Thrillers have become extremely popular in Hindi cinema, with many movies taking on a new level of intrigue and suspense. However, with so many films to choose from it can be difficult to figure out which ones are worth watching.
To make your search easier, we’ve surveyed Hindi thrillers from the last 25 years and come up with this list of 25 exceptional titles. Each of these movies has been carefully selected based on their engaging narratives, compelling performances, and masterful execution.
So, without further ado, here are our handpicked choices for the finest Hindi thrillers ever made, ensuring an enthralling cinematic experience for enthusiasts of this captivating genre.
Here they are, our handpicked selection of the best Bollywood thriller movies of all time.
25 Best Bollywood Thriller Movies of All Time
25. Talvar (2015)
- Casts: Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi, Sohum Shah, Tabu
- Director: Meghna Gulzar
Talvar is a gripping crime drama based on the infamous 2008 Noida double murder case in India. The film delves into the investigation and the subsequent trials surrounding the murder of a teenage girl and her family’s servant.
With brilliant performances by the cast, particularly Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma, Talvar presents multiple perspectives and raises thought-provoking questions about the flaws and biases within the criminal justice system. The film skillfully captures the complexity of the case, leaving the audience questioning the truth and the human cost of seeking justice.
24. The Stoneman Murders (2009)
- Casts: Kay Kay Menon, Arbaaz Khan, Vikram Gokhale
- Director: Manish Gupta
Inspired by true events, The Stoneman Murders is a suspenseful thriller set in 1980s Bombay (now Mumbai). The film follows a police officer, played by Kay Kay Menon, as he investigates a series of brutal killings targeting pavement dwellers.
The Stoneman Murders keeps the audience enthralled as it divulges, in painstaking detail and with raw emotion, how the murders were committed. Director Manish Gupta expertly creates a sense of dread and captures the socioeconomic divide of the city while exploring the psyche of the killer.
23. Ek Hasina Thi (2004)
- Casts: Urmila Matondkar, Saif Ali Khan
- Directors: Sriram Raghavan
Ek Hasina Thi is a revenge thriller that revolves around a woman, Sarika, played by Urmila Matondkar, who seeks retribution against her ex-lover, Karan, portrayed by Saif Ali Khan. Sarika, framed for a crime she did not commit, sets out to expose Karan’s true nature and bring him to justice.
With its dark and unpredictable narrative, Ek Hasina Thi keeps the viewers engaged as Sarika manipulates the circumstances to turn the tables on her tormentor. Urmila Matondkar delivers a powerful performance, while director Sriram Raghavan skillfully crafts a suspenseful and emotionally charged tale of vengeance.
22. Khamosh (1985)
- Casts: Shabana Azmi, Amol Palekar, Sudhir Mishra, Soni Razdan
- Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Khamosh is a psychological thriller that unfolds within the confines of a film set. As a series of murders takes place during the filming of their movie, the cast and crew are gripped by fear and suspicion. Shabana Azmi portrays a scriptwriter who takes it upon herself to unravel the mystery behind the killings.
21. Aamir (2008)
- Casts: Rajeev Khandelwal, Gajraj Rao
- Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Aamir is a taut thriller about Rajeev Khandelwal’s character, Aamir, who returns to India from abroad and gets caught up in a dangerous conspiracy. As Aamir is coerced into carrying out a series of tasks by an unknown caller, he becomes entangled in a web of intrigue and must navigate a hostile city.
Director Raj Kumar Gupta masterfully creates a sense of urgency and suspense throughout the film, showcasing the protagonist’s struggle against unseen forces.
20. Manorama Six Feet Under (2007)
- Casts: Abhay Deol, Gul Panag, Raima Sen, Sarika, Vinay Pathak
- Director: Navdeep Singh
Manorama Six Feet Under is a neo-noir thriller that tells the story of Satyaveer, a government engineer in a small town, who stumbles upon a complex web of deceit and corruption. As he investigates a seemingly ordinary case of a missing person, he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to expose the dark secrets of the town’s influential figures.
With its atmospheric cinematography, gripping plot, and stellar performances, the movie keeps the audience engaged till the very end. Abhay Deol delivers a nuanced portrayal of Satyaveer, while Gul Panag shines as his enigmatic love interest.
19. Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016)
- Casts: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala
- Director: Anurag Kashyap
Raman Raghav 2.0 is a psychological thriller loosely based on the infamous serial killer Raman Raghav from the 1960s. The movie explores the chilling cat-and-mouse game between a psychopathic killer, Ramanna, and a corrupt police officer, Raghavan.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui delivers a haunting performance as Ramanna, bringing to life the dark and disturbed mind of the character. Vicky Kaushal impresses as the conflicted cop, torn between his duty and his personal demons.
18. Te3n (2016)
- Casts: Amitabh Bachchan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vidya Balan
- Director: Ribhu Dasgupta
Te3n is a suspenseful drama that revolves around a grandfather, John Biswas, who is relentlessly seeking justice for the kidnapping and murder of his granddaughter. As he investigates the case, aided by a police officer, Sarita Sarkar, and a priest, Martin Das, the trio uncover shocking revelations and become entangled in a dangerous game of secrets and lies.
Amitabh Bachchan delivers a powerful performance as John Biswas, portraying the grief-stricken yet determined character with conviction. Nawazuddin Siddiqui shines as the persistent police officer, while Vidya Balan adds depth to the narrative with her portrayal of the empathetic priest. Ribhu Dasgupta’s direction keeps the suspense alive, making Te3n a compelling watch.
17. Samay: When Time Strikes (2003)
- Casts: Sushmita Sen, Sushant Singh, Jackie Shroff
- Director: Robby Grewal
Samay: When Time Strikes is a gripping thriller that follows the story of ACP Malvika Chauhan as she tries to catch a serial killer who leaves behind perplexing clues at each crime scene. With the clock ticking, she must race against time to solve the mystery and prevent further bloodshed.
Sushmita Sen delivers a commendable performance as ACP Malvika Chauhan, portraying a strong and determined woman determined to outsmart the killer. Sushant Singh impresses as the enigmatic and chilling antagonist, while Jackie Shroff provides solid support as a veteran cop. Robby Grewal’s direction keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, maintaining the suspense throughout the film.
16. Ugly (2013)
- Casts: Rahul Bhat, Ronit Roy, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Vineet Kumar Singh, Girish Kulkarni
- Director: Anurag Kashyap
Ugly is a dark psychological drama that delves into the ugly underbelly of human nature. The film’s story revolves around a young girl who is kidnapped and her subsequent rescue, exposing the flaws of those involved.
Anurag Kashyap’s direction creates a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere, drawing out remarkable performances from the ensemble cast. Rahul Bhat, Ronit Roy, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Vineet Kumar Singh, and Girish Kulkarni deliver raw and intense portrayals of flawed individuals, highlighting the complexities of their relationships and their descent into darkness.
14. Table No. 21 (2013)
- Casts: Paresh Rawal, Rajeev Khandelwal, Tena Desae
- Director: Aditya Datt
The thriller Table No. 21 keeps audiences guessing at every turn. The movie revolves around a couple, Vivaan and Siya, who win an all-expenses-paid trip to Fiji and find themselves drawn into a deadly game orchestrated by the enigmatic Mr. Khan. As the game unfolds, secrets are revealed and lives may be in danger.
With intense performances and a suspenseful narrative, Table No. 21 delves into themes of trust, morality, and the consequences of one’s actions.
13. Wazir (2016)
- Casts: Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Aditi Rao Hydari
- Director: Bejoy Nambiar
Wazir is a complex tale of friendship, revenge and redemption that keeps the viewer riveted. The movie follows the life of Danish, an anti-terrorism officer, who forms an unlikely bond with a paralyzed chess grandmaster named Pandit Omkar Nath Dhar, also known as Wazir. Together, they unravel a series of interconnected mysteries and confront a common enemy.
With powerful performances by Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar, Wazir keeps the audience engrossed with its intricate plot twists and intense action sequences.
12. Badla (2019)
- Casts: Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Amrita Singh
- Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Badla is a gripping courtroom drama that challenges the audience’s perceptions of truth and deception. The film revolves around Naina Sethi, a successful businesswoman accused of murdering her lover. To defend herself, she seeks the help of a renowned lawyer, Badal Gupta. As the lawyer investigates, secrets are revealed and their relationship with the victim becomes complicated.
