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Bollywood has always provided us a potpourri of different films – be it romance, comedy, action, horror, suspense etc etc. If you look at the history of Hindi cinema, there are numerous gems which have touched our hearts. Picking just 10 from these is not an easy job and I know that you may not all agree with my countdown. If you have a different list feel free to post it in the comments below!
A tale of the struggle of a wife, a woman, a mother; director Mehboob’s masterpiece gave us a touching story and powerful performances by Raj Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar and of course, Nargis Dutt (who was then only 28 years old at the time) plus excellent music by Naushad. Set in the backdrop of rural India, Radha’s (Nargis) struggle to support her family, cope with the tragedies and her final internal struggle where she has to choose between mother’s love and doing what is right is brilliantly portrayed.
Tragic love stories have always been part of our cinema but never before has it been so subtle yet heart wrenching. Salim (Dilip Kumar) and Anarkali’s (Madhubala) tale of forbidden love is a visual treat with purely magical dance sequences, those wonderful romantic rendezvous, the grand battle scenes, the father-son confrontations and the brilliant performances. Shot in black and white, director Asif wanted to re-shoot the entire movie in color but budget constraints meant that we got only this truly beautiful song in multicolor format.
It was the age of the working middle class and the movies reflected their hardships. The angry young man (Amitabh Bachchan) was a reflection of the dilemmas faced by the common man – to go for what is right and live in hardship or opt for the fast way and lead a life of comfort. This movie was a milestone in Indian cinema and although quite a few movies revolved around the brother-brother and mother-son relationships, this one stood out for its outstanding dialogues by Salim-Javed and an incredible performance by Amitabh.
Sholay is almost Bollywood’s 2nd name. The story of Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar) who gets two con men Jai (Amitabh) and Veeru (Dharmendra) to take on Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan), the dacoit who massacred his family was the complete entertainment package. Romance, tragedy, comedy, friendship, action, suspense and most importantly revenge – this movie had everything. One of the few movies where each actor had a great character sketch (no wonder that even today, this one’s a favorite for spoofs and mimicry).
In a time filled with action potboilers and romance flicks came a movie which was indeed ahead of it’s time. Shekhar Kapoor’s fantasy was a delight in every department, be it the story (last one by the duo Salim-Javed) filled with comedy as well as emotional moments, the dialogues (who can forget Mogambo and his ‘Mogambo Khush hua’ trademark?), the music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, the ooh-la-la Sridevi, the cute kids or the special effects. While the adults went crazy with Sridevi and her blue sari, the kids enjoyed the antics of Mr.India!
Forget the Montagues and Capulets, the enmity of the Rajputs and the Models was on a different level! While the rich spoiled brats of the Rajputs continued to bully the others, Sanju, Anjali and their friends were busy trying to adjust to the lives and troubles of an average high school student – first love, heartbreak, parents’ expectations, friendship and peer pressure. In an amazing cycling race in the climax, Mansoor Khan made us realize that everyone loves an underdog.
The Barjatya fraternity gave us the ever eternal saga of family and family values, way before even Karan Johar tried it. Though many might call it an extended marriage video, we all know that we felt we were a part of it. Oh yes, and the movie reinstated the faith in girls (and their moms!) that there are adarsh, soft-spoken guys like Prem who will sweep you off your feet by his charm and at the same time make your parents fall in love with him too!
If Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! gave us Prem, DDLJ gave us Raj – naughty, charming but still very much Hindustani. If girls still have unbelievable expectations from their guys you know who to blame! Raj and Simran have epitomized the love that most crave in real life – a true, forever one but with the consent of their parents! I really don’t need to explain why it’s on the list; there’s a reason this movie has been running for decades!
Youth – carefree, careless, disinterested. This was how they were often depicted in movies until Rang De Basanti came along. RDB showed that deep inside each one of us, there’s a true Indian who will stand up for his family, his friends, his country. Very different from the preachy, loud message spewing ‘patriotic’ movies one often sees, RDB was one which indeed succeeded in truly inspiring many individuals to do something worthwhile for the nation. And yes, the songs by A.R.Rahman and lyrics by Prasoon Joshi – plain soul-stirring.
Rajkumar Hirani’s brilliant adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone, 3 Idiots made us realize what friends are and what true friendship is. Farhan, Raju and Rancho portrayed the dilemmas faced by youngsters every day. Where marks precede over learning, where being educated and getting a degree are totally different things. Life is not easy but as Aamir Khan’s character says, just relax, tell your heart ‘Aal Izz Well’ and try to tackle the problem!
Tags:3 IdiotsdeewarDilwale Dulhania Le JayengeHum Aapke Hai KounJo Jeeta Wohi Sikandarmother indiaMr. IndiaMughal-E-AzamRang De BasantiSholay