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19 Underrated Bollywood Movies That Deserve More Appreciation

Lubna KhanLubna Khan  |  Sep 6, 2021
best underrated bollywood movies

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Do you call yourself a movie buff and think you’ve watched the best films that Bollywood has to offer? Think again! Over the years, we’ve seen some brilliant Bollywood films with star casts that have received numerous accolades. We’ve also watched many over-hyped Bollywood films that let us down hard, making us realize that not every box office hit is a great movie! Meanwhile, there are many underrated Bollywood movies that lived in obscurity and didn’t get the credit and visibility that they deserve. Wanna find out which ones they are? Here’s our rundown of the most underrated Bollywood movies that deserve more appreciation.

Most Underrated Bollywood Movies

While a lot of movies are forgotten because there’s nothing special about them, there are also a lot of underappreciated movies with brilliant performances and storylines that we didn’t get to hear much about. If you’re looking to watch some amazing films this weekend, check out our list of the most underrated Bollywood films!   

Masaan

Set in modern-day Varanasi, Masaan portrays two separate stories and lives that eventually intersect. The first follows the journey of Devi Pathak (Richa Chadha) who grapples with trials and tribulations after she gets caught having premarital sex by a corrupt police officer. Meanwhile, another story follows the journey of Deepak (Vicky Kaushal) and Shalu (Shweta Tripathi), a young couple from different castes, who attempt to transcend the restrictions of a casteist society. This critically acclaimed film won two awards at the Cannes Film Festival.

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Udaan

This coming-of-age film starring Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor is among the most underrated Bollywood movies of all time. It may not have been a hit at the box office, but the film received overwhelming critical acclaim. Udaan follows the story of 17-year-old Rohan, who gets expelled from school and has to return home to his abusive, alcoholic father. Apart from the amazing performances, Udaan also has a great soundtrack that is sure to remain etched in your mind for a long time.

I Am Kalam

I Am Kalam is a heart-warming, inspirational film that revolves around a young boy named Chhotu, who works as a child labourer at a dhaba, and dreams of going to a school. One day, he comes across Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s speech on TV, and it inspires him to fulfill his dreams. He starts calling himself Kalam, and sets on a journey to educate himself with a friend’s help. Harsh Mayar’s performance as Chhotu is impressive, and it won him the National Film Award for Best Child Artist.

Manto

Manto is based on the life of Urdu author Saadat Hasan Manto, a writer who is a staunch believer in an individual’s right to exercise their freedom of speech and expression. The protagonist, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, makes a difficult choice of leaving Bombay and moving to Lahore. Soon he finds himself unable to find takers for his writings, and he turns to alcohol, which leads him to a downward spiral. Although the film did not enjoy commercial success, the powerful storyline accompanied by an equally powerful performance by the cast is sure to keep you hooked.

Margarita With A Straw

Kalki Koechlin plays Laila Kapoor, a brilliant teenage girl with cerebral palsy studying at Delhi University. Fresh out of a heartbreak, she is awarded a scholarship to pursue higher education at a New York University. Follow the heart-warming story of this courageous woman who never loses her zest for life as she struggles through living in a new country by herself, explores her sexuality, and forms new relationships. Margarita With A Straw is among the most underrated Indian movies that you must watch at least once!

Rockford

Rockford follows the story of a 13-year-old boy Rajesh Naidu who is enrolled in an all-male boarding school by his parents. The movie follows the life of the character as he tries to assimilate in a foreign environment, falls in love with a girl from a school nearby, and is constantly ragged and bullied by his seniors. The movie makes you feel a whole bag of emotions while cheering for the protagonist.

Yeh Ballet

Two male teens from the underbelly of Mumbai City, dream to make it big as ballet dancers under the guidance of a dance master who recognizes the talent in them. Their road to success is not an easy one as they face relentless bigotry and ridicule for pursuing ballet, along with the daily struggle. Based on a true story, the movie is inspiring and feels like a breath of fresh air given its subject. Watch this underrated Bollywood movie on Netflix!

Underrated Bollywood Romantic Movies

Bollywood is known for some of the best romantic movies! While you may have watched films such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Dil Toh Paagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, there are a few underrated Bollywood romantic movies that you may have missed. If you’re a fan of the romantic genre, add these films to your watchlist right away! 

Monsoon Wedding

Expect a lot of drama, disagreements, and romance in this film! Directed by Mira Nair, Monsoon Wedding portrays the romantic entanglements during an elaborate wedding. The film shows various characters and their stories as Aditi gears up to marry a family friend’s son. The entire extended family shows up for Aditi’s wedding, but things aren’t as simple as they seem.

