best movies on amazon prime video india
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Amazon Prime Video has developed a sizeable bank of movies over the years, and remains arguably the best streaming platform to offer a cross section of Indian cinema. But endless scrolling to find the gems can be tiresome. That’s why we’re bringing you our list of 60 of the best movies currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video India (as of October 2020). Let the bingeing begin.

The Report (2019)

The Adam Driver-led riveting investigative thriller chronicles the Senate’s investigation into the CIA’s use of torture following the 9/11 attacks. The Report is both engrossing and infuriating, and serves as the perfect counter piece to Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty.

Jallikattu (2019)

Lijo Jose Pellissery’s kinetic spectacle, based on S Hareesh’s short story Maoist, explores masculinity like few films before it. At a basic level, the film is about retrieving a lost buffalo. But, that one-line summary doesn’t do justice to the surreal energy and spectacular chaos of the film. People have been picking it apart for its ‘meaning’ ever since it released. We invite you to do the same.

Lucifer (2019)

A gangster-esque saga set in the world of politics, Prithviraj Sukumaran’s impressive directorial debut is the larger-than-life masala film done right. The Mohanlal-starrer is bursting with swag, has a genuinely gripping plot and is full of delicious twists and turns resulting in a strong political drama and delicious revenge saga in equal measure.

Mahanati (2018)

Nag Ashwin’s Mahanati is an ode to one of Telugu cinema’s greatest actors—Savitri. Nag Ashwin’s take on the Saviritri story successfully explores a complex woman and her turbulent journey, brought to life by an unforgettable performance from Keerthy Suresh.

Wonderstruck (2017)

Todd Haynes’ spellbinding book adaption is as visually dazzling as it is sensitive. Haynes takes you on a deeply affecting journey by following the adventures of two deaf children across different time periods while exploring their curious connection.

KGF (2018)

The action epic that put Kannada cinema on the map like few before it, became the first Kannada film to cross the Rs. 100-crore mark at the box office. The ambitious gangster saga led by ‘Rocking Star Yash’ is a rousing underdog story which gives Indian cinema yet another larger-than-life franchise to look forward to.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Kathryn Bigelow’s expansive drama follows the decade-long international manhunt for Osama bin Laden, from the events of 9/11 to his eventual death at the hands of US Marines.

Raazi (2018)

In Meghna Gulzar’s riveting espionage thriller, Alia Bhatt stars as an undercover Kashmiri RAW agent who marries into a Pakistani military family to spy on the enemy prior to and during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. Raazi soars in its sensitive portrayal of patriotism, giving us a deeply human story about the toll that war can inflict on the lives of people on both sides of the border

A Death In The Gunj (2016)

In Konkona Sen Sharma’s sparkling 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. Led by a hauntingly beautiful performance from Massey, A Death In The Gunj remains one of the strongest ensemble dramas of recent years.

Peranbu (2019)

Tamil cinema has had its share of father-daughter based films but few are as affecting, complex and disturbing as this Mammootty starrer. The film dives into the psyche of a helpless father who’s taken custody of his teenage daughter suffering from cerebral palsy. Peranbu is a piercing coming of age drama which also raises several pertinent questions about parenting, disability and sexuality.

The Big Sick (2017)

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon’s real-life love story serves as inspiration for the film that put romantic comedies back on the map. Bursting with heart and great one liners, The Big Sick is a witty and charming exploration of love and family while exploring clashing cultures with a much needed dose of empathy.

Rangasthalam (2018)

Led by a career-topping performance from Ram Charan, set in the ’80s, Rangasthalam tells the story of an innocent villager with a hearing impairment who gets mixed up in a political feud involving his elder brother. Director Sukumar impressively uses the big masala film to explore caste, class and oppression.

Little Women (2019)

Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, and Meryl Streep star in a movie from writer-director Greta Gerwig’s that does justice to their insane collective talent and the book on which the movie is based. That’s it. That’s all you need to know.

Asuran (2019)

When a boy from an impoverished and oppressed farming family kills a big shot, his father (Dhanush in fantastic form) fears retribution. He flees with the boy, the big shot’s men in pursuit. Coming right after Vetri Maaran-Dhanush’s gorgeous Vada ChennaiAsuran evokes mixed feelings. The screenplay is brilliantly cyclical and there’s no denying the power of the mood and the material in a film you won’t be able to shake off for days on end.

Aadai (2019)

A woman wakes up without clothes in a desolate building. You’d think you were in for a survival drama like Trapped. But Rathna Kumar ‘s Aadai plays with your head by making Kamini (a sensational Amala Paul) a fascinating and morally questionable figure, leading to one hell of a morality tale.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

When it comes to huge spectacle action, there is no greater living example than the chaotic achievement that is George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Fury Road is just non-stop, carefully crafted carnage which somehow manages to be coherent, all while having used minimal CGI. Fury Road is a masterpiece of mayhem which cemented Charlize Theron as one of the greatest modern action stars and there’s no experience quite like it.

