If You Binged Mai, Here Are 10 Indian Films To Get The Vengeful Blood Flowing

From Anjaam to Haider, Eega to Paka, here is a list of films with a unique perspective on revenge
If You Binged Mai, Here Are 10 Indian Films To Get The Vengeful Blood Flowing

Since revenge is a dish best served cold, with the pay-off, the vengeful act coming much after the initial provoking, it makes for a lively, compelling narrative, with tension stretched through time. If you enjoyed Maiproduced by Clean Slate Filmz, created by Atul Mongia and starring Sakshi Tanwar as the avenging mom — streaming on Netflix, here are more Indian stories with a unique perspective on revenge: from rebirth to generational trauma, from being reincarnated as a fly to refusing to wear slippers, from the goofy to the gory to the ludicrous.

1. Anjaam (1994)

Streaming Platform: Netflix

As far as female revenge dramas go, this was the first film – of any language – those of us who grew up in the 90s had watched. Watching 90s heart-throb Madhuri Dixit avenge the destruction of her life by nursing her paralyzed psychopathic stalker – played by future heart-throb Shah Rukh Khan – back to health only so she can kill him in able form was…a shock to our systems, to say the least. 

2. Eega (2012)

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar

Sudeep's supremely entertaining villain in Eega is as bad as it gets. A modern day Raavana with a lusty appetite for women. There's a reason SS Rajamouli opens the film with him. Even before we have begun rooting for the hero, we have begun hating him. Sudeep's characterisation pushes this hate to the max till the hero is killed — and a fly is born, or reborn. Revenge hasn't been sweeter. 

3. Mom (2017)

Streaming Platform: Netflix

In terms of Sridevi's second coming, Mom was a significant milestone. There has been an avalanche of rape-and-revenge dramas in Hindi cinema in the last decade, and this story of a mother systematically avenging the rape her of her young daughter is all style, all shock, and very little substance. While many were not a fan of the film and its moral posturing, the late actress was compelling in the unlikely role of a vigilante mom.

Ajji (2017)

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Devashish Makhija's difficult-to-watch Ajji – about a fragile old woman weaponizing her image to exact revenge on the perverse politician who raped her little granddaughter – is more lived-in, lurid and logical than most in its genre. But it isn't for the weak-stomached. And we suppose that's the point. While most films can be exploitative by actually showing – in stark detail – the abuse of the victims and survivors, Ajji reverses the gaze by explicitly showing the gruesome bobbitt-ing of the rapist. 

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

The title Maheshinte Prathikaram translates to 'Mahesh's Revenge' but this comedy has a great time making fun of masala cinema's favourite trope. It places the idea of revenge as the interval twist along with another favourite trope — the protagonist takes a 'vow' to not wear slippers until he gets his vengeance. 

5. Khoon Bhari Maang (1988)

Streaming Platform: Zee5

Rekha. That's all that needs to be said about this iconic revenge tale. She transforms from a wealthy but demure woman who gets duped and brutally murdered by the man she thought loved her, to a demigoddess with an attitude, aura and wardrobe that slays. Her Aarti becomes the ultimate feminist icon that no one saw coming, especially in the late 80s, but when she does, you know exactly why she was needed. The way she outwits Kabir Bedi in the second half, leading up to the climactic sequence that sees her wearing a black leather jacket carrying a rifle on a horse, all a viewer can do is gawk as cheerleaders.

6. Paka (2021)

Directed by Nithin Lukose and produced by Anurag Kashyap and Raj Rachakonda, Paka discusses the theme of generational violence with two warring families breeding an environment where both dying and killing for the family is looked at as a matter of pride. But the film takes a step back to show these bloodthirsty families and asks them, "Is the price of revenge worth it?"  

7. Baazigar (1993)

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video

The film that propelled Shah Rukh Khan's career to new heights, Baazigar is that Abbas-Mustan plot twisty film that came before Ajnabee or Race. The intensely Bollywoodized remake of A Kiss Before Dying (1991), the film involved the Maa angle, a soundtrack that refused to age, dialogues meant for re-enactments ("Ab sailaab aayega Madan Chopra") and the ultimate angsty murderer and stalker that people fell in love with (yikes). Also, can we talk about that one-contact-lens-falling-into-the-basin scene that became a staple edge-of-the-seat thrill moment in several shows and films that followed? This was the OG, people.

Streaming Platform: Netflix

From Karz to Madhumati to Raabta to Magadheera, reincarnation is a genre closely if not entirely tied to revenge. Characters are given another birth, another chance to right the wrong. In this Farah Khan musical Shah Rukh Khan gets reincarnated to take revenge on the character played by Arjun Rampal, a rapacious producer, who had murdered the women he was after, the film star Shantipriya played by Deepika Padukone. Both an ode to cinema and cinematic genres, this film is a landmark celebration of all that is wacky and worthy of Bollywood. 

Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video 

Written and directed by Vetrimaaran, the film is based on Poomani's novel Vekkai. The film stars Dhanush and Manju Warrier, with Dhanush playing a father, a Dalit, whose younger son is out to murder those involved in the murder of his elder son. Inspired by the real-life Kilvenmani massacre of 1968, the film is a haunting, immersive, and emotional tale of generations lost to the violence of caste.

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