Hindi Films Flashback

Hindi or Bollywood films are made up of mostly ‘Masala’ films, being a combination of genres and tropes that are always intended to be exciting and eye-catching. These films cater to the whole family with the combination of over-the-top action scenes featuring the hero of the film, an underlying romance subplot, comedy and plenty of melodrama. No Hindi film would be complete without its characteristic bright and fabulous costuming and dance and song numbers throughout that drive the plot. As the Bollywood film industry continues to creep onto our screens and into Hollywood, there has never been a better time to dive into the cultural explosion that is Hindi cinema.

Check out CulturalPulse’s shortlist of the best Hindi films over the past 70 years below.


Raja Harishchandra (1950)

Genre: Short
IMDB Rating: 6.3
Director: Dhundiraj Govind Phalke
Stars: D.D. Dabke, P.G. Sane, Bhalachandra D. Phalke, G.V. Sane”
Synopsis: The film opens with a Ravi Varma like tableau showing King Harishchandra, his wife Taramati and his young son. The king is teaching his son archery. They go on a hunt. The king enters an … See full summary »

Awaara (1951)

Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8
Director: Raj Kapoor
Stars: Prithviraj Kapoor, Nargis, Raj Kapoor, K.N. Singh
Synopsis: Raju lives as a derelict as a result of being estranged from his bitter father, a district judge, who threw Raju’s mother out of the house years ago. Raju shacks up with a Dacoit… See full summary »

Shree 420 (1955)

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.1
Director: Raj Kapoor
Stars: Nargis, Raj Kapoor, Nadira, Nemo
Synopsis: Wearing torn Japanese shoes, English trousers, a red Russian cap, and a Hindustani heart, orphaned Ranbir Raj comes to Bombay to make his fortune. He pawns his gold medal, gambles with the… See full summary »

Do Bigha Zamin (1955)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Bimal Roy
Stars: Balraj Sahni,  Nirupa Roy, Rattan Kumar,  Murad
Synopsis: In the hope of earning enough money to pay off his debts and save his land, a poor farmer becomes a rickshaw puller in the Calcutta and faces many difficulties… See full summary »

Devdas (1957)

Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8
Director: Bimal Roy
Stars: Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Motilal, Suchitra Sen

Synopsis: Childhood sweethearts, Devdas and Paro grow up in a small village with a love-hate relationship which changes to love when they mature. Devdas’ dad does not approve of his marriage or even any friendship with Paro, and sends him away to Calcutta where he is introduced to a dancer, Chandramukhi, who adores him and falls hopelessly in love with him. Devdas in not aware of Chandramukhi’s affection … See full summary »


Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1960)

Genre: Comedy, Musical, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8
Director: Satyen Bose
Stars:  Ashok Kumar, Madhubala, Anoop Kumar, Kishore Kumar
Synopsis: Three woman-hating brothers face changes in their respective lifestyles when two of them fall in love.  See full summary »

Mughal-E-Azam (1965)

Genre: Drama, Romance, War
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: K. Asif
Stars:  Prithviraj Kapoor, Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Durga Khote
Synopsis: A 16th century prince falls in love with a court dancer and battles with his emperor father… See full summary »

Guide (1966)

Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.5
Director: Vijay Anand
Stars:  Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Leela Chitnis, Anwar Hussain
Synopsis: When mistaken to be a sage by some villagers, an ex-tour guide reflects on his past and lost love to search for spiritual wisdom to guide the villagers…. See full summary »

Padosan (1968)

Genre: Comedy, Musical, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.5
Director: Jyoti Swaroop
Stars:  Sunil Dutt, Saira Banu, Mehmood, Kishore Kumar
Synopsis: A simple man from a village falls in love with his new neighbor. He enlists the help of his musical-theater friends to woo the lovely girl-next-door away from her music teacher… See full summary »

Nayak: The Hero (1968)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Satyajit Ray
Stars:  Uttam Kumar, Sharmila Tagore, Bireswar Sen, Somen Bose
Synopsis: En route to Delhi to receive an award, a Bengali film star reevaluates his success through his fellow passengers, dreams and past experiences... See full summary »


Satyakam (1970)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Stars:  Ashok Kumar, Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Rabi Ghosh
Synopsis: The tale begins in the final days of the British Raj in India. A cohort of engineering students graduate a few months before Independence. Satyapriya and Naren are among the graduate … See full summary »