Meri Pyaari Bindu (2017)

In an industry inundated with stories where things always work out, Akshay Roy’s Meri Pyaari Bindu gave Hindi cinema a rare look at heartbreak. It made a long overdue case for why some relationships don’t always work out and how sometimes that is the happy ending. Ayushmann Khurrana stars as the writer who can’t get over the one that got away, Parineeti Chopra as Bindu.

Manchester By The Sea (2016)

A bleak drama from Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea is a deeply personal film which examines the ways tragedy can wear away at a person’s soul, and whether it is possible to come back from the brink. Despite the heart-breaking premise,  the film is filled with unexpected moments of humour and warmth.

Newton (2017)

Winner of the National Award for best Hindi film, Rajkummar Rao stars as a fish-out-of-water government clerk who tries to run a free and fair election in the Naxal-controlled conflict-ridden jungles of India in a nuanced film that explores the painful shortcomings of Indian democracy.

The Raid: Redemption (2011)

Gareth Evans’ gloriously violent Indonesian film features a police officer trapped in an apartment building filled with an army of bad guys he has to fight his way through. It has relentless end-to-end killing with some of the most brutal fight scenes you’ve ever seen. But despite its singular bone breaking vision, it still manages to have a satisfying plot and some fantastically well-crafted scenes of tension amidst the blood bath.

Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)

On face value, Doug Liman’s Edge Of Tomorrow deals with familiar tropes – of a war for the planet and time loops and alien invasions – but it’s brilliantly executed with some fantastic combat sequences. Not to mention one of the most badass female action heroes in Emily Blunt’s Full Metal Bitch. Edge Of Tomorrow has Tom Cruise as a man forced to relive the same day over and over again in a spectacular action flick that you just want to revisit over and over again.

War (2019)

War is the definitive Bollywood action film of its time which proved to the world that Hindi cinema can do the slick sophisticated blockbuster, and do it well. It’s Tiger Shroff’s best film and the only film that’s really known how to capture his ability and channel it into something actually cinematic. Even at its most ridiculous it’s never not fun and it perfectly nailed the novelty of the ‘two hero film’. War is an unapologetic star vehicle at its best, bursting with style, attitude and just pure swag.

The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (2001 – 2003)

It’s hard to pick just one amongst Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth epic. In terms of battle sequences alone,  it’s hard to find one that’s quite as daunting and absorbing as the Battle for Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers, followed closely by the Battle for Minas Tirith in The Return Of The King. In one of the greatest good vs evil stories ever told, Peter Jackson throws you onto the battlefield with your favourite characters. It’s also straight up badass, because…Legolas. Just Legolas.

C U Soon (2020)

The predictable but urgent Malayalam-language thriller has the sort of moral premise that allows it to transcend the trappings of “lockdown storytelling” and exist as an organic computer-screen movie – more on the lines of international hits like Searching and Unfriended. The revelations aren’t shocking, but there’s an arc to its characters – especially Fahadh Faasil’s – that humanizes both the distance and intimacy of modern technology.

Chupke Chupke (1975)

Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chupke Chupke is a laugh-out-loud comedy of errors about a man who is pretending to be a driver. Expect constant confusion and choreographed chaos of the best kind.

Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

The definitive coming-of-age drama, which marked the directorial debut of Farhan Akhtar, remains just as complex and intricate today as it did when it came out almost 20 years ago. Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna play loyal friends that overcome various obstacles of life in a film that captures college life and the transition into adulthood like no film before it, and few since have.

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)

One of Indian cinema’s most iconic comedy, the film takes a deep, dark look into the scandals of bureaucracy and politics. Two Mumbai-based photographers get caught up a builder’s surreptitious dealings with the government along with a murder which ends with the comical revamp of the Mahabharata that will forever be etched in cinema history.

Jab We Met (2007)

Few movies can claim to have the level of national presence and dedicated following of Jab We Met. With Geet’s lovable chattiness, Pritam’s groovy soundtrack and so much more, Imtiaz Ali created his own canon for Bollywood rom-coms filled with humour and emotion of an unforgettable kind.

Namak Halaal (1982)

Amitabh Bachchan’s, “I can talk English, I can walk English, I can laugh English” is forever etched in the hallmark of great Bollywood dialogues. This is a blockbuster comedy difficult to top. Bachchan maintains his comic timing, beating thugs with style, and with Bappi Lahiri’s evergreen soundtrack, this action-comedy is one for the ages.

