Have you watched all of the Bollywood films on our Streaming Starter Kit and have become hopelessly addicted to the Indian film industry that churns out over 1,000 films per year? Not sure where to go next? Look no further.
As streaming becomes more ubiquitous and the industry giants continuously update their libraries, only Netflix and Amazon seem to be tapping into the potential of foreign markets—not just in their original series but in their cataloguing of pre-existing global hits. Amazon Prime has some of the best foreign-language offerings out there, though, per usual, despite their robust offering, the one barrier to entry is the difficult-to-navigate search functionality.
But never fear! Paste is here to help with a roundup of 20 of the best Bollywood films streaming right now on the Amazon Prime. (Also, since Amazon Prime has an Eros Now add-on, we’ve included five films that can only be accessed with that subscription. Worth considering the $7.99 per month, though, as the service offers hundreds of Indian and Southeast Asian titles on demand. Still, we’ve labeled the following accordingly with an (E) next to the name of the film.)
Director: Yash Chopra
In one of Shah Rukh Khan’s—affectionately known as SRK and often called the King of Bollywood—first films, he plays Rahul, a deranged stalker who threatens the life of the girl (Juhi Chawla) with whom he’s obsessed. When he finds out she is engaged, he does everything within his means to stop her marriage. The scorned and obsessive lover may be a far cry from the heartthrob that SRK would become in his later years, but in Darr he proves that he can inhabit every type of role. Bollywood doesn’t venture into psychological thrillers that often, but Darr is one of the industry’s most iconic films of the past 30 years.
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
An epic period piece, Padmaavat is, though it only came out last year, one of the most controversial Hindi films ever made. Based on a historical tyrant sultan (Ranveer Singh) and his obsession with the Rajput queen Padmaavati (Deepika Padukone), its release drew violent protests and threats from both Hindu and Muslim groups across India due to the portrayals of the Muslim-Hindu union. Rioters took issue with the grotesque nature with which the Muslim Sultan had been drawn while Rajput organizations criticized the misrepresentation of the queen—all of which delayed the film’s original release date at the beginning of December 2017. Despite all of this, the film thrives on its lush visuals, pitch-perfect acting and beautiful original music. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for “spectacle” films with intricate set design and high production value, and Padmaavat is no exception.
18. Om Shanti Om (E)
Director: Farah Khan
Om Shanti Om is a quintessential “Bollywood” film, a masala popcorn flick with wild eccentricities that seem to only occur in this industry. The 2007 film stars Shah Rukh Khan as Om, an aspiring actor who dies trying to save the actress he loves (Deepika Padukone) after her film-producer-husband (Arjun Rampal) intentionally sets a fire to kill her. Reincarnated—yes, you read that correctly—as a successful actor identical to Om, he must ultimately avenge the original Om’s death. It’s a contemporary callback to earlier Indian cinema and will surely keep you entertained from start to finish.
17. Piku (E)
Director: Shoojit Sircar
For those with a soft spot for films that take place on the road, Piku brings offbeat personalities together under one very small roof. A hypochondriac father (Amitabh Bachchan) and strong-headed daughter (Deepika Padukone) take a road trip from Delhi to their family home in Kolkata, annoying each other and their driver (Irrfan Khan) along the way, while also learning new things about what they both value in life. Both leads received accolades for their performances, and critics embraced and exalted the beautiful simplicity of the story. A sentimental family drama, Piku will encourage you to hug your loved ones that much tighter.
16. Don: The Chase Begins
Director: Farhan Akhtar
Bollywood’s OG gangster flick, Don (in its multiple iterations) can be likened to India’s version of The Godfather. This 2006 version remake of the original 1978 film follows the underworld crime lord “Don” (Shah Rukh Khan once again) and his bastion of goons, as well as a layman named Vijay (also SRK) who has the unfortunate fate of looking exactly like the gangster. Vijay is recruited by the police to go undercover and impersonate Don amongst his crew, leading to a precarious balancing act and an earned twist ending. For your action and dishoom sound effect cravings, Don will do the trick.
15. Jodhaa Akbar (E)
Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Jodhaa Akbar is another epic period drama based on a regal Hindu-Muslim union (Bollywood loves these). Akbar (Hrithik Roshan), a Mughal king, is betrothed to Jodhaa (Aishwarya Rai), a Rajput princess, as an alliance between the two regions. But as their marriage becomes real, so does their love—despite external forces trying to break them apart. Jodhaa Akbar didn’t stir up quite the external drama that Padmaavat would ten years later, but the two period pieces share strengths in their opulent visuals, regal costume design and original soundtrack borrowing its sound from Qawwali spiritual style. It’s a portrait of a loving relationship in a trying, war-stricken time, and really paints a picture of 16th century India that can scratch any historical itch.
