20 Best Bengali Movies You Should Definitely Watch

When I decided to list the 20 best Bengali movies you should definitely watch, I realized it wasn’t going to be as easy as I initially thought. The list below features a few that would be public choices and also a few that I just might like. However, the stories behind these films will tell you something, and I am sure you will feel the same once watched.

Bengali movies have a greatly rich history. Bengali movies are known for their hard-hitting storylines, characters, and dialogues. Some movies, over time, represent themselves in memories of many people as classics. These movies cannot be forgotten and regularly remind me, and I am sure, many others of the beauty of story-telling. I have tried to compile a list of the 20 best Bengali movies you should definitely watch. Because these movies can’t be given a miss!

Here, you will also get articles related to Bengali cinema in the upcoming weeks like best Bengali movies of 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, best Bengali movies till date, best Bengali movies of the decade and recent times, and like best Bengali movies of all time. You just have to wait and stay tuned with us. I will be back with other articles. Until then, check out this article and share your views, feedback, and comments about your personal experience with us. If you think differently and have something in mind, then do let me know by the comment box given below.

Best Bengali Movies You Should Definitely Watch Before You Die

20. The Japanese Wife (2010)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Aparna Sen

Writer: Kunal Basu (Story), Aparna Sen (Screenplay)

Stars: Rahul Bose, Raima Sen, Chigusa Takaku, Moushumi Chatterjee, Rudranil Ghosh

The Japanese Wife is in English, Japanese and Bengali. The story revolves around a young Bengali village school teacher (Rahul Bose) marrying his Japanese pen friend (Chigusa Takaku) over letters and remaining true and loyal to her throughout his life, while never meeting her. 637 letters, 4 phone calls, 17 years of marriage, but they still haven’t met-what can be a more beautiful love story? The shooting locations where the movie was shot are Kolkata and Sundarbans in Bengal and the Japanese cities of Yokohama and Tsukuba, Ibaraki. The movie received positive to very positive reviews from critics in India. Rahul Bose is in stellar form with his village boy look and his Bangla Angrezi. Raima Sen is pleasant as the reserved, shy widow and Moushumi Chatterjee is a disclosure.

19. Antaheen (2009)

best bengali movies
source: www.dhakamovie.com

Director: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury

Writer: Shyamal Sengupta

Stars: Radhika Apte, Rahul Bose, Mita Vashisth, Aparna Sen, Sharmila Tagore

Antaheen (English: The Endless Wait) is one of the modern Bengali cinema’s best movies. The movie is an analysis of modern society, where some relationships are broken beyond repair and some relations are never meant to be, as they are just bonds created over the internet. Three parallel stories run throughout the movie, with the principal protagonists meeting the other characters throughout the movie. Antaheen went on to win the National Award for Best Film in 2009. The film was shot on a limited budget on location in Kolkata. Rahul Bose and Sharmila Tagore worked on the film for free and composer Shantanu Moitra waived his fee for composing the film’s music.

18. Ashani Sanket (1973)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writer: Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay

Stars: Soumitra Chatterjee, Bobita, Sandhya Roy, Anil Ganguly, Debatosh Ghosh

Ashani Sanket aka Distant Thunder is a movie that is featured in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made and has to make it to this list. The film is set in a village in the Indian province of Bengal during World War II and examines the effect of the Great Famine of 1943 on the villages of Bengal through the eyes of a young Brahmin doctor-teacher, Gangacharan, and his wife, Anaga. Ray shows the human scale of a cataclysmic event that killed more than 3 million people. The movie opens at a slow pace that reflects the rhythms of village life, but gradually shows the breakdown of traditional village standards under the pressure of hunger and starvation.

Download: Ashani Sanket

17. Antarjali Jatra (1987)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Gautam Ghose

Writer: Kamal Kumar Majumdar

Stars: Shatrughan Sinha, Basanta Choudhury, Promode Ganguly, Shampa Ghosh, Rabi Ghosh

Antarjali Jatra was derived from a novel named “Mahayatra” by Kamal Kumar Majumdar. It documents the institution of Kulin Brahmin polygamy in nineteenth-century Bengal. The movie won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali in 1988. The movie traces the journey of a young maiden who, to save the graces of the family, was married off to an extremely old man on his deathbed, and how, she finds a company in a “dome”—a man responsible for creating at the burning ghats. The sheer brilliance with which Ghose weaves a tale sans much dialogue or action is worth watching. Plus, Ghose’s music lends an added dimension to the whole film.

