Best Movies of 2009, Ranked

This is a really hard year to pick the best films! And I’m not even sure of my choices, so please leap in with comments if you disagree.


Maybe this is slightly my prejudice because it is my favorite movie on this list. But the songs are beautiful, the performances are phenomenal top to bottom, and it is a plot that is both complex (plots and counter plots) and simple (two brothers are separated). It’s the only 2009 movie that literally took my breath away when I watched it.

3 Idiots

I don’t think this movie is as deep as the others on this list. But it is ambitious, and it lived up to its ambitions. Plus it combined comedy and romance and tragedy in the best masala tradition.


The best modern Devdas adaptation, perfectly tells the story start to finish. The only reason I am putting it third instead of first or second is that the ambitions are so small, it just wants to tell the Devdas story and nothing else.

Luck By Chance

Very very complex, and perfectly made. In any other year, this would be the best film of the year. But it doesn’t have the searing pain of Kaminey, or the ambition of 3 Idiots, or the resonance of a Devdas adaptation. So I am putting it 4th, although it kills me.

Wake Up Sid

A perfectly little romance crossed with a coming of age story. A gem of a movie. But such a small story, can it compete with the sweep of 3 Idiots and Kaminey and Luck By Chance, or the historical resonance of Dev.D?

Delhi 6

This would be the best movie of the year, if Mehra had nailed the landing. But that ending is just a disaster, and makes the whole film suddenly weak.

Okay, tell me how I am wrong!


7 thoughts on “Best Movies of 2009, Ranked

  1. I want to argue but I keep coming back around to the same. Mostly I don’t know what to do with 3 Idiots. Take that one out and I agree with no compunctions. Maybe I have to go look at it again. I definitely wouldn’t put it above Kaminey. Some days I might put it below Dev.D or even Luck By Chance, but other days I appreciate how fun and whacky it gets (I’ve never gotten over the birth scene with the vacuum cleaner) and I do like the ending. Hmm….


    • I don’t know what to do with 3 Idiots either! Looking at this list, 2009 was the year of small new directors and actors doing intelligent character driven films. And also 3 Idiots.

      On Fri, Nov 29, 2019 at 7:04 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I skim watched it last night. I’ve seen it about three times so far, at different points in my learning more context, and with different groups of people. It’s one I’ve started to enjoy less as time goes on, even though I like all the main actors. (Might even be one of my favorite Kareena characters.) One of the comments earlier this week pointed to the sophomoric college dude factor, and this was the first time I realized almost the whole film is set at the college, until the last half hour. Anyway, I’ve decided to put it after Dev.D because Rancho, Aamir’s character, basically doesn’t change at all from beginning to end. (Which made me ponder whether this might be a common feature of Aamir’s social message films, but still thinking on that.) Not sure still whether I’d put it before or after Luck by Chance. LBC has a lot of great bits and character evolution, but it feels more fragmented?


        • Personally, I think an unchanging Aamir character is a mark of his newer films. His character has to be perfect and wise and give the message of the movie. But if he is perfect and wise, he can’t change. His situation can change, but not himself. With the usual exception of Talaash.

          On Sat, Nov 30, 2019 at 1:46 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • It’s part of the whole superficial life/social lessons issue with his movies. Same thing with the dumb Akshay movies, if they are going to be mansplaining the whole time, they need to be perfect to justify their right to mansplain.

            On Sat, Nov 30, 2019 at 9:03 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



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