Top 15 Bollywood Crime Thrillers That Should Not Be Missed

The lockdown of the cities is the perfect time to binge-watch crime thriller Bollywood movies. B Town has done exceptionally well in the above genre. Over the years, it mastered the crime mystery and pledged to keep you on edge. The list is compiled with the best of darker crimes and underworld murders. Why don’t you grab the popcorn and sit back while you take deep dive into the crime world!

Here goes the list for you:

1. Drishyam

Meaning visual is a remake of a Malayalam movie. The film was released in 2015 and received awe-inspiring reviews from critics and as much or more love from the viewers. The story might come by as heard and watched before, but I can bet that the storytelling is not. Just when you thought you got this, it’d throw you off your anticipation (and maybe, off your chair too!). It plots around the investigation of a senior policewoman’s missing son and a middle-class man from Goa, who would go to any extent to protect his family.

Nishikant Kamath directed Ajay Devgn-Tabu starrer and jaw-dropping performances by each cast. Our beloved actor, Mohanlal, acted in the Malayalam version, and you should give that movie a watch as well! All in all – with all the national awards, critical acclaims, box office success, and so much love – this movie is my favorite Indian thriller. What’s yours?

2. Black Friday

This is probably the highest-rated film in the IMDb list amongst the Bollywood flicks. It stands out with 8.5 stars, and why not – It’s Anurag Kashyap we are talking about! This 2007 film starred the best of their genre, from Kay Kay Menon to Zakir Hussain to Aditiya Srivastava. The film describes its title – the 1993 Bombay Blasts, which ripped apart the nation.

The movie features the steps and hassles, difficulties the Police Force had to go through to crack up the names. It’s excellently executed, and you cannot move an inch until the film has ended. This movie is debatably the table topper as it is based on real events with added exceptional direction and acting.

3. Satya

This is the first part of Ram Gopal Varma’s crime thriller trilogy. In this part, the film shows how an ordinary life leading guy – Satya, who was an immigrant, changed into a vindictive criminal. It vividly illustrates the underworld of Mumbai when Satya is pulled into it along with his friend Bhiku Mhatre while they are searching for a job. This action-packed crime thriller was released into the screens in 1998. As the say goes, old is gold, this flick puts the meaning into it. The storytelling moved the critics.

Unanimously agreed, none will remain unprovoked from this exciting film. Isn’t this obvious? The star castings, along with RGV exceptional direction, led to this in the list. The protagonist Mhatre as Manoj Bajpayee, where he bagged the Best Actor in Filmfare Awards, J. D. Chakravarthy as Satya and Urmila as Vidya were the leading casts.

4. Talvar

This sensational case cracked open every emotion all over the nation. It opens with a double murder case, which seemed to be another open and shut case, but due to the negligence of police officers, prime evidence was wiped clean. Therefore, it leads to one of the most controversial cases in India. There were different perspectives involved in this case, and the deciding factor was, were the parents of the murdered daughter suspects? Another victim was their trusted servant, therefore leading to multiple speculations amongst the CBI investigators.

Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma justified their roles as the parents, where Megha Gulzar vividly shows the nasty investigation of the case. Some critics felt, this 2015 movie acted biased towards parents, so why don’t you be the judge of it? This crime thriller movie will trigger all human emotions, definitely a worthy inclusion.

5. A Wednesday!

You can watch this one any day! A Neeraj Pandey movie set in 4 hours on a Wednesday afternoon, where soon-to-be-retired Police Commissioner, Prakash Rathod narrates his experience from memory, of the most exciting case in his tenure, which wasn’t even recorded officially. Prakash Rathod gets a phone call from a common man about a bomb scare in the heart of the Mumbai city.

The movie could be watched only for the stellar performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher. However, this movie offers an awe-struck storyline with an even better twist at the climax and strong message. The film was a low budget but was quite a hit at the box office and critically acclaimed. Neeraj Pandey bagged the Best Debut filmmaker National Award in 2010 for this. Also, this movie was adapted to an American English movie, Common Man, in 2013. Now that’s cool, right?

6. Maqbool

In this crime thriller film, you will get all your favorite actors and actresses compiled to this 8.1 IMDb rated movie. This flick is an adaptation from the play Macbeth by Shakespeare. Therefore, Bollywood promised the crime part, and doubtlessly Shakespeare wrote the drama scenes. As we all know, Bollywood rules in the drama genre. In the underworld, the don’s henchman unethically falls for the lady mistress in his boss’s life.


The lady decides to pursue his lover to kill the main boss, and he should replace him in the underworld. Another love triangle, another murder plan, another story of betrayal, but what makes this picture so much loved is its different approach to storytelling. Tabu as Nimmi and Irrfan Khan as Maqbool nailed 2004, Vishal Bhardwaj film.

7. Ugly

This film does not comply with the genre of crime, but it is filled with thrill and drama. Yet again, it is another movie of Anurag Kashyap (we are not being biased, but he’s just all over this genre) with skilled actors like Ronit Roy and Rahul Bhat. Although, keep an eye for young Alia Bhat. The 2013 film is about when the struggling actor’s daughter goes missing, both her biological and stepfather start to blame each other for the kidnap and who might have kidnapped!

The movie deals both with the tension and dedication of an unlikely duo. A nasty, ugly situation arises, leading to the name of the picture.