16. Neel Akasher Neechey (1959)

best bengali movies
source: tanmon12.blogspot.com

Director: Mrinal Sen

Writer:  Padmabibhushan Mahadevi Verma, Mrinal Sen (Screen Play)

Stars: Kali Banerjee, Manju Dey, Bikash Roy, Ajit Chatterjee, Smriti Biswas, Suruchi Sengupta

Set in the background of the last days of the British Raj in Calcutta, the film explores the lives of a number of characters, including the platonic relationship between an immigrant Chinese wage worker, Wang Lu, and the main female character called Basanti. The film had overt political overtones and was the first film to be banned by the Government of India. The ban was effective for two years.

Download: Neel; Akasher Neechey

15. Teen Kanya (1961)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writers: Satyajit Ray (screenplay), Rabindranath Tagore(stories)

Stars: Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna Sen, Chandana Banerjee, Kumar Roy, Anil Banerjee

The title means “Three Girls”, and the film’s original Indian release contained three stories. However, the international release of the film contained only two stories, missing out on the second (“Monihara: The Lost Jewels”). However, there are now DVD versions available that contain all three films. The story of three women is nicely portrayed, Nanda a man from Kolkata was posted as postmaster in the malaria-infested village where Ratan a small Orphan looks after him. The second story is about a student, Amulya, who returns to his village after finishing his exams.

14. Aranyer Din Raati (1970)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writers: Sunil Gangopadhyay (original story), Satyajit Ray (screenplay)

Stars:  Sharmila Tagore, Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna Tagore, Rabi Ghosh, Subhendu Chatterjee

Aranyer Din Raati (English: Days and Nights in the Forest) was one of the earliest films to employ the literary technique of the carnivalesque. Critics praised it heavily worldwide. Ray’s work at its best, like this, has an extraordinary rightness in every aspect of its selection and presentation – the timing, performance, cutting, music – which seem to place it beyond discussion. In this movie, A group of four middle-class workers takes the week off to have a holiday. When they get to the forest, they meet up with another group and spend their time flirting with women. The New York Times described the film as a rare, wistful movie that somehow proves it’s good to be alive.

13. Bhooter Bhabishyat (2012)

best bengali movies
source: movies.name

Director: Anik Dutta

Writers: Anik Dutta, Deb Roy

Stars: Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Parambrata Chatterjee, Paran Bandopadhyay, Swastika Mukherjee

Bhooter Bhabishyat (English: Future of the Past or Future of Ghost) became one of the biggest hits of 2012 among the Bengali movies. It is a film with a supernatural element. If you are a fan of black comedy, then Bhooter Bhabishyat is the perfect film for you. It is a story of Ghost and meant to be a comic entertainer. The story revolves around a haunted house that is being pulled down and replaced with a swanky shopping mall. Apparently, the ghosts who belong to different eras consider this as their home so what happens later on shapes the rest of the story.

Download: Bhooter; Bhabishyat

12. Jukti Takko Ar Gappo (1974)

best bengali movies
source: tanmon12.blogspot.com

Director: Ritwik Ghatak

Writer: Ritwik Ghatak

Stars: Tripti Mitra, Ritwik Ghatak, Ritaban Ghatak, Shaonli Mitra, Utpal Dutt

Juki Takko Ar Gappo (English: Reason, Debate and a Story) was Ritwik Ghatak’s last movie. The movie is considered technically superior to other films of that era due to its camera work. The film resolves all the difficulties and differences which arose throughout his career as a film director and as an IPTA member. The movie doesn’t portray anything as such but talks about the socio-political standing of Bengal, the issues of the Bengali middle-class people, and the complex ideas related to a nation-state. It’s more like an autobiography of Ghatak and has Ritwik Ghatak himself in the lead role. If you’re interested in films or in the broader aspect of film studies, then you cannot miss out on this film. The movie won the National Award’s Rajat Kamal Award for best story in 1974.

Download: Jukti Takko; Aar Gappo

11. The Feluda Series

best bengali movies
source: aambar.wordpress.com

The series is about an Indian detective of Bengali origin. The Feluda series includes many of the best Bengali movies like Baksho Rahashya, Kailashey Kelenkari, Bombaiyer Bombete, Joi Baba Felunath, Royal Bengal Rahasya, Sonar Kella, Tintorettor Jishu, Doorbeen, and many others. Two of Feluda’s stories were made into films by Ray. It’s difficult to forget Soumitra Chatterjee’s fantastic portrayal of Feluda and the equally lovable characters Topshe and Lalmohan Babu. Sonar Kella is by far the most memorable film in the series, shot in the beautiful locales of Rajasthan.

