9 Best Bollywood Historical movies to relive the past: Jodhaa Akbar, Bajirao Mastani to Kesari

Discover our carefully curated collection of the best Bollywood historical movies over the years. Whether you're drawn to drama, war, or romance, our list accommodates every cinematic preference.

Updated on Nov 27, 2023  |  09:16 AM IST |  233.8K
9 Best Bollywood Historical movies to relive the past: Jodhaa Akbar, Bajirao Mastani to Kesari
Picture Courtesy - IMDb

In this article, we present a curated list of 10 must-watch Bollywood historical movies, including Jodhaa Akbar, Asoka, Parmanu, and The Ghazi Attack. This selection caters to viewers of all kinds. Join us on a cinematic journey through India's vibrant history, exploring the masterpieces skillfully woven by Bollywood over the years.

9 Best Indian Historical Movies that you must watch

1. Jodhaa Akbar (2008)


  • Running Time: 3 hours 33 min
  • IMDB Rating:  7.5/10
  • Movie Genre: War / Romance
  • Movie Star Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonu Sood
  • Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
  • Writer: K.P Saxena
  • Year of release: 2008
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Netflix

Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodhaa Akbar stands as one of the finest Indian historical movies, presenting an epic romance inspired by the lives of the Mughal Emperor Akbar and his wife, Jodhaa Bai. With its extensive runtime, breathtaking visuals, exquisite costumes, and stellar performances, this is one of the best history-based movies Bollywood produced that truly embodies the essence of an epic.

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2. Bajirao Mastani (2015)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 38 min
  • IMDB Rating:  7.2 / 10
  • Movie Genre: Action/ Romance
  • Movie Star Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra
  • Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Writer: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Year of release: 2015
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Amazon Prime

Bajirao Mastani, a cinematic masterpiece directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, stands out as an epic historical romance within the realm of Hindi history movies. The narrative intricately weaves around Peshwa Bajirao of the Maratha Empire and his profound love for Mastani, the daughter of a Hindu ruler and a Muslim queen.

While Bajirao Mastani might take liberties with historical details, it compensates by delving deep into the emotional landscape. This history of India movie unfolds as a compelling tale of tragic love, where the essence of the narrative transcends historical constraints to resonate profoundly with matters of the heart.

3. Asoka (2001)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 56 min
  • IMDB Rating: 6.4 /10
  • Movie Genre: Action / War
  • Movie Star Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Ajith Kumar
  • Director: Santosh Sivan
  • Year of release: 2001
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Netflix

Emperor Ashoka's transformation from a formidable ruler to a devoted follower of Buddhism unfolds in Santosh Sivan's Asoka, a notable entry in the Bollywood historical movies list. While the film takes artistic liberties, it captivates with its epic scale, musical sequences, and Shah Rukh Khan's compelling performance. "Asoka" masterfully depicts the Mauryan Emperor's pivotal life shift after witnessing the devastation of the Kalinga War, resonating as a cinematic exploration of ancient Indian history.

4. The Ghazi Attack (2017)

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  • Running Time: 2 hours 3 min
  • IMDB Rating:  7.5 /10
  • Movie Genre: Action / War
  • Movie Star Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Rana Daggubati, Taapsee Pannu, Atul Kulkarni
  • Director: Sankalp Reddy
  • Writer: Azad Alam, Gangaraju Gunnam
  • Year of release: 2017
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Amazon Prime 

The Ghazi Attack stands as a compelling entry in Bollywood movies based on history, vividly portraying the valorous acts of Indian naval officers during the 1971 war. The film chronicles the sinking of Pakistan’s submarine, PNS Ghazi, off the Visakhapatnam coast. As the Indian Navy intercepts critical messages, a submarine led by Captain Ranvijay Singh, accompanied by Lt Commander Arjun Verma, engages in a fierce underwater battle. If you're looking for the best history movies to watch this weekend, this movie is a must-watch!

5. Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran (2018)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 9 min
  • IMDB Rating:  7.6/10
  • Movie Genre: Thriller / Action
  • Movie Star Cast: John Abraham, Diana Penty, Boman Irani
  • Director:  Abhishek Sharma
  • Writer: Saiwyn Quadras, Abhishek Sharma, Sanyukhta Chawla, Shaikh
  • Year of release: 2018
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Zee5

Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran vividly portrays the historic 1998 covert and successful nuclear test during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government. This film, a notable addition to Bollywood movies based on history, delves into the challenges encountered during the discreet execution of India's inaugural nuclear test, under scrutiny from the CIA and Pakistani spy agencies. Definitely one of the best Indian historical movies that you must see!

