Introduce me to the best of Indian film

Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay! (1988), and Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) were nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

In 1992, Indian director Satyajit Ray was given an honorary Academy Award for “his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures and for his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world.”

Rather than continue a movie hijack in this thread, I’ll resurrect this one for a few additional comments.

Lots of good movies listed in this thread, many classics. If you decide to rent any of the older ones, though, be careful to check first that English subtitles are available (not always the case).

Also, many movies unfortunately don’t give subtitles for the songs. For some help in that regard, check out and BollyWHAT?! The Guide for Clueless Fans of Bollywood Films. BollywoodLyrics has an extensive song listing with info about the playback singers, etc., but not all of the songs are given with English translations. BollyWHAT has a more limited selection of songs but all of them are given with English translations. BollyWHAT also has a “newcomer’s guide” that is interesting and handy in figuring out what’s going on onscreen.

Not necessarily the best of Indian film, but some of my favorites among the more “popular” films:
[li]Dil Chahta Hai (The Heart Desires)- Following the lives of three friends as they get started on their adult lives, it’s something of a chick-flick about guys. [/li][li]Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (The Bravehearted Wins the Bride) - It starts a little bit slowly, but this is a fun movie about going against tradition for the one you love. One of my favorite Bollywood songs comes from this movie (“Tujhe Dehkha To”).[/li][li]Khuda Gawah (God is My Witness) - Filmed in Afghanistan a few years before the Taliban took over, the story revolves around a Pashtun man and his sense of honor.[/li][li]Rangeela (Colorful) - A classic Indian movie love story - boy is in love with girl, she doesn’t realize it at first, and a third party’s feelings (in this case, another man’s) complicate matters.[/li][li]Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow) - A tearjerker about a family divided, only here the men do most of the crying![/li][/ul]

I didn’t like it quite as much, but the recent remake of Devdas is visually stunning and features three of India’s top movie stars (Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit).

LOTS of Indian movies are available on DVD through Netflix and IndoFilms.