Though Amazon Prime Video has been matching its biggest competitor Netflix when it comes to spending on original series in India, that's not the case when it comes to the film side of things. Thankfully, its collection of licensed films — at least those in Hindi — is a lot more varied than Netflix, reaching deep into the history of Bollywood. Of course, it still tilts towards contemporary, owing to audience tastes and preferences, but there are nearly as many films from the previous century on our list as there are from the ongoing one. More of the former come from the ‘70s, ‘60s, and ‘50s, thanks to Amitabh Bachchan, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Rajesh Khanna, and Guru Dutt among others.
To pick the best Hindi-language movies on Prime Video, we relied on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb ratings, and critics reviews, to create a shortlist. The latter two were preferred given RT doesn't provide a complete representation of reviews for Indian films. Additionally, we used our editorial judgement to add or remove a few. This list will be updated once every few months if there are any worthy additions or if some movies are removed from the service, so bookmark this page and keep checking in. Here are the best Hindi films currently available on Amazon Prime Video in India, sorted alphabetically.
3 Idiots (2009)
In this satire of the Indian education system's social pressures, two friends recount their college days and how their third long-lost musketeer (Aamir Khan) inspired them to think creatively and independently in a heavily-conformist world. Co-written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Amitabh Bachchan bagged his first National Award (for best actor) with this action drama that follows a boy who, after the death of his father and the attempted rape of his mother by a gangster, turns into a gangster himself as an adult (Bachchan) to exact revenge. Has a small role for Alok Nath, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement. Also, kindly ignore the 2012 remake that's on Amazon as well.
After a poor Delhi auto-rickshaw driver (Rupinder Nagra) is named as the sole inheritor by a local billionaire (Naseeruddin Shah) just before his death, he must decide whether to keep it.
Amar Prem (1972)
Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna star in this remake of the 1970 Bengali film Nishi Padma, about a woman (Tagore) who is sold into prostitution in then-Calcutta after she's abandoned by her husband, and finds a new family of sorts in a lonely businessman (Khanna) and the neighbour's son. Noted for its music — by R.D. Burman — its indictment of middle-class hypocrisy, and the humane albeit tear-jerking handling of female suffering and prostitution.
Rajesh Khanna stars as the eponymous happy-go-lucky man, who doesn't let his diagnosis of a rare form of cancer get in the way of enjoying what's in front of him. Told from the viewpoint of his doctor friend (Amitabh Bachchan). Hrishikesh Mukherjee directs.
Andaz Apna Apna (1994)
Two slackers (Aamir Khan and Salman Khan) who belong to middle-class families vie for the affections of an heiress, and inadvertently become her protectors from a local gangster in Rajkumar Santoshi's cult comedy favourite.
Ankhon Dekhi (2014)
After an eye-opening experience involving his daughter's marriage, a man in his late 50s (Sanjay Mishra) resolves that he won't believe anything he can't see, which naturally leads to some dramatic complications.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015)
The heavily controversial Salman Khan stars as a devout Hindu Brahmin and an ardent devotee of Hanuman in writer-director Kabir Khan's comedy-drama, who embarks on a journey to reunite a mute six-year-old Muslim girl, lost in India, with her parents in Pakistan. Kareena Kapoor co-stars. Salman is a convicted poacher, out on bail, and accused of culpable homicide, pending appeal.
This remake of the 1966 Bengali film Galpa Holeo Satyi reunited the Anand trio of Rajesh Khanna, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, and Amitabh Bachchan, though the latter has a voice-only role. It's about a cook (Khanna) who offers to work in a household known for its ill-treatment of domestic help, only to become the apple of everyone's eye before disappearing with the family jewels.
