Top 10 Bollywood Movies of 2016

Year 2016 is set to part with us, with a handful of good memories. Hundreds of Bollywood films were released this year. Yet as usual only a few movies manage to meet with audience’s expectations. Year 2016 also witnessed superstars experimenting with new kinds of roles, and definitely a positive sign in the recent times.
Year 2016 witnessed King Khan doing two film roles, entirely different from his romantic image, and received rave reviews for his performance from critics and audience alike. Salman Khan through ‘Sultan’ shined in the role of a wrestler, and definitely his best performance after Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Aamir’s Dangal is to release this week, and expectations are high. Aamir appears in an entirely different avatar with this film. A few women-centric films did great business at box office, especially Neerja and Dear Zingadi which received rave reviews from critics too. Big B starred in three best thrillers of 2016, and with the huge success of Pink, emerged as one of the most successful stars of the year. Also read: Top Bollywood actor and actress of year 2016.
There was a flood of biopics and movies based on real-life incidents throughout this year, and most of them met with box office success too. Read here to know the best biopics of 2016. Through this column I would like to list top 10 movies of the year, but definitely not based on box office collections. Also read: Top 5 Bollywood albums and Top 25 Bollywood songs of 2016. Let me add, Aamir Khan’s Dangal is not released yet, and I am quite sure the movie will definitely find its position among the top 3 movies of the year. So, it’s a list of 10 best movies of the year excluding Aamir’s biopic sports drama.

1. Dear Zindagi 

My vote for the best movie of the year goes to Dear Zindagi. This coming of age drama film written and directed by Gauri Shinde attracted huge folk to film theatres, and despite owes and worries of demonetization, the film made 60 crores at box office. Through Kaira – the woman-centric character of the film, Alia Bhatt defined one of the best female roles on silver screen in the recent times, perhaps best after Vidya Balan in Dirty Picture. Shah Rukh Khan too made an impressive extended cameo role of Dr. Jehangir Khan. Yet it was Alia and her stunning performance which stole the show. Songs of the movie also turned to be chartbusters. With the success of Dear Zindagi, Alia Bhatt became the top heroine of the year with three hits.

2. Neerja

My choice for the second best movie of the year goes to yet another woman-centric film, Neerja, this time by Sonam Kapoor who registered her career best performance through this film. After a long time struggling with several hero-centric roles, Sonam got opportunity to portray a real-life brave heart, Neerja Bhanot, and Shabana Azmi in the role of Sonam’s mother too made a strong impact on audience through her stellar performance. The movie directed by Ram Madhvani was a Bollywood blockbuster. The movie was released soon after Airlift based on real-life incidents, and both the movies emerged as big hits of the year.

3. Airlift

Socha Na Saka Song

Yet another super hit movie based on real life incidents, Ranjit Katyal in Airlift is one of the finest roles of Akshay Kumar’s career. He received rave reviews for his acting skills and Nimrat Kaur’s memorable performance after Lunchbox, who played Akshay’s wife in this film. Airlift became the first Bollywood film of the year to cross 100-crore box office collection.       

4. Phobia 

Roka Na Saka song

This psychological thriller received cold response at box office. But definitely Phobia is one of the best movies of the year. Radhika Apte played Mehak, a woman-centric role in the film who suffers from severe agoraphobia. The movie directed by Pavan Kirpalani received an overwhelming response from critics. Background score and special effect works became the highlights of the film, apart from the terrific performance of Radhika Apte.

5. Te3n

My most favourite thriller of the year is Te3n. 2016 is one of the best years of Amitabh Bachchan’s career, and he delivered fine performance in three of the best thrillers of the year. He played male lead in Te3n, Wazir and one of the top movies of the year – Pink. As I am a great fan of thrillers, I chose Te3n at position 5, though the movie was only average at box office. Also among the three films, Big B’s performance appealed me most in Te3n. But definitely all the three are best movies of the year. Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan played supporting roles in this film. Also read: Thrillers of Big B in 2016 and Review of Te3n

6. Pink 

The courtroom drama film Pink was highly appreciated for handling the social issues such as women’s rights and dignity with a powerful script. Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu played the lead roles, and supporting star cast included Kirti Kulhari and Andrea Tariang. The way by which the movie was narrated attracted a wider audience, and the movie directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury is one of the finest movies of Bollywood all time based on social issues. The movie received positive response from critics, and yet another golden feather to megastar’s cap.

7. Sultan


Salman Khan starrer Sultan is the biggest grosser of the year collecting approximately 584 crore Indian rupees worldwide. The movie was directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, and Anushka Sharma was paired with Salman Khan for the first time. Also read: Actresses who were paired with all the three Khans. Unlike other masala entertainers of Salman with brainless stories, Sultan is one of the best performances of the actor in the recent times, and a big thumbs up for that.   

8. Udta Punjab

The social drama was surrounded by a midst of controversies till the movie got released. The movie got noticed for the impressive performances by Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh. The movie based on the theme of drug abuse in Punjab was directed by Abhishek Chaubey.

9. Fan

Jabra Song from Fan

The movie managed to become only moderate success at box office. But the movie attracted me a lot for the stellar performance by King Khan who played a dual role in the film. Also read: Dual role of Khans in Bollywood. It was a delight to watch King Khan playing a chubby and innocent lad onscreen and it made everyone remember innocent looks of Shah Rukh in the 1990s. It’s a great and positive move from Khan’s side to explore new horizons in the field of acting, and he is wisely choosing roles too. Definitely his fans won’t feel despair to see him in new Avatars. 

10. Rustom 


I had a hard choice among a few best movies of the year – M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, Waazir and Rustom to complete my list of 10 best movies of the year. Akshay Kumar starred in two movies based on real-life incidents this year, and both entered 100-crore club. The movie was hugely criticized for tampering the real facts. Personally I would prefer to call the movie as a work of fiction, and that’s the only reason why this movie directed by Tinu Suresh Desai entered my top-10 list. I would like to place the movie in courtroom drama genre aside Pink, and the movie definitely had some light moments to cheer. Ileana D’Cruz played Akshay Kumar’s wife in this film. 

Before I conclude, I would like to mention a handful of good movies released this year. M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, Waazir, Happy Bhag Jayegi, Wazir and Nil Battey Sannata deserve special mention. The biopic tragedy – Sarabjit met with average success at box office. Madari starring Irfan Khan also received good reviews, though the movie was a flop. A few movies met with average to mixed reviews from critics, yet earned big at ticket counters. Baaghi, E Dil Hai Mushkil, Kapoor and Sons, Dishoom, Shivaay, Ki and Ka and Houseful 3 belong to this list. I also liked Sanam Teri Kasam for its breezy and melodious songs, and the great screen chemistry by its lead actors, Mawra Hocane and Harshvardhan Rane who marked their Bollywood debut with this film. Saala Khadoos was a good film of Madhavan which went unnoticed. However its Tamil version was a box office hit. 

Also read:
Top 10 movies of first half of 2016

Also read: Top Bollywood actor and actress of year 2016.

Read a few more films reviews of new generation cinema written by me


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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