We all know that no one does romance quite like Bollywood. But often the dark and twisted Bollywood suspense thrillers don’t get their dues. From innovative offbeat plots to jaw-dropping twists and surprise endings, these cinematic gems have it all. So here are 10 all-time best Bollywood thrillers that are sure to keep you glued to the seats till the end.
Woh Kaun Thi? (1964): The plot revolves around a reputed doctor, Dr. Anand, who comes across a mysterious woman, Sandhya, on a rainy night and offers her a ride. A series of eerie events soon follow. Later, he is shocked to find out that the mysterious woman is his intended bride. One of the very first films to introduce the concept of thrillers to Indian cinema, it is the first of the thriller trilogy by Raj Khosla and was graced by magnificent performances from Sadhana, Manoj Kumar and Prem Chopra. The soundtrack of the film still mesmerizes audiences today, with timeless tracks like ‘Lag Jaa Gale’ and ‘Naina Barase Rimjhim Rimjhim’.
Darr (1993): This dark love story subverts the typical romance trope largely associated with Bollywood films. Darr is the story of the protagonist Kiran, whose life turns upside down under the pressures of one man’s love and another’s berserk obsession. Yash Chopra’s fresh and frightening tale of a brutal lover played a huge part in cementing Shah Rukh Khan as a highly talented and versatile actor. With equally great performances by the likes of Juhi Chawla and Bobby Deol, and beautified even more by an eternal playlist, Darr successfully stands the test of time as one of the most horrifyingly experimental films in the history of Indian cinema.
Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997): This movie manages to remarkably intertwine a murder mystery and a love triangle. The movie is focused on an innocent man convicted of the murder of his estranged stepfather. Determined to prove his innocence, Sahil embarks on a journey to find the real murderer. You’ll not be able to guess who the real antagonist is until the revelation at the end. With magnificent performances by Bobby Deol, Manisha Koirala and specially Kaajol, this Rajiv Rai- directed film is one of the best thrillers ever made in Bollywood.
Kaun (1999): One of the best and most memorable movies by Ram Gopal Verma, this movie enjoys a near cult status today. The audience comes across the young female protagonist, who is watching the news of a serial killer on the loose on the television alone in her home. She soon finds the doorbell ringing and a stranger begs her to let him enter. What follows is nothing but utter brilliance. With powerful performance by Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee and Sushant Singh, this movie will see to it that it leaves an everlasting mark on the viewer when it’s over.
Manorama Six Feet Under (2007): Directed and co-written by Navdeep Singh and featuring Abhay Deol, Raima Sen and Gul Panag in the lead roles, this film, based on Roman Polanski’s ‘Chinatown’ follows an amateur detective caught in the web of lies, treachery and deceit. The investigator, Satyaveer, is hired by his client Manorama, the wife of an irrigation minister, to collect evidence about her husband’s extra-marital affair; but things aren’t as simple as they appear. Abhay Deol proves his potential as a great performer with this film. Finely crafted with dark corners and costly secrets, this movie will keep you entertained and hooked for sure.
A Wednesday! (2008): When you put two great actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher together in a film, it’s not really shocking when the film turns out to be splendid. Directed by Neeraj Pandey, this film revolves around Prakash Rathod, the Police Commissioner of Mumbai who is about to retire the next day. He then goes on to recall the most breathtaking case he has ever faced in his illustrious career, the one he never filed, wherein he had to handle a bomb scare in Mumbai. The case continues to haunt him- the case of one man and one eventful Wednesday. This movie is a must-watch for every cine-lover and has rightfully achieved a cult following since its release. The film was the inspiration behind the Hollywood movie ‘A Common Man’, with Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross in the lead roles.
Karthik Calling Karthik (2010): Th psychological thriller by Vijay Lalwani that tells the story of Karthik Narayan, an introvert always ridiculed at his office by his boss. Throughout his life he has been a loner and has never quite managed to excel at anything. One day, he receives a mysterious phone call from someone claiming to be him who promises to change his life. Starring the versatile Farhaan Akhtar along with Ram Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, this film puts the focus on the stigma around mental health. It is indeed worth a watch.
Kahaani (2012): With Sujoy Ghosh’s direction and the ever-gorgeous Vidya Balan as the lead, it doesn’t take a genius to guess this movie has the potential to be brilliant. The plot revolves around Vidya Bagchi, a pregnant woman who comes to Kolkata during the festival of Durga Puja from London in search of her missing husband Arnab. She is assisted by a police officer. When all hints lead her to a roadblock, she realizes there is so much more than what meets the eye. A special mention must be awarded to actor Saswata Chatterjee as the potbellied assassin Bob Biswas. This movie is known for having one of the best climaxes in Bollywood. Be it its strong women-centric plot or its charming setting in Kolkata- this film really is a package.
Drishyam (2015): A remake of the 2013 Malayalam film of the same name, Nishant Kamat’s Drishyam is packed with stellar performances and a gripping storyline. This film tells the story of a common middle class man who is compelled to take smart drastic measures to save his family from the dark side of law enforcement after they accidentally commit an unexpected crime. Ajay Devgan delivers one of the best performances in his career as a normal family man driven by circumstances. Tabu does not fall short in any way in portraying a grieving mother as well as a woman of power. Drishyam proves how sometimes even the most innocent of us can be capable of doing unimaginable tasks for love; and Drishyam does so beautifully.
NH10 (2015): Anushka Sharma’s production debut is considered to be the most violent Hindi-language movie of the 2010s, and for good reason. Directed by Navdeep Singh, this revenge thriller tells the story of a couple on a road trip that accidentally encounters a number of mishaps following their involvement with a gangster who makes them run for their lives. Supported by Neil Bhoopalam, Anushka Sharma brings on her A game as Meera. It is simultaneously gruesome and fiercely real in its brilliance.
There Bollywood thrillers are sure to leave you spell-bound. So bring out your bowl of popcorn and start bringing!