We can’t think of Bollywood cinema without colourfully choreographed song – dance sequences that sometimes become more popular than the movies themselves. We have a rich lineage of songs that beautifully complement our movies so much so that over many years it has become an essential ingredient. We have plenty of songs to reflect the right sentiment based on what the situation in the movie is; songs of love, patriotism, joy, sorrow, pain, anger, motivation and other shades of human emotions in permutations and combinations.

With the power to make or break a film, do movies succeed when this important element is pushed to the backseat or weeded out of the equation altogether?  Are these all offbeat or alternative films? Pandolin finds out:



Released in 1999, this movie gets you fully centred on the plot so much so that you don’t realise that the film is missing what is integral to Bollywood. Moving within the plot, all you can think of is what will happen next. It smoothly avoids situations that might make a good moment for a song. Ram Gopal Varma who is known for his unconventional methods lets the background score take the movie to the same place as the visuals do.


This Rajesh Khanna-Nanda starrer is a story told over the course of a stormy night with no songs. A remake of the British film Signpost to Murder, this was one of the first movies in Bollywood to have stayed away from songs. This was a semi-hit thirller with a simple but strong storyline and fine performances. The core of the film lies within the complexities of two characters that are drawn together through their imperfections. With well-defined roles, great camera work, lighting and design, the movie fullfils its purpose.



 With no songs in the narrative, Kanoon essentially debates and discusses the heavy topic of capital punishment. A very significant movie of its time, starring Ashok Kumar, Rajendra Kumar and Nanda, it reflects the inadequacies of the court of law. Exploring a dark and heavy subject like capital punishment and the justice system with a jaw-dropping climax, the movie has a series of spectacular scenes leaving no space songs per se.

A Wednesday

A Wednesday

Not one of the typical masala movie mixes, A Wednesday works with the plot of a man calling up the Mumbai Police telling them he has planted bombs in different places in the city that will all go off at the same time. He wants four terrorists in exchange. Although terrorism forms the wallpaper for the film, it’s about the plight of a common man. With remarkable performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher, this movie sails smoothly through the gripping plot line with no songs.

Being Cyrus

Being Cyrus Still

Directed by Homi Adajania, an intriguing story plot filled with mystery and suspense this movie required no songs to create an impact. It was quirky, filled with moments of anticipation and a range of other emotions that swept up with the movement of the film. Saif Ali Khan’s performance perfectly blending into the character of Cyrus Mistry, this one was definitely genre bending.



A brilliantly adapted Mahabharata into the rivalry between two business families starring Rekha, Shashi Kapoor and Raj Babbar, this film brings out the essence of Indian cinema. Kalyug that means the age of discord literally portrays the trauma and the evil of this age. Directed by Shyam Benegal, his interpretation of Mahabharata is well-crafted, beautifully portayed with perfect acting. The film stands tall without any songs.


Bhoot 2

Among other firsts, this film also set the trend of having just a promotional song for the trailer with no songs in the movie. Many would remember watching this on a big screen and sometimes screaming when the scene became really intense, with no warning before something grotesque was flung on you. It made you sit on the edge of your seat in the movie hall and then had the fear follow you around for weeks after you left the theatre.