10 definitive Indian films to watch on Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)


10 definitive Indian films to watch on Netflix

Indian cinema is a kaleidoscope of vibrant stories full of rich cultural nuances and diverse narratives. While Bollywood often takes the spotlight, it’s crucial to acknowledge that it represents just one facet of the expansive Indian film industry. Fortunately, platforms like Netflix provide a gateway to this constantly evolving and burgeoning cinematic world of wonders. So, if you are looking for a chance to explore the definitive and contemporary beyond the glitz and glamour of mainstream Bollywood, you are in the right place.

At the top of our list are three new releases. Directed by Kiran Rao Laapataa Ladies, it follows the journey of two young brides who find themselves separated from their husbands during a jampacked train ride. Set in the fictional Nirmal Pradesh, this comedy-drama is a breezy exploration of identity and empowerment in the hinterlands of India. The ethos may feel more urban, but that’s what has made this resonate with a wider audience.

Next, we have the inimitable Varun Grover’s feature film debut, All India Rank. This a coming-of-age comedy-drama set in the late 1990s. It revolves around Vivek (Bodhisattva Sharma), a 17-year-old preparing for the competitive IIT entrance examination. All India Rank is both a nostalgia ride and a humorous yet insightful look at the pressures of academic success put upon desi kids.

Taking a swing into biopic territory, Imtiaz Ali has returned to form with Amar Singh Chamkila. This biographical drama is based on the life of musician Amar Singh Chamkila. Starring Diljit Dosanjh in the titular role, the film traces Chamkila’s meteoric rise to fame and the challenges the Dalit singer faced in Punjab’s music industry and discriminatory society at large.

Avinash Arun’s poignant Three of Us is a lyrical drama starring Shefali Shah as Shailaja Desai, a woman diagnosed with dementia. As she sets on a journey with her husband and childhood sweetheart, the film explores themes of myth and memory along the stunning Konkan coastline.

Not all the films on our list are in Hindi. Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Super Deluxe is a Tamil-language film that weaves together multiple narratives, including a transgender woman’s quest for acceptance and a father’s journey to redemption. Bold and unconventional, this film pushes the boundaries of storytelling. As does Kantara, a gripping Indian Kannada-language action thriller directed by Rishab Shetty. Set in the mystical forests of coastal Karnataka. Praised for its compelling performances, direction, and portrayal of Bhuta Kola, a shamanistic dance performance, Kantara captivates with its intense action sequences and mesmerising cinematography.

For more heartwarming fare, we recommend Vikas Bahl and Nitesh Tiwari’s Chillar Party. A feel-good tale of friendship and camaraderie among a group of children who band together to protect a stray dog, this one will resonate with audiences of all ages. As will Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak. A touching tale of sibling love, the film follows two siblings, Pari and Chotu, as they set on a journey across Rajasthan to fulfil Pari’s wish of meeting the Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

Rounding out the list, Praveen Kandregula’s Cinema Bandi is a charming comedy-drama about a group of villagers who set out to make a film with a stolen camera. And finally, Anvita Dutt’s Qala. A psychological drama set in the 1940s, Qala stars Tripti Dimri, Swastika Mukherjee, and Babil Khan. The film explores a tumultuous relationship between an aspiring singer and her domineering mother, which is often haunting and heartbreaking.

10 definitive films to watch on Netflix:

  • Laapataa Ladies
  • All India Rank
  • Amar Singh Chamkila
  • Three of Us
  • Super Deluxe
  • Chillar Party
  • Cinema Bandi
  • Qala
  • Dhanak
  • Kantara