Raincoat

This 2004 film stars Ajay Devgn and Aishwarya Rai and portrays the story of ex-lovers Neeru and Manu, who were once engaged to be married. They are separated by destiny, only to meet each other once again. They reminisce about old times, update each other about their lives, and Manu realizes that Neeru’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems to be. Raincoat won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.

Fire

This underrated Bollywood film that released in 1996 was way ahead of its time! Starring Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi, Fire follows the lives of Radha and Sita who are married into the same family. Amid their troubled marriages, the two find solace with each other and eventually fall in love.

Underrated Bollywood Comedy Movies

If you’re looking for a good laugh, here are some underrated Bollywood comedy films you’ve got to watch! These are some neglected gems that deserved more appreciation. Check out the list below.

Peepli Live

Starring Raghubir Yadav, Omkar Das Manikpuri, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Naseeruddin Shah, Peepli Live is a satirical comedy film that highlights the plight of farmers in rural India, the issue of farmer suicides, and the subsequent media and political response.  The film revolves around Natha, who decides to die by suicide to get the farmers’ compensation. What follows, is the media and politicians finding out about Natha’s intentions and turning it into a spectacle. This film did not garner as much recognition as it deserved, even though it received great reviews.

Filmistaan

Filmistaan portrays the life of a wanna-be-actor Sunny, who is desperately trying to make his mark in the acting world. His life takes a scary turn as he is kidnapped by a terrorist organization that mistakes him for an American crew member. He is held hostage in a house whose owner is a Pakistani Bollywood buff who shares the same love for Hindi cinema as him. Though this underrated Bollywood movie doesn’t have a star-studded cast, the underlying message portrayed in the film makes for a heart-warming story.

Ankhon Dekhi

Rajesh Bauji lives in his humble abode with his family in Delhi, wishing to someday experience freedom from his real-world commitments. His daughter has been seeing a guy who has a bad reputation. When Bauji confronts the guy, he has a change of heart and has a pivotal life experience upon meeting him. He carries an important lesson from this very encounter and applies it to his life situations. The journey of Bauji, played by Sanjay Mishra, is quite impactful, and it might give you a new perspective on life.

Tere Bin Laden

Ali Hassan (Ali Zafar) is a young journalist desperate to immigrate to America but unfortunately gets his visa rejected several times. In a bid to follow his American dream he is willing to go to any lengths, including shooting a fake videotape using an Osama Bin Laden look-alike and telecast is it as an exclusive scoop. Hilarity and misfortune ensue as the ramifications of his “genius” plan begin.

Khosla Ka Ghosla

Khosla Ka Ghosla has enjoyed a dedicated fan following since its release due to its brilliant plotline and hilarious dialogues. A middle-class man Kamal Kishore Khosla, played by Anupam Kher, finds that his plot of land has been captured by a local business tycoon played by Boman Irani. Mr. Khosla along with his family hatch a plan to claim the land back by conning the con-man himself. With a runtime of just over 130 minutes, this movie is packed with laughter to keep you entertained throughout.

Stanley Ka Dabba

Stanley is a schoolboy who never brings a lunch-box for recess as he claims his mom is always away. All his classmates share their tiffin with him and keep him fed. This kind gesture however doesn’t sit well with the Hindi teacher Mr. Babubhai, as he always nicks food off his student’s lunchboxes, leaving less food for him. Stanley is warned by Babubhai to bring his lunchbox moving forward or he won’t be allowed into the school. The events that take place post this warning have an impact on everyone at the institution.

Underrated Bollywood Thriller Movies

Love the mental puzzles that come with a good thriller movie? If you’re a fan of thriller movies, chances are that you’ve already watched mainstream thriller Bollywood films. However, if you’re looking to watch some underrated Bollywood thriller movies, then here’s a list that is worth checking out!

Ugly

The case of a missing 10-year-old girl is being investigated by her stepfather, a police officer who believes his suicidal wife and her estranged ex-husband are the prime suspects. The flow of the investigation reveals some secrets about each of the characters, in a story that will always have you on the edge of your seats.

Manorama Six Feet Under

This film starring Abhay Deol, Raima Sen, and Gul Panag follows the story of an amateur detective Satyaveer Singh Randhawa, who is approached by Manorama, the irrigation minister’s wife, to gather proof that her husband is having an extra-marital affair. Satyaveer accepts, only to later find himself caught in a web of lies and deceit. This underrated Bollywood thriller movie is worth a watch!

Badla

Badla stars Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu in the lead roles. This mystery thriller revolves around a businesswoman (Taapsee), who hires a prestigious lawyer to defend her, and claims that she is being wrongfully accused of the murder of her ex-lover.

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These underrated Bollywood movies are sure to leave you impressed. Go ahead, add these to your watch list right away!

Featured Image: IMDb