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Last Updated: October 27, 2012  37,683 views

List of 100 Best Bollywood Hindi Art Films

in: Movies

Art-FilmsArt Films, also known as Parallel Cinema, form an integral part of Bollywood. They are an alternative to the mainstream commercial cinema especially for the people who use their brain while watching movies. Art Films are not considered to the part of mainstream cinema due to their serious content, realism and naturalism. The culture of Art Films first started in Bengali film industry by critically acclaimed filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak and others and then gained prominence in the other film industries of India including Hindi Film industry.

guruduttThe Parallel Cinema movement started in the late 1940s to the 1960s, by India’s great filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Bimal Roy, Mrinal Sen, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Chetan Anand, Guru Dutt and V. Shantaram. Real-life movies by these directors added a new perspective to the Indian movie industry. That is why this period is still considered as the Golden Age of Indian cinema. For the first time, Cinema became the mirror of the contemporary Indian society as movies which were made during this period were largely influenced from Indian Literature and current socio-political situations.

These film makers used Cinema to highlight prevalent issues. This new style of Cinema got world wide acclaim and fame. Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar (1946), a social realist film won the Grand Prize at the first Cannes Film Festival. Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zamin (1953) was both a commercial and critical success. Guru Dutt’s film Pyaasa (1957) featured in Time magazine’s “All-TIME” 100 best movies list.

ArthDuring the 1970s and the 1980s, parallel cinema entered into Bombay’s Hindi Film industry. This was led by such directors as Gulzar, Shyam Benegal, Mani Kaul, Rajinder Singh Bedi and Saeed Akhtar Mirza, and later on Mahesh Bhatt and Govind Nihalani, becoming the main directors of this period’s Indian art cinema. Benegal’s directorial debut, Ankur (Seeding, 1974) was a major critical success, and was followed by numerous works that created another field in the movement. These filmmakers tried to promote realism in their own different styles, though many of them often accepted certain conventions of popular cinema.

Parallel cinema of 70s and 80s gave careers to a whole new breed of young actors, including Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Amol Palekar, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Pankaj Kapoor, Deepti Naval, Farooq Shaikh etc. Actors from commercial cinema such as Rekha and Hema Malini ventured into art cinema.

Smitha Patil

Although nothing much happened during late 80 and 90s for the parallel cinema, Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay! (1988) gathered a lot of National and International acclaim and is remembered till date as one of the finest Bollywood movies ever made on the daily lives of street-children of Mumbai.

salaam bombay

By the early 1990s, the rising costs involved in film production and the commercialization of the films had a negative impact on the art films. The fact that investment returns cannot be guaranteed made art films less popular amongst filmmakers. Underworld financing, political and economic turmoil, television and piracy proved to be fatal threat to parallel cinema, as it declined. However, we can still see the touch of Parallel Cinems in the movies of Mani Ratnam, Nagesh Kukunoor, Anurag Kashyap etc.

I have compiled the list of 100 Best Bollywood Hindi Art Films. Please let me know, if I am missing any good movie in this list.

  • Salaam Bombay
  • Mirch Masala
  • 36 Chowringhee Lane
  • Arohan
  • Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai
  • Raincoat
  • Ankur
  • Party 
  • Holi
  • Parzania
  • Maya Darpan
  • Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities
  • Hu Tu Tu
  • Antarnaad
  • Heaven on Earth
  • Ardh Satya
  • Chandni Bar
  • Astitva
  • Charandas Chor
  • Daman
  • Mitr, My Friend
  • Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi
  • Sparsh
  • Dance of the Wind
  • Chameli
  • Dharavi
  • Bhumika: The Role
  • Arth
  • Bandit Queen
  • Bazaar 
  • Aakrosh
  • Bheja Fry
  • Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda
  • The Blue Umbrella
  • Chakra
  • Dharm
  • Mandi
  • Page 3
  • Sardari Begum
  • Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho!
  • Trikal
  • Duniya Na Mane
  • Ijaazat
  • Rudaali
  • Drishti
  • Dweepa
  • Fire
  • Monsoon Wedding
  • Woh Chokri
  • Hasina
  • Ek Din Pratidin
  • Khandhar
  • New Delhi Times
  • It’s Breaking News
  • Mahapurush
  • Katha
  • Manthan
  • Diksha
  • Maqbool
  • Dor
  • Genesis
  • Jane Do Bhi Yaaro
  • Utsav
  • Ek Din Achanak
  • Water
  • Firaaq
  • Nishant
  • Paar
  • Gaja Gamini
  • Ghatashraddha
  • Hari-Bhari
  • Earth
  • Joggers’ Park
  • Ek Ruka Hua Faisla
  • Junoon
  • Kalyug
  • Ek Doctor Ki Maut
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  • 1

