrabuddhe.
While Aamir Khan was already a well-known figure in India before "3 Idiots," this film catapulted him to international prominence. To this day, "3 Idiots" remains one of the most beloved and widely discussed Indian movies outside of India. If you're seeking a blend of unbeatable humor, exceptional human drama, and uplifting social commentary, "3 Idiots" is the perfect choice!
2. Dangal (2016)
"Dangal" stands as one of the highest-grossing Indian or Bollywood films ever made. The movie is inspired by the true story of the Phogat sisters, renowned Indian wrestling stars.
In "Dangal," the superstar Aamir Khan takes on the role of Mahavir Singh Phogat, the father of Geeta and Babita Phogat, the two eldest sisters in the Phogat family. Alongside their rigorous training, Geeta and Babita must confront patriarchal biases on their journey to wrestling success.
With a compelling storyline, intense wrestling matches, and emotionally resonant character dynamics, "Dangal" is a must-watch film. Its popularity extends beyond India, as even Chinese audiences appreciated the movie for its authenticity, social consciousness, and overall high production quality.
"Dangal" is available on Netflix in 34 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and more, making it accessible to a wide global audience.
3. Andhadhun (2018)
Black comedies have gained momentum in Bollywood, and "Andhadhun" stands as one of the most compelling Hindi-language examples of this genre.
Adapted from the 2010 French short film "The Piano Tuner," "Andhadhun" revolves around Akash, a pianist who pretends to be blind to enhance his musical talent. During a private performance, he becomes a witness to a murder. However, he faces a dilemma—report the crime and reveal his fake blindness or remain silent.
Unconventional and deliciously twisted, "Andhadhun" draws parallels with the works of esteemed American directors like the Coen brothers and Alfred Hitchcock, making it appealing to audiences beyond India. The film is thrilling, suspenseful, and features a compelling performance that is difficult to turn away from.
You can stream "Andhadhun" on Netflix in 27 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and more, making it accessible to a wide international audience.
4. Taare Zameen Par (2007)
Aamir Khan made his directorial debut with "Taare Zameen Par," a film that addresses the struggles of 8-year-old Ishaan Awasthi as he grapples with dyslexia. In an education system that has historically marginalized children with learning disabilities, Ishaan faces challenges in reading and writing, concealing his difficulties behind a facade of mischievousness. Frustrated by the suggestion that his child may be "abnormal," Ishaan's father sends him to a boarding school in the hope of instilling discipline.
The once-vibrant Ishaan withdraws into himself, even abandoning his previous passion for painting. However, Nikumbh (played by Khan), the school's new art teacher, recognizes Ishaan's dyslexia. Nikumbh dedicates himself to helping Ishaan improve his reading and writing skills, ultimately coaxing the child back to his spirited self.
While "Taare Zameen Par" ostensibly addresses dyslexia, it underscores the idea that every child possesses unique abilities and untapped talents often stifled by the competitive demands of the Indian education system. The film remains relevant today, highlighting the enduring stigma surrounding mental health and disabilities in India.
"Taare Zameen Par" is available on Netflix in 34 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and more, offering viewers around the world an opportunity to experience its powerful message.
5. Haider (2014)
"Haider," starring Shahid Kapoor, is an adaptation of Shakespeare's tale of regicide and revenge, set in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Kapoor portrays the character of Haider Meer, the son of a prominent doctor who goes missing during the Kashmir conflict in 1995. Haider suspects his uncle of betraying his father and begins plotting revenge while grappling with existential angst and the complex political landscape of Kashmir.
Regardless of one's stance on the Kashmir issue, and even if you have limited knowledge of the conflict, "Haider" is a compelling watch.
First and foremost, it's action-packed, incorporating AK-47s and grenades into a Hamlet adaptation. It breaks the stereotype that Shakespeare is only for "boring, stuffy, old white people." Furthermore, the movie raises thought-provoking questions about identity and sovereignty, resonating in a world where such topics are central to public discourse.
"Haider" is available on Netflix in 28 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and more, making it easily accessible to viewers worldwide.
6. Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017)
Toilets are a significant concern in India, and after his election in 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to construct 100 million of them to address a severe shortage and discourage open defecation. Open defecation not only poses sanitation challenges but also endangers the safety of women.
Amidst one of India's largest toilet-building campaigns, "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" (translated as "Toilet: A Love Story") was released to significant acclaim and social relevance.
