Are you bummed about having to stay indoors? We have a list of the most iconic Bollywood films that you can binge on during these times!
Films and entertainment have always been an escape from a bitter, harsh reality. Given how the current global situation may leave one anxious and afraid, you can always turn to these iconic Bollywood films to feel good.
Release Date: 6th September 1955
Shree 420 captures the journey of a simple small-town boy Raj (played by Raj Kapoor), who moves to Bombay to earn a living. The big-city charm seduces him into pursuing a life of glitz, fame, money, and glamor. Will his virtuous paramour Vidya (Nargis), successfully convince him to give up this unethical lifestyle? Will Raj mend his ways to lead a simple but happy life?
Release Date: 22nd February 1957
Starring A-listers such as Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman, Pyaasa is a cult-classic Bollywood film that continues to garner accolades even to this day! The story revolves around Vijay, a struggling poet who is forced to live on the streets. He encounters and falls in love with a courtesan (Gulabo), who truly appreciates his art. Will Vijay ever find fame as a poet? Will his love for Gulabo diminish when he achieves his fate?
Fun Fact: The TIME magazine included Pyaasa in its list of Top 10 Most Romantic Films of All Time!
Release Date: 25th October 1957
Radha (Nargis) and Shamu (Raaj Kumar) find themselves indebted to Sukhilala, a shrewd zamindar of their village. After losing his arms, Shamu abandons Radha and their sons. The virtuous mother goes beyond her means to make ends meet. They overcome poverty, hunger, and natural disasters to stay alive. Her two surviving sons, Birju and Ramu, grow up as polar opposites. Is this family slated for more tragedy?
Release Date: 5th August 1960
Mughal-e-Azam, the epic period movie, is also one of the most well-known iconic Bollywood films. It takes you back to the 16th century, when a Mughal Prince, Salim (Dilip Kumar), falls in love with a court dancer, Anarkali (Madhubala). Will his disapproving father accept this relationship?
Trivia: Mughal-e-Azam is the first black and white film to be digitally colored, and was re-released in 2004.
Release Date: 6th December 1965
Guide is one of the many iconic Bollywood films that has managed to epitomize love and complicated human relationships. Rosie (Waheeda Rehman), stuck in an unhappy marriage, seeks solace in the company of Raju (Dev Anand), with whom she can be herself. Raju supports her dream of becoming a star. When Rosie finally becomes successful, her behavior towards Raju takes an awful turn. Will the two lovers overcome these challenges and reconcile?
Release Date: 29th November 1968
Yes, this is the famous film with the song “Ek Chatur Naar” that continues for a whopping 6 minute 18 seconds!
Bhola (played by Sunil Dutt) falls in love with his neighbor, Bindu (Saira Banu). When nothing seems to work, Bhola seeks help from his friend Vidyapati (Kishore Kumar) to sing and woo Bindu. At the same time, Bindu’s music teacher (Kishore Kumar, again!) is not only an obstacle but a potential threat. Which of these men will manage to win over Bindu?
Mera Naam Joker
Release Date: 18th December 1970
Mera Naam Joker is one of the many well-known iconic Bollywood films starring Raj and Rishi Kapoor. In this film, we watch Raju, a famous circus clown, chase love over and over again only to have his heart shattered in a million pieces. Will he ever find the love that he so ardently seeks?
A word of caution here: the film spans around 255 minutes, so keep that in mind while making your extra-large tub of popcorn.
Release Date: 12th March 1971
Anand is one of the most gut-wrenching iconic Bollywood films. Oncologist Bhaskar (Amitabh Bachchan) becomes popular after writing a successful book, titled Anand. It is written after his patient (Rajesh Khanna) of the same name, who is suffering from a rare form of cancer. This film popularized the term of endearment, “Babumoshai.”
This film will take you on a bittersweet journey through laughter and tears.
Release Date: 24th January 1975
The cult film Deewar stars Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, and Parveen Babi. It explores the rivalry and cracks that emerge between two brothers, one who is an honest, justice-seeking policeman, while the other is deeply involved in criminal activities. Will their paths ever cross? What does fate have in store for these brothers?
