Don’t miss out on these great movies from Bollywood!
One of the best things about Netflix, and arguably streaming in general, is its ability to promote films that would otherwise be difficult for the average consumer to track down. While the dreaded algorithm has its issues for sure, it's allowed a vast content library of films from around the world to gain more popularity and viewership then they would otherwise.
India, the country with the highest film output in the world, has always been a big name in the world of cinema but over the past decade has become something of a international powerhouse. Regardless of what language you are watching their films in, it's unmistakable where you are watching it from, and their action films in particular are some of the best out there.
The most expensive film made in India at the time of its release, Baahubali is a historical epic set in medieval India even if it openly (and lovingly) plays loose with history to great effect. Following two cousins who rival over the throne, the large scale story spans dozens of years and tons of characters – so much so to the point that it was split into two 3-hour films each.
It's certainly a beefy watch for sure, but as a whole, it's hard to find a more enjoyable full package than the entirety of Baahubali. If anything, the film will make audiences wish that Hollywood films were just as unique, entertaining, and varied as it was in regard to it's setpieces.
Not to be confused with a similarly named 2022 film about Idris Elba fighting a tiger, Beast is best described as "Die Hard in a mall" as it follows an ex-RAW agent who aims to rescue hostages in a shopping mall that has been overcome by terrorists. It's as basic as a story as you can get for these kinds of films, so it lives or dies on its action.
But what action! A crowd-pleaser with a great lead performance, this is the kind of film where you are just waiting to turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. Sure, it's not going to win any awards, but it's too much fun to ignore, and its climax is as ridiculous as you would expect.
While more of a thriller than a straight action film, Dhamaka contains a solid amount of action regardless and is a more serious affair compared to some others featured on Netflix. A remake of the acclaimed South Korean film The Terror Live, it follows a news anchor who starts fearing for his life after interviewing a terrorist who had recently blown up a bridge.
While its premise is a hard pill to swallow due to the circumstances, Dhamaka is a suitably tense, well directed espionage film that also brings out a great lead performance from its main star Kartik Aaryan. Even beyond that though, it's a great commentary on how corrupt officials exploit those for personal gain and how it's connected to the current news landscape.
A high octane, slick throwback to the action films of the 70s, Don is one of the more famous Indian films for a reason. Following a drug lord who is wounded and the lookalike that is hired to impersonate him, Don is unique among action films of the 2000s in that it's less a "good vs evil" storyline and more of a battle between morally ambiguous individuals in a classic neo-noir setting.
The action scenes are the reason you turn up for this one though, as it's chase scenes and cinematography are simply to die for. There is an energy and momentum to the film that makes it a breeze to watch despite its hefty 169-minute runtime, which ensures that audiences will have a ton of moments to choose from for their big memorable scene.
A controversial film at the time of its release due to its portrayals of the Kashmir conflicts of the 1990s, Haider is an adaptation of Hamlet while also working as a political tale. Following a young student searching for his father, it finds him being tangled in a quest for revenge and the politics of the state as he goes further and further into darkness.
A tragic tale that harkens back to the days of Shakespeare, Haider's excellent and brutal action scenes are only one part of the puzzle. Instead, the film is also a fantastic look into a dark period of India's history, portraying it with a self-critical lens and hoping that the later generations learn from their past mistakes in history.
A biopic that also works as a stellar action film in its own right, Major is the true life story of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who martyred in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. While this film could have had the potential to become a jingoistic one, the film instead opts for a more personal look into the life of Sandeep, keeping its stakes small rather than large.
Because of that, the film packs an unsurprising emotional wallop, no small part in thanks to Adivi Sesh's stellar lead performance. But even beyond that, this is just a well-made film from top to bottom, with some amazing action sequences, great cinematography, and one of the best scores of 2022.
Stylish as hell, Malang follows a killer with a purpose who is on the run from cops and other criminals. The less said now the better, as part of the fun with Malang is its twists and turns that constantly make it difficult to predict where it's going to go next in terms of story.
Obviously, that's part of the fun for audiences, and once you figure out what's really going on everything become clear as day. The drug infused editing is a highlight here, as it makes each action scene pop in ways you wouldn't expect.
Image via Pen Studio
Maybe the most popular foreign film in the US this year, RRR needs little introduction but for audiences who are unfamiliar with Indian cinema this is a great first viewing. Set in the 1920s, the film follows the fictional friendship of two true life Indian revolutionaries who fought against British rule.
RRR plays out like a superhero movie with real life figures, and it's as ridiculously entertaining, sincere, and emotionally charged as you would expect it to be. It's a genuine crowd pleaser, and S.S. Rajamouli proves himself to be one of our great living action film directors from any country.
India really seems to love it's crime films. This isn't necessarily bad thing though if we get films like Saaho, a film about two covert operatives who discover a brewing gang war that could have disastrous consequences.
Admittedly, this film's story goes to absurd places, but like a lot of films from this era of Indian cinema that comes to be expected, and it's a ton of fun regardless. When the actual film itself is this well-made to boot – the action sequences and VFX in particular are stellar – it's hard to complain, and its performances are great across the board.
As the 4th installment of Rohit Shetty's so-called "Cop Universe", Sooryavanshi works as a good introduction to the series as it stands alone as its own story. Following Veer Sooryavanshi, head of the Anti-Terrorism Squad tracking down sleeper cells in the 1990s, and outside of brief cameos from other characters in the universe it works mainly as a standalone entry for this particular character.
While its politics aren't exactly the best, that's true of most cop films around the world, and as such as long as you can ignore that fact, you'll find that India still has some of the best action and setpiece design in the business. And in the end, that's what most of us are coming here for it terms of action films, and Sooryavanshi does its job wonderfully in that regard.
Next:7 Bollywood Remakes That Are Better Than The Original Movie
List Writer at Collider. Long reaching obsession with Star Wars, comics, and anime, along with a general love of movies. Has also made some in the past.