11. Ittefaq (1969)
- Casts: Rajesh Khanna, Nanda, Sujit Kumar
- Director: Yash Chopra
Ittefaq is a classic mystery thriller that keeps the audience guessing from start to finish. The movie revolves around Dilip, a painter who becomes the prime suspect in a double murder case. As the investigation unfolds, Dilip encounters a woman named Rekha, who claims to be the sole witness to the crime.
Directed by the legendary Yash Chopra, Ittefaq masterfully creates an atmosphere of suspense and suspicion. Rajesh Khanna delivers a captivating performance, and the film’s tight narrative keeps the audience engaged until its surprising climax.
13. Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997)
- Casts: Bobby Deol, Manisha Koirala, Kajol, Om Puri
- Director: Rajiv Rai
Gupt: The Hidden Truth is a gripping mystery thriller that revolves around Sahil, who becomes the prime suspect in his father’s murder. To prove his innocence and uncover the true identity of the killer, Sahil sets out with Isha’s help. The twists and turns in this film keep the audience engrossed as they follow along on their journey to find answers. Rajiv Rai’s direction, combined with powerful acting by Bobby Deol, Manisha Koirala, Kajol, and Om Puri, makes Gupt a memorable and engaging watch.
12. Johnny Gaddaar (2007)
- Casts: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Dharmendra, Vinay Pathak, Zakir Hussain
- Director: Sriram Raghavan
Johnny Gaddaar is a stylish neo-noir thriller that follows a group of five men involved in a heist. The story takes an unexpected turn when one of them betrays the others, leading to a series of dangerous events. With its intricate plot, strong performances, and a pulsating background score, the film keeps the viewers hooked from start to finish. Sriram Raghavan’s direction brings out the essence of the genre, and Neil Nitin Mukesh delivers a standout performance in the lead role. Johnny Gaddaar is a must-watch for fans of gripping crime dramas.
11. Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (2012)
- Casts: Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
- Director: Reema Kagti
Talaash: The Answer Lies Within is a psychological thriller that delves into the mysterious world of a police officer named Surjan Singh Shekhawat. Haunted by his past, Surjan investigates a high-profile death case that leads him on a path of secrets, illusions, and self-discovery. The performances of Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are so powerful that the film keeps viewers riveted from beginning to end. Reema Kagti’s direction, along with the atmospheric cinematography and a haunting soundtrack, makes Talaash an atmospheric and thought-provoking drama.
7. Special 26 (2013)
- Casts: Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee, Kajal Aggarwal, Jimmy Sheirgill
- Director: Neeraj Pandey
Special 26 is a gripping crime drama based on real-life events. The story revolves around a group of con artists who pose as CBI officers and conduct fake raids on prominent politicians and businessmen. Led by Ajay Singh (played by Akshay Kumar), the gang meticulously executes their heists, leaving no trace behind.
The film’s well-crafted plot keeps the audience enthralled. With stellar performances by the cast, particularly Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpayee, Special 26 is an engaging and suspenseful tale of deception and justice.
6. Kaun (1999)
- Casts: Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee, Sushant Singh
- Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Kaun is a psychological thriller that takes place in a secluded house where a woman named Naina (played by Urmila Matondkar) is alone. As the night unfolds, she receives mysterious phone calls from an unknown person who claims to be a serial killer. Things take a sinister turn when a stranger named Sameer (played by Manoj Bajpayee) arrives at her doorstep.
Directed by Ram Gopal Varma, Kaun keeps the audience guessing about the identity of the killer and maintains a sense of suspense throughout. With its eerie atmosphere, tight screenplay, and commendable performances, the film is a must-watch for thriller enthusiasts.
5. Raat (1992)
- Casts: Revathi, Om Puri, Akash Khurana, Rohini Hattangadi
- Director: Ram Gopal Varma
Raat is a supernatural horror film that revolves around a family living in a haunted house. The story follows Mini (played by Revathi), who starts experiencing paranormal activities after a cat is killed near their residence. As the night progresses, the supernatural occurrences escalate, putting the family’s lives in danger.
Directed by Ram Gopal Varma, Raat is a chilling tale that effectively creates an atmosphere of fear and tension. The movie is known for its eerie sound design, gripping narrative, and strong performances by the cast. It remains one of the notable contributions to the horror genre in Hindi cinema.
4. A Wednesday! (2008)
- Casts: Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Sheirgill
- Director: Neeraj Pandey
An urban thriller that unfolds over a single day. The plot centers on an unnamed man (Naseeruddin Shah), who calls the police commissioner and claims to have planted bombs in various locations across the city. He demands the release of four terrorists in exchange for the locations of the bombs.
