Chitrangada’s Favourites in Indian Cinema

It is difficult to pick favourites from an ocean of treasures, but she has done it for you – actress Chitrangada Satarupa has listed down twelve of her favourite Indian films of all time, which have left the strongest impact on her.


Year: 1963

Director: Satyajit Ray

Language: Bengali

‘I might be guilty of including too many of Ray’s works on this list, but who can blame me? This one is revolutionary, but in a very subtle way. At a time when films with female protagonists were few in number, this masterpiece made the trend stronger. It’s the ultimate feminist classic which also normalised the idea of “she for she”. Arati’s journey as a woman left a huge impact on me. I wouldn’t have known that powerful feminist storytelling could be so inspiring for a little girl if I hadn’t watched Mahanagar as a child.’

Watch On: Zee5, YouTube


Year: 1966

Director: Satyajit Ray

Language: Bengali

‘A must watch for every cinema lover. A wonderful portrayal of a successful protagonist with grey shades and his introspection. The film is so contemporary that it can fit into today’s timeline smoothly.’

Watch On: Zee5, YouTube

Jana Aranya

Year: 1976

Director: Satyajit Ray

Language: Bengali

‘I feel this is one of the most underrated and raw films of Ray. He presented the naked truth of urban life on the big screen with a fleshed-out grey protagonist. It’s real, unapologetic and once again, stays relevant today.

Watch On: YouTube

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro

Year: 1983

Director: Kundan Shah

Language: Hindi

‘I’m glad I watched it late and hence enjoyed the satirical narrative better.This one as well is much-relatable, given the current socio-political state of the country. The dialogues and moments filled with dark humour are absolutely priceless.Satish Kaushik and Naseeruddin Shah’s famous phone call scene not only takes the cake but stays as just another showcase of their brilliance.’

Watch On: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube


Year: 1985

Director: Utpalendu Chakrabarty

Language: Hindi

‘A hidden gem in the history of Indian cinema which wonderfully portrayed the helplessness of the common man in our country, and how lack of education and awareness makes them a victim of superstitions in the name of religion. My favourite scene is the dream sequence where Smita Patil appears as a goddess.’

Watch On: Mubi India (temporary), YouTube (without subtitles)


Year: 1986

Director: Saroj Dey

Language: Bengali

‘One of the best performances of Soumitra Chatterjee. This film still gives me goosebumps. It’s real, hard-hitting and so, so inspiring.’

Watch On: Eros Now, JioCinema, Airtel XStream, YouTube

Mirch Masala

Year: 1987

Director: Ketan Mehta

Language: Hindi

‘This, too, I watched as a kid, thanks to Doordarshan. Aesthetically gorgeous frames, the usage of red, a strong narrative and an absolutely brilliant ensemble cast. This sounds like a dream project right now. Smita Patil’s stunning face and that powerhouse performance is just unforgettable.The last scene will stay with me till the end of my life. It’s a statement that is unbreakable.’

Watch On: Mubi India (temporary), YouTube (without subtitles)

Paromitar Ekdin

Year: 2000

Director: Aparna Sen

Language: Bengali

‘I have seen this film multiple times thanks to those Sunday afternoon film sessions on Bengali channels. For me, this is one of the nearly perfect films which has played a crucial role in my growing up. The subtle nuances of a North-Calcutta Bengali household, the camaraderie between the mother-in-law and Paromita, the smooth shuffle between the past and the present, the spectacular performances of the actors (especially Aparna Sen herself) and the beautiful use of Rabindrasangeet makes the film a wholesome experience. My favourite scene is when Sanaka gets to know about her husband’s death and she keeps chewing the fish bones. That speaks volumes about the gender disparity, desires and journeys of women in traditional Bengali families of North Calcutta.’

Watch On: Amazon Prime Video, Mubi India (temporary), YouTube (without subtitles)

Rang De Basanti

Year: 2006

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

Language: Hindi

‘As a teenager, this film changed my perspective towards Bollywood films. The fabulous stitching of the history with the present India was just amazing. The film is quite a statement in itself. I doubt a subject like this would have released in today’s India without any hassle. I’m not in favour of the extremist approach of the protagonists, but I did strongly feel what they felt. It moved me to the core. Great music, beautiful cinematography and the genuine spirit of the narrative. It’s an all-time favourite.’

Watch On: Netflix, YouTube (without subtitles)

The Lunchbox

Year: 2013

Director: Ritesh Batra

Language: Hindi

‘Another film which feels close to perfect. The existence of romance in the mundane, hope in hopelessness, and the magic of accidental bondings- these are my takeaways from the film. Irrfan Khan is absolutely wonderful and makes the film even more magical. Nimrat Kaur is beautiful and lived the character to the T. The performances are so neat and on point, not to forget Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s brilliant portrayal of the lonely, innocent, yet over-enthusiastic, joyful Shaikh.’

Watch On: Netflix


Year: 2014

Director: Chaitanya Tamhane

Language: Marathi

‘One of the most honest films of recent times. The best thing about this film is its neutral perspective. It presented the society and class distinction as it is, without taking sides, giving the audience the space to introspect and decide the truth.’

Watch On: YouTube

Kumbalangi Nights

Year: 2019

Director: Madhu C. Narayanan

Language: Malayalam

‘From all the recent films I have seen, this is my absolute favourite. I have watched it some four times because I loved it so much, and have literally made people watch it. The way the story takes its turns is unpredictable yet so soothingly smooth. Exactly like a river stream. The beautiful music adds to the charm of the whole film. The characters are believable and most importantly, human. This one reminded me that mainstream films can be entertaining without compromising on the realism and authenticity of the characters.’

Watch On: Amazon Prime Video

Chitrangada Satarupa is an Indian actor who first emerged on the scene as Mrinmoyee in Anurag Basu’s Netflix series ‘Stories by Rabindranath Tagore’. Since then, she has been known and appreciated for her work in several films including ‘Tikli & Laxmi Bomb’ and ‘Ahare Mon’.

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