Best Bollywood Classics.
written by Souranath Banerjee
Can anybody pin point the place so popularly know as ‘Bollywood’?
You cannot, because interestingly enough Bollywood does not exist as a physical place.
Bollywood’s existence is only in the form of it’s Cinemas; the films that are produced from in and around Mumbai (earlier called Bombay) essentially in the language ‘Hindi’.
When Dhundiraj Govind Phalke (popularly known as Dadasaheb Phalke) made the first Indian silent feature Raja Harishchandra in 1913; when Ardeshir Irani directed films like Alam Ara in 1931 (the first talkie film of India) and Kisan Kanya in 1937 (the first Indian colored film) – little did they know that some day the Bombay-based Film industry (Bollywood) will churn out the maximum number of films in the world!
Bollywood is our planet’s largest Cinema factory, producing more than 1,000 films annually; about the double of Hollywood’s output!
And now let’s focus on some of the evergreen Bollywood classics; films which are adored by all generations and are directly responsible for Bollywood’s world wide success.
Here we go.
1. Do Bigha Zamin (1953)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmy8B_4bhAQ
Staring Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy, the film is a classic tale of economic exploitation with which we can easily relate to, even today.
Directed by Bimal Roy, it’s the heart breaking story of a poor farmer who in order to free his land-debts takes up rickshaw-pulling as a profession.
The film won the first ever Filmfare award and also got a special mention at the Cannes film festival.
2. Shree 420 (1955)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRg65WuI1tY
Probably the most influential film of the time that took Bollywood to global popularity.
A man comes to Bombay with big dreams that eventually comes true but with a price of course.
Director/actor Raj Kapoor sets a trend with his baggy trousers and the Chaplin-hat as he goes along the road singing ‘mera juta hain Japani’.
3. Mother India (1957)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmPzpWQ5v_E
Starring Nargis, Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar, it was the first Bollywood film that was nominated for the Oscars as the best Foreign language film from India.
The love and struggle of a single mother bringing up her two sons, director Mehboob Khan made the first ever Bollywood film with a female protagonist!
4. Mughal-E-Azam (1957)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXz_vWzMh_U
A dramatization of the famous Mughal love story – prince Saleem (Dilip Kumar) who falls in love with a court-dancer Anarkali (Madhubala) against the will of his father, emperor Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor).
Director K. Asif manages to get the best out of these brilliant actors. With only expressions and dialogues – this film is probably the best ‘love-story’ ever made.
5. Pyaasa (1957)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBZYJAzz5ys
A film about poetic injustice (literally), since it’s the story of a poet and his thirst for love, fame and recognition.
Guru Dutt, the visionary actor/director along with Mala Sinha and Waheeda Rehman brings us this masterpiece.
Soulful songs – Sachin Dev Burman, Hemanta Mukherjee, Geeta Dutt and Mohammad Rafi at their best.
The 50s and the early 60s were considered as the ‘golden age’ of Bollywood and rightly so.
6. Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCDbIT13MRY
Directed by Abrar Alvi, an illicit love story full of passion and desire, hate and loneliness – an epic tragedy.
Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman and Rehman in the star cast but the one who really stands out is Meena Kumari. Her drunken outbursts and the sarcastic laughs are textbook even for today’s heroines who dare to take such courageous roles.
7. Anand (1971)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfGX2AEaMUU
A man who is too busy living his life to the fullest, too busy to notice his terminal illness, too busy to be afraid of his inevitable death!
Superstar Rajesh Khanna gives his career best performance and Amitabh Bachchan is a great support.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee‘s best, the film will make you laugh and cry at the same time!
8. Sholay (1975)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLhzpe3_V_g
Bollywood enters the phase of hard-core action and this film is an epic in it’s own right. A true entertainer.
Ramesh Sippy‘s direction, the brutal clash between Gabbar (Amjad Khan) and Thakur’s (Sanjeev Kumar) hired ‘hands’ Jai (Amitabh Bachchan) and Veeru (Dharmendra).
Hema Malini and Jaya Bhaduri takes care of the love stories on the side.
9. Deewaar (1975)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN1ptONRWpE
Enters the ‘angry young man’ – the era of Amitabh Bachchan best portrayed by this particular film.
The anger and an attitude of revolt against the system, the underworld and the police, the clash of two brothers, and the dilemma of their mother.
Yash Chopra direction, staring Shashi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Nirupa Roy and Parveen Babi
10. Bhumika (1977)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdcVs0nceOY
Shyam Benegal was one director who held tight the reigns of art-cinema in Bollywood. This film is one of his greatest work and Smita Patil gives her best performance.
The story of a girl growing up, her career, her affairs, her joy and her despairs.
Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri, Amol Palekar, Kulbhushan Kharbanda all at their best.
and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most cool one. A must watch).
+1. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spkmLziFFg4
And finally a comedy, an ultimate political satire, full of dark humor and many rib-tickling moments of absolute joy.
Directed by Kundan Shah, the film is about two photographers Ravi Baswani and Naseeruddin Shah who are sucked into a whirlpool of dishonesty, corruption and murder.
Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Satish Kaushik, Neena Gupta all at their best but towards the end of the film Satish Shah as ‘Draupadi’ is simply priceless!