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18 Bollywood films from the 21st century that redefined Indian cinema

Here is a round-up of the 18 must-watch Bollywood flicks from 2000 to 2018

How many of these films have you checked off your list?

 1. Kal Ho Na Ho (2003)

Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta

Kal Ho Naa Ho broke million hearts because of its bitter-sweet love story. Wrapped in a tragic love story and friendship, the film was an emotional ride for the audience and perhaps one of the most well-rounded entertainers of the century.

2. Veer Zaara (2004)

Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherji

Yash Chopra’s cross-border saga of love, separation, courage, and sacrifice. Veer Zaara’s love story shows the deepest insight into the understanding of love as it applies to the human experience. Terrors, along with joys, test the bonds of two lovers from different faiths and nationalities.

3.Rang De Basanti (2006)

Starring: Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, Soha Ali Khan

Deservedly India’s official entry for the Golden Globe Awards and the Academy Awards, Rang De Basanti is the story of six young Indians who assist an English Woman to film a documentary on the extremist freedom fighters from their past, and the events that lead them to relive the long-forgotten saga of freedom.

4. Jab We Met (2007)

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor

Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met not only enjoys cult status in Bollywood’s rom-com space, but the film also resurrected the flaky careers of the director and its main protagonists – Kareena and Shahid. Also, who can resist a good love story?

5. Guru (2007)

Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Mithun Chakraborty

A Mani Ratnam movie is always special and Guru is no exception. Ratnam’s absorbing screenplay ensures that Guru rises above the usual rags to riches story, by weaving in meaty subplots involving the protagonist’s complex relationships with his loyal wife, friends, and foes.

6. Rock On!! (2008)

Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal

If you really want to see how Bollywood has matured and come of age, then here’s the perfect litmus test. Rock On is a film that not only breaks new ground in terms of its subject matter but creates a whole new EQ (emotional quotient) for mainstream cinema.

7. Fashion (2008)

Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut, Arbaaz Khan

This film shows every bit about the life of models and brings the inside secrets of the fashion industry. Fashion travels through the dark inner recesses of the three lead characters, laying bare their strengths and weaknesses; their fears and hopes; their dreams and nightmares.

8. 3 Idiots (2009)

Starring: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, R. Madhavan

Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone literally comes alive on screen in perhaps the century’s most financially successful film. 3 Idiots tells us that learning the lessons of life cannot be taught through books and classrooms.

9. English Vinglish (2012)

Starring: Sridevi

Easily one of the best films of 2012, English Vinglish is tale of women empowerment (actually it is bound to empower every viewer) because it strikes a chord, right from the start to the end titles. Returning to the silver screen after a 15-year hiatus, Late Sridevi conveys emotions effortlessly with or without words.

10. Queen (2014)

Starring: Kangana Ranaut, Lisa Haydon

Rani’s journey of self-discovery begins when she goes on ‘honeymoon’ all by herself. What happens along the way forms the crux of this sweet, sensitive, fun social drama.

11. Haider (2014)

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Tabu

Haider is a brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet where a new character – Kashmir – joins the drama’s kings and queens. Haider’s uncle kills his father and marries his mother. Can Haider resolve his dilemma – to be or not to be revengeful?

12. P.K. (2014)

Starring: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma

Religion is all about fashion: As an alien, it is difficult for PK to understand what is the basis of religious classification. PK received positive reviews and, at the time, emerged as the highest-grossing Indian film of all time.

13. Bajirao Mastani (2015)

Starring: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra

Bajirao Mastani is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s most gorgeous movie. Legendary warrior Peshwa Bajirao battles Mughals but falls in love with half-Muslim Mastani.As Bajirao-Mastani fall in love, Bajirao’s family declares war.

14. Drishyam (2015)

Starring: Ajay Devgn, Tabu

Inspired by Japanese crime-writer, Keigo Higashino’s novel The Devotion of Suspect X, Drishyam (translates as illusion) was originally adapted in Malayalam. That version went on to become a blockbuster, paving the way for copies. The latest is, Nishikant Kamat’s Bollywood adaptation Drishyam – a  suspense drama with a nail-biting finish.

15. Tamasha (2015)

Starring: Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone made a comeback on the silver screen with Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha. Upon release, Tamasha received a polarizing reception among critics and general audiences alike. The philosophy of the film is simple. If you conform in life, you will exist. However, if you indulge, even from time to time, you can actually live.

16. Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)

Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anil Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar

Dil Dhadakne Do redefines the Bollywood family drama. Dil Dhadakne Do goes behind the glossy grins of Indian family life, presenting screaming, sobbing dysfunction, heart-ripping extramarital affairs, bitter gender discrimination and heavy parental control. Yet, it has a light hand, not preachy but breezy while sensitively making modern points.

17. Kapoor & Sons (2016)

Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Siddhart Malhotra, Alia Bhatt

Kapoor & Sons remixes Bollywood’s family drama in a bold new-age avataar. This is an entirely real family, full of uncomfortable secrets, awkward jealousies and sharp pain, where brothers steal, parents cheat, siblings suspect and the ‘perfect child’ doesn’t have the perfect love-life. Wicked, witty and wise, Kapoor & Sons does Karan Johar proud.

18. Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017)

Starring: Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona Sen

Filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava does something uncommon in Lipstick Under My Burkha — she finds compelling stories where you thought none would exist; in the prosaic lives of four ordinary women in Bhopal, rather in the secret lives they lead as a reaction against the every day repressions. These ordinary women, inflicted by silly societal norms, have to steal, lie, cheat and hide in order to lead the lives that they rightfully deserve.

Do you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments below!

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