Release Date: 15th August 1975
Sholay is yet another cult film that features in our list of iconic Bollywood films. Here, we see the duo of Jai and Veeru, two small-time conmen, and full-time friends. They are employed by Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar), a former policeman, to capture Gabbar Singh, a notorious dacoit. Will Jai and Veeru manage to come through on their promise?
Amar Akbar Anthony
Release Date: 27th May 1977
Three brothers, Amar (Vinod Khanna), Akbar (Rishi Kapoor), and Anthony (Amitabh Bachchan), get separated from their parents and are adopted by a Hindu policeman, Muslim tailor, and Christian pastor respectively. Years later, they meet in a chance encounter. Will they recognize each other? Will this family reunite with their parents?
Release Date: 20th April 1979
Protagonist Ramprasad Dashrathprasad Sharma (played by Amol Palekar) takes on a traditional, orthodox persona to land a job. He makes up an elaborate lie to get out of a sticky situation, resulting in the introduction of modernistic, rebellious Lucky. To what extent will Ramprasad go to hide his identity from his boss? Will his boss ever discover that the two brothers are the same individual, indeed?
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro
Release Date: 12th August 1983
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is a satirical, evergreen comedy that tastefully deals with the issue of corruption. It is one of those iconic Bollywood films that continue to stay relevant even to this date. It stars Bollywood’s A-listers like Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, and Neena Gupta.
The film revolves around two photographers, who accidentally capture a murder while trying to collect evidence against corrupt practices. What will this mess land them in jail?
Release Date: 13th September 1988
The film Salaam Bombay! directed by Mira Nair gives an insight into the lives of the children living in Bombay slums. It dabbles around with serious issues such as drugs, prostitution, trafficking, and child labor. The interweaving of several stories in this film is a whole different cinematic experience.
Release Date: 15th August 1992
Directed by Mani Ratnam, Roja is best known for the debut of A.R. Rahman and the slew of emotional soundtracks that stirred our souls. It narrates the story of a man’s love for his nation and his wife’s unwavering love and support for him. Rishi Kumar (Arvind Swami) gets abducted by terrorists in Kashmir. Can Roja’s love save Rishi from an unfortunate fate?
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
Release Date: 19th October 1995
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ) is your typical lovey-dovey romantic film that is peak iconic Bollywood films. Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) and Simran (Kajol) run into each other on a train during a pan-Europe trip. Charming Raj woos nerdy Simran and manages to win her heart. But as marriages in India are concerned, will he manage to win over her family, especially her strict, overbearing father?
Release Date: 15th June 2001
After Mother India and Salaam Bombay! Lagaan is India’s third nominated entry to the Oscars. Set in the Victorian period where India was still under British colonial rule, Lagaan explores the lives of poor villagers of Champaner, who are burdened by high taxes. Desperate for an out, the villagers accept the offer to have their taxes waived off on winning a cricket match against the Englishmen. Will this team of novice, inexperienced villagers manage to defeat seasoned cricket players?
Release Date: 25th December 2009
Loosely based on Chetan Bhagat’s popular novel, Five Point Someone, 3 Idiots deals with the lives of three engineering students, who struggle with the pressure of expectations and India’s education system. It has emerged as one of the most relatable iconic Bollywood films of its time. This coming of age movie will tickle your funny bone and touch your heart in the most unexpected ways.
Gangs of Wasseypur (Part 1 & 2)
Release Date: May and August 2012
Drown yourself in the murky world of coal mafias and drug overlords trying to assert their influence and dominance over Wasseypur. The two-part film relays the story of love, loyalty, and betrayal from the 1940s to the present. Which gang will finally emerge as victors?
This film has brought several skilled actors to the mainstream media limelight.
Release Date: 14th February 2019
Gully Boy is the story of Murad Ahmed (Ranveer Singh), who lives in the Dharavi slums. Murad nurtures the dream of becoming a rap artist. At the same time, he is torn between the love of two women, Safeena (Alia Bhatt) and Shweta (Kalki Koechlin), who play pivotal roles in his success. Does Murad make it big as a rapper? Who will he choose when it comes to love?
Which of these iconic Bollywood films have you already seen? Have we missed out your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!