8. Rustom

The 2016 crime thriller Bollywood casts our favorite Akshay Kumar and Ileana D’Cruz to this drama movie. Tinu Suresh Desai directed the true story based on the court trail between K. M. Nanavati and the State of Maharashtra. When a well respected Naval Officer murders his wife’s lover Vikram, he faces charges of murder in the court of law.

But, with further investigation, more buried secrets were spilled; it was just not a case of a love triangle but involved unlawful compromises. The court case has a significant history in our judicial body as it provoked the abolishment of Jury trials in India. Akshay delivered an outstanding performance for which he received Best Actor in Filmfare Award for Rustom Pavri.

9. Kahaani

Kahaani – It is a story well told. Released in 2012 and could sit through it with as much thrill even today. Vidya Balan plays the protagonist as a pregnant woman, comes back from London to Kolkata, investigating, and searching for her missing husband. When all links and pieces of evidence lead nowhere, it unveils the mystery in the most unexpected way.

Stellar performances by the entire cast –both the protagonist and anti made their presence felt on the screen. This movie gave us Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a way he deserves to be. There is a special mention of Saswata Chatterjee as ‘Bob Biswas’ who got (in) famous for his style of execution. Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, bagged many Filmfare awards for best actor, including National award for best Editing and special Jury award to Nawazuddin.

10. Vaastav: The Reality

Do you notice the tagline – ‘The Reality’? Yes, that is what the film is based on, the harsh truth of the lives in the underworld of Bombay. Yet, it is another crime thriller revolving around the Mumbai underworld. The movie is a loosely based biography of the underworld don – Chhota Rajan. Well, coming to the storyline, it is about a simple boy Raghu and, again with his best pal, jointly started a food stall business to fight off unemployment.

All crime thrillers begin with a casual life that turns into gory after an accident or tragedy. In this 1999 film, it is an accident, where Raghu kills one of his customers. Mahesh Manjrekar made this highest-grossing film of that year, where he cast Sanjay Dutt as the protagonist.

11. Omkara

This is another adaptation Shakespeare plays – Othello. It is directed by Vishal Bhardwaj and made into an unexampled crime thriller movie. 2006 has the best of its stars – Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Ajay Devgn, Vivek Oberoi, Konkona Sen Sharma, and Bipasha Basu. No wonder this movie got under the skin of the audiences, the mixture of such an expert director and casts lead to its perfection.

The 8.1 IMDb rated film unfolds when Langda, the anticipated successor of Omkara is replaced with Kesu, vindication is born. Therefore, Langda, with a broken heart charts out his plan of vengeance against Omkara, and it continues. Not only did this movie do well in terms of acting and direction, but it also scored superb with lyrics and background music.

12. Gulaal

Another exemplary crime thriller movie directed by Anurag Kashyap, where Kay Kay Menon is cast! Undoubtedly this duo has some extraordinary films together. Luckily for the audience, they can witness some offbeat flicks for them. This film explores wary sensitive loopholes of Indian Politics. It has projected the misuse of power, leading to hypocrisy, injustices, the quest for legitimacy, and the unethical hunger for power.

All of these are strongly broadcasted when a law student is harassed and abused by gang members; subsequently, he leads a road of vengeance to acquire justice. But, the rotten world of Indian politics assured it wouldn’t be a peaceful walk. The 2009 political crime thriller drama made its way to one of the best political films ever.

13. Aamir

This is another terrorism-related crime thriller movie in Bollywood, which made it to the list. I assume that terrorism is the best package where you can both deliver the lesson as well as hit in the box offices. Although Raj Kumar Gupta’s film was the topic of several controversial issues, yet it gained widespread attention due to mouth publicity. The NRI doctor Aamir Ali while returning from the UK, was kidnapped by Islamic extremists.

Now, he’s in a dilemma whether to carry out their mission – planting a bomb in the city or be responsible for his family’s death. The 2008 film was critically approved due to its tight script and well execution of the movie.

14. Badla

Most recently released video of the lot, in 2019, we got to watch a new screenplay, plotting around an interview between a married, successful businesswoman and a lawyer, where the former implores that she has been unjustly convicted for the murder of her lover and seeks help. As the story unfolds, so does the mystery, and you’ll have to wait till the last second to understand every twist.

This Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu movie is an official adaptation Spanish film ‘The invisible guest’ (which is another masterpiece in its own). Even though the story is planned in a day as a conversation between them, you’ll be glued to it till the climax.

Badla is directed by Sujoy Ghosh and bagged a 7.9 IMDb rating.

15. Manorama Six Feet Under

Let us say; this is one of the mix genre movies. It involves drama, mystery, and crime. Therefore, it made this list. The plot comes alive when the wife of Irrigation Minister, Manorama, pays a sum of money to a guy to investigate his husband’s extramarital affair! The spicy love triangle! The guy – Satyaveer (symbolizing the integrity) accepts the amount as well as the task.

Yet he was unaware that he was playing the pawn in someone’s story. The film was critically acclaimed for executing exceptionally well-directed thriller. The star casts Abhay Deol as Satyaveer, and Raima Sen as Neetu/Sheetal along with the director Navdeep Singh made the film as favorites for the choosy film buff in 2007.


The names of these movies are a product of thorough search from the web of reviews. You don’t need to loiter around the comment sections to choose the best; we have already done the hard part. We hope to satisfy every movie buff’s interest here.

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