While I didn’t give any of the Hindi films from 2022 a perfect 4-star rating, there were a lot of great titles to choose from. (I did rate RRR 4-stars, but I’ve decided to limit this year’s Best list to just Hindi movies. I know, I named Baahubali 2: The Conclusion my best film of 2017. Chalk it up to website owner’s prerogative.) So, here are my ten Best Bollywood Movies of 2022!
Let’s start with a possibly controversial pick. I liked the growth of the socially deviant main characters in Ek Villain Returns, which is much more morally consistent than the original Ek Villain. There’s some interesting stuff happening with Disha Patani’s character that I enjoyed, though I don’t want to spoil it by going into detail. Ek Villain Returns knows what kind of movie it wants to be and executes its vision.
Qala and Brahmāstra Part One – Shiva both earn their spots for being visually stunning — Qala via its lush period sets and costumes and Brahmāstra via its thrilling special effects.
The family drama Maja Ma treats a very complicated subject with the care it deserves and considers it from all angles, reminding the audience that it’s not possible to distill a person down to a single adjective.
Thar shook things up as the rare Hindi neo-noir western, shot in an evocative landscape and with nuanced performances that suit the harsh environment.
2022 has two very fun comedies about characters who’ve gotten by as the big fish in their small ponds who painfully realize just how much they have to learn about the world. Dasvi takes a family-friendly approach to a clever story about a disgraced politician whose position is usurped by his wife. Tamannaah Bhatia plays my favorite character of the year in Babli Bouncer, a delightful fish-out-of-water tale about lovable tomboy who needs to grow up.
I’ve been anticipating director Vasan Bala’s feature followup to Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (which topped my Best of 2019 list), and Monica, O My Darling did not disappoint. Bala builds an eye-catching, offbeat world for his characters, and the dynamite cast takes advantage of the opportunities he gives them
Alia Bhatt gives the standout performance of the year as Gangubai Kathiawadi. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali brings his trademark flair and visual style to the picture (resulting in the year’s best song picturizations), but Bhatt carries the film, playing a character who is complicated and conflicted but always self-possessed.
Like Ek Villain Returns, my top film of the year is another sequel that improves upon its predecessor. My Best Bollywood Movie of 2022 is the action drama Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 — Agni Pariksha.
Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 isn’t just better than the original Khuda Haafiz. It builds on the first story, providing its characters with growth arcs that span two films. Shivaleeka Oberoi didn’t have much to do in the original picture, but she carries the first part of the sequel as a rape survivor trying to reintegrate into society and her marriage. Martial arts master Vidyut Jammwal changes his fighting style throughout the film as blind rage transforms into targeted revenge. And Sheeba Chaddha plays my favorite villain of the year. Filmmaker Faruk Kabir takes his characters and their struggles seriously, resulting in an action movie with real substance. Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 is a winner.
Kathy’s Best Bollywood Movies of 2022
- Khuda Haafiz: Chapter 2 – buy at Amazon/stream on Zee5
- Gangubai Kathiawadi – stream on Netflix
- Monica, O My Darling – stream on Netflix
- Babli Bouncer – stream on Hulu
- Dasvi – stream on Netflix
- Thar – stream on Netflix
- Maja Ma – stream on Amazon Prime
- Brahmāstra Part One – Shiva – stream on Hulu
- Qala – stream on Netflix
- Ek Villain Returns – stream on Netflix
Previous Best Movies Lists
- Best and Worst Bollywood Movies of 2021
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2020
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2019
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2018
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2017
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2016
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2015
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2014
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2013
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2012
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2011
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2010
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2009
- Best Bollywood Movies of 2008
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Ooh, interesting–I hadn’t even heard of “Babli Bouncer”! I enjoyed reading your review. Duly added to the watchlist.
Thanks, Shelomit! It was a really cute movie that I think a lot of people missed because it went straight to streaming. I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you for the top 10 list Kathy, I have not had much time to enjoy bollywood films in the last year but at least I now know where to start 🙂
Thanks, Niaz! I think there’s a pretty good mix of genres on the list, and thankfully they’re all available for streaming.