Chak De! India (2007)
Ostracised and vilified by the press and public, a former Muslim men's hockey captain (Shah Rukh Khan) plans to redeem himself by coaching the unpolished Indian women's hockey team to glory. Praised for its exploration of religious bigotry, ethnic prejudice, feminism, and sexism, though its narrative sticks to sports-movie conventions and clichés. Inspired by the real-life team's win at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
The Kumar brothers — Kishore, Ashok, and Anoop — star in director Satyen Bose's well-known rom-com, which follows three men (the Kumars) with an aversion for women, whose life changes after two of them fall in love. Madhubala co-stars. Naturally, Kishore sang on the soundtrack as well, which gave us gems such as “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si” and “Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka”.
Chhoti Si Baat (1976)
This remake of the 1960 British film School for Scoundrels transports the story to then-Bombay, where a meek young man (Amol Palekar) turns to life-coach Colonel (Ashok Kumar) to battle a suave, bold man for the affections of a woman. Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, and Hema Malini cameo as themselves. Basu Chatterjee directs.
Chupke Chupke (1975)
Hrishikesh Mukherjee's remake of the Bengali film Chhadmabeshi, in which a newly-wedded husband (Dharmendra) decides to play pranks on his wife's (Sharmila Tagore) supposedly smart brother-in-law, released in the same year as Sholay. Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan also star.
Shah Rukh Khan plays a stalker who has a crush on his college classmate (Juhi Chawla), and torments her, her family, and her boyfriend (Sunny Deol) for three hours in this romantic thriller from Yash Chopra, now considered one of his best films.
A Death in the Gunj (2016)
In Konkona Sen Sharma's feature-length directorial debut, a shy and sensitive Indian student (Vikrant Massey) pays a heavy price for his gentleness, while on a road trip with his conceited relatives and family friends. Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin star alongside.
Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
Farhan Akhtar's directorial debut about three inseparable childhood friends whose wildly different approach to relationships creates a strain on their friendship remains a cult favourite. Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Preity Zinta star.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol's characters fall in love during a trip to Europe with their friends in this now iconic film — which is still playing over two decades later in a single-screen Mumbai theatre — but face hurdles as the woman's conservative father has promised her hand in marriage to someone else.
A harmonica player with a physical disability and a smart street singer who's visually impaired strike up a friendship and support each other through life in this black-and-white drama from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi director Satyen Bose. Critics called it a tribute to the triumph of human spirit, one that holds up five decades later.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015)
A video cassette store owner and an RSS volunteer (Ayushmann Khurrana) agrees to marry a plus-sized teacher-in-training (Bhumi Pednekar) under pressure from his family, and then avoids her entirely to the point of divorce. But after a court order mandates them to try and salvage their marriage, the two begin to put themselves in each other's shoes, before deciding to take part in a piggyback race. Won a National Film Award.
Naseeruddin Shah, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Inaamulhaq, Paresh Rawal, and Deepti Naval are part of an ensemble cast for writer-director Nandita Das' directorial debut, which looks at the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat pogrom across the socio-economic strata. Won two National Film Awards and several others on the festival circuit.
Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
Inspired by the 2008 Tamil film Subramaniapuram, Anurag Kashyap concocts a gangster epic — divided into two parts owing to its five-hour-plus runtime — that blends politics, vengeance, and romance as it looks at the power struggles between three crime families in and around the Jharkhand city of Dhanbad, the epicentre of the coal mafia. Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi star.
Gol Maal (1979)
A chartered accountant (Amol Palekar), with a knack for singing and acting, falls deep down the rabbit hole after lying to his boss that he has a twin, in this Hrishikesh Mukherjee comedy.
Gully Boy (2019)
An aspiring, young street rapper (Ranveer Singh) from the slums of Mumbai sets out to realise his dream, while dealing with the complications that arise out of his personal life and the socioeconomic strata to which he belongs. Zoya Akhtar directs, and Alia Bhatt stars alongside. The film has several similarities to Eminem-starrer 8 Mile, runs close to a cliché and co-opts the culture, but the soundtrack is much more thematically powerful.
Hera Pheri (2000)
Unemployed and struggling with money, a landlord and his two tenants (Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, and Sunil Shetty) chance on a ransom phone call and plan to collect the ransom for themselves in this remake of the 1989 Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking.
