Excel Entertainment turns 20: Here’s a bouquet of binge-worthy Hindi films from the banner you need to add to your watchlist
 
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Excel Entertainment turns 20: Here’s a bouquet of binge-worthy Hindi films from the banner you need to add to your watchlist
Hia Datta
Aug 10, 2021
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It’s twenty years now since Excel Entertainment has been backing quality content with stories from different genres. If one were to define the movies, here's how it goes - good storylines upped with assured performances, great soundtracks and a few lasting thoughts, while also attuning to the aesthetics, sensibilities and staples of Hindi cinema. The movies blend commercial flavour with good content for wholesome entertainment and although we think you might already have watched them all, there’s something oddly comforting and even exciting to know that you could always get back to them on OTT now with a tap of your finger. 

1
Dil Chahta Hai
8.5OTTplay Rating
The film was a breakout hit at the box office and a pathbreaking film in Hindi cinema ever since in the genre of romantic drama. It is an ode to male friendships and brotherhood. Akash (Aamir Khan), Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) and Siddharth (Akshaye Khanna) are bosom college buddies. Their post-collegiate coming-of-age journeys come full circle through love, heartbreak, fallout and reunion, right back into the comforting embrace of lasting bonds of friendship. The brotherhood between the trio threads the plot together. The film especially stands out for Siddharth’s tryst with love, which was a matured and refreshing take back then, and rings fresh even today. Shankar Ehsaan Loy and Javed Akhtar frame the film with the perfect words and music.
2
Lakshya
8.4OTTplay Rating
Karan Shergill (Hrithik Roshan) is a slacker and a laid-back guy with no goal in life. While watching an action movie with his friends, he decides to join the army, but soon develops cold feet when he is pushed into the life of strict discipline and toil in the institution. He comes back home to be dissed by his father for his fickle-mindedness and the love of his life, Romi (Preity Zinta) calls off the relationship too. Pushed into a corner, it is now that Karan realises where he is meant to be and makes it to the summit, quite literally and figuratively in his life.
3
Don
7.6OTTplay Rating
The much-hyped remake back in 2006, Don recreates the familiar plot of the original Amitabh Bachchan starrer, casting Shah Rukh Khan as Don and his doppelganger Vijay, who is tasked to impersonate the crime lord Don to uncover the whereabouts and details of his crime syndicate, assigned by DCP DeSilva (Boman Irani). Things go haywire when DeSilva, the only one who knows the true identity of Vijay, dies. Don, upon its release, garnered mixed reviews, with some liking the film and Khan’s portrayal and some lumping it. But the Farhan Akhtar directorial is overall slick and smartly made, with even a clever twist in the end that upturned the whole plot and the very template of the film.
4
Rock On!!
8OTTplay Rating
The 2008 musical had a coup at the Filmfare Awards, bagging seven awards in its kitty. Farhan Akhtar and Prachi Desai debuted with this film that revolves around the story of members of a Mumbai-based grunge rock band ‘Magik’. Aditya (Farhan), Joe (Arjun Rampal), Kedar (Purab Kohli) and Rob (Luke Kenny) form a rock band but drift apart after the band fails to create any magic on their musical dreams. Going back to the usual grind of a regular, non-musical life, they eventually decide to have another go at achieving their dreams. Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s cool soundtrack was the spot-on synecdoche for the musical theme combining heavy metal and punk rock, and the film itself.
5
Talaash
7.5OTTplay Rating
This 2012 psychological crime thriller directed by Reema Kagti was and still is an out-of-the-box film in many ways, in the way that it laid bare the bare bones of humanity in a plot set in the underbelly of Mumbai. Those who are not accounted for by law enforcement take the centre stage of the narrative. The haunting yet visceral plot follows Surjan Singh Shekhawat (Aamir Khan) who is handling the case of a popular film star's death while grappling with his own demons, unresolved psychological trauma from a personal loss and the convoluted case at hand. Co-starring Rani Mukherji and Kareena Kapoor in pivotal roles, this one is an underrated feature on the list.
6
Raees
6.6OTTplay Rating
The swagger, style and charisma of Shah Rukh Khan as the bootlegger Raees Alam who is locked into a battle with ACP Majumdar, played by an effortless Nawazuddin Siddiqui frames the high points of the film. Raees is the right blend between the commercial gimmicks and an absorbing account of the man in grey, helming the illegal liquor trade in Fatehpur, Gujarat, bending his way past the law and the police. However, Raees abides by certain principles in life despite conducting a business on the wrong side of the law, which makes the film an interesting, layered watch and keeps you invested throughout.
7
Gully Boy
8OTTplay Rating
Perhaps Zoya Akhtar’s best to date, Gully Boy is a visceral walkthrough of the lanes and bylanes of Dharavi, touted to be the largest slum in the world, where musical talents like Murad played Ranveer Singh are waiting to be discovered by the world. Or are they? A rags-to-recognition story of the street rapper Murad through his connection with local rapper Shrikant alias MC Sher etches the sights, sounds and scenes of the dwellers in Dharavi with an eye-for-detail that is rare in Hindi cinema. The soundtrack, direction, performances apart, the slightly clichéd plot comes up fresh due to the directed focus of the narrative on Murad’s struggles to bring his dreams to reality and not linger on the aftermath.

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