20 Best Ram Gopal Varma Movies And Where To Watch Them

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Ram Gopal Varma (or RGV as he’s popularly known) might be regarded as an eccentric today, thanks to his unpredictable Twitter banter or his foray into absurd projects like low-budget erotica. But what’s undeniable, or rather unbelievable for today’s generation, is that RGV was a cinematic auteur in his own right with the writer and director dominantly shaping the crime, noir, thriller (and to an extent, horror) genres in Bollywood and South Indian cinema for a good part of 1990s and the 2000s.

And let’s not forget without RGV, Bollywood wouldn’t have been blessed with cinematic talents like writer-director Anurag Kashyap (who famously worked as a co-writer on Satya) and actors Manoj Bajpayee and Urmila Matondkar. Here’s a look at RGV’s best movies and where to watch them.

RGV: A Master of Crime

Varma burst onto the scene in the early 1990s with the critically acclaimed film Shiva (which you can stream in both Telugu and Hindi). Starring Nagarjuna as the eponymous college rowdy, this gritty, realistic portrayal of college politics marked a departure from the typical romantic dramas that dominated Bollywood at the time. Varma's raw and unfiltered storytelling style immediately set him apart, earning him both praise and criticism.

One of Varma's most noteworthy contributions to Bollywood is his groundbreaking work in the crime genre. Films like the criminal underdog story Satya and the Dawood Ibrahim-influenced gangster drama Company were instrumental in introducing a new, edgier narrative style that focused on the dark underbelly of society. The use of unconventional camera angles, intense character studies, and a stark portrayal of urban realities distinguished Varma's films from the mainstream.

Politics plays an equally integral role in most of his crime thrillers with Varma not afraid to put the finger on the authorities and bureaucracy to justify the actions of his morally gray gangster protagonists. Some more Varma crime classics to stream include the cop drama Shool and his Godfather remake Sarkar.

RGV: Dated but influential Horror veteran

When it comes to horror movies, RGV’s best horror movies to watch include Bhoot, Raat, Darna Zaroori Hai, and Phoonk. These would seem laughable in today’s standards with some forced jumpscares and overly melodramatic performances but remain influential in Indian horror’s formative stage.

But that doesn’t mean that Varma didn’t know how to build up atmospheric tension. Some of his horrors, in fact, are boosted further with his regular collaborator Urmila Matondkar’s spine-chilling acting. A case in point is the criminally underrated Kaun, a home invasion thriller that stars Matondkar as a paranoid woman trapped in her mansion on a rainy evening.

Recent Career Inconsistency

With his disastrous Sholay remake (Aag) and strange forays into pornographic movies, RGV is subjected to much ridicule. His career might have indeed been more inconsistent over the years but this doesn’t mean that he has lost his touch. Some 2010s RGV movies to watch include the two-part gangster thriller Rakta Charitra  and the historical fiction The Attacks of 26/11.

Why is Satya Ram Gopal Varma’s best movie?

Satya subverted the tropes of an average Indian crime thriller and made the genre darker and more realistic than ever. Delving into the struggles of small-town immigrants in Mumbai and the inner workings of the metropolitan city’s underworld, RGV and Kashyap’s quotable screenplay was coupled with some career-making performances by JD Chakravarthy as the titular character and Manoj Bajpayee playing his criminal ally Bhiku Matre. For anyone into 90s-era Indian cinema, Satya remains an all-time classic.

Where can you stream Ram Gopal Varma’s filmography?

You can watch Ram Gopal Varma’s movies on Netflix, Prime Video, Eros Now, and various other OTT platforms.

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  1. Satya

    Satya

    1998

    IMDB 8.3 (16k)

    #1

    A young man named Satya comes to Mumbai from South India in search of a job. Jailed for something he did not do, the once-honest young man meets an underworld boss, Bhiku Mhatre in jail and joins his gang.

  2. Shiva

    Shiva

    1990

    IMDB 8.0 (3k)

    #2

    Shiva, a fresher at VAC College, is forced to stand up against the students' union president and a group of gangsters who have made the college environment increasingly violent.

  3. Sarkar

    Sarkar

    2005

    IMDB 7.6 (17k)

    #3

    Subhash Nagre runs a parallel government in the city where he has a cult following. When his enemies plot to murder him, his son takes charge and stands up against them.

  4. Company

    Company

    2002

    IMDB 8.0 (16k)

    #4

    Mallik is a henchman of Aslam Bhai, a Mumbai underworld kingpin. He inducts local hothead Chandu into the gang, and the two of them soon form a formidable faction within the gang, eventually displacing Aslam. As the empire grows, however, the two of them start drifting apart.

  5. Shool

    Shool

    1999

    IMDB 7.7 (3k)

    #5

    Police Inspector Samar Pratap Singh is transferred to Motihari, in the Indian state of Bihar, along with his wife, Manjari and a daughter. He is honest and diligent and these attributes sets him up against his superior - the District Superintendent of Police, as well as his subordinates and fellow officers.

