Indian cinema is the world's largest entertainment industry in terms of production. Bollywood is its largest film producer, belting out multiple hits year after year. Not many know that the most renowned commercial genre in Bollywood is masala films – ranging from action and comedy to romance and melodrama along with musical numbers. Parallel cinema refers to Bollywood art films devoid of songs, one of the fairly recent examples being the Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Dangal’. The industry has given names to some of the biggest superstars of the world too. These include yesteryear artists such as Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit and Amitabh Bachchan, star couple Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh from the millennial generation and new faces such as Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter among others. Needless to say, there is no dearth of fan favourite blockbusters in B-town history. Stay tuned as we take you through our best Bollywood picks of all time.
This three hours and twenty-four minutes long film has had every Bollywood fan hooked till the end. Released in 1975, it was one of the most game-changing hits of all time. With a star-studded cast of actors Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Jaya Bachchan, the production feautured Ramesh Sippy in the director’s seat. The Hindi classic unravels the story of two criminals, Veeru and Jai –Dharmendra and Amitabh – hired by a retired police officer to capture an armed robber. Romance follows on the side as Hema and Jaya play the two men’s love interests. Amazing cinematography and direction to come out of the 90s, ‘Sholay’ kicked off the career of the lead stars.
2. 3 Idiots
You’ll surely be called a fool if you have watched this film yet! This 2009 hit conveyed an important message about global education and suicide. Starring Aamir Khan, R Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Boman Irani and Omi Vaidya, the film follows the friendship of three students at an Indian engineering college. It is a satire about the social pressures under an Indian education system. Each of us who has watched it walked learning a thing or two from the film!
3. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
This Indian romance film tugs at our heart strings every time we give it a watch. Directed by Aditya Chopra, it stars every 90s kid’s favourite Bollywood jodi of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. The plot revolves around Raj and Simran, two young non-resident Indians, who fall in love during a vacation through Europe with their friends. Raj tries to win over Simran's family so the couple can get married but Simran's father has long since promised her hand to his friend's son. The 1995 movie surely changed the stereotypical mindset of favouring arranged marriages, paving way for love conquers all!
‘Lagaan’, a 2001 sports drama film was produced by Aamir Khan and he starred in it too. The story revolves around a small village whose inhabitants, burdened by high taxes, find themselves in an extraordinary situation as an arrogant officer challenges them to a game of cricket as a wager to avoid the taxes. The narrative spins around this situation as the villagers face the difficult task of learning the alien game and playing for a result that will change their village's destiny forever. An emotionally touching film, it taught us on important lesson: where there is a will, there is a way!
Released on 5 August 1960, it broke box office records in India and became the highest-grossing Indian film of all time, a record it held for 15 years. Set in the Mughal era, the historical drama follows the love affair between Mughal Prince Salim, who went on to become Emperor Jahangir, and Anarkali, a court dancer. Salim's father, Emperor Akbar, disapproves of the relationship, which leads to a war between father and son. It’s a great watch for fathers and sons!
6. Dil Chahta Hai
This Indian comedy-drama film stars Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Aamir Khan, Preity Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni and Dimple Kapadia. The first film written and directed by Farhan Akhtar, it centres on a major period of transition in the lives of three young friends. What we took away from it was that life is too short so live it to the fullest… but within your means!
7. Andaz Apna Apna
The film did not fare well at the box office but was a hit amongst Aamir Khan fans! Directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, it starred Aamir, Salman Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Paresh Rawal and Shakti Kapoor in the lead roles. Amar (Aamir) and Prem (Salman) are two daydreamers with a common aim: getting rich by marrying a rich heiress, Raveena Bajaj (Raveena Tandon. The guys run into each other on a bus and soon realise that they have a common goal. They both are gold diggers! Dialogues like “Muscle dekhe hain yeh muscle?” are still used by film fanatics today.
8. Rang De Basanti
This film needs no introduction. It featured an ensemble cast comprising Aamir Khan, Siddharth Narayan, Soha Ali Khan, Kunal Kapoor, R Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Atul Kulkarni and British actor Alice Patten in the lead roles. Upon release, the film broke all opening box office records in India. It was the highest-grossing film in its opening weekend and had the highest opening day collections for a Bollywood film. The film was well received and praised for strong screenplay and dialogues. It was inspired from freedom fighters!
9. Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 and 2
Both installments were epic examples of super hit Bollywood films. It produced one of the most talented actors Richa Chadha. A gang of heavily armed men scour and finally raid a housein Wasseypur. They unleash a wave of bullets and grenades on it with the intention of killing the family inside it. After heavy firing on the house, they retreat from the crime scene in a vehicle, convinced they have killed everyone within. The scene cuts abruptly for a prologue by the narrator and is then revealed in the film’s sequel. It’s a must watch for all crime lovers!
10. Taare Zameen Par
Aamir Khan directed and starred in this 2007 film. It explores the life and imagination of Ishaan, an eight-year-old dyslexic child. Although he excels in art, his poor academic performance leads his parents to send him to a boarding school. Ishaan's new art teacher suspects that he is dyslexic and helps him to overcome his disability. There are multiple lessons for both parents, teachers and peers to learn from including giving attention to children, avoid bullying and a lot more.
All 10 Bollywood films were some of the best and finest to come out of Indian cinema. Ironically, superstar Aamir Khan had something or the other to do with most of the films on our list. But do you blame us? While Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan have long been in the spotlight for their good looks, good looks and good looks (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham almost made the cut on our favourites too!), none of their acting skills can be compared to that of Aamir’s. Needless to say, he is a force to be reckoned with and a powerhouse of talent! Now, that we’ve compiled our favourite films and actor, what are your thoughts? Comment below!