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From heart-wrenching stories to make you cry and tales of love you can only fantasise about, to a blood-bath of heroic martial arts or blazing guns, the Indian movie scene has come of age. Bollywood, India’s biggest movie industry is now a global phenomenon, taking its place in the world’s top three cinema podium. But before Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor, there were those who fought the hard fight and paid the ultimate price for the fame and fortune these new stars enjoy today.

You may remember some of the songs and scenes. You may even remember the names of the great directors who made our screens beautiful in a time when after effects was only but a dream. This post will bring you seven of the timeless Bollywood movies of all time that you need to see this season and travel back in time to an India we once knew. Or not?


Pyaasa (1957)

You can’t talk about the masterclass of Guru Dutt without mentioning this 1950’s classics. Originally released in February 1957, Pyaasa (which means “thirsty” in English, or more contextually, “wistful”) is a musical romance drama that follows the life of struggling poet who only wanted to be recognised and loved. His life would go on to take a dramatic turn when he meets a prostitute – one that understands his work and perspective. With Rs 23 million in box office alone at the time, this black and white masterpiece stars Waheeda Sinha and Mala Sinha as lead actors, and is famously remembered for its iconic evergreen songs.


Awaara (1951)

The legendary Raj Kapoor puts his signature on this one with a laid-back but intense musical romance. The movie is centred on Raj, played by Raj Kapoor himself. Beyond the thrill and suspense, the movie poses serious questions like whether a man’s character is a product of his father’s or whether his environment and the circumstances of life decide what a man turns out to be. Although almost 70 years today, this movie is still very much relevant in our world and will teach some very important lessons. Arrested and charged for attempted murder on a respected judge, his young female lawyer must prove his innocence and save his life. This movie, which also features Prithviraj Kapoor, Nargis, Leela Chitnis and Shashi Kapoor was crucial to the development of the dream sequence in movies. It was Awaara that put Raj Kapoor’s name and face on the map, especially his Chaplinesque hero, one that still resonates in the old Soviet Union and even China.


Paigham (1959)

The movie is about two brothers, Ram and Ratan. With Ram working at a mill, Ratan is in school studying engineering. He soon returns to join the same mill where he falls in love with a typist. He soon realizes that Sewakram, the mill owner has been defrauding the company and forms a union to protest against it. On the other hand, his loyal brother joins forces with the owner, and several twists and turns follow. The movie is directed by SS Vasan and major roles played by Dilip Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Saroja Devi and Vyjayanthi Mala.

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Guide (1965)

You may know the top Bollywood legend, Dev Anand. At this time, he was already a top actor and director. Directed by Vijay Anand, this movie pulls some other big name stars to explore a fundamental verdict transformation which takes a hero away from materialism and worldly attachments to something much bigger. It’s not just the names and beautiful character representation that sets this movie apart, but the scenic beauty, photography and directorial superiority as well.


Mughal-e-Azam (1962)

The movie world recently celebrated 60 amazing years since its release. As folks whose feet were swept by the magical performances of Dilip Kumar and Madhubala revelled in the sweet memories, younger folks were amazed to witness the originality and stellar representation of perhaps, one of the greatest “doomed love” story ever told. Salim and Anarkali’s tragic love story still resonates strongly in today’s world of twists and turns. It will certainly be a good watch any day anytime.

Gunga Jumna

Gunga Jumna (1961)

This Indian crime drama hit the scenes in 1961. Like a blockbuster, it remains fresh in the hearts of viewers. So, if the cinemas aren’t yet open in your city, there’s something to help spend your Friday night. Produced by Dilip Kumar and directed by Nitin Bose, the story is about two protagonists, Gunga and Jumna, named after the two holy rivers of India. Gunga’s role as guardian, seeing his brother, Jumna through school wouldn’t stop his brother from eventually shooting him when he returns home as a police officer. This is after his brother becomes a local Robin Hood when he was framed for a crime he didn’t commit.


Bandini (1963)

Legendary Dharmendra teams up with Ashok Kumar and Nutan in this one. Bandini is a timeless classic for so many reasons. Many say Bimal Roy, the director of the movie would’ve been a feminist if he was working today. We agree. This movie challenges the status quo and speaks to the need for freedom and equality in a world that lacks much of it.

These amazing titles will take your mind back to the way things were, even as they continue to remain relevant today. If you’re craving some good old time movies, these are certainly great titles to begin with.

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