Imtiaz Ali is a legendary filmmaker who has given us some of the best and some of the weirdest movies Bollywood has seen. At his best, his movies are pure magic, with each and every element coming together seamlessly and beautifully. At his worst, his movies are confusing and seem to have no beginning, middle or end. But irrespective of whether they’re amazing or terrible, they are an experience worth having.
Here are Imtiaz Ali’s Movies, ranked from Swarg Lok to Pataal Lok-
Jab We met
Jab We Met is a phenomenal movie. This Shahid-Kareena Starrer will leave you feeling warm hearted and mentally supported. Jab We Met is an unconventional love story between Aditya, a depressed, broken hearted man who on the surface has it all, but is empty on the inside and Geet, a bubbly, happy go lucky Punjabi ‘kudi’ who lives life in the moment. They’re opposites in every way, but yet they complement each other. Kareena Kapoor Khan was made for the role of Geet and she embodied it like a champion. Shahid Kapur as the mysterious, brooding no-nonsense Aditya was perfect in every way. Plus their chemistry was undeniable. The movie is funny, eccentric and on some level, rather relatable. Jab we met is certainly Imtiaz Ali’s best movie.
While many believe this movie is the absolute best Imtiaz Ali movie, we’ve placed it at a close second. Rockstar tells the tale of well… a Rockstar. It’s a beautiful movie that narrates the journey of how Janardhan went from a naive, gullible, boy to a JJ, a distraught, hurt, but passionate musician. It selves deep into his mental health and how, despite being on the pinnacle of success, he’s broken and lonely on the inside. Ranbir Kapoor is absolutely brilliant as JJ and many believe it to be one of his best performances. Rockstar is a film that will have you hooked from the very start, and it’s probably one of the best films in Bollywood.
After SOTY, Alia Bhatt starred in Highway and proved that she was more than just another ‘star kid’. Highway is a unique story about Veera, a protected, wealthy girl who gets kidnapped by Mahabir. However, instead of fearing him, she falls for him. It’s classic Stockholm Syndrome. Highway is an eye opener in many ways. It speaks about molestation, freedom, mental health and upper class hypocrisy in an impactful way. Randeep Hooda as the laconic, hard-hearted and brooding Mahabir will melt your heart. Highway is a movie worth watching much more than once, and ranks third on our list.
socha na tha
Socha Na Tha was Imtiaz Ali’s debut into Bollywood as a director and story teller, and it paved the way for him to be who he is today. The movie follows a complicated love triangle between Viren, played by Abhay Deol, Aditi played by Ayesha Takia and Karen, played by Apoorva Mehta. Viren and Aditi are set to be fixed in arranged marriage, but Viren refuses as he wants to marry his long time girlfriend, Karen. Hilarity, confusion and heartbreak, emerge as the 3 of them try to navigate their way through societal pressure and image. Socha Na Tha doesn’t glorify romance, but depicts it as it is. It’s a simple story told in a simple way and it’s downright amazing. Socha Na Tha may have tanked at the Box Office, but it definitely is a misunderstood movie worth watching.
Watch it on- Netflix
While some believe Tamasha to be Ali’s best, some think it’s his worst. Tamasha is about Ved, played by Ranbit Kapoor, who has borderline personality disorder which leads to extremes in his mood and behaviour, affecting his work and personal life. The movie begins with Ved and Tara, played by Deepika Padukone having an epic summer romance in Corsica. But as they both come back to reality, their relationship changes, due to Ved’s mental health. The impulsive, quirky and fearless Ved morphs into a dull, monotonous and boring Ved. The remarkable thing about Tamasha is that Imtiaz Ali portrays Ved’s mental illness in a realistic, non-stigmatic and simple way. He doesn’t give it the usual Bollywood treatment. Tamasha is very realistic and maybe that’s why it didn’t appeal to a wider audience. The movie does get convoluted in the middle and drags on. But it definitely is worth a watch.
love aaj kal
Love Aaj Kal is believed by many to be a movie ahead of its time. It narrates a parallel love story between Jai and Meera set in “AAJ” and Veer Singh and Harleen set 30 years before in “KAL”. It depicts the stark differences between two generations of love, but also depicts how despite all the changes, the power of love is still the same. Love Aaj Kal manages to be both emotional and ridiculously funny. It stars Saif Ali Khan as Jai and young Veer, Deepika Padukone as Meera, Rishi Kapoor as old Veer and Giselli Monteiro as Harleen. Love Aaj Kal jumped back and forth in time which became rather confusing for the viewers. In some parts it lacked substance and felt frivolous. However, despite its flaws, it is a unique movie, and deserves to be seen.
jab harry met sejal
Jab Harry Met Sejal was a metaphor for disaster. Despite having a strong cast comprising of Anushka Sharma and Shah Rukh Khan, the movie fell flat and HOW. Jab Harry Met Sejal was about a Sejal, a bride-to-be who loses her engagement ring in Amsterdam and enlists the help of Harry, a womanising tour guide to find it. They develop feelings for each other over the next few days, but find it hard to accept them due to their circumstances. This movie made no sense. It’s illogical, confusing and frankly, very boring. Not to mention SRK looks like Anushka’s father in the movie. Jab Harry Met Sejal is a strange movie. We cannot believe it came from the same genius behind Highway and Rockstar. Watch it if need be, but we won’t be surprised if you switch it off mid way.
Watch it on- Netflix
Love Aaj Kal 2020
This is Imtiaz Ali’s worst film till date. Love Aaj Kal 2020 emulated the original Love Aaj Kal’s narrative with 2 parallel love stories. It narrated that of Zoe and Veer in 2020 and that of Raghu and Leena in 1990. It starred Sara Ali Khan as the ambitious, career oriented and extremely annoying Zoe and Karthik Aaryan as the subdued and shy Veer. Much like it’s predecessor, Aaryan doubled as a young Raghu in 1990 who was in love with Leena, played by Arushi Kapoor. This movie was a mess. The characters were beyond annoying and personified overacting. The story had way too many time jumps and frankly made ZERO sense. Love Aaj Kal 2020 is not worth watching even once. But every great filmmaker has one grand failure, and this was Ali’s. All we hope for is that he blows us away with his sheer brilliance in the next one.
Watch it on- Netflix
Imtiaz Ali’s films are a gift to Bollywood. They’re not frilly and glorified, but realistic and heartwarming. Plus they’re shot in the most exotic locations and feature some of the best scenic roads and mountains which are a delight to watch on screen. We can’t wait to be wowed by him very soon.
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