Let’s face it, Hindi cinema has not been all that great off late. It’s a shame that one of the biggest film industries in the world doesn’t really have a lot to boast off in terms of the quality of the movies being churned out every year. Most films are being made with the sole intention of multiply investments. And what’s truly frustrating is that the little indie gems get stamped down by these monstrous 100 crore blockbusters which is a real threat to the health of cinema. Many of these gems aren’t given wider theatrical releases which pains ardent movie buffs like us. However, there are many such amazing Hindi movies you can watch on YouTube for free. And this certainly relieves us because these little gems would no longer go unnoticed now. So here’s a list of best free Bollywood movies on YouTube. On this list, you will find many old Hindi movies.
Disclaimer: Some of the below listed free Hindi movies have not been uploaded by their legal owners. We DO NOT take any responsibility of copyright infringement claims.
13. Life in a… Metro (2007)
‘Life in a… Metro’ perfectly embodies everything I secretly love about Bollywood. The musicals, the melodrama, the romance, the comedy and most of all, Mumbai, a city I am deeply attached to underneath all my cynicism. The film depicts the lives of several young people who struggle with their own personal conflicts and heartbreaks in the city of Mumbai. It features an ensemble cast that includes some of Indian cinema’s most accomplished stars and several other young talents. It’s a must watch for those who enjoy a bit of melodrama and romance with a wonderful soundtrack that captures the spirit of the city in all its beauty and flaws.
12. D-Day (2013)
‘D-Day’ was a film that caught me completely off-guard. It had a vision (unusual for a Bollywood film) and was pretty shrewd in its tackling of the subject. The film follows a team of highly trained intelligence officers who are on a mission to nab one of India’s most wanted terrorists. Huma Qureshi, Irrfan Khan and Arjun Rampal are absolutely brilliant but good old Rishi Kappor steals the show with a ferociously intense performance as a ruthless mafia don. The writing is sharp and whilst the film tends to loosen its grip on the narrative at places, the performances eclipse the minor hiccups which ultimately make for an incredibly satisfying experience.
A movie even most Indians might have not heard about; which is quite a shame because this Manish Jha directed flick is one of the most shocking and disturbing films we have ever seen. Set in an unspecified time frame when incessant female infanticide has left a rural Indian society without women, ‘Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women’ follows a patriarchal and misogynistic father in his attempt to find a bride to satisfy the lust of his four sons. It is scary world that Jha creates, infused with a sense of realism and urgency previously unseen in Indian cinema. A brilliant and provocative work of art.
10. Gulaal (2009)
Anurag Kashyap’s uncrowned masterpiece is possibly one of the most underrated Hindi movies of all time. Back in 2009, Kashyap wasn’t the star that he is today and was struggling with his experimental endeavors which never really sat well with mainstream Indian audiences. The film had a few production issues and was stalled for 3 years before Zee Limelight helped with the release in 2009. Set in modern day Rajasthan, the film follows a young, naive, idealistic law student who gets entangled in the politics of the state while discovering his own identity and the disturbing truths of a society repressed by the very forces that dictate its moral values.
9. Company (2002)
There was a time when Ram Gopal Verma knew his stuff. And back then he sure was a master of his craft. I mean the man made one of the most iconic gangster films of Indian cinema for Christ’s sake! ‘Company’, in many ways, could be considered as a spiritual sequel to ‘Satya’ and is part of RGV’s gangster film series. Set in the slums of Mumbai, the film follows a young man who rises to the top of Mumbai’s feared underworld gang. It stars popular actors Ajay Devgan, Manisha Koirala, Vivek Oberoi and also features the legendary South Indian actor Mohanlal in a special appearance as a Police officer. The film was widely praised for its realistic depiction of mafia gangs and overall dark tone that was unusual for its time in Indian cinema.
