Six Decades of Dynamic Filmmaking in India

From projecting the Nehruvian idea of nation building and giving the rebel a cause to candyfloss romances and evolution of parallel cinemas, Bollywood has churned out thousands of films over the past six decades and has interestingly never followed a trend.

"The industry has been very dynamic. Over the past 60 years, many good films have been produced but if we talk about great films, landmark films, we don't have many. Nevertheless, we are improving and showing signs of maturity," said veteran film scholar Derek Bose.

From projecting the Nehruvian idea of nation building and giving the rebel a cause to candyfloss romances and evolution of parallel cinemas, Bollywood has churned out thousands of films over the past six decades and has interestingly never followed a trend.

"The industry has been very dynamic. Over the past 60 years, many good films have been produced but if we talk about great films, landmark films, we don't have many. Nevertheless, we are improving and showing signs of maturity," said veteran film scholar Derek Bose.

Though regional cinema has also landed many inspiring films, Bollywood has over the years become the face of Indian movies with its appeal crossing Indian borders.

Following is the list of 60 Hindi films, which we feel have shaped the film industry of today:

1. "Andaz" (1949) Director - Mehboob Khan. Cast - Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Nargis. One of the earliest films to probe the complex man-woman relationship. The film is a dramatic potboiler of India's post-independence era.

2. "Mahal" (1949). Director - Kamal Amrohi. Cast - Ashok Kumar, Madhubala. The earliest well crafted supernatural thriller produced by our film industry.

3. "Awara" (1951). Director - Raj Kapoor. Cast - Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Nargis. One of the earliest blockbusters, the film is an example of how Bollywood was experimenting with ideas to script success. It narrates the story of a woman accused of infidelity by her husband and thrown out of her home.

4. "Do Bigha Zameen" (1953). Director - Bimal Roy. Cast - Balraj Sahni, Nirupa Roy. Bimal Roy sensitively portrays this social drama by narrating the plight of oppressed and exploited peasants. Balraj's performance backed by the script and music makes this film a classic.

5. "Devdas" (1955). Director - Bimal Roy. Cast - Dilip Kumar, Suchitra Sen, Vyjanthimala. Saratchandra Chatterjee's classic tragedy was excellently adapted in this film, which narrates the story of a self-absorbed youth in search of love.

6. "Mother India" (1957). Director - Mehboob Khan. Cast - Sunil Dutt, Nargis. A gripping depiction of the condition of rural women in India, the film depicts how a woman has to fight oppression day after day.

7. "Pyaasa" (1957). Director - Guru Dutt. Cast - Guru Dutt, Mala Sinha, Waheeda Rehman. Guru Dutt was one director who was opposed to the Nehruvian idea of nation building. In this film, Dutt, narrates the story of a poet and his search for an ideal place where his sensitivity would not be looked down upon.

8. "Kaagaz Ke Phool" (1959). Director - Guru Dutt. Cast - Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman. The film portrays the shallow world of the film industry seen through the eyes of the protagonist.

9. "Mughal-e-Azam" (1960). Director - K. Asif. Cast - Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala. The historical romance has stood the test of time with its re-release in colour a few years ago pulling in the crowds just as before.

10. "Sahib, Bibi Aur Ghulam" (1962). Director - Abrar Alvi. Cast - Meena Kumari, Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman. An adaptation of a Bengali novel, this film narrates the tragedy of a lonely woman, who is only an object of decor in a palatial mansion.

11. "Bandini" (1963). Director - Bimal Roy. Cast - Ashok Kumar, Nutan, Dharmendra. The black and white masterpiece narrates the story of an imprisoned woman and takes the audiences back to the Indian freedom movement.

12. "Dosti" (1964). Director - Satyen Bose. Cast - Sushil Kumar, Sudhir Kumar. One of the biggest hits of the decade, the film cast untried faces and sensitively narrated the story of two physically challenged people helping each other survive harsh city life.

13. "Guide" (1965). Director - Vijay Anand. Cast - Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman. Though the film has an adapted storyline, it stands out for its sensitive depiction and portrayal of characters. Its songs are popular even today.

14. "Padosan" (1968). Director - Jyoti Swaroop. Cast - Sunil Dutt, Saira Banu, mehmood, Kishore Kumar. One of Hindi cinema's finest comedies, this courtship farce also stands out with its music composed by R.D. Burman.

15. "Aradhana" (1969), Director - Shakti Samanta. Cast - Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore. A great romantic tragedy with Rajesh Khanna, Bollywood's biggest sensation before Amitabh Bachchan stormed into the screen and became the king of the Indian celluloid.

16. "Mera Naam Joker" (1970). Director - Raj Kapoor. Cast - Raj Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Dharmendra, Rajendra Kumar, Simi Garewal, Rishi Kapoor. One of the longest films made by Bollywood, the story revolves around a heartbroken circus clown.

17. "Do Boond Pani" (1971). Director - Khwaja Ahmad Abbas. Cast - Jalal Agha, Madhu Chanda, Simi Garewal. A powerful film that starkly brings out the socio-political and economic disparities in the country.

