When you think Bollywood, there’s a stereotypical image that pops into the head. But do away with the item songs, the oftentimes campy dialogue, or the terrible kissing, and you’re left with a catalogue of brilliantly offbeat films that did their own thing. 

1. Jhankaar Beats

Rahul Bose completely owned this movie, which felt like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise claustrophobic Bollywood ecosystem of mediocrity. It revolves around two best friends who offset corporate drudgery by participating in a band competition every year. The music is great, and storyline still holds up after all these years. 


2. 99

Raj and DK always do things a little hatke, and this 2009 little-known crime comedy was no different. It starred Kunal Khemu and – wait for it – Cyrus Broacha in the lead roles as a couple of small-time criminals who get caught up in a big time racket. Think Delhi Belly, before the polish.


3. Delhi Belly

After 99, the natural progression had to lead to this seminal film. The antics of Tashi, Arup, and Nitin are still hilarious to this day, and we can never give enough credit to them for birthing the ‘Sir, yeh toh tatti hai’ meme. We need more movies like this!

NY Times

4. Kaalakaandi

An outrageous acid trip of a movie, the plot revolves around Saif’s character finding out he’s terminally ill, and consequently going on an epic bender that involves drugs, cops, and even a bit of love. Screw the reviews, just watch the damn film!


5. Andhadhun

Who knew Ayushmann Khurrana and Tabu could be such a deadly combination, not just for the viewers, but for each other. This black comedy had twists around every corner, and it didn’t hold back on the black.


6. Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota

The combination of Gulshan Devaiah’s dual role, an experimental script unlike anything else in Bollywood, and an endearingly sweet (if bloody) performance by Abhimanyu Dasani as Surya makes this one of the best films of the past 2 decades. No question. 


7. Go Goa Gone

Everyone’s desperately waiting for the sequel to this iconic Bollywood zombie flick. Saif’s one-liners are still quoted to this day, and the general stoner vibe of the entire film is one we rarely see on the Indian big screen. Truly an instant classic.

Indian Express

8. Being Cyrus

Said Ali Khan seems to be making quite a number of appearances on this list. 2005’s Being Cyrus was a dark and comedic thriller about family, betrayal, and love that was rather ahead of its time.

The Indian Wire

9. Karwaan

This heartwarming comedy-drama takes place mostly on the road, and stars the acting talents of Irrfan Khan, Dulquer Salman and Mithila Palker. It’s a simple, emotional journey in more ways than one that’s equal parts funny and moving.

Open Magazine

10. Blackmail

This 2018 black comedy stars Irrfan Khan as a jilted lover who plans to exact revenge on his wife after finding out she’s been having an affair. The movie also features Kirti Kulhari and Arunoday Singh.

Deccan Chronicle

11. Johnny Gaddaar

Neil Nitin Mukesh plays a gangster who decides to double cross his entire crew in this neo-noir thriller. Things go terribly awry however, and his plans to get away with the money and girl face devastating consequences. 


Happy watching!