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How Do I Choose the Best Hindi Movies?

Mumbai, India, is the home of the Bollywood film industry.
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  • Written By: T. Carrier
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 15 June 2014
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Hindi movies are cinematic creations featuring the language, peoples, and customs of northern India. Much like films all over the world, Hindi creations are diverse in their approaches and subject matter, as are the audiences for these works. Some individuals may prefer the lavish music-and-dance heavy productions produced by Bollywood. Others may opt for the epics and romances of the so-called Golden Era of Hindi movies. Action and comedy lovers will likely prefer offerings from the late 20th century, while drama seekers may discover the perfect choice in social commentary movies created by some of India's most acclaimed directors and actors.

Perhaps the most prevalent form of Hindi cinema is the film industry based in Mumbai, India, which is often dubbed Bollywood. As one of the largest areas for film production in the world, this centerpiece of Hindi movies boasts a variety of options. Dramas, comedies, musicals, and many other offerings comprise Bollywood and the Hindi movie experience as a whole.

If one seeks romantic fare and highly dramatic plots, Hindi movies from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s may provide the perfect fit. Many critics regard this era as a golden age for Hindi movies, when acting, production values, and storytelling combined to create high-quality products. Popular Hindi actors like Dilip Kumar and Dev Amand and actresses such as Mala Sinha and Meena Kumari starred in some of India’s most successful movies during this period. Celebrated directors like Bimal Roy also created epic classics.

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1970s-era Hindi movies may suit individuals with a taste for action-packed cinema. Violence-heavy films featuring guns and gangsters made a heavy impression at this time. Some actors and actresses to watch for during this era include Dharmendra, Muntaz, and Amitabh Bachchan.

Action-packes, stunt-loaded movies continued to gain a stronghold in Hindi cinema into the 21st century, where they were joined by a rise in comedies and musical fare. Musicals filled with Indian song and dance have remained a consistent and popular staple in Bollywood, and their influence has reached into the musical culture of other countries. Many singers make a living strictly performing songs for Bollywood movies, and some have gained groups of fans who will seek out movies for a particular singer. Modern Hindi movies offer increased production values, a broad audience appeal, and subtitle options for non-Indian audiences.

Social commentary is a main fixture of some of the most gripping Hindi dramas. While many of their peers opted for more fantastic and fun fare, a number of Hindi movie-makers documented cultural changes and struggles in their cinematic endeavors. The Indian battle for independence that defined much of the early 20th century is a particularly dramatic and prevalent topic for many of the best Hindi movies. Snapshots into city life were another frequent area of interest, especially in the subgenre dubbed Mumbai noir. A realist Hindi film even secured the top honor during the first-ever Cannes Film Festival, and a later film won the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award for best motion picture in 2009.

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