Starring superstar Akshay Kumar, the film provided audiences with an accessible view of the difficulties associated with toilet construction and the problem of open defecation. Kumar portrays Keshav, a man from a superstitious rural family who falls in love with an educated woman named Jaya (Bhumi Pednekar). However, Keshav's family lacks toilets, which becomes a barrier to their relationship. Consequently, Keshav and Jaya must confront conservative attitudes and family members to advocate for sanitation and women's dignity.
Effectively blending comedy with social commentary, "Toilet" manages to entertain and educate without appearing tone-deaf or juvenile. If you're interested in socially conscious films starring Akshay Kumar, we'd also recommend "Pad Man" (also available on Netflix), which addresses taboos surrounding menstruation and the lack of affordable sanitary pads for women in India.
"Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" is accessible on Netflix in 28 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and more.
7. Made in China (2019)
"Made in China" sheds light on an ironic reality in India, where discussions about sex and sexual health are often taboo, despite India and China having the world's largest populations—a result of Indians and Chinese engaging in sexual activity. This lack of open conversation leads to bedroom frustrations and public health challenges.
The film tackles this issue through the lens of dark comedy. "Made in China" features Rajkummar Rao as Raghu Mehta, a serially unsuccessful entrepreneur who stumbles upon a purportedly magical Chinese aphrodisiac called Tiger Penis Soup. Mehta persuades a doctor to become his business partner, and together they embark on a journey of business conquest and sexual health education.
While the movie is raunchy and irreverent, it manages to maintain a tasteful and exceptionally humorous approach to addressing this important social issue in India. "Made in China" will have you laughing heartily, and its characters are relatable and endearing.
You can watch "Made in China" on Netflix in 26 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and more, making it easily accessible to a global audience.
8. Article 15 (2019)
"Article 15" loosely follows the Baduan rape case through the perspective of the fictional police officer Ayan Ranjan. As Ranjan conducts his investigation into the rape and murder of two teenage girls, the film exposes the deep-seated remnants of India's history of caste-based hatred.
The movie serves as an accessible introduction to the complex caste system in India and aims to educate as much as it critiques. The diverse cast of characters brings multifaceted agendas to a seemingly straightforward crime story. Each shocking revelation distances justice further and immerses you deeper into the narrative. You may not realize just how tightly the film grips your emotions until its powerful conclusion.
"Article 15" is a haunting yet essential movie that delves into profound societal issues. If you're ready to confront this gripping story, be prepared for an emotional journey that will leave a lasting impact.
You can watch "Article 15" on Netflix in 27 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and more, making it accessible to viewers worldwide.
9. Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)
"Baahubali: The Beginning," released in 2015, is an epic action movie that revolves around a young man named Shivudu, who grows up in the fictional kingdom of Mahishmati. Upon discovering his hidden family legacy, Shivudu embarks on a journey of grand proportions, filled with action and adventure.
This film was one of the most expensive Indian productions at the time of its release and set numerous box office records. Its sequel, "Baahubali 2" (also available on Netflix in both Tamil and Hindi), performed even better and remains one of the highest-grossing Indian films to date.
"Baahubali: The Beginning" is a true blockbuster in every sense, offering a mix of thrilling action and entertainment, albeit with some CGI overuse and exaggerated action sequences. However, much like Hollywood's "Transformers" films, "Baahubali" has left a significant cultural impact.
You can watch "Baahubali: The Beginning" on Netflix in 25 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and more, with language options including Tamil, Hindi, English, or Malayalam.
10. Swades (2004)
"Swades" is a highly acclaimed cult classic featuring superstar actor Shah Rukh Khan in the role of Mohan Bhargava, a NASA project manager based in the US. The film follows Bhargava's journey as he returns to India, reconnects with his roots, and becomes involved in helping his home village. The title "Swades" translates to "our country."
The movie draws inspiration from the true story of two Non-resident Indians, Aravinda Pillalamarri and Ravi Kuchimanchi, who founded and volunteered with an organization called the Association for India's Development. While the film doesn't precisely mirror the experiences of Pillalamarri and Kuchimanchi, it resonates with overseas Indians through its realistic and poignant narrative.
If you appreciate films starring Shah Rukh Khan that explore the experiences of overseas Indians, you might also enjoy "My Name is Khan," although it may not be widely available on Netflix and could be accessible through other streaming services.
"Swades" is available on Netflix in 14 countries, including India, the US, the UK, Singapore, Australia, Canada, and more, offering viewers around the world an opportunity to engage with its touching story.