6. Padmaavat (2018)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 44 min
  • IMDB Rating:  7/10
  • Movie Genre: Romance / Action
  • Movie Star Cast: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh
  • Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
  • Year of release: 2018
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Amazon Prime

Padmaavat is hands down one of the best historical movies Bollywood has ever made. The film is inspired by Malik Muhammad Jayasi's 1540 poem and boasts Bhansali's signature grand visual designs. While historians debate the existence of Queen Padmavati, the film's historical backdrop is anchored by confirmed figures.

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7. Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior (2020)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 15 min
  • IMDB Rating: 7.5/10
  • Movie Genre: War / Action
  • Movie Star Cast: Ajay Devgn, Kajol, Saif Ali Khan, Neha Sharma
  • Director: Om Raut
  • Writer: Prakash Kapadia
  • Year of release: 2020
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Disney+Hotstar

Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is among the best Bollywood historical movies, immersing viewers in the 17th-century narrative of Tanaji's quest to reclaim the Kondhana fortress. The film skillfully portrays the historical events surrounding the transfer of control to Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and his trusted guard, Udaybhan Singh Rathore.

8. Mughal-e-Azam (1960)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 57 min
  • IMDB Rating: 8.1 /10
  • Movie Genre: Romance / War
  • Movie Star Cast: Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Prithviraj Kapoor
  • Director: K. Asif
  • Writer: Aman, Kamal Amrohi, K.Asif, Ehsan Rizvi, Wajahat Mirza
  • Year of release: 1960
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Zee5

One of the most celebrated old historical movies Bollywood ever made is Mughal-e-Azam. Released in 1960, this epic drama portrays the timeless legend of Mughal Prince Salim and his love affair with the courtesan Anarkali. Starring Dilip Kumar as Prince Salim, Prithviraj Kapoor as Emperor Akbar, and Madhubala as Anarkali, the film is a cinematic masterpiece.

9. Kesari (2019)


  • Running Time: 2 hours 30 min
  • IMDB Rating: 7.4 /10
  • Movie Genre: Action / War
  • Movie Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Parineeti Chopra
  • Director: Anurag Singh
  • Writer: Anurag Singh, Girish Kohli
  • Year of release: 2019
  • Where to Watch / OTT Platform: Amazon Prime

Kesari firmly establishes itself among the best history-based Bollywood movies, focusing on the historic Battle of Saragarhi in 1897. This cinematic saga chronicles the remarkable valor of 21 Sikh warriors, led by Akshay Kumar's character, who bravely confront a formidable Pashtun invasion of 10,000. The film has garnered widespread praise for its gripping storytelling and outstanding performances, resonating strongly with the patriotic sentiments of the audience. Definitely one of the finest movies on Indian history!

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ALSO READ: 10 Best Bollywood movies based on true stories: From No One Killed Jessica, Airlift, Neerja to Super 30

FAQs

What are some best historical movies in Bollywood?
Several movies, including Kesari, Bajirao Mastani, Jodhaa Akbar, The Ghazi Attack, and Asoka, are notable examples of historical Bollywood movies.

Are there any renowned actors celebrated for their performances in historical films?
Certainly! Hrithik Roshan portraying Akbar in Jodhaa Akbar, Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khalji in Padmaavat, and Shah Rukh Khan as Emperor Asoka in Asoka are notable examples of actors excelling in historical movie roles.

Are romantic and dramatic elements commonly incorporated into historical Bollywood films?
Absolutely! Films such as Jodhaa Akbar, Bajirao Mastani, Asoka, Padmaavat, and Kesari seamlessly blend romance and drama within the historical genre.

How do directors strike a balance between historical precision and cinematic entertainment in historical Bollywood films?
Bollywood filmmakers achieve a balance between historical accuracy and cinematic entertainment by conducting extensive research, collaborating with historians, and occasionally taking creative liberties. This approach ensures authenticity while enhancing the film's narrative and emotional appeal for audiences.

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About The Author

Sanchi Gupta is your ultimate Bollywood buff. She traded in her finance and HR degree for the glitz and

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Credits: IMDb
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