Firaaq (2008)

The directorial debut of Nandita Das, set one month after the 2002 Gujarat Riots, explores the lives of the survivors and victims unabashedly – those that witnessed an entire city burn and crumble. This pithy and haunting film goes deep into the psychological and mental anguish the communal riots caused, and through that, makes a plea for peace and harmony.

Ted (2007)

Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane brings his signature pop-culture-referencing insult-comedy style to this story of a boy whose birthday wish brings his teddy bear to life. Except 30 years later, it’s not as cute anymore as the two man-children just lounge around doing drugs and being idiots. Ted gives us one of the greatest comedic characters – a lovable, foul-mouthed cuddly toy full of memorable one-liners who armed us with an arsenal of handy insults.

Virus (2019)

Set against the backdrop of the 2018 Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala, individuals from various walks of life come together to contain its spread in this gripping Malayalam-language thriller. Parvathy Thiruvothu, Tovino Thomas, and Revathi star in a film that’s never been more relevant and, despite its haunting subject matter, is ultimately a story of hope.

The Bourne Trilogy (2002 – 2007)

One man’s heart-pounding crusade to tear down the crooked system that created him, The Bourne Trilogy is a shining example of a single story told over three parts, (the less said about the 2016 attempt to reboot the series, the better). The sophisticated espionage series that reinvented onscreen action gave us a new, more rooted kind of spy thriller, far removed from the Bond school of blockbuster, but no less exhilarating.

Andaz Apna Apna (1994)

Rajkumar Santoshi’s immensely quotable cult classic about a pair of hapless slugs who hatch hare-brained schemes to get rich (played by Aamir Khan and Salman Khan), remains every bit the whirlwind comedy it was when it came out decades ago. For everything else, there’s Crime Master Gogo.

City Of God (2002)

In what remains one of the greatest and most influential gangster epics of all time, City Of God chronicles the lives of young gangsters in Brazil’s sultry slums, giving us a sprawling saga of drugs, poverty, crime and utter swag.

Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019)

A shining example of the new wave of Telugu cinema, the well-crafted comedy thriller starring Naveen Polishetty is as hilarious as it is engrossing, masterfully navigating the delicate balance act of humour and a tense, high stakes plot surrounding a series of murders.

Star Trek (2009)

Years before he was asked to reboot another iconic space saga, JJ Abrams was tasked with reimagining Star Trek, leading to a well-conceived and sorely underrated reimagining of the iconic franchise. Star Trek, masterfully paid homage to the old while paving the way for the new, whilst also making it accessible to those of us who weren’t previously married to the Star Trek franchise. With a strong ensemble cast recreating beloved characters, Abrams gave us an origin story of the USS Enterprise and its colourful crew, led by the Chris Pine’s charismatic James T Kirk.

2.0 (2018)

Shankar’s pure, unhinged sci-fi spectacle, for all its slipups, has two things we rarely see in Indian cinema – dazzling imagination and sheer vision. The scale, the visuals, the many forms of Rajinikanth going head to head with Akshay Kumar make the film a must watch.

Tumbbad (2018)

Rahi Anil Barve’s debut film must be celebrated not only for its ambition, gumption and scale, but also its fascinating exploration of the horror fantasy genre. 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.

Ayyappanum Koshiyum (2020)

A minor confrontation between a cop and an ex-army man snowballs into an escalation of egos and powerplay. Directed and written by Sachy and anchored by two terrific performances from Biju Menon and Prithviraj Sukumaran, Ayyappanum Koshiyum is a fascinating exploration of masculinity and privilege, neatly packaged in a riveting thriller.

The Hungry (2017)

Deliciously despicable and delectably sinister, Bornila Chatterjee’s The Hungry is a gloriously well-made revenge drama lead by an electric ensemble of seasoned performers like Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra and Sayani Gupta.

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood (2019)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie lead the ensemble cast of Quentin Tarantino’s “fairy tale tribute” to the waning days of Hollywood’s golden age, which follows an ageing actor (DiCaprio) and his long-time friend and stunt double (Pitt) as they navigate a changing industry.

The Vast Of Night (2020)

This nostalgic throwback to classic sci-fi thrillers follows a young switchboard operator and a radio DJ whose discovery of a mysterious audio frequency sets off a series of discoveries that lead them deep into the unknown. The Vast of Night is a film you won’t forget, announcing its writers, director, and cast as new talents to watch out for.

Ee. Ma. Yau. [R.I.P.] (2018)

Set in the coastal of village of Chellanam near Ernakulam, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s sixth film traces a series of unfortunate events that follows the death of Vavachan Mestri (Kainakary Thankaraj) a few moments after he tells his son Eeshi (Chemban Vinod Jose) about his dream funeral. Despite the sombre setting, the film takes the form of a dark comedy with several laugh-out-loud moments popping up every few minutes.

