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10 Best Bollywood Movies of All Time

October 18, 2014
5 min read

Though there are movies that stand out and invoke respect by the sheer quality of film-making, there are others which enjoy tremendous fan-following even years after their release. All in all, we had plenty on our plate to chose from. And to choose right, we looked at the complete panorama surrounding the Bollywood movies: from global recognition the film received to even their imdb scores. But most importantly, whether the film withstood test of time. With that said, here’s the list of top Bollywood movies of all time:

Honorable Mentions: Awara (1951), Do Bigha Zameen (1953),  Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957), Kaagaz ke Phool (1959), Sahab Biwi Aur Ghulam (1962), Padosan (1964),  Mera Naam Joker (1971), Deewar (1975), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Jaane Bhi Do Yaroon (1981), Arth (1982), Lamhe (1991), Satya (1997), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Swades (2004), Rang De Basanti (2006), Jab We Met (2007), Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).

 10. Mr. India (1989)

Mr India

Without trying to ape any western idea, Mr.India was our own first (and also the best ) superhero film. It’s a film that enjoys a tremendous repeat value and a worthy cult status. It gave us possibly the scariest villain of all time, and a director who would go on to become an international name to reckon with.

9. Andaaz Apna Apna (1994)

andaz-apna-apna-greatest-Bollywood

No film with the possible exception of Sholay (and to an extent DDLJ) enjoys the cult following that Andaz Apna Apna does. No film (again except Sholay) is laced with so many memorable characters and dialogues. No one cares if it has a ludicrous plot, what matters is it makes you laugh. Laugh until tears come into your eyes.

8. Guide (1965)

Guide

Vijay Anand’s classic tale dealing with themes of adultery and spirituality was ahead of its time. And that’s why the film got its deserved recognition much later. In 2007 when it got screened at the Cannes film festival in the classic section, it was referred to by many as “eternally modern”. Not to forget its soundtrack, which many regard as the greatest ever.

7. Lagaan (2001)

Lagaan

To be nominated in Oscars when the film deals with a sport that Americans hardly understand, speaks volumes about Lagaan, and its connect with audience. Recently it got featured in TIME Magazine’s Best All-time 25 Sports Movies and Channel 4’s “50 Films to see before you die”. Noted film critic Roger Ebert had this to say about Lagaan “.. an enormously entertaining epic, like nothing we’ve ever seen before, and yet completely familiar ..”

6. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995)

dilwale-dulhania-le-jayenge

At the core, DDLJ could have been any other romantic movie that Bollywood is known for producing day in day out. But it didn’t turned out to be so. ‘Raj’ became synonymous with every girl’s prince charming. And the movie itself, became benchmark for every romantic movie that was made in the years that followed. The director Aditya Chopra had this to say about the longest running film in Indian history “Even if I try to remake DDLJ, I can’t. It just happened.”

5. Anand (1971)

Anand-Greatest-Bollywood

Anand might not have received the global appreciation as some of the others in this list, but what it has definitely received is people’s immense respect and love. And that’s evident from its high ratings of television viewership, and its imdb rating, which is the highest among all the Indian films released. It’s said that even if Hrishikesh Mukherjee had made only one film i.e. Anand, he would have still been regarded as one of the greats.

4. Mother India (1957)

Mother India Greatest Bollywood

A watershed moment for Indian cinema, Mother India not only put India on the world map, it also defined Hindi cinema for decades that followed. It was the first Indian film to receive nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. Widely regarded as the most revered Hindi film, it still inspires a generation of film-makers and actors.

     3. Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

A film that takes 10 years to make. A film that has best ever and the most grandiose war portrayal.  A film graced by most beautiful song sequence. After watching Troy, a noted Hollywood film expert said “Troy could have taken a leaf out of an Indian epic Mughal-e-Azam, on how to ingrain emotions in a war based cinema”. Do you want more?

2. Pyaasa (1957)

Guru Dutt, Hindi cinema’s finest director, achieved an iconic status only posthumously, eerily similar to his character’s fate in Pyaasa. Regularly featuring on world’s greatest cinema list [the only hindi entry in the recent Sight & Sound’s Top 250 greatest films ever made and TIME Magazine’s All-time 100 Movies], Pyaasa redefined the path of cinema in India, both technically and thematically.

1. Sholay (1975)

Sholay_greatest Bollywood films

Hardly anyone can debate Sholay being the greatest Hindi film ever made. No film across the world has inspired so many sub-genre films, parodies, spoofs. Panned by critics at the time of release as “western curry”, Sholay didn’t receive any major awards. In the years that followed, Sholay featured in BFI, Time, BBC and several other global publications and broadcastings as the “Greatest Indian Film”.

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