18. "Bobby" (1973). Director - Raj Kapoor. Cast - Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia. Bollywood candyfloss at its best, "Bobby" used the rich boy-poor girl plot to become a memorable hit.

19. "Ankur" (1974). Director - Shyam Benegal. Cast - Shabana Azmi, Anant Nag, Sadhu Meher. Possibly the best use of neo-realism in Indian cinema, Benegal's film narrates the story of a physically challenged labourer and his wife trapped in the cycle of caste oppression.

20. "Sholay" (1975). Director - Ramesh Sippy. Cast - Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar, Amjad Khan, Jaya Bhaduri. The biggest blockbuster India has ever produced, the revenge saga had a riveting script and a brilliant cast who are still known by their roles in the film.

21. "Deewar" (1975). Director - Yash Chopra. Cast - Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi. Amitabh Bachchan as the angry young man at loggerheads with his brother made this film a roaring success and catapulted Bachchan to stardom. 

22. "Jai Santoshi Maa" (1975). Director - Vijay Sharma. Cast - Bharat Bhushan, Anita Guha, Kanan Kaushal. The film in praise of Goddess Santoshi made the cash counters ring and spawned a whole range of films on gods and goddesses.

23. "Mrigayaa" (1976). Director - Mrinal Sen. Cast - Mithun Chakraborty, Mamata Shankar. An art film with a brilliant story of caste discrimination and its effects on the society portrayed through the character of Ghinua memorably played by Mithun Chakraborty.

24. "Bhumika" (1977). Director - Shyam Benegal. Cast - Smita Patil, Amol Palekar, Anant Nag, Naseeruddin Shah. Smita Patil's intense acting backed by the entire cast of the film pulls down the veil of hypocrisy that men wear when they deal with the other sex.

25. "Amar Akbar Anthony" (1977). Director - Manmohan Desai. Cast - Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi, Neetu Singh. The gripping tale of the reunion of three long-lost brothers presents the message of religious tolerance is still hugely popular.

26. "Junoon" (1978). Director - Shyam Benegal. Cast - Shashi Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Nafisa Ali, Naseeruddin Shah. The film stands out as one of Bollywood's best period films and narrates a Pathan's obsessive love for a young British girl in the backdrop of the 1857 mutiny.

27. "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar" (1978). Director - Prakash Mehra. Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee, Rekha. A phenomenon blockbuster of the late 70s that narrates the story of a orphan boy who struggles to make a living by slogging day and night and then his tryst with destiny. This film stands out for Amitabh Bachchan's super performance as he single-handedly catapulted this film to score over the masses.

28. "Golmaal" (1979). Director - Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Cast - Amol Palekar, Bindiya Goswami, Utpal Dutt. This film portrays the finer sensibilities that a comedy should have and still has audiences laughing.

29. "Aakrosh" (1980). Director - Govind Nihalani. Cast - Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Amrish Puri. Nihalini's dark cinema almost chokes the audiences with its grim plot of social oppression. Based on a true incident, the film is a stand out example in Indian cine history in terms of content and acting.

30. "Umrao Jaan" (1981). Director - Muzaffar Ali. Cast - Rekha, Farooq Shaikh, Naseeruddin Shah, Raj Babbar. Set in the Mughal era, this story about a courtesan is a timeless piece of art.

31. "Arth" (1982). Director - Mahesh Bhatt. Cast - Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Smita Patil. A powerful narration of a deserted wife, a straying husband and his obsessive, emotionally disturbed lover.

32. "Sadma" (1983). Director - Balu Mahendra. Cast - Kamal Haasan, Sridevi. The intense story of a girl who loses her memory in an accident.

33. "Masoom" (1983). Director - Shekhan Kapur. Cast - Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi. Shekhar Kapur's directorial narrates the story of a happily married couple whose peaceful existence is destroyed when the husband's illegitimate son from his past affair lands into their present.

34. "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron" (1983). Director - Kundan Shah. Cast - Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Satish Shah. A free flowing comedy, occasionally slapstick, uses the genre to lash out at the widespread corruption present in the society.

35. "Saaransh" (1984). Director - Mahesh Bhatt. Cast - Anupam Kher, Rohini Hattangadi. Possibly one of the finest Hindi films ever, "Saaransh" tells the story of an old couple coming to terms with the death of their only son who is killed in a mugging incident in America.

36. "Ram Teri Ganga Maili" (1985). Director - Raj Kapoor. Cast - Rajeev Kapoor, Mandakini, Kulbhushan Kharbanda. The film in mid 80s tries to experiment with the subject matter by telling the story of a woman who is separated by her lover in a dramatic turn of events and ends up at a brothel.

37. "Ijaazat" (1987). Director - Gulzar. Cast - Naseeruddin Shah, Rekha, Anooradha Patel. Arguably Gulzar's best film, it portrays the complex man-woman relationship. R.D. Burman's songs backed by powerful lyrics by Gulzar gives the film a touch of a classic.

38. "Pushpak" (1987). Director - Singeetham Srinivasa Rao. Cast - Kamal Haasan, Amala. The film has the rare distinction of being the only silent film in the era of talkies and showcases Kamal Haasan's enormous talent.