    you missed rui ka bojh

    monu on February 22nd, 2013
  • 2

    missing good movie –

    27 DOWN , PESTANJI , Massey Sahib (Best Actor’s Award,SILVER PEACOCK,IIFI International Film Festival of India, 1987), Aasman Se Gira ,
    Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda (National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, 1993)

    tejas on February 28th, 2013
  • 3

    missing–fire,machis,aandhi,3idots,tere jammin pe,garm hawa,

    ARUN SETHI on May 24th, 2013
  • 4

    salim lande pe mat ro, manorma 1oo feet under

    afaq ahmad on June 27th, 2013
  • 5

    sahib biwi aur ghulam, do beegha zameen, khamoshi(old)

    afaq ahmad on June 27th, 2013
  • 6

    sorry…. manorma six feet under

    afaq ahmad on June 27th, 2013
  • 7

    Mr & Mrs Iyer
    Umrao Jaan (Rekha)

    Yasmin M Ahmed on January 2nd, 2014
  • 8

    Current,Bada Din,Amu,Dharavi,Gangoobai,Halo, Hawa Aney Dey,Kali Salwar,Sadgati,

    jass on January 2nd, 2014
  • 9

    Dear all i want to see Libaas 1988 movie but i could not find it on net so plz tell me how could i watch this movie…

    Amjad on January 27th, 2014
  • 10

    Dear All

    how i have to watch Libaas 1988 movie, this movie i could not find on net so any body have link of movie plz tell me.

    Amjad on January 28th, 2014
  • 11

    Maya memsab,Kmasutra,Aastha u have missed

    Sudhir on February 21st, 2014
  • 12

    Nowdays . good art film doesnt make Why is this ? and I would like to be a actor wht should i do . Thnkx

    Pawan on March 23rd, 2014
  • 13


    jamil shaikh on March 24th, 2014
  • 14

    I AM by Onir is also artistic movie.

    Manoj on May 23rd, 2014
  • 15

    Ek ruka hua faisla is fantastic art film. you did not mentioned the name of this film

    vijay on July 1st, 2014
  • 16

    I am dreaming of creating a database of all the art movies made in India. I use your list and the films that came up in comments as reference :)

    Puru on July 19th, 2014
  • 17

    - Godhuli
    – Kondura
    – Gaharai
    – Bagh Bahadur
    – Parinati
    – Yatharth
    – Dansh – KK menon
    – Paacnch – KK menon
    – bhopal Express – kk menon
    – Being Cirus

    Nawaj Sharif on August 11th, 2014
  • 18

    my fav art films-

    1. 1084 ki maa
    2. aghaat (govind nihalani)
    3. aarohan
    4. dayra (amol palekar)
    5. parinati

    prabal on September 11th, 2014
  • 19

    You missed Zara si Zindagi, Thoda sa romani ho jaye, A Wednesday

    Arup Deb on October 7th, 2014
  • 20

    Spandan; Trishagni; Diksha; Earth; Water; Fire; Aamir;
    Saaz; Dayra;

    Panna on October 11th, 2014
  • 21

    That Girl In Yellow Boots; Kai Po Chhe; Blue Umbrella; Haider;

    Panna on October 11th, 2014
  • 22

    Gandhi 1983

    Muveen on October 13th, 2014
  • 23

    RUI KA BHOJ, current,
    Rui ka bhoj is best film.

    Rajesh on November 3rd, 2014
  • 24

    Genesis1986, Mrigya 1976,
    Sadgati,(very good series)
    The perfect murder
    Mati maay (marathi film)

    u can watch this movies on youtube.Any good art movies kindly update. CHEERS….

    Rajesh on November 3rd, 2014
  • 25

    Missed Aurat & Thoda Sa Rumani Ho Jaye, acted by Nana Patekar also

    Vinay on December 9th, 2014
  • 26

    thanks maa
    road to sangam
    disha by sai parnjpe
    in custody
    raghu romeo

    Abdul Razak on January 6th, 2015