Best Bollywood Movies of 2013

What stands out most on my Top Ten list for 2013 is the diversity of genres represented. No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s a really good movie on this list. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

Want a fun teen dance flick? Check out ABCD: Any Body Can Dance.
Looking for a good sports movie or biopic? Try Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
In the mood for a family drama set in the underworld? You’ve gotta see Aurangzeb.

In addition to the great variety on the list, all the movies mentioned are accessible to an international audience. Familiarity with Hindi movies and their structure may enhance one’s appreciation of Phata Poster Nikla Hero or Commando: A One Man Army, but a lack of prior experience shouldn’t keep Bollywood newcomers from enjoying them. In fact, Commando‘s best selling point is that it’s a martial arts action flick with a romantic dance number in the middle.

2013 was a great year for films featuring ensemble casts. Movies like Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola and D-Day showcase the work of veteran stars, while Shuddh Desi Romance and Kai Po Che! — both of which star Sushant Singh Rajput — feature up-and-comers with bright futures ahead of them.

D-Day also features my single favorite scene in any movie from 2013: a heartbreaking song montage about the doomed relationship between an assassin (Arjun Rampal) and a prostitute (Shruti Haasan).

My favorite Hindi movie of 2013 offers the perfect mix of passion and drama in a beautiful setting. If I could dream up an ideal romantic movie, it would be Lootera. [Buy it on DVD here.]

Writers Vikramaditya Motwane and Bhavani Iyer took a short story by O. Henry and adapted it to depict a tumultuous time period in India, as family fortunes were dismantled in the years following partition. Imagine trying to cope with the heightened emotions of first love while your way of life is turned on its head. Such are the circumstances for Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha) and her beau, Varun (Ranveer Singh).

Fans of Victorian literature or contemporary period dramas like Downton Abbey: Lootera is made for you.

Best Bollywood Movies of 2013

  1. Lootera — Buy at Amazon
  2. D-Day — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  3. Kai Po Che! — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  4. Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola — Buy/rent at Amazon
  5. Shuddh Desi Romance — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  6. Commando: A One Man Army — Buy at Amazon
  7. ABCD: Any Body Can Dance — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  8. Aurangzeb — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  9. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  10. Phata Poster Nikla Hero — Buy at Amazon

Previous Best Movies Lists

23 thoughts on “Best Bollywood Movies of 2013

  1. JustMeMike

    Thanks for all your fine work in 2013 – within a week I will have seen all 10 of your Best. I just ordered Commando and Kai Po Che. The only two I wasn’t enamored with were Phata Poster Nikla Hero and ABCD: Anyone Can Dance.

    Instead of those two I would have included Raanjhanaa and Shootout at Wadala.

    Two films I eagerly await are:
    Shaadi Ke Side Effects opens in February
    Dedh Ishqiya opens next Friday the 10th

    Best wishes for the New Year

    1. Kathy

      Thanks, Mike, and happy new year to you, too! I don’t want to oversell Commando, but it’s pretty incredible. Dedh Ishqiya and Shaadi Ke Side Effects are my two most anticipated movies of 2014, too.

  2. Mette M. K.

    I’ve seen far too few Bollywood films of 2013 yet, so thanks for listing your favourite. One I have seen and didn’t like very much is Bhaag Milkha Bhaag – I thought it was too long and didn’t know where it wanted to go. It’s worth watching for Farhan though 😀
    And I am SO excited to watch Lootera!

  3. Nav

    Hi Kathy – what about shahid, ship of theaseus & lunchbox? They don’t find a mention on the list.
    excluding these movies doesn’t do justice to the list.

    1. Kathy

      Nav, I don’t know if the movies you mention merit a place on this list because I haven’t seen them. The English subtitles on Shahid were incomplete in the print sent to U.S. theaters; Ship of Theseus never opened in the U.S.; and The Lunchbox doesn’t open in America until February 28, 2014.

      1. mayanknailwal

        A definite suggestions by NAV!
        Shahid, Lunchbox and Ship of theasus were the solid achievements of 2013 of our filmmakers.
        And out of your mentioned list, Lootera is my favorite.
        That’s even on my top 3.
        Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, was one of the finest deep rooted biographies ever made.
        I really liked it for Farhan’s powerhouse performance.
        And the last one I loved is Kai Po Che.
        Fresh talented actors, very realistic set-pieces and a great adaption of the novel by the commendable director Abhishek Kapoor.

        About the rest you said, commando was a complete action movie but it was just decent and ABCD, Matru ki……deserves mention.


        1. mayanknailwal

          Well, watched D-Day!
          And now I realize why it is in your best list.
          I am so shocked to see what the hell went wrong with the audiences coz of which the movie went off badly at Box-office! !
          Its truly a good & must watch spy movie.
          And specifically, the choreography of the painful yet spellbinding ‘Alvida’ song was mind-blowing.

          Now I must say, you really have a great and much accurate vision at the movies than many other reviewers.

          Thankyou… have become my faviorate reviewer.
          keep posting 🙂

            1. mayanknailwal

              Yeah agreed.
              ISHAQZAADE was also a movie that should have soared a bit higher than where it reached.
              Based on romeo-Juliet, it was the most realistic and raw love story that delivered the simple storyline quite nicely.

              I remember your Ram-leela review.
              I was surprised you liked that movie.

              1. Kathy

                I like adaptations of Shakespeare, and I thought making the characters a little older in Ram-Leela was an interesting twist. Plus, Deepika and Ranveer were great.

                1. mayanknailwal

                  It’s true that the acting department was terrific in Ram-leela and the detailing of SLB was likealways excellent but there was no love in it rather it was lust.
                  The storyline was pathetic and highly predictable.
                  There wasn’t even a single twist in the tale that I didn’t see coming so many times I tasted boredom.
                  Anyways, leaving everything aside, its still a very bad movie for me.

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