The Most Unforgettable Films of the Last 20 Years

Here’s a lowdown of the most unforgettable movies of the last 20 years put together by Rj Stutee.

Updated31 Dec 2019, 08:05 AM IST
4 min read

Camera: Mukul Bhandari
Video Editor: Kunal Mehra

It’s that time of the year when listicles descend upon us from everywhere . ‘Top 5’ this to ‘10 Best’ that and so, we decided to go ahead and make our own list of films and cinematic moments from the last two decades that have become so much a part of our popular culture that we can’t imagine our lives without them anymore . These might not be the best films of the year, cinematically talking, but they sure are ‘sticky’ enough to resonate with us and to be a part of our collective consciousness forever.

Find below, in no particular order:

JAB WE MET (2007)

Once Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor spilt up, who would have thought they’d give us this film for keeps! Geet, the bubbly, talkative, “Koi doubt mat rakhna, sikhni hoon mai Bhatinda ki” lead, almost becoming a prototype of a typical Bollywood heroine in almost every other film that followed. “Ratlaam ki galiyaan” became memorable, trying to spot “Hotel Decent” our hobby, and not to forget the new age mantra of “Main apni favourite hoon!”


A film that made a whole generation of Indians realise how important Goa trips with dost yaar really are.

And when budget isn’t a constraint then thanks to ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARAA (2011) even Spain is just round the corner .


If you have a voice, make it count – the film had such a lasting impact on our generation that the venue of protest marches actually shifted from Jantar Mantar to India Gate, inspired by it!

For a country obsessed with cricket, DANGAL ( 2016) and CHAK DE ( 2007) reminded us that other sports need to be celebrated! The Chak De song ceased to be just another song track from a film and become almost an anthem! And the “mhari choriya choron se kam hai ke” something we won’t forget for a long, long time !

LAGAAN (2001)

We have won the T-20 World Cup and the one-day World Cup but the most memorable match is still the one that Kachra played! Be it AR Rahman’s music or the flicker of hope for an Oscar, this movie will be in our hearts forever.

For a nation obsessed with report cards and mark-sheets TAARE ZAMEEN PAR (2007) and 3 IDIOTS (2009) gave us a breather and aren’t we grateful! And thanks to Kareena Kapoor Khan’s scooter scene, the Pangong lake’s popularity shot through the roof.


Mainstream melodrama for all seasons to come !
From Poo and her nakhras to Jaya Bachchan welcoming SRK home after he steps off a chopper – you don’t ask an Indian if they have seen K3G, you ask them how many re-runs of it they have seen!


KAHO NA PYAAR HAI introduced us to Hritik Roshan and KOI MIL GAYA (2003) set us on the path to meet our first homegrown superhero! Long live the Roshan khandaan ka chirag, we say.


Anurag Kashyap gave us the baap of all gangster films, increased our gaaliyon ki vocabulary and of course, we woke up to the brilliance of Nazwazuddin Siddiqui.


It’s sad but true – it took a film to tell us that Gandhi ji’s teachings are still as valuable and a jaadu ki jhappi is a potent cure for most of the problems!


When the first film in the Tanu Weds Manu series came out, it was a massive success. From the photo-shopped-filtered-for-comfort universe of Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar, the flavour of small-town India became a recipe for success, and catapulted Kangana Ranaut as a formidable force to reckon with .

GULLY BOY (2019)

Must be credited for getting the underground rap scene of India into focus! And for giving us “apna time aayega”, the line that united most of us!

There were a few topics of national discussion in the recent past. Thanks to the Baahubali series (2015) and Andhadhun (2018) we all have been there. Discussing Katappa ne Bahubali ko kyun maara! Obsessing over the bulging biceps of Prabhas and Rana Daggubatti. And wondering if Ayushmann was really blind or pretending to be so in the climax of the movie .

Our generation has its own Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983) and it’s called HERA PHERI (2000), re- runs of it still haven’t robbed it of charm and it can easily be attributed to Babu Rao ka style!

“How’s the josh?” “Khan , Khan from the epiglottis” or Kartik aryan’s monologue. One doesn’t event have to give context to these! That’s the extent to which URI (2019), MY NAME IS KHAN (2010), PYAAR KA PUNCHNAAMA(2011) have become part of our everyday conversations.

DABANGG (2010)

Salman Khan owned Chulbul Pandey to such an extent that today we can’t separate the two! Never mind the atrociousness of the latest installment for ‘Bhai bhakts’ there is no one but Panday ji and his evergreen swag!

PINK (2016)

“No means no” Amitabh Bachchan bellowed and the nation stood in attention! Pink will remain an important film that made a powerful statement and questioned status quo!

And finally, can we really end this list without mentioning Tara Singh, his hand-pump and Hindustan Zindabaad! Sunny Deol in Gadar and his histrionics are for all seasons just like Sakina and Tara ka pyaar!

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Published: 30 Dec 2019, 03:43 PM IST
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