Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

6 Bollywood Movies You Must See Before You Die

Bollywood movies can be hard to watch. For one, the movies are far too long, there is always some kind of musical dance number, and then there is the whole language barrier if you don’t understand Hindi. I myself, don’t particularly like Bollywood movies, but a lot of people around me are really obsessed with Bollywood, and through them forcing me to sit through those long movies, I have to admit there are some good Bollywood films that everyone should watch at least once. I decided to compile a list for non-Bollywood fans (that watch the occasional flick here or there) and for people just starting to get into Bollywood films. Just a disclaimer, this is not a list of the best Bollywood movies, this is a list of Bollywood movies I like, based on my own opinions and experience.


1. Aaja Nachle (Come Dance)

This movie is not a stereotypical Bollywood film, which is why it is perfect for beginners, or for people who really aren’t that into Bollywood films. The film stars Madhuri Dixit playing Dia, a single mom and a successful dance choreographer in New York, who must go back to save her small village. The problem is, Dia left the village in India at a young age eloping with an American photographer, ostracizing herself from all her family and friends she had back home. It’s not your typically Bollywood movie since there is no central love story, and the main character is a woman who not only breaks tradition, but also goes against the odds to save the little town she left behind. I like this movie because it has a Bollywood vibe but with a modern twist. It’s also a feel good movie, perfect for anyone who just wants to enjoy a movie.

Time: 2hr 27mins

Release Date: 2007

Where to Watch: Netflix and Youtube


2. Dhoom 2

Now there are 3 different types of Doom movies… you can pick one you want to watch, but I highly recommend Dhoom 2 with Hrithik Roshan. Basically this entire franchise is a stereotypical action-packed love story musical. That is a genre right? The film is about a genius con man/thief who falls in love with a double agent. This is the most Bollywood a movie can get. There is something for everyone: there’s action, love, explosions, dance numbers, dramatic monologues, betrayal, and of course, there’s Hrithik Roshan, the man could do no wrong. I like this movie because the music is very catchy, even if you hate musicals. This movie will have you singing and dancing. This movie will also keep you on your toes the whole time because you never really know what will happen next. And if those reasons aren’t enough, this movie stars Bollywood’s golden boy, Hrithik Roshan. Please Google him once and you will understand why everyone loves him so much.

Time: 2 hrs 32 mins

Release Date: 2006

Where to Watch: Previously was on Netflix, but it can be watched on Youtube  


3. 3 Idiots

This movie is a coming of age story. The film is about three different engineering students attending a prestigious engineering college. Frahan (played by R. Madhavan) who wants to be a photographer but is pressured by his father to take engineering, Raju, (played by Sharman Joshi) who comes from a very poor family, and finally, Rancho, (played by Aamir Khan) who is a brilliant engineer but isn’t exactly a student. The film deals with many different themes that many students go through like pressures from their family, living up to expectations, a failed education system, and trying to figure out who you are. I really like this movie because I feel as though no matter what background you come, from the message of the movie translates universally. In Asian cultures it is easy to set aside what you want to make your parents happy, but at the end of the day, your happiness is what counts. This movie is a tear jerker at times so I do recommend having a box of tissues nearby, but the majority of this film is filled with comedy.

Time: 2hr 51 mins

Release Date: 2009

Where to Watch: Youtube


4. Umrao Jaan

This is the most adult oriented film out of the entire list. There are two versions of Umrao Jaan, but I have only seen the 2006 adaptation. This movie takes place in 18th century India and follows the life of a girl named Amiran, played by Aishwarya Rai, who is kidnapped at a young age and sold to a brothel and is forced to become a courtesan. Amiran is renamed Umrao Jaan. A courtesan in 18th century India was a woman who was also an entertainer, and she was taught how to sing, dance, and provide comfort to men. It is a rather dark film but it does have a beautiful story, mesmerizing dance scenes, and a really powerful message of perseverance through difficult times. The reason why I love this film is because the storytelling is so beautifully woven. All the little intricate details form the costumes, set designs, dialogue, and choreography come together to form a masterpiece. 

Time: 3hrs 3mins

Release Date: 2006

Where to Watch: Netflix 


5. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Sometimes Happy, Sometimes Sad)

Any Bollywood lover is probably rolling there eyes at me right now.  Yes, this is my favorite Bollywood film of all time. This movie is extremely long and it has many musical numbers. Why do like this movie so much even though its everything is can’t stand? Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, the ultimate on-screen couple. I can’t even think of a Hollywood comparison because there really isn’t anything that can compare this duo. The movie is essentially two movies in one; the first half of the film follows the love story of a rich heir, Rahul (played by Shah Rukh Khan) and a poor village girl, Anjali (played by Kajol). They obviously can’t be in love, according to the rich guy’s family but choose to be together anyway, and are disowned. The movie then turns into uniting the family back together by the couples younger (now much older) siblings, Rohan (played by Hrithik Roshan) and Pooja (played by Kareena Kapoor). The story seems very cliché, but trust me, I’ve seen this movie over fifty times so far in my life time and I’m still not sick of it. If you only watch one movie on this list, please let it be this one.

Time: 3hrs 31mins

Release Date: 2001

Where to Watch: Netflix


6. Kuch Kuch Hota Ha (Something Happens)

This is kind of a bonus entry, since I just mentioned Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, I need to mention this movie as well. I can not express how much I love this movie. This story is about a girl named Anjali (played by Kajol) who is in love with her best friend, Rahul (played by Shah Rukh Khan) but her best friend loves another girl. Again, this is kind like two movies in one, the first half of the movie is about following this love triangle and the second half focuses on a different love triangle. Confusing, I know! But I am trying not to give too much of the plot away. I highly recommend watching this movie, it is one of my all time favorite childhood movies. It’s just an all time Bollywood classic. It will make you laugh, cry, sing, smile… everything. Its one of those feel good movies you can watch over and over again and never get tired of. Also if you didn’t notice, this movie kind of influenced Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.

Time: 3hrs 8mins

Release Date: 1998

Where to Watch: Netflix 


Image source 1/2/3/4/5/6

Amneet is a 4th year communications student at Simon Fraser University. Born and raised in the city of Surrey, she loves the sound of rain, in fact she listens to rain sounds every night to help her sleep. Her favorite past times include: reading, binge watching Netflix shows and perfecting the art of sarcasm. You can get to know her more by following her Instagram: amku2500.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️