14. Chak De! India
Director: Shimit Amin
Did you know field hockey is India’s national sport? I’d wager to say that neither did most of the Indian diaspora until Chak De! India was released. The sports drama addresses the tense relations between Pakistan and India head-on, as a former, disgraced player from the men’s national Indian team (Shah Rukh Khan) takes over coaching duties for the national women’s team years after he is suspected of throwing a match against Pakistan. In his new coaching role, he molds the women from various states in India to overcome the prejudices they hold against each other and operate as a team. The best sports movies are disguises for deeper, more meaningful conversations, and Chak De! India is a surefire goal.
13. Mujhse Dosti Karoge
Director: Kunal Kohli
Mujhse Dosti Karoge follows a love triangle between childhood friends aided into existence by your typical case of mistaken identity. When Raj (Hrithik Roshan) moves away, he vows to stay in touch with his crush, Tina (Kareena Kapoor). But Tina quickly loses interest in writing emails to Raj, so Pooja (Rani Mukherji) takes up the romantic mantle, waxing philosophically under Tina’s name. When Raj finally returns to India, the charade quickly falls apart and lies come to the surface, most notably in an iconic song-and-dance number in which Raj’s unraveling is set to a medley of famous Bollywood oldies. Mujhse Dosti Karoge is something of a pre-MTV Catfish, with plenty of hacky early 2000s online flirtation to warm your cold, nostalgic heart.
12. Dil To Pagal Hai
Director: Yash Chopra
This ’90s cult classic centers on a musical troupe in which two lead dancers vie for the affection and attention of the troupe’s choreographer, Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan, of course). Nisha (Karisma Kapoor), Rahul’s best friend who is secretly in love with him, wins the lead role for the group’s newest dance-musical. But when she gets injured and Pooja (Madhuri Dixit) replaces her, Nisha is instantly jealous—especially because of Pooja’s palpable flirtation with Rahul. To make matters more complicated, Pooja is engaged to someone else despite her budding feelings for Rahul. Bollywood loves their love triangles—and even their love quadrangles— and Dil To Pagal Hai really focuses on the lines between love and friendship, a must-watch for anyone with a penchant for drama amongst young, talented artists in their prime.
11. Kapoor & Sons
Director: Shakun Batra
A family drama about estranged brothers who return to their family home after their grandfather has a heart attack, Kapoor & Sons has similar beats to the novel-turned-Hollywood-film This is Where I Leave You. Both films, though unrelated, touch on the personal secrets that families often hide from each other, and the long-held grudges and jealousies that are brought to the forefront when the whole family gets together after years of being apart. Brothers Rahul (Fawad Khan) and Arjun (Siddharth Malhotra) compete in both their careers and romantic interests, while their parents’ arguments are disintegrating their marriage. Everything comes to a head at their grandfather’s birthday party, the only one who is desperately trying to preserve the “Kapoor & Sons” moniker. The film deftly reveals the curious way that we shield the people closest to us from the most intimate parts of ourselves, brought to life by excellent performances from both Khan and Malhotra.
10. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (E)
Director: Ayan Mukerji
Dialed into millennial dissatisfaction, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani details medical student Nina’s (Deepika Padukone) impulsive trip to the Himalayas after feeling pigeonholed by her parents’ expectations. A shy girl, Nina pushes herself to befriend some of her former classmates on the trip, eventually falling in love with one of the most rebellious boys in her year, Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor). But before she can express her feelings, he informs her that he’s moving away to America for graduate school. Years later, the two meet again at a friend’s wedding—Nina is now a successful doctor and Bunny is a world-traveling TV host. They try to rekindle their flame, but it’s unclear if marriage fits into the equation of either of their lives. This is a wonderfully realistic romantic comedy for anyone who has experienced the highs of pushing themselves outside of their limits and the lows of unrequited love.
9. Jab We Met
Director: Imtiaz Ali
In this romantic film, the two main characters save each other at various points in their lives. Aditya (Shahid Kapoor), depressed and suicidal after his girlfriend marries another man, meets Geet (Kareena Kapoor), a bright bubble of energy, on a train in Bombay. After traveling through India together, Aditya falls in love with Geet, but she has her sights set on her boyfriend back home. A few years later, they cross paths again, but Geet has lost all of her light; this time it’s Aditya’s turn to save her. Anchored by two leads who were actually dating at the time, the film delivers a convincing love story.