Download: Baksho Rahashya; Joi Baba Felunath, Bombaiyer Bombatay, Sonar Kella, Tintorettor Jishu

10. Nayak (1966)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writer: Satyajit Ray

Stars: Uttam Kumar, Sharmila Tagore, Bireswar Sen, Somen Bose, Sumita Sanyal

Nayak (English: The Hero) was the first movie in the Bengali film industry in which Uttam Kumar worked with Satyajit Ray. Satyajit Ray famously said in an interview, “If it’s Nayak (Hero), it has to be Uttam Kumar. No one else can play the character except him.” The story revolves around a matinee idol on a 24-hour train journey from Kolkata to Delhi to receive a national award. However, he ends up revealing his mistakes, insecurities, and regrets to a young journalist, who realizes that behind all the glitter is a deeply lonely man. Her initial contempt for people like him turns into empathy, and she decides not to publish what he has revealed. His life journey is gradually revealed through seven flashbacks and two dreams during the train ride.

Download: Nayak (The Hero)

9. Charulata (1964)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writer: Based on Nastanirh by Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray (Screenplay)

Stars: Madhabi Mukherjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Sailen Mukherjee, Syamal Ghosal

Charulata (English: The Lonely Wife) has been widely considered one of the finest and best Bengali movies made in Indian Cinema history and has won critical acclaim overseas as well. The movie holds one of the highest ratings for an Indian film in Rotten Tomatoes, a 96% ‘fresh’ rating and 8.4/10 rating on IMDb. Madhabi Mukherjee stars as Charulata, a wife of a rich man, who leads an extremely isolated and idle life in 1870’s Calcutta. Her husband notices that she is alone and requests his brother Amal to keep her company. Charulata soon begins to develop a deep sexual attraction towards Amal. The storyline of the movie is known for its ‘western characters’, and for Madhabi Mukherjee’s famous gaze, as she looks at Amal.

8. Matir Moina (2002)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Tareque Masud

Writers: Catherine Masud, Tareque Masud

Stars: Nurul Islam Babu, Jayanta Chattopadhyay, Russell Farazi, Rokeya Prachy, Soaeb Islam

Matir Moina (English: The Clay Bird) became Bangladesh’s first movie to compete for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It’s a must-watch movie for every fan of Bengali cinema. The movie depicts the pain of people during the Bangladesh War of Liberation. The movie won a number of awards internationally but was initially banned in Bangladesh on the grounds that its trades with issues sensitive to religion. The ban was canceled and the DVD version was released on April 16, 2005. The film was shot almost entirely with non-professionals in local settings, often using local sounds.

7. Heerak Rajar Deshe (1980)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writer: Satyajit Ray

Stars: Soumitra Chatterjee, Utpal Dutt, Rabi Ghosh, Tapen Chatterjee, Santosh Dutta

Heerak Rajar Deshe (In the land of the Diamond King) is the sequel to the 1969 film Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne and the second installment of the Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne series directed by Satyajit Ray. The musician duo of Goopy Gyne and Bagha Byne make a comeback in this sequel, where they are invited to the court of the Hirak Raja (The Diamond King), for their musical skills. They have to perform at the kingdom’s Jubilee Celebrations. But coming to the kingdom, they use their natural goodness and curiosity to find out that all is not well in the kingdom. There is the exploitation of poor farmers and diamond miners.

The soundtrack of this movie won 3 National Film Awards in three categories. Satyajit Ray won 2 awards, one for Best Music Direction and the other for Best Lyrics Award for the song “Aha Ki Anondo Akashe Batashe”. Anup Ghoshal won the Best Male Playback Singer Award for the song “Paaye Podi Baghmama”.

Download: Hirak Raja Deshe

6. Abhijan (1962)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writer: Adapted from the novel Abhijan by Tarashankar Bandopadhyay and Satyajit Ray

Stars: Waheeda Rehman, Soumitra Chatterjee, Ruma Guha Thakurta, Charuprakash Ghosh, Rabi Ghosh

The film portrays the life of Narsingh, an uprooted taxi driver, and how he, after countless hazards, fly with Gulabi, a village widow who Narsingh’s master intended to keep as a prostitute. Besides, the juxtaposition of the symbols of the “Mama Bhagne” Pahar and the old, worn-out car stands apart in the whole film. Unlike other films in this listicle, this is a mainstream film and one of Ray’s super hits in Bengal. This film too, like other films of Ray, had won critical acclaims worldwide. It is one of the best Bengali movies of Satyajit Ray. The film gives the famous Ray flavor in its composition, flow and dialogues, and use of symbols.