Anand (1971)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.8
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Stars:  Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Sumita Sanyal, Ramesh Deo
Synopsis: The story of a terminally ill man who wishes to live life to the full before the inevitable occurs, as told by his best friend.  See full summary »

Bawarchi (1972)

Genre: Comedy, Musical, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Stars: Synopsis: Squabbling Sharma family has a dubious reputation of not having any cook last there for more than a few months. Word spreads out about this family to such an extent that no person wants to … See full summary »

Abhimaan (1973)

Genre: Drama, Musical
IMDB Rating: 8
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Stars: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Asrani, Bindu
Synopsis: A popular singer convinces his new wife to enter show-business, but his pride is wounded when she outshines him.  See full summary »

Chupke Chupke (1974)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Stars:  Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri
Synopsis: A newly wedded husband plays a practical joke on his wife’s family with full support from his wife and friends.  See full summary »


Gol Maal (1981)

Genre: Comedy, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.6
Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Stars: “Amol Palekar, Bindiya Goswami, Deven Verma, Shubha Khote”
Synopsis: A man’s simple lie to secure his job escalates into more complex lies when his orthodox boss gets suspicious… See full summary »

Angoor (1982)

Genre: Comedy
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Gulzar
Stars: “Sanjeev Kumar, Moushumi Chatterjee, Deven Verma, Aruna Irani”
Synopsis: Based on Shakespeare’s ‘A Comedy of Errors’, this is a story of identical twins (2 pairs) and mistaken identities…. See full summary »

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro ( 1983)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Kundan Shah
Stars: “”Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Bhakti Barve, Satish Shah””
Synopsis: Two friends, attempting to start-up their own photo studio, come across shady dealings, corruption and murder, and must fight to bring the guilty to light….. See full summary »

Masoom (1983)

Genre: Drama, Family, Musical
IMDB Rating: 8.5
Director: Shekhar Kapur
Stars: “Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Jugal Hansraj, Urmila Matondkar”
Synopsis: A happy family goes through turbulent times because of a big mistake by one of the family members…… See full summary »

Satte Pe Satta (1988)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.2
Director: Raj N. Sippy
Stars: “”Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Ranjeeta Kaur, Amjad Khan””
Synopsis: After the death of their parents; Ravi Anand the eldest of seven brothers becomes the guardian to his other six siblings. His dictatorship and measures to get things done are frustrated by …. See full summary »


Roja (1992)

Genre: Action, Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Mani Ratnam
Stars: “Arvind Swamy, Madhoo, Pankaj Kapur, Nassar”
Synopsis: A woman from a village in Tamil Nadu marries a sophisticated city dweller and moves with him to Kashmir, where all is rosy – until he gets kidnapped by militants… See full summary »

Damini (1993)

Genre: Crime, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Director: Rajkumar Santoshi
Stars: “Meenakshi Sheshadri, Rishi Kapoor, Sunny Deol, Amrish Puri”
Synopsis: After witnessing a rape in her own household, Damini fights for justice for the deceased victim. However, she faces a bunch of challenges until she meets a disgraced lawyer who decides to fight the case and bring the culprits to justiceSee full summary »

Andaz Apna Apna ( 1994)

Genre: Comedy, Family, Romance
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Rajkumar Santoshi
Stars: “”Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Raveena Tandon, Karisma Kapoor””
Synopsis: Two slackers competing for the affections of an heiress, inadvertently become her protectors from an evil criminal… See full summary »

Hera Pheri (1999)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Priyadarshan
Stars: “”Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal, Sunil Shetty, Tabu”
Synopsis: Three unemployed men find the answer to all their money problems when they recieve a call from a kidnapper. However, things do not go as planned… See full summary »


Hera Pheri (2000)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Priyadarshan
Stars: Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal, Sunil Shetty, Tabu
Synopsis: Three unemployed men find the answer to all their money problems when they recieve a call from a kidnapper. However, things do not go as planned … See full summary »

Maqbool (2003)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Stars: Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah
Synopsis: The intrigue of the Shakespearean tragedy ‘Macbeth’ is transposed to the Mumbai underworld … See full summary »

Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Musical
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Stars: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Gracy Singh, Sunil Dutt
Synopsis: A gangster sets out to fulfill his father’s dream of becoming a doctor … See full summary »