8. Devdas (E)
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Just like Hollywood, Bollywood has certain stories it keeps coming back to, and Devdas is one of the industry’s favorites. This 2002 film is the third iteration, starring Shah Rukh Khan as Devdas, a man who turns to alcohol and the company of a courtesan after his marriage to his childhood sweetheart is rejected by their families. The period piece is a devastating view of how caste and class have played a role in Indian society, and a depressing end to an epic love story. Grab your tissues for this one.
7. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Director: Zoya Akthar
Cashing in on quarter-life anxiety and existential crises, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is Bollywood’s Euro Trip, except with more heart and less dick jokes. Three childhood friends go on a transformational bachelor party/road trip in Spain where they immediately butt heads over the lives they’ve separately built. Arjun (Hrithik Roshan) is a workaholic who can’t chill, Imran (Farhan Akhtar) is a copywriter who had an affair with Arjun’s ex-girlfriend and Kabir (Abhay Deol) is a groom-to-be second-guessing his decisions. The three reconnect over a series of extreme events—ranging from skydiving to a run with the bulls in Pamplona—and they ultimately return to their old lives completely changed. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara literally means “You won’t get this life again,” aptly infusing a feeling of urgency into an otherwise standard coming-of-age story. Through humor and drama alike, Akhtar’s film will make you want to call your friends and plan your own life-altering getaway.
Director: Yash Chopra
A contemporary look at tensions between Muslim and Hindu groups in and around India and Pakistan, Veer-Zaara peers through the lens of Indian cinema’s favorite theme: love. Veer (Shah Rukh Khan), an Indian Air Force pilot, and Zaara (Preity Zinta), a Pakistani woman, fall in love in India. Zaara is engaged to an overbearing Muslim man, and Veer travels to Pakistan to win her and her family over, but he is ultimately jailed. The film was rightly lauded by critics and fans alike for its portrayal of the region’s shared history and conflicts, as well as for the performances by Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta. For those interested in learning more about India-Pakistan relations and embedding themselves in a forbidden relationship between members of these two combative groups, Veer Zaara is the perfect choice.
5. Kal Ho Naa Ho
Director: Nikkhil Advani
Based in NYC, Kal Ho Naa Ho presents a love triangle bound to have you crying by the Hudson River. Naina (Preity Zinta) falls in love with her quirky neighbor Aman (Shah Rukh Khan), who is in turn trying to set her up with her best friend Rohan (Saif Ali Khan) as a way to hide his true feelings and shield her from the truth behind his jovial smile—he’s slowly dying. Interfamily drama, commentary on immigrants in America and homosexuality within the Indian community, and a remix to Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” (that will 100% get stuck in your head) all combine in this engaging weepy.
Director: Shaad Ali
Born into two different societal circumstances, Aditya (Vivek Oberoi, at his peak) and Suhani (Rani Mukerji) elope after their parents reject their planned nuptials. However, life after marriage proves to be just as difficult and multiple arguments threaten to tear them apart. After one particular fight, when Suhani doesn’t come home, Aditya is left to search the streets for his love, ultimately finding her in an unimaginable place. Saathiya is one of the rare Bollywood films that shows marital strife in such a raw manner—and the beautifully composed soundtrack by A.R. Rahman only adds to its charm.
3. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Director: Aditya Chopra
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (affectionately referred to as DDLJ by those in the know) is such a staple in India that a Mumbai theater has been screening the film for over 20 years. In it, Simran (Kajol) and Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) meet and fall in love while in Europe, and upon returning to India, Raj must convince Simran’s father to allow him to marry her. DDLJ distills every Bollywood prerequisite into one film, capturing the feelings of sweeping love, crushing loss and ultimate familial acceptance upon which the industry so often relies.
2. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
Director: Karan Johar
Featuring Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan (one of Bollywood’s most prominent on-screen duos), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G) is a tale of class warfare. When Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) falls in love with Anjali (Kajol), his father (Amitabh Bachchan) forbids him from marrying her because of her lower economic status. Driven by love, Rahul disobeys his father and is banished from his household and from the family. K3G embodies the Indian value of respecting your elders even when they’re wrong, and proves the idea that even the most stubborn people can come around when prodded by love. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll most definitely find yourself Googling the film’s songs afterwards.
1. Dil Chahta Hai
Director: Farhan Akhtar
A story of youngsters finding themselves, Dil Chahta Hai set the stage for many contemporary Bollywood films when it premiered in 2001. The film is an exploration of mid-20s angst and unrest, of following unconventional desires, of finding happiness amidst the madness. Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) chases a girl out of his league; Siddharth (Akshaye Khanna) lusts after an older divorcee; Akash (Aamir Khan) tries to reconnect with someone from his past. Their decisions test each other and themselves, and cause rifts in their seemingly unbreakable friendship. Similar to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Chahta Hai is about the bonds of friendship, and just how far they can be stretched.