Download: Abhijan

5. Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Ritwik Ghatak

Writer: Shaktipada Rajguru (The original Novel), Ritwik Ghatak (Screenplay)

Stars: Anil Chatterjee, Supriya Choudhary, Gita Ghatak, Niranjan Ray, Gita Dey, Bijon Bhattacharya

Meghe Dhaka Tara (Meaning: The Cloud-Capped Star) was part of the trilogy, Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960), Komal Gandhar (1961), and Subarnarekha (1962), all dealing with the aftermath of the Partition of Bengal during the Partition of India in 1947 and the refugees coping with it. The movie is also listed in the book “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, which praises “the grace of Ghatak’s mise en scène, his expressionist sound design, and the enormous sense of loss.” The movie revolves around a selfless young woman (Supriya Choudhary) who sacrifices her own happiness for her unappreciative family.

In a confirmation of the popularity of Meghe Dhaka Tara, a recent survey by a leading Indian newsgroup reported that the concluding line of the film, “Dada, ami baachte chai” (“Brother, I want to survive”) was the most well-known line of any film.

4. Apur Sansar (1959)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writers: Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay (original story “Aparajito”), Satyajit Ray (screenplay)

Stars: Soumitra Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore, Alok Chakravarty, Swapan Mukherjee

It is the third part of The Apu Trilogy, about the childhood and early adulthood of a young Bengali named Apu in the early twentieth-century Indian subcontinent. The World of Apu (Apur Sansar) is famous across the world and is usually listed among the greatest films of all time. The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film and several international awards.

Life’s struggle continues for Apu, who is now a young man but jobless, dreaming of a future as a writer. He fails to continue his higher studies due to poverty and tries to make a living out of tuition. An old college friend, Phulu, takes him to a village to attend a wedding where life takes a serious turn for Apu.

Download: Apur Sansar

3. Jibon Theke Neya (1970)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia,org

Director: Zahir Raihan

Writers: Amjad Hossain, Zahir Raihan

Stars: Razzak, Anawar Hossain, Shuchonda, Shawkat Akbar, Khan Ataur Rahman, Rosy Samad

The movie is a political satire based on the Bengali Language Movement under the rule of Pakistan metaphorically, where an autocratic woman in one family signifies the political dictatorship of Ayub Khan in East Pakistan. An arrogant, bad-tempered woman controls family members-her husband, two brothers, and the servants – which symbolizes the political dictatorship of Ayub Khan in then-East Pakistan. Both stories run in parallel. Outside, the people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) rise in political protest, and inside, the family members raise their voices against the tyrannical woman. The two brothers get married and the situation gets more complex when there are conspiracies for the control of the family between the sisters-in-law by having the keys of the house.

2. Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969)

best bengali movies
source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writer: Upendra Kishore Raychowdhury

Stars: Tapan Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh, Santosh Dutta, Johor Roy, Harindranath

Goopi and Bagha are two characters who meet in a jungle being banished by the King of their village. They by chance meet the King of Ghosts and he gives them three boons for their simplicity and innocence. The rest of the story revolves around how they use those boons for the betterment of the Shundi Kingdom. Even though this is mostly touted as a children’s film, it, without doubt, features in every adult’s favorite list. The first movie in the Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne series was made by Satyajit Ray, which became the longest-running movie in the history of Bengal, running for 51 straight weeks! This movie is one of the best Bengali movies of all time.

Download: Goopy; Gyne; Bagha Byne

1. Pather Panchali (1955)

best bengali movies
Source: www.wikipedia.org

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writers: Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay (novel), Satyajit Ray (screenplay)

Stars: Kanu Bannerjee, Karuna Bannerjee, Chunibala Devi, Subir Banerjee, Tulsi Chakrabarti

The first film of the Apu trilogy, this one depicts the early life of Apu and his family. Apu, is born to a poor Brahmin family in a remote village called Nischintipur in Bengal. The father, a priest, cannot earn enough to keep his family going. Apu’s sister, Durga, is forever stealing guavas from the neighbor’s garden and all these add to the daily struggles of the mother’s life. All this is portrayed so superbly by Oscar-winning director Satyajit Ray. Pather Panchali is described as a turning point in Indian cinema, as it pioneered the parallel cinema movement. It is one of the best Bengali movies till now and a favorite among all the Bengali audiences.

Stay tuned with us for more Bengali movie-related articles. Take care my movie-addicted lovers and readers.

You may also like:

Top 10 Best Bengali Movies of 2011

Top 10 Best Bengali Movies of 2012

Top 10 Best Bengali Movies of 2013

Top 10 Best Bengali Movies of 2014

Top 10 Best Bengali Movies of 2015

Top 22 Bengali Old Comedy Movie Lists You Should Undoubtedly watch

Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne Movie Review (1969)

Bengali Movie Aparajita Tumi Review (2012)

Top 11 Must Watch Indian Detective Movies

Best Rated Top Bengali Comedy Movies You Must Watch

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