What are the best drama movies on Disney+ Hotstar? The 22 titles below are a mix of dramas, comedy-dramas, and period dramas. They star actors such as Shabana Azmi, Mohanlal, Richa Chadda, Vicky Kaushal, Shweta Tripathi, Mammootty, Robin Williams, Drew Barrymore, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Mark Ruffalo, Lupita Nyong’o, Laura Dern, Elizabeth Debicki, Claire Danes, and Willem Dafoe. And they come from directors in Neeraj Ghaywan, Shyam Benegal, Anwar Rasheed Theodore Melfi, Kevin Macdonald, Ryan Murphy, Wes Anderson, and Mira Nair. A “⭐” marks an editors’ choice.
You might find more drama movies in our list of best movies. If you’re looking for even more movies on Disney+ Hotstar, we’ve recommendations for some select other genres as well that you should check out. We also have similar articles for best drama movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
- Ankur (1974)
In writer-director Shyam Benegal’s feature-length directorial debut, a child-desiring Dalit woman (Shabana Azmi) married to a deaf-mute alcoholic potter is seduced by the village landlord’s son (Anant Nag), which causes personal and societal problems. Free to watch.
- Dead Poets Society (1989)
An unconventional English teacher (Robin Williams) at an elite conservative boarding school in 1959 inspires his students (Ethan Hawke among them) by his free-thinking approach to both poetry and life. Helped popularise the Latin phrase “carpe diem”, meaning seize the day.
- Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu (2016)
In this Kannada-language film, an Alzheimer’s-afflicted widower (Anant Nag) goes missing from the old-age home, prompting his career-driven son to hit pause, as he finds out about his dad’s past as he tries to find him. Free to watch.
- Grey Gardens (2009)
The life of socialite and fashion model Edith Bouvier Beale (Drew Barrymore) and her mother (Jessica Lange) — cousin and aunt to future US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy — from her 1936 debut to the filming of the 1975 eponymous documentary. Won six Emmys, including one for Lange.
- The Hate U Give (2018)
A black teenager who belongs to a poor neighbourhood but attends a prestigious school finds her world crumbling after she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer.
- Hidden Figures (2016)
The real-life story of a team of gifted and talented female African-American mathematicians (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe) at NASA who played a vital role in the early years of the Space Race while dealing with sexism and racism from their co-workers.
- Kaaka Muttai (2014)
Two kids from the slums of Chennai do everything to get their hands on a slice of pizza after being tempted by a television commercial in this Tamil-language comedy-drama. Debutante M. Manikandan writes, directs, and shoots. Free to watch.
- Kammattipaadam (2016)
Centred on the eponymous slum in the Indian city of Kochi, a Malayalam-language look at how urbanisation and real estate mafias have compounded the problems faced by the Dalit community from ‘80s to present day. Free to watch.
- Kireedam (1989)
An honest cop’s son (Mohanlal) finds himself on a slippery slope after defending his father (Thilakan) from a local mobster in this Malayalam-language drama. Sibi Malayil directs. Free to watch.
- The Last King of Scotland (2006)
Based on Giles Foden’s novel of the same name, which weaves in a fictitious young Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) as a personal physician to depict life under brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) during the 1970s.
- Masaan (2015)⭐
Neeraj Ghaywan ventures into the heartland of India to explore the life of four people in his directorial debut, all of whom must battle issues of caste, culture and norms. Winner of a National Award and the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes. Free to watch.
- Mukti Bhawan (2016)
This National Award-winning film follows a son forced to set aside his job and accompany his elderly father to the ghats of Varanasi, where the latter hopes to attain salvation.
- The Normal Heart (2014)
Mark Ruffalo plays an openly gay New York writer who is pulled into the early fear-mongering days of the HIV-AIDS crisis in the early eighties, and whose fearless activism faces pushback from his close ones.
- Pathemari (2015)
Spanning several decades from the sixties to present day, a man (Mammootty) illegally migrates to Dubai to build a better life but vows to return one day to his Kerala home. Noted for the lead’s performance. Free to watch.
- Queen of Katwe (2016)
The true story of a Ugandan girl living in a slum who learns to play chess and goes on to win at World Chess Olympiads. Lupita Nyong’o stars and Mira Nair directs.
- The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Wes Anderson drew on the works of J.D. Salinger, Orson Welles, and Louis Malle for this absurdist tale of three gifted siblings (Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Gwyneth Paltrow) who reunite unexpectedly two decades later after their father fakes a terminal illness to win over his wife and adult children.
- Sugar (2008)
The Captain Marvel directors made their duo-directorial debut with this tale of a 19-year-old Dominican who immigrates to the United States of America to play minor league baseball and support his impoverished family back home but struggles with language and cultural barriers.
- The Tale (2018)⭐
A documentary filmmaker (Laura Dern) starts to question her pre-teen relationship with two adults — her horse-riding instructor (Elizabeth Debicki) and running coach (Jason Ritter) — after coming across an essay she wrote back then.
- Temple Grandin (2010)
The eponymous autistic girl (Claire Danes) rises above the medical restrictions imposed on her and improves the world of animal husbandry through her humane innovations in this biopic.
- Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum (2017)
A newly married inter-caste couple is preparing to start a new life away from their families, but things take a turn for the worse after a thief steals the one thing of value they have: a gold chain. The second Malayalam-language feature from Maheshinte Prathikaram director Dileesh Pothan. Free to watch.
- Togo (2019)
Based on a true story from 1925, the titular Siberian Husky dog is the star of this heart-warming drama as he, despite being considered small and weak, helps his musher-owner Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe) deliver an antitoxin serum through a thousand kilometres of harsh winter. A Disney+ original.
- Ustad Hotel (2012)
Winner of three National Awards, this Malayalam-language drama looks at class, privilege, and food through the story of a chef from a well-off family who returns to his hometown to work with his grandfather, after being disowned by his father. Free to watch.