Directed by Neeraj Pandey, A Wednesday! tackles themes of terrorism, corruption, and vigilantism. The film raises important questions about justice and the common man’s power to make a difference. With stellar performances and a tight screenplay, it leaves the audience captivated and reflective long after the credits roll.
3. Andhadhun (2018)
- Casts: Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu, Radhika Apte
- Director: Sriram Raghavan
Andhadhun is a dark comedy thriller that revolves around a blind pianist, Akash (played by Ayushmann Khurrana), who gets embroiled in a series of mysterious events. After witnessing a murder, Akash becomes entangled in a web of deceit, secrets, and unexpected twists.
Directed by Sriram Raghavan, Andhadhun is known for its unpredictable plot and brilliant performances by the cast. The film is both suspenseful, entertaining and romantic. With its clever storytelling and engaging narrative, Andhadhun is widely regarded as one of the best Hindi thrillers of recent times.
2. Drishyam (2015)
- Casts: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Shriya Saran, Ishita Dutta, Rajat Kapoor
- Director: Nishikant Kamat
Drishyam is a gripping family drama that revolves around Vijay Salgaonkar (played by Ajay Devgn), a simple and uneducated man who goes to great lengths to protect his family when they become entangled in a crime. When his daughter accidentally kills the son of a powerful police officer, Vijay employs his quick thinking and meticulous planning skills to cover up the incident.
Directed by Nishikant Kamat, Drishyam is a tightly woven narrative that keeps the audience engrossed till the very end. With powerful performances by Ajay Devgn and Tabu, the film explores themes of family, morality, and the lengths one can go to protect their loved ones.
1. Kahaani (2012)
- Casts: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
- Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Kahaani is a riveting mystery thriller that follows Vidya Bagchi (played by Vidya Balan), a pregnant woman who arrives in Kolkata in search of her missing husband. As she delves deeper into her quest, she discovers a web of lies, conspiracies, and an unexpected truth.
Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, Kahaani is known for its tightly woven plot, strong characterization, and exceptional performances. Vidya Balan delivers a powerhouse performance, portraying the determined and resilient Vidya Bagchi with utmost conviction. With its unpredictable twists and turns, Kahaani keeps the audience engaged and guessing until the final reveal.
Best Bollywood Thriller Movies of All Time: FAQs
1. Q: What are some must-watch Bollywood thriller movies that will keep me on the edge of my seat?
Ans: Here are five highly recommended Bollywood thriller movies: Kahaani (2012), Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (2012), Drishyam (2015), Andhadhun (2018), and Gupt: The Hidden Truth (1997). Each of these films delivers intense suspense, gripping narratives, and stellar performances.
2. Q: Are there any Bollywood thrillers that blend elements of action and suspense?
Ans: Absolutely! Films like Dhoom (2004), Kahaani (2012), Kaabil (2017), A Wednesday! (2008), and Baby (2015) offer a thrilling combination of action and suspense. These movies feature high-stakes scenarios, adrenaline-pumping sequences, and intriguing plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
3. Q: Which Bollywood thrillers have a psychological twist to their storytelling?
Ans: If you enjoy psychological thrillers, make sure to check out Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (2012), Andhadhun (2018), Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016), Badla (2019), and Kahaani (2012). These films delve into the depths of human psychology, offering mind-bending narratives, complex characters, and suspenseful storytelling.
4. Q: Can you recommend some Bollywood thrillers with a supernatural or horror element?
Ans: Certainly! If you’re looking for thrillers with supernatural or horror elements, consider watching Raaz (2002), Ek Thi Daayan (2013), Bhoot (2003), 1920 (2008), and Stree (2018). These movies blend elements of the supernatural and horror genres with thrilling storytelling, creating an atmospheric and spine-chilling viewing experience.
5. Q: Are there any Bollywood thrillers based on true events or inspired by real-life incidents?
Ans: Yes, there are several Bollywood thrillers that draw inspiration from real-life incidents. Movies like Rustom (2016), Talvar (2015), No One Killed Jessica (2011), Special 26 (2013), and A Wednesday! (2008) are based on true events or inspired by real incidents. These films offer a gripping portrayal of real-life mysteries, crimes, and the pursuit of justice.