if you’ve spent enough of the last couple of weekends watching romcoms and comedies, you could do with a change. Hopefully, you’ve finished all the underrated films and lesser-known comedies we’ve already told you about, so it’s time for something darker now. Enter psychological thrillers! Think you can watch all these?
1. Karthik Calling Karthik
For the sheer thrill of when you realise that the person on the other end of the phone call is none other than you! A frustrated and introverted Karthik starts getting early morning phone calls from someone who calls himself, well, Karthik! His voice is so assertive that it completely changes Karthik’s life. Is the person calling his alter ego or is he schizophrenic? Don’t miss it!
I would include it on the list of top five Bollywood thrillers. The film is one of both, Urmila Matondkar and RGV’s, best films. A girl is alone at home waiting for her family to return. Just when the door bell rings, and she thinks it’s her parents, enters a strange man. Everything turns upside down by the time of the climax. With only three characters, one house and one night as the entire setting, the film sent chills down everyone’s spine. Well, there was a kitten too!
A suspense thriller woven around a murder mystery. The love triangle culminates in the murder of its lead actor Sahil’s father, with Sahil himself being charged for the killing. Its climax left everyone shocked, when the real antagonist was revealed.
The film with an unconventional plot stars stalwarts Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Amol Palekar. When mysterious murders begin to take place on the sets of a Bollywood movie, nobody knows who is doing it, until the end.
Split personality disorder and how a murder convict uses it as a defence in his case, is the plot of this film. But he was also an obsessive lover, a sign of a psychological disturbance. The movie was inspired by Hollywood film Primal Fear which starred Richard Gere.
A violent love story that laid the foundation of SRK’s career. It was fresh and frightening! Shah Rukh played an evil person wrapped up in an unassuming boy-next-door look. Yash Chopra places the psychotic obsessive lover between a couple, adds some memorable songs and serves a psychological thriller that continues to stand the test of time. The climax was inspired by Hollywood film Cape Fear.
7. No Smoking
The deep surreal film is a rare psychological thriller that keeps you hooked. The story follows a self-obsessed, narcissist chain smoker who agrees to let go of his habit to save his marriage. He thus visits a rehabilitation centre but gets caught in a complex game by the man who guarantees he will make him quit smoking. We forgive you if you didn’t understand the film. You need to watch it again.
While on a visit to India, NRI doctor Aamir realises his family is missing and he has been set up by terrorists to plant a bomb. His refusal to comply would mean the death of his family. Does he carry out the instructions given by the man on the other end of the phone? Rajeev Khandelwal wins it with his brilliant act.
9. A Wednesday
An about-to-retire police commissioner recounts the most memorable case of his career wherein he was informed about a bomb scare in Mumbai, as the sequence of events unfolded on a particular Wednesday between 2 pm and 6 pm. They do not exist in any written record, only in his mind and in those who were involved. Hollywood’s A Common Man is its official remake starring Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross.
10. Woh Kaun Thi
It was one of the initial films that brought thrillers into Bollywood. One stormy night, a young doctor offers a ride to a woman and inexplicable things start happening. Later, he discovers the mysterious lady as his intended bride. It is the first of the famous thriller trilogy by Raj Khosla, starring Manoj Kumar, Sadhana, Prem Chopra and Helen. Don’t we still love“Lag ja gale ke phir yeh” even if it was lip-synced by a supposed ghost?
11. 100 Days
A missing dead body, a magazine with a horse on its cover, a video cassette and a skeleton… This one will force you to feel your heartbeat and adrenaline rushing. It begins when a woman with extrasensory perception sees flashes of her sister’s murder, thus kicking off a series of mysterious events towards finding the killer.
We don’t call Akshay Khiladi Kumar for no reason. He proved his mettle in his debut and very first film in the Khiladi series. What begins as a college romance flick, soon turns into a dreaded suspense thriller where whatever meets the eye is way different from reality. A must watch!