39. "Maine Pyar Kiya" (1989). Director - Sooraj Barjatya. Cast - Salman Khan, Bhagyashree. A blockbuster of the late 80s, this film marked the emergence of romantic musicals that flooded the 90s.

40. "Lamhe" (1991). Director - Yash Chopra. Cast - Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Anupam Kher. The king of romance, Yash Chopra, produces one of the best romances Bollywood has produced till date.

41. "Rudaali" (1992). Director - Kalpana Lajmi. Cast - Dimple Kapadia, Raakhee Gulzar, Raj Babbar. It is a story set in Rajasthan about a woman, who is a voluntary professional mourner, a custom prevalent in the western Indian state.

42. "Hum Aapke Hai Koun" (1994). Director - Sooraj Barjatya. Cast - Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Anupam Kher. A super-hit family drama that has become one of the most successful Hindi films of all times.

43. "Drohkaal" (1994). Director - Govind Nihalani. Cast - Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri. Nihalani's film is a grim portrayal of terror-hit Kashmir.

44. "Roja" (1994). Director - Mani Ratnam. Cast - Arvind Swamy, Madhoo. Mani Ratnam's take on Kashmir is an account of the region through the eyes of a kidnapped man who manages to escape from the clutches of the militants and his wife's emotional turmoil.

45. "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" (1995). Director - Aditya Chopra. Cast - Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol. One of the biggest revenue earners in Indian cinema, this was Bollywood candyfloss at its best.

46. "Bombay" (1995). Director - Mani Ratnam. Cast - Manisha Koirala, Arvind Swamy. The film drew flak for daring to portray the love story between a Hindu Brahmin and a Muslim girl with the 1993 riots as a backdrop.

47. "Fire" (1996) Released in India 1998. Director - Deepa Mehta. Cast - Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, Kulbhushan Kharbanda. Deepa Mehta raised many eyebrows for her bold probe into a lesbian relationship between two women, married to two brothers.

48. "Maachis" (1996). Director - Gulzar. Cast - Tabu, Chandrachur Singh, Om Puri, Jimmy Shergil. A political film that took people right into the heart of the Punjab anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi. 

49. "Border" (1997). Director - J.P. Dutta. Cast - Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff, Akshaye Khanna, Tabu. Though Indian war films are way behind when compared to the movies Hollywood produces, Dutta's film effectively probed the emotional depths of soldiers unsure whether they will go back home.

50. "Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa" (1998). Director - Govind Nihalani. Cast - Jaya Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Nandita Das, Seema Biswas. Jaya Bachchan made a spellbinding comeback to cinema portraying the role of a mother whose son is killed during the Naxal movement of Bengal in the 70s.

51. "Godmother" (1999). Director - Vinay Shukla. Cast - Shabana Azmi, Sharman Joshi, Milind Gunaji, Govind Namdeo, Raima Sen. The true-life story of a Gujarati woman politician narrated through a tense and grim plot was a breath of fresh air among the stereotyped films made during the latter half of the 90s.

52. "1947 - Earth" (1999). Director - Deepa Mehta. Cast - Aamir Khan, Nandita Das, Rahul Khanna, Kitu Gidwani, Arif Zakaria. The film about India's partition of 1947 seen through the eyes of a little child is one of Mehta's finest movies.

53. "Laagan" (2000). Director - Ashutosh Gowarikar. Cast - Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh. An Indian entry to the Oscars, the period film narrates the inspiring tale of a group of peasants who take on the ruling British in a game of cricket.

54. "Dil Chahta Hai" (2001). Director - Farhan Akhtar. Cast - Aamir Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta. Farhan Akhtar manages to script success without following stereotyped and time tested hit formulas through his portrayal of male bonding.

55. "Company" (2002). Director - Ram Gopal Varma. Cast - Ajay devgan, Manisha koirala, vivek Oberoi, Antara Mali. A hugely successful commercial film, which stands out for providing an extraordinary insight into the world of organised crime.

56. "Koi...Mil Gaya" (2003). Director - Rakesh Roshan. Cast - Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta. Bollywood landed a commercially successful children's film and also catered to the tastes of all sections of the audience through this take on Steven Spielberg's "E.T.".

57. "Black" (2005). Director - Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Cast - Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukherji, Nandana Sen. A slice of classic cinema that reflects extraordinary sensitivity in portraying the story of a blind-and-deaf girl and her relationship with her teacher who fills colour into her black and white existence.

58. "Krrish" (2006). Director - Rakesh Roshan. Cast - Hrithik Roshan, Rekha, Priyanka Chopra. This film saw the emergence of India's first silver screen superhero and took the box office by storm.

59. "Rang De Basanti" (2006). Director - Rakeysh Mehra. Cast - Aamir Khan, Sharman joshi, Kunal Kapoor, Soha Ali Khan, Alice Patten. The film swept several awards for its magnificent portrayal of a bunch of self-absorbed youth who rise up to fight against corruption.

60. "Lage Raho Munnabhai" (2006). Director - Rajkumar Hirani. Cast - Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan. This hugely successful box office film makes it to this list for bringing out the true meaning of the Gandhian principles for the common masses.  


More by :  Prithwish Ganguly

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