Hindi Medium (2017)
A Chandni Chowk, Delhi-based couple (Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar) struggle to get their five-year-old daughter accepted into an English-medium school, as they harbour aspirations of ushering her into the “elite” strata of Indian society. Khan and Qamar were praised for their performances, though the film was criticised for its missteps in the third act.
I Am Kalam (2010)
Nila Madhab Panda's feature directorial debut is the story of an intelligent and impoverished boy (Harsh Mayar), who befriends the son of a once noble family, and is inspired by the life of India's late President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam — whose family was also poor in his childhood — to pursue an education. Mayar won a National Award.
Naseeruddin Shah, Vidya Balan, and Arshad Warsi star in this rural Uttar Pradesh-set black comedy that follows two goons (Shah and Warsi) who decide to seek refuge with a local gangster after botching up a job, but encounter his widow (Balan) instead, who seduces them for her own machinations. Abhishek Chaubey (Udta Punjab) writes and directs.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)
In this satire of politics, bureaucracy, and the media, two photographers (Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Baswani) inadvertently capture a murder while trying to expose the rich. A Mahabharata dramatisation in the third act is a renowned highlight.
Jab We Met (2007)
Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor (unrelated) star in this romantic drama from writer-director Imtiaz Ali — arguably his best work yet — in which a wealthy and depressed Mumbai industrialist (Shahid) aimlessly boards a train and meets a bubbly, talkative woman (Kareena), who forces him to accompany her back home to Punjab.
Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
Guru Dutt directed and starred in what is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, about a famous director (Dutt) who casts an unknown woman (Waheeda Rehman) in his next film, and the opposing trajectories of their careers thereon. Heavily reminiscent of A Star Is Born, originally made in 1937 and then as a musical in 1954, which itself is a remake of 1932's What Price Hollywood?.
Kaala Patthar (1979)
Based on the 1975 Chasnala mining disaster, a disgraced Navy captain-turned-coal miner (Amitabh Bachchan), the engineer in-charge (Shashi Kapoor), and an escaped armed robber (Shatrughan Sinha) working at the mine become unlikely heroes after cost-cutting leads to a disaster on the mine. Yash Chopra directs, off a Salim-Javed script.
Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)
Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, and Jaya Bachchan lead the star-studded cast of Nikkhil Advani's directorial debut set in New York, in which an introverted and uptight daughter (Zinta) of an immigrant (Bachchan) falls in love with her terminally-ill neighbour (SRK), who hides that info while trying to get her to fall for her best friend (Saif). Criticised for being overlong.
Kapoor & Sons (2016)
After their grandfather (Rishi Kapoor) suffers a cardiac arrest, two estranged brothers return to their childhood home where they must deal with several more family problems. Alia Bhatt, Ratna Pathak Shah also star.
Gulzar remade the 1961 Japanese film Happiness of Us Alone with Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri (now Bachchan) as a deaf and mute couple, charting their lives across two decades from their courtship through the birth of their two children. Praised for its restraint and its landmark depiction of disability on Indian screen, both Gulzar and Kumar won National Awards.
Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006)
In this sequel to the 2003 original (also on the list), the eponymous Mumbai underworld don (Sanjay Dutt) starts to live by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi to impress a radio jockey (Vidya Balan) he's smitten with. Noted for its ability to balance the message with entertainment, even as some felt it dumbed down Gandhism. Co-written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Farhan Akhtar followed Dil Chahta Hai with this (overlong) coming-of-age romantic war drama about an aimless and irresponsible young Delhi man (Hrithik Roshan) who joins the Indian Army — the film was set against a fictionalised version of the 1999 Kargil War — to make his family and close ones proud of him. Amitabh Bachchan, Preity Zinta co-star.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)
Ajay Devgn plays the titular socialist revolutionary and freedom fighter in writer-director Rajkumar Santoshi's biopic, which follows Singh — and later his associates, Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar, and Chandra Shekhar Azad — from the Jallianwala Bagh massacre to the bombing of Parliament House, which would eventually lead to their death by hanging (except Azad's). Critics generally praised it, but some did not like its treatment of Gandhi.
Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016)
Denied a release for six months by India's censor board, this black comedy centres on four women (Ratna Pathak Shah, and Konkona Sen Sharma among them) in small town India who set out on a journey to discover freedom and happiness in a conservative society.
Shekhar Kapur's directorial debut was an uncredited adaptation of Erich Segal's 1983 novel “Man, Woman and Child”, in which the blissful life of a family is disrupted after an orphan boy — born of the husband's (Naseeruddin Shah) affair with another woman — comes to live with them. It's a real tear-jerker, mind you, and problematic in a few places.
Mera Naam Joker (1970)
By far the longest film on this list with a four-hour runtime, this semi-autobiographical take on director, producer, and lead star Raj Kapoor's own life is about a circus clown (Kapoor) who must make his audience laugh no matter how unhappy he is within. Told in three chapters, it features three women — Simi Garewal, Kseniya Ryabinkina, and Padmini — who shaped his world. Negatively received upon release, it later underwent a critical revaluation.
In what is called by some as the best Hindi film ever made, a 16th-century Mughal prince (Dilip Kumar) clashes with his father, Emperor Akbar (Prithviraj), after he falls in love with a court dancer (Madhubala). Its historical accuracy is questioned, and the film takes creative liberties elsewhere, but that can't take away from the fact that it stands as a milestone in Indian cinema. Noted for its grandeur, especially a musical piece set in a replica of the Lahore Fort's Sheesh Mahal.
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003)
After his parents find out he has been pretending to be a doctor, a good-natured Mumbai underworld don (Sanjay Dutt) tries to redeem himself by enrolling in a medical college, where his compassion brushes up against the authoritarian dean (Boman Irani). Co-written and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, who stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Nadiya Ke Paar (1982)
Partly based on Keshav Prasad Mishra's novel Kobhar Ki Shart, and better known for its overtly-musical 1994 remake Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, this romantic drama is the story of a married man and woman and the illicit romance that blossoms between their respective siblings.
Naya Daur (1957)
In director-producer B.R. Chopra's best known and most commercially successful film, a tonga — a type of horse-carriage — driver (Dilip Kumar) becomes a poster boy for the plight of a village that's undergoing industrialisation, as he's challenged to an impossible race against the very thing that threatens their livelihood: a bus. Gave us the song “Yeh Desh Hai Veer”.
Winner of the National Award for best Hindi film, in which Rajkummar Rao stars as a government clerk who tries to run a free and fair election in the Naxal-controlled conflict-ridden jungles of India.
Sunil Dutt, Saira Banu, Mehmood, and Kishore Kumar star in this remake of the 1952 Bengali film Pasher Bari, about a young man (Dutt) who falls in love with his new neighbour (Banu) and then enlists the help of his singer-actor friend (Kumar) to woo her away from her music teacher (Mehmood).
Set in a fictionalised northwest Indian village, the story of a female quartet: a struggling widow for half her life, her close friend (Radhika Apte) mocked for her infertility and abused by her alcoholic husband, a dancer (Surveen Chawla) who performs for men at night, and a child bride. Writer-director Leena Yadav brings nuance to their institutionalised problems, and realism to their private talk.
Jackie Shroff, Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, and Anupam Kher star in this crime drama that finds two brothers (Shroff and Kapoor) caught on the opposite sides of a gang war, after one's boss (Patekar) orders the death of the other's friend. Vidhu Vinod Chopra directs. Patekar stands accused in the #MeToo movement.
Rahul Bose directed this true story of Malavath Poorna, a 13-year-old girl from a tribal Telugu-speaking family, who became the youngest Indian and the youngest woman in the world to climb Mount Everest. Trivia: shot in the very Telangana village that Poorna grew up in.
