There is no film industry more colourful in India than the Telugu one — Tollywood, for the uninitiated. It is home to the most extravagant of masala movies. Aside from global hits like Bahubali and RRR, Tollywood is known for its commercial potboilers. Even while churning over-the-top mass entertainers, Telugu cinema also has space for some sensible middle-ground movies. In a sense, Telugu cinema is difficult to slot between convenient brackets. 

Here’s a quick list of the 7 best Telugu movies on Netflix now. As we said, they represent a kaleidoscope of ideas and genres. 

Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo

Genre: Masala

Among the best Telugu masala movies, it made the rest of India look up to Tollywood with new-found confidence. Directed by Trivikram Srinivas, this Allu- Arjun-headlined movie contains every aspect of mainstream films in agreeable nuggets — fights, dance, romance, music, comedy, family sentiments, and everything in between. This commercially successful film had the comely Pooja Hegde as the heroine. The cast members include Tabu, Jayaram, Sushanth, Nivetha Pethuraj, Murali Sharma, Samuthirakani, Navdeep, Sunil, Sachin Khedekar.

Cinema Bandi

Genre: Slice of life drama

Produced by Raj & DK of The Family Man fame, the film celebrates the spirit of making movies. Director Praveen Kandregula and writers Vasanth Maringanti and Krishna Pratyusha present an endearing story of a motley group of villagers who know nothing of the intricacies of filmmaking but give it their all to make a film.

The story is centred on an autorickshaw driver who earns enough just to make ends meet. When he gets his hands on a high-end camera that gets left behind in his auto, he dreams of shooting a movie with it in his village. The film is a heartfelt tribute to independent cinema, usually made with all heart. The cast includes Vikas Vasistha, Rag Mayur, Sandeep Varanasi and Uma.


Genre: Fantasy Action

This film catapulted SS Rajamouli to the national limelight before Bahubali happened. The cute little love and revenge story subverts the popular masala genre with an inventive idea. The villain is delivered his comeuppance by, wait for it, a housefly.

The story, narrated as a bedtime story, has the hero, who is in love with his neighbour, murdered by a wealthy industrialist. The latter, too, covets the same woman. The hero reincarnates as a housefly and finishes off the villain. This simple story is told with what is now Rajamouli flourish and fun. Nani, Kichcha Sudeep and Samantha headline the film. A real rollicking entertainer.


Genre: Action

The film showcases the 2008 Mumbai attacks martyr Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s fascination for the uniform, how he joins the army, gets a call to save civilians during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and sacrificed his life and makes his country proud. Adivi Sesh plays Major Sandeep, and Saiee Manjrekar plays his wife. Simple, straight forward and moving is the film. Sashi Kiran Tikka directs the film and features Prakash Raj, Sobhita Dhulipala, Revathi, Murali Sharma, and Anish Kuruvilla.

Most Eligible Bachelor

Genre: Romance

A young man ticks all the boxes to qualify as the most eligible bachelor. Or so he and those in his family think. But there is a reality check waiting in the form of a young woman standup comic. The young man woos her, but she has some general ideas about marriage and life.  Directed by ‘Bommarillu’ Bhaskar, the film has a little bit of everything – romance, comedy, fights. It stars Akhil Akkineni and Pooja Hegde in the leads. A sweet, breezy entertainer that doesn’t tax you in any manner.

Ante Sundaraniki

Genre: Rom-com

Vivek Athreya’s Ante Sundaraniki is filled with quirky yet relatable characters and offers plenty of laughter as you watch the film with a goofy grin. This fun film also offers social commentary, especially about caste and religious equations. The story is ages-old. Two childhood friends belonging to different religions fall for each other. The only issue is, will their conservative families agree to their marriage? This simple tale is turned into a rollicking comedy thanks to some smart comic treatment. Nani and Nazriya steal the show as the leads.

Shyam Singha Roy

Genre: Period Romance

A young up-and-coming filmmaker is caught in plagiarism trouble. And he sets out to find a solution. The only problem here is that the solution is in the past. Directed by Rahul Sankrityan, the film is partly set in the Kolkata of the 1970s. Based on the theme of reincarnation, the story stars Nani in a dual role. Sai Pallavi, Krithi Shetty, Madonna Sebastian, Rahul Ravindran, Abhinav Gomatam, Jisshu Sengupta, Murali Sharma and Manish Wadhwa are also in the cast of this gritty romantic movie.

Balakumar Kuppuswamy
Balakumar Kuppuswamy

An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.


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