Kumbalangi Nights (2019)

Four brothers who share a love-hate relationship stand behind one of their own in matters of the heart in this Malayalam-language family drama that has fast become one of the most beloved Indian films of recent years.

Pariyerum Perumal (2018)

An idealistic young man from a poor, oppressed caste family strikes a friendship with a much wealthier female classmate at law school in this Tamil-language film, earning him the wrath of her relatives and the society at large. Directed by Mari Selvaraj and produced by Pa. Ranjith, Pariyerum Perumal is a scathing look at the caste system and the society that is blind to it.

Thappad (2020)

After Mulk and Article 15, Anubhav Sinha set his sights on domestic abuse in his most recent social drama Thappad. The film stars Taapsee Pannu as a devoted wife whose entire world is shaken after her seemingly loving husband (Pavail Gulati) slaps her in a fit of rage. What follows is her messy, turbulent quest for justice and divorce, all while her family, friends and lawyers try and make her ‘see reason’ and not overreact at what was ‘just a slap’.

Gully Boy (2019)

Gully Boy followed a predictable underdog trajectory but Zoya Akhtar and co-writer Reema Kagti build on these layers of finely etched relationships, memorable characters and an unforgettable 18-track soundtrack. When Murad finally says, Apna Time Aayega, you believe, for a brief moment in time, that you can also overcome the odds.  And what could be better than that?

Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015)

Writer-director Sharat Katariya’s delightfully sensitive romantic drama, set in the Haridwar of 1995, is about a boy with low self-esteem and no achievements (Ayushmann Khurrana) who is compelled by his family to marry a smart, feisty, educated girl (Bhumi Pednekar) despite his objections to her plus-sized physique.

The Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2011)

The Harry Potter movies are the rare series to defy the notion that the books are always better. Rather than better or worse, the films were almost an extension of the books, wonderfully bringing to life JK Rowling’s fantastical Wizarding World as the definitive franchise an entire generation grew up with.

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Based on the 2003 book by Cressida Cowell, the film tells the story of misunderstood teenager Hiccup, who is overlooked and underestimated by his warrior father, who forms an unlikely friendship with a dragon. How To Train Your Dragon is the perfect mix of beautiful animation, delightful characters, and a fantastic adventure rooted in the idea of empathy.

Black Friday (2004)

Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday is more of a feeling – singularly shocking, stirring, cataclysmic, yet journalistic and depressingly objective, and one of the great achievements in Indian cinema. The reflective effect of this movie about the 1993 bomb blasts (based on Hussain Zaidi’s superbly researched novel) was so powerful that nothing less than a TADA verdict forced the courts to certify its “legality”.

Maqbool (2003)

Vishal Bhardwaj’s first film in his Shakespeare trilogy was an adaptation of Macbeth beautifully transposed to the Mumbai underworld. Maqbool was a triumph of casting with unforgettable performances from its ensemble of stalwarts like Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Pankaj Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri.

October (2018)

Shoojit Sircar’s October is a thing of heart-breaking beauty. A boy (Varun Dhawan) coasts through life aimlessly until random tragedy strikes, taking over his life in ways he doesn’t quite understand leaving him forever changed.

Honey Boy (2019)

An unshakeable portrait of pain and trauma, Honey Boy is based on Shia Labeouf’s adolescence as a child actor with an abusive father, which sees the actor play the role of his father. Director Alma Har’el brings a sense of delicacy to a painful story that leaves you better off for having watched it.

Parasite (2019)

Bong Joon Ho’s history-making take on class warfare and family strife was carefully crafted suspense at its best resulting in a rare movie that is as layered as it is accessible.

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

A delicious Bollywood-ish tale follows the love story of Rachel (Constance Wu) and Nick (Henry Golding). The twist being that Nick is actually the son of one of the richest families in the world. Let the lavish, gorgeous chaos ensue.

Wild Tales (2014)

Six uncomfortably hilarious fables of revenge play out in this Argentinian anthology from writer-director Damián Szifron which escalates relatable grudges into tales of apocalyptic revenge.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

One of the most impactful, immersive war movies of all time, Steven Spielberg’s cinematic achievement takes us as close to the front line as possible offering a human take on the chaos of war.

Chak De! India (2007)

Shimit Amin’s iconic sports drama remains every bit the achievement it was when it came out, giving us one of Hindi cinema’s greatest underdog stories led by an unforgettable SRK as Kabir Khan.

 

Special Mentions:

A Beautiful Mind, A Quiet Place, A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood, Nayakan, The Godfather, Daddy, 45 Years, Whiplash, Manorama Six Feet Under, Oceans 11, The Hurt Locker, Dunkirk, Gravity, City Of Ghosts, Sherlock Holmes, Last Flag Flying, Unda, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, The Prestige, Aruvi, Pitch Perfect

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