With Aarya Antim Vaar’s premiering on Disney+ Hotstar today, crime dramas are the flavour of the weekend.
Edge-of-the-seat plot twists, unsuspecting betrayals, wrongly accused suspects and a whodunnit narrative are all the ingredients that make for compelling crime thrillers. And Bollywood has produced several of them over the years. With director Ram Madhvani's Aarya Antim Vaar starring Sushmita Sen releasing on Disney+ Hotstar today, it’s a good time to take you through some popular crime drama films . What's more, these make for perfect weekend watches.
Directed by Abbas Mastan and produced by Venus Movies, Baazigar, a romantic thriller, is the unofficial remake of the James Dearden-directed 1991 Hollywood picture A Kiss Before Dying, which starred Matt Dillon and Sean Young. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Baazigar proved to be SRK’s breakthrough role as a solo lead (although he played an anti-hero in the film). What is the film about? The younger daughter (Kajol) of a business tycoon (Dalip Tahil) is seduced by a young man (SRK) who has a grudge against her father. She starts to question her new partner's relationship with her older sister (Shilpa Shetty) and his hidden agenda. This sis the crux of Baazigar’s story.
Playing a double role – one as a scheming lover Vicky Malhotra and another as a sympathetic boyfriend Ajay Sharma – Baazigar catapulted Shah Rukh into the league of sought-after actors. Shilpa Shetty debuted in this film, while SRK’s popular on-screen lady love Kajol earned her first commercial box office success with this blockbuster movie.
Streaming platforms - Amazon Prime, YouTube
A popular crime thriller helmed by Nishikant Kamat, Drishyam has Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Shriya Saran, Mrunal Jadhav, Ishita Dutta and Rajat Kapoor in prominent roles. It is the remake of the 2013 Malayalam film by the same name. The film is about a man (Vijay Salgaonkar, essayed by Ajay Devgn) who goes to extreme lengths to save his family from being imprisoned after they commit an unexpected crime. The way the story plays out makes for an intriguing watch. Drishyam was a huge critical and commercial success, paving the way for its sequel, Drishyam 2, which was released in 2022.
Streaming platforms - Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix
Khuda Haafiz (2020)
Headlined by Vidyut Jammwal and Shivaleeka Oberoi, this 2020 action thriller is an oft-told tale of a damsel-in-distress, in which the hero leaves no stone unturned to save the leading lady's life. The wife of a recently-married couple vanishes under suspicious circumstances, endangering their lives. The movie is inspired by a true story of a man looking for his missing wife. Vidyut Jammwal plays Sameer, a software engineer who get married to Nargis, a call centre employee, played by Shivaleeka Oberoi. They both lose their jobs during the 2007-2008 recession, which forces them to look for work abroad, shattering their idyllic existence.
Streaming platform - Disney+ Hotstar
Attempting a double role in this captivating whodunnit, Aditya Roy Kapoor plays an action hero in the remake of the 2018 Tamil film, Thadam. Starring alongside Mrunal Thakur, Aditya plays two roles: that of the sophisticated con man, Sooraj alias Ronnie, and the prosperous Arjun. After a murder takes place, the inspector takes Arjun into custody and swears to imprison him for life (as he had been waiting to exact revenge on Arjun). But confusion soon sets in as on that same night, Arjun's lookalike arrives at the police station, leaving everyone perplexed as to who the real murderer is. The cops are given two days to investigate the case. When it released in April 2023, the Vardhan Ketkar-directed movie opened to mixed reviews at the box office, but garnered praise for its noteworthy action sequences.
Streaming platform - Netflix
Last but not least, the latest crime thriller starring Bhumi Pednekar as a fearless scribe presents a disturbing and moving narrative of the dark underbelly of a girls’ shelter home. The plot, co-written by Pulkit and Jyotsana Nath, centres on Vaishali Singh (Bhumi Pednekar), an investigative journalist in Patna who uses every resource at her disposal to uncover a horrific crime that takes place inside a girls' shelter in a two in Bihar. Vaishali discovers startling information as she continues her inquiry into Bansi Sahu (Aditya Srivastava), the shelter's owner and mastermind of murders and cruelty. The story’s hard-hitting narrative as well as Bhumi’s compelling acting make it a must-watch.
Streaming platform – Netflix