Guru Dutt directed and starred in this classic set in then-Calcutta which follows a struggling, anguished poet named Vijay (Dutt) who is unable to get recognition for his work until he meets Gulab (Waheeda Rehman), a prostitute with a heart of gold.
Based on the real-life events depicted in Harinder Sikka's 2008 novel “Calling Sehmat”, Alia Bhatt stars as an undercover Kashmiri RAW agent who marries into a Pakistani military family upon her father's request, to spy on the neighbour prior to and during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. Meghna Gulzar writes and directs. Some critics found it improbable, while most were in praise of Bhatt's work.
Balu Mahendra remade his own 1982 Tamil film Moondram Pirai with Kamal Haasan, Sridevi, and Silk Smitha reprising their roles from the original. It's the story of a young woman (Sridevi) with retrograde amnesia who regresses to a child's mental state and ends up in a brothel, where she's rescued by a lonely school teacher (Haasan).
Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)
Based on Bimal Mitra's similarly-titled 1953 Bengali novel and set during the fall of British Raj feudalism, a part-time servant (Guru Dutt) develops a close, platonic bond with the ignored, lonely wife (Meena Kumari) of an aristocrat (Rehman). Waheeda Rehman — no relation — also stars. Critics called it sombre and praised the performances, screenplay, and the cinematography.
Not many films have a level of prominence in popular Indian culture — thanks to dialogues, characters, and scenes — that is enjoyed by this fine example of “Curry Western”, which blends real-life elements with the works of Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone. It's also a classic example of a “masala film”, one that criss-crosses various genres, though its slapstick attempts are least successful. Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar, and Jaya Bhaduri (now Bachchan) star.
After a poor Delhi man's (Rajesh Tailang) 12-year-old son goes missing while away on work hundreds of kilometres away in Punjab, he sets out across the country to find him, fearing he's been trafficked.
Set in the badlands of Delhi's underbelly, the youngest member of a violent car-jacking brotherhood tries to escape his family business, and finds an unexpected confidant in his new wife, chosen for him by his unruly brothers. Ranvir Shorey co-stars.
Rajkummar Rao stars as a call centre employee who unintentionally locks himself in a high-rise apartment devoid of food, water, and electricity in this survival thriller from Vikramaditya Motwane. Largely praised, though some critics felt the combined talents of Rao and Motwane ought to have delivered more.
Tum Bin (2001)
Anubhav Sinha got his start as a director with this romantic drama set in Canada, which follows a young man who vows to rebuild a collapsing company and take care of another family after accidentally killing their son-owner. He soon falls in love with the dead man's fiancée. Stay very, very clear of the disastrous spiritual sequel, also on Amazon.
While looking for a secret treasure in a village in 20th-century Maharashtra, a man and his son face the consequences of building a temple for a legendary demon who's not supposed to be worshipped in this psychological horror film.
Vaastav: The Reality (1999)
Loosely based on the life of Mumbai gangster Chhota Rajan, a young man (Sanjay Dutt) from the ghettos accidentally murders someone, which leads him into a life of crime where he swiftly climbs up the ladder — before launching into a spiral.
Yash Chopra's penultimate directorial venture — running over three hours — is about the titular star-crossed lovers, an Indian Air Force pilot (Shah Rukh Khan) and a Pakistani politician's daughter (Preity Zinta), whose story is recounted in flashback to a Pakistani lawyer (Rani Mukerji) by an imprisoned Veer after 22 years. Commended for its secularist and feminist themes, and its portrayal of Indo-Pak relations.
Winner of two National Film Awards, including one for Ajay Devgn, this Mahesh Bhatt-directed drama — before he pivoted to producing thrillers — is set against the backdrop of the 1992 Bombay riots and recounts the story of a boy born of an interfaith marriage, and the struggles of her mother who had to hide herself in society.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, and Abhay Deol star as three childhood friends who set off on a bachelor trip across Spain, which becomes an opportunity to heal past wounds, combat their worst fears, and fall in love with life. Zoya Akhtar directs, as Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin co-star.