13. Ek Hasina Thi
A couple’s whirlwind romance turns sour when the girl is framed and convicted for the underworld crimes of a mysterious businessman. Finally out of prison, she sets out on the journey of sweet revenge. Solid acting from both Urmila and Saif Ali Khan. But a gruesome climax!
A police officer discovers that the culprit of a series of child abduction cases is a religious fanatic, who believes in child sacrifice. She seeks the help of a convict to track him down. Said to be inspired by The Silence of the Lambs, its climax was gripping, and featured little Alia as one of the villain’s targets.
15. Agni Sakshi
Suraj and Shivangi are a happily married couple. They sing and dance, until one day a man approaches them, and claims that Shivangi is his wife, Madhu. This one was based on Sleeping With The Enemy. Nana Patekar, who received a National Award for this film, was too scary and his act will send shivers down your spine.
The car accident of a well-known actor opens up a mysterious trail of events that happened three years back involving three friends and a call girl. As Inspector Shekhawat is out solving the case layer by layer, he also copes with his own marriage falling apart ever since the death of his son. The catch is Rosie, who helps him in the case, but is only visible to him!
17. Mera Saya
The second film in the trilogy by Raj Khosla, begins with the death of Geeta. At the funeral, her lawyer husband Rakesh is informed by police that a woman named Sunaina has been detained. But she claims that she isn’t Sunaina, but Geeta. Well, she looks like Geeta! To prove her identity, the woman narrates incidents that only a wife is supposed to know! Is she Geeta or just a crook trying to acquire Rakesh’s wealth?
The awesome thriller revolves around a pregnant lady out on the search of her missing husband in Kolkata, with the help of a police officer. But everyone she questions denies having ever met her husband. As she walks deeper into the bylanes of the festive city, hidden truths around the city’s crime and mystery begin to open up. It has one of the best climaxes of recent times.
19. Ek Ruka Hua Faisla
A remake of American motion picture 12 Angry Men, it shows twelve male members of a jury who have gathered to deliberate their decision on a charge of murder against a young man who has been accused of killing his elderly father. All of the jury except one, are convinced of this man’s guilt, and they try to convince their colleague to join them in the unanimous decision.
Action begins when a 10-year-old girl gets kidnapped while she is out with her father, an aspiring actor. Her parents are divorced and her stepfather, who is a cop, steps in for the investigation. As the investigation proceeds, the characters are placed in sordid scenarios that reveal their unsavory sides. Everyone seems to have an ulterior motive, as they get greedy and ugly, not caring about the girl.
Eight people win a contest and a trip to an island in a chartered plane, only to be abandoned there. They find an eerie mansion with a strange butler. But as soon as they settle there, the guests begin to get murdered one after the other. The film’s songs and background score have been used in several Hollywood projects. One of Bollywood’s cult thrillers.
Professor Anirudh believes that things that don’t have a scientific explanation do not exist. Unusual events begin to happen in one of the rooms of his medical institute, which is rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of a student who committed suicide there. Anirudh doesn’t believe this. Despite evidence suggesting a rational explanation to the physical events, the movie closes open-endedly, leaving a supernatural explanation for the audience.
23. Bhool Bhulaiyaa
An NRI and his wife come to stay in his ancestral home, despite being warned about the existence of ghosts in the haveli. Soon, inexplicable events begin to occur forcing him to call a psychiatrist to solve the mystery. What is revealed is that his wife suffered from dissociative identity disorder. We’ll never forget Vidya Balan as Manjulika and her climax dance!
This psychological thriller was inspired by critically acclaimed Hollywood movieMemento. Aamir Khan, despite suffering from short-term memory loss, is on a relentless mission to find and take revenge for the murder of his love. His rage makes his cat-and-mouse game dangerous for anyone who crosses his path.
This is the story of a school drop-out but intelligent man who believes in justice and honesty. When a dark incident threatens to ruin his family, he takes desperate measures to save his family from the dark side of the law, after they commit an unexpected crime. It is one of the smartest thrillers in recent times.
Do make time and watch these films when you can. They will surely leave you on the edge of your seat.