  6. Drohi

    #6

    Drohi (1996) is a Telugu dubbed from Tamil drama and action film directed by veteran cinematographer P. C. Sriram. The film starts with two sincere police officers Adhi Narayanan (Kamal Hassan) and Abbas (Arjun). Abbas sends two secret vigilance officers, named Anand and Shiva on an operation called Operation Dhanush, to mingle with a terror group headed by Badri (Nasser), with the task of providing updates about the movements of the group, then later sending it back to Abbas.In an accidental encounter, Adhi happens to get the opportunity to arrest a terrorist even without being aware that the captive is none other than the Terrorist Head Badri. There is an interesting mental battle between Adhi and Badri. Threatening to bring harm to Adhi's family if kept in police custody, Badri displays his power by demonstrating how he is able to sneak in members of his group anywhere, including police protected headquarters. Adhi, afraid for his family's safety, gives in and lets Badri escape.

  7. D

    D

    2005

    IMDB 6.8 (1k)

    #7

    Deshu, a mechanic from Dubai, comes home to Mumbai, and gets embroiled in a crime by accident. The film shows his meteoric rise from common, law-abiding man to underworld kingpin.

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  8. Rakht Charitra

    Rakht Charitra

    2010

    IMDB 7.6 (4k)

    #8

    A killer bandit decides to become a politician in order to avenge deaths in his family.

  9. Raat

    Raat

    1992

    IMDB 7.1 (1k)

    #9

    The Sharma family re-locate to a semi-urban locality in a house that has a "reputation". The Sharma family consists of Mr. Sharma, his wife Shalini Sharma, only daughter Manisha Sharma or "Mini" as they affectionately call her; and their grandchild Bunty, as his parents had been killed in an accident. Strange things start happening, with a return of a dead kitten, and the brutal murder of Manisha's friend, Reshmi; an attempt to kill Mr. Sharma and Manisha's boyfriend, Deepak. What is the force behind these brutalities? Is it natural or supernatural?

  10. The Attacks of 26/11

    #10

    The real-life story of eight Pakistani terrorists, who sail to Mumbai and wage war on the populace for the next 24 hours.

  11. Rakht Charitra 2

    Rakht Charitra 2

    2010

    IMDB 6.5 (3k)

    #11

    The sequel carries forward the tale of power and revenge which exploded in Rakht Charitra 1. The rebel leader turned politician, Pratap consolidates his political base but is forced to retread the path of vengeance once again after a rival from the past, Surya Narayan Reddy chooses to avenge the assassination of his family. Surya swears vengeance against Pratap after his family is wiped out in a bomb attack and Pratap is hell bent on decimating his enemy, even if it means separating ways with his mentor and political veteran, Shivaji.

  12. Rangeela

    Rangeela

    1995

    IMDB 7.4 (10k)

    #12

    A poor young woman, who dreams of Bollywood fame, is caught in a love triangle between her childhood friend and a famous actor.

  13. Rann

    Rann

    2010

    IMDB 6.9 (2k)

    #13

    The revered chief of a news agency tries to maintain journalistic integrity as his bureau and a rival agency vie for viewers following a terrorist attack.

  14. Bhoot

    Bhoot

    2003

    IMDB 6.4 (4k)

    #14

    A Mumbai businessman and his wife are looking for a new flat. Apartment 1201 has been vacant since its previous occupant jumped to her death. Undeterred, the couple still decides to move in, but before long, the wife starts to have visions.

  15. Phoonk 2

    Phoonk 2

    2010

    IMDB 3.1

    #15

    While on vacation, children and their father are terrorized by their mother and wife respectively.

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  16. Veerappan

    Veerappan

    2016

    IMDB 5.3

    #16

    The journey of the world's most notorious sandalwood and ivory smuggler, Veerappan who was finally captured on October 18, 2004.

  17. Gaayam

    Gaayam

    1993

    IMDB 7.5

    #17

    Durga is in love with Anith; he is all set to marry her and settle down in life. But things change when his brother Mohanakrishna is killed by a rival gang supported by Gurunarayana, the local MLA. Durga wants to settle the scores with the rival gand and in turn becomes a gangster. But Anitha does not approve of his ways and leaves him to marry a cop. Their paths cross again when the cop is posted to the same city where Durga is a leading gangster.

  18. Darna Zaroori Hai

    Darna Zaroori Hai

    2006

    IMDB 5.5 (2k)

    #18

    Five children enter a haunted house and find an old woman. She promises to tell them six scary stories that they won't be able to handle.

  19. Antam

    Antam

    1992

    IMDB 6.1

    #19

    Raghav, an orphan, is a contract killer. When he falls for Bhavna, he hides the fact as he fears rejection; coincidentally, Bhavna's brother, a police officer, is investigating a murder committed by Raghav.

  20. Daud

    Daud

    1997

    IMDB 5.9 (1k)

    #20

    A notorious gangster asks a career thief by the name of Nandu to steal a package worth over one crore rupees for a fee.