8. Maqbool (2003)
‘Maqbool’ was the first installment of Vishal Bharadwaj’s unofficial Shakespearean trilogy that was followed by ‘Omkara’ in 2006 and ‘Haider’ in 2014. ‘Maqbool’ picks up the story of Macbeth and turns the setting into modern Mumbai ruled by the underworld and Bollywood film stars. Bharadwaj’s exploration of themes is deeply layered and richly intricate and weaves the story with a touch of poetic elegance. Irrfan Khan delivers arguably his greatest performance to date and is supported brilliantly by a deadly gorgeous Tabu who gracefully slips into the venomous veins of Lady Macbeth.
‘Firaaq’ is a criminally underrated political drama that takes a devastating look into the lives of ordinary people wrecked by the Gujarat riots in 2002. The film chronicles the lives of several people directly and indirectly affected by the massacre and takes place within a day. It features Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra, Deepti Naval and a young Nawazuddin Siddiqui and was also the directorial debut of actress Nandita Das. The film received immense critical praise across various international film festivals and won two Nation Film Awards for Editing and Art Direction.
6. Ardh Satya (1983)
One of Govind Nihalani’s most acclaimed works, ‘Ardh Satya’ is widely regarded as a classic of Indian cinema. The film stars the late great Om Puri in the lead role as a young, idealistic cop who struggles to deal with a world drenched in corruption and sleaze. Om Puri is absolutely fantastic in the lead role, delivering a brutally honest performance that continues to haunt us in many ways and he not surprisingly, he bagged the National Film Award for Best Actor that year.
5. Sparsh (1980)
‘Sparsh’ may seem a bit too simplistic for the modern generation to stomach but its central performances very nearly turn the film into an eternal classic. The film depicts the relationship between a blind school principal and a young widow. Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi star in the two lead roles and deliver performances of such heartfelt honesty and intimacy that you feel the pain and brokenness lying underneath their mundane, lonely existence. Naseeruddin Shah deservedly won the National Film Award for Best Actor that year.
4. Aakrosh (1980)
This Govind Nihalanai classic, widely regarded as one of the greatest Hindi films ever made, tells the story of a young lawyer who defends a man accused of killing his own wife. The accused is abused and traumatized and does not speak a word which makes things difficult for the lawyer as he sets out on a long, arduous search for the truth. The film features a staggering cast that includes Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri, Om Puri, Smitha Patil. It received massive critical acclaim at the time and bagged numerous awards for acting and directing.
3. Ek Doctor Ki Maut (1990)
This Tapan Sinha gem starring the great Pankaj Kapur and the evergreen Shabana Azmi tells the story of a doctor who discovers a vaccine for leprosy but his jealous superiors and other bureaucrats turn him down and suppress him and transfers him to a secluded village. The film is a taut drama, sharply written and meticulously directed by Sinha, and features some of the most genuinely affecting, understated performances ever captured onscreen in Hindi cinema. The film also stars modern day great Irrfan Khan in a minor role and shares screen with both Kapur and Azmi.
2. Paanch (2003)
Anurag Kashyap may today be known as the director who made ‘Ugly’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ (and sadly, the atrocious ‘Bombay Velvet’ too!) but long before that he made this little gem that never managed to see the light of the day, thanks to the infamous hypocrisy of CBFC. Apparently, the film was too violent and disturbing for its time and the Censors deemed it outrageous and shockingly vulgar and heavily objected to the film’s portrayal of youth and depiction of drugs. After a few cuts, the Censors gave the film a go but issues with the producer ensured that the film never got a theatrical release. In 2003, Kashyap himself leaked online and released it on YouTube and has since then gone on to become a cult favorite among his staunch followers and other movie buffs.
1. Raincoat (2004)
Romance. In Hindi cinema, romance has always been about the boy and girl singing, dancing and round the trees. Romance is never about the big moments. It’s always those little moments of jealousy, pain and anger that make romance so deeply personal and intimate. And Rituparno Ghosh knew it all too well. So we have a simple story. A man visits his former fiancee on a rainy afternoon in Kolkatta. Their lives have changed hugely. Ghosh hints us of their intimacy through conversations and doesn’t resort to lame emotional expositions and overlong flashback sequences. Ghosh gives the film a singular mood with occassional moments of tonal shifts that work well with the narrative. It’s sad, delicate, intimate, funny and just so many things…