Swades (2004)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Ballal, Smit Sheth
Synopsis: A successful Indian scientist returns to an Indian village to take his nanny to America with him and in the process rediscovers his roots … See full summary »

Black (2005)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Shernaz Patel, Ayesha Kapoor
Synopsis: The cathartic tale of a young woman who can’t see, hear or talk and the teacher who brings a ray of light into her dark world … See full summary »

Rang De Basanti (2006)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Stars: Aamir Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Siddharth, Sharman Joshi
Synopsis: The story of six young Indians who assist an English woman to film a documentary on the freedom fighters from their past, and the events that lead them to relive the long-forgotten saga of freedom … See full summary »

Khosla Ka Ghosla! (2006)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Dibakar Banerjee
Stars: Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Parvin Dabas, Tara Sharma
Synopsis: A Delhi based retired middle class man tries half-heartedly to get his land back from a swindling property dealer with the help of his sons and their friends … See full summary »

Chak de! India (2007)

Genre: Drama, Family, Sport
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Shimit Amin
Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Malvade, Sagarika Ghatge, Shilpa Shukla
Synopsis: Kabir Khan is the coach of the Indian Women’s National Hockey Team and his dream is to make his all girls team emerge victorious against all odds … See full summary »

Like Stars on Earth (2007)

Genre: Drama, Family
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Aamir Khan
Stars: Darsheel Safary, Aamir Khan, Tisca Chopra, Vipin Sharma
Synopsis: An eight-year-old boy is thought to be a lazy trouble-maker, until the new art teacher has the patience and compassion to discover the real problem behind his struggles in school … See full summary »

3 Idiots (2009)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Stars: Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Mona Singh, Sharman Joshi
Synopsis: Two friends are searching for their long lost companion. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them “idiots”… See full summary »


Shahid (2012)

Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Hansal Mehta
Stars: Rajkummar Rao, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Baljinder Kaur, Tigmanshu Dhulia
Synopsis: The account of Human Rights lawyer Shahid Azmi, an ordinary citizen with an extraordinary commitment to justice … See full summary »

Vishwaroopam (2013)

Genre: Action, Thriller
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Kamal Haasan
Stars: Pooja Kumar, Miles Anderson, Kamal Haasan, Rahul Bose
Synopsis: When a classical dancer’s suspecting wife sets an investigator behind him, a series of violent events are triggered, revealing his real identity and connection to a darker world … See full summary »

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Stars: Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor, Pavan Malhotra, Art Malik
Synopsis: The truth behind the ascension of Milkha Singh who was scarred because of the India-Pakistan partition … See full summary »

PK (2014)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Stars: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sanjay Dutt, Boman Irani
Synopsis: An alien on Earth loses the only device he can use to communicate with his spaceship. His innocent nature and child-like questions force the country to evaluate the impact of religion on its people … See full summary »

Nil Battey Sannata (2015)

Genre: Drama, Family
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari
Stars: Swara Bhaskar, Ratna Pathak Shah, Riya Shukla, Pankaj Tripathi
Synopsis: A story about a single women (a Mom) and dreams on her Daughter … See full summary »

Drishyam (2015)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
IMDB Rating: 8.3
Director: Nishikant Kamat
Stars: Ajay Devgn, Shriya Saran, Tabu, Rajat Kapoor
Synopsis: Desperate measures are taken by a man who tries to save his family from the dark side of the law, after they commit an unexpected crime … See full summary »

Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)

Genre: Action, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.1
Director: S.S. Rajamouli
Stars: Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Ramya Krishnan, Sathyaraj
Synopsis: In ancient India, an adventurous and daring man becomes involved in a decades old feud between two warring people … See full summary »

Dangal (2016)

Genre: Action, Biography, Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.5
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Stars: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Sanya Malhotra
Synopsis: Former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his two wrestler daughters struggle towards glory at the Commonwealth Games in the face of societal oppression … See full summary »

Pink (2016)

Genre: Drama, Thriller
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Director: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Stars: Taapsee Pannu, Amitabh Bachchan, Kirti Kulhari, Andrea Tariang
Synopsis: When three young women are implicated in a crime, a retired lawyer steps forward to help them clear their names … See full summary »

Andhadhun (2018)

Genre: Crime, Thriller
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Director: Sriram Raghavan
Stars: Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, Radhika Apte, Anil Dhawan
Synopsis: A series of mysterious events change the life of a blind pianist who now must report a crime that was actually never witnessed by him … See full summary »