After writing two back to back blog post on best and worst Bollywood movies of 2018, I now think of writing a list of classic Bollywood movies starting from the movies of the ’50s. If you are movie buff, I am quite sure you have seen and admired several films of that period.
Sometimes I try to figure out, how our Bollywood has changed over the years. If you see movies of each period, considering 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and it goes on, you see there is a change in pattern.
This industry has a remarkably rich history that are worth research. I will share with you all in a different blog post about the emergence of Hindi cinema and its evolution. And I am sure many of my readers will love reading history.
Let’s directly move to “my list of 33 Classic Evergreen Bollywood Movies” which I am eager to share. So, I will start listing sequentially.
The movie stars Raj Kapoor and Nargis which was released just after four years of our Independence. The film might be the first epic one in that era. An era where music was essentially a part of it along with the performers.
The story of the movie is about the young Raj (Raj Kapoor) who lived in poverty with his mother and circumstances pushed him to the criminal world. He fell in love with Rita (Nargis) who was his childhood love. But Rita belonged from a wealthy family and Raj afraid of his identity as a thief.
The inner story is if I could tell, an attempt to show a true image of poverty and how the affluent society treats them. It’s a movie that depicts a social message.
Both Raj Kapoor and Nargis are legendary actors.
Do Bigha Zamin (1953)
Bimal Roy’s directed movie ‘Do Bhiga Zamin’ is one of the most important movies of the Hindi cinema of all time.
A sad story of a farmer who did everything possible to save his ‘do bhigas of Zamin’ which means a small acre of land. We all know how vital a land is to a farmer. They worship the land as this is their only livelihood. Legendary director Bimal Roy has very explicitly shown the condition of the Indian farmers, how they are mistreated and taken advantage of because they are illiterate.
If you see the movie, you can relate to the present condition of the farmers too.
Parineeta is a novel written by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. I guess every Bengali literature lover have read it.
The 1953 classic movie starring Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari played the lead roles. This film was too directed by Bimal Roy. The incredible thing about the movie and its book is “beautiful dialogues.”
Boot Polish (1954)
Much of the movies of this era depicts the social issue ‘poverty’ very clearly. ‘Boot Polish’ is yet another movie of that era which portrays the problem of poverty in our country through storytelling. The film revolves around the story of an orphaned brother and sister who are poor.
Shree 420 (1955)
Another classic evergreen Bollywood movie of Raj Kapoor and Nargis is Shree 420 of 1955. This movie has given us some of the great evergreen songs of all time like “Pyaar Hua Iqrrar Hua”, “Ichak Dana Beechak Dana,” “Mera Joota Hai Japani.”
The charming and innocent Raj Kapoor and the feminist and most gracious Nargis created a masterpiece together which we admire.
Mother India (1957)
Ask any Indian, “have you watch Mother India?”
The answer would always be ‘yes.’
‘Mother India’ is a larger-than-life movie of Hindi Cinema World.
The movie projects everything so perfectly ethos, empathy, pain, emotion. The movie has several layers of social issues that have been portrayed through characters — issues like marriage, illiteracy, the condition of Indian farmers — till now, watching this movie evoke emotions in us.
In the “Golden age of Hindi Cinema,” Guru Dutt’s ‘Pyaasa’ is an achievement in itself. The movie portrays the story of a struggling poet who is continuously suffering from societal rejection, unemployment, and loneliness.
A movie like this is a subject of study to the modern filmmakers. The unique performance by Guru Dutt is hard to ignore. Such compassion and expression, you won’t get to see that in 21st century Bollywood movies.
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
The real-life three brothers Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar played the lead roles in the classic comedy Bollywood movie ‘Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi.’ The most iconic song “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi si” belongs to this movie. Director Satyen Bose has utilized the chemistry of the three brothers and turned this movie into a classic comedy Bollywood movies of all time.
Madhumati is yet another classic Bollywood movie that was directed by Bimal Roy and written by Ritwik Ghatak. Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala were in the lead roles. The story revolves around a man named Anand who loves a tribal woman named ‘Madhumati,’ but they are unable to unite hence, reawakened.
This was a commercially hit movie and one of the very first films in the Hindi film industry that showed ‘reincarnation as a theme.’
Watch this video. I have a memory attached to this song. I danced on this song in a group when I was in 7 grade in our schoolhouse program.
Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
Guru Dutt played the lead role as well as directed and produced ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool.’ The story is beautiful, tells about a film director his social stature and his painful marriage to Bina (the character)
Naya Daur (1957)
B R Chopra’s classic Bollywood movie ‘Naya Daur’ is a movie that we still cherished. I have watched this movie twice on television. I loved Dilip Kumar’s acting as a jovial ‘tangewalla’ and the evergreen Vjyanthimala.
Even now, on TV channels like Zee Cinema and Star Gold you can watch these old Hindi Cinemas.
When we watch the movie on television, it mesmerizes us due to so many reasons. The stunning set, acting of all the lead actors, and music, it is a combination of everything which resulted in a flawless movie. Mughal-E-Azam is a remarkable musical play of love.
One of the best song of ‘love’ ever made in Bollywood.
A film which is based on the novel of R K Narayan’s ‘The Guide’ is a 1965 romantic drama genre of cinema. Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman played the lead roles in the movie. The story and especially the songs are incredibly pleasing.
The movie Dosti is a story of two friends one is blind and another lame. Both are dependent on each other. Satyen Bose directorial movie is inspiring, warming and about bonding. It is a black and white film but got the National award for ‘best film’.
Teesri Manzil (1966)
Shammi Kapoor’s Teesri Manzil is a musical thriller film, it was a box office hit and has given many hit songs of R D Burman. The movie is a complete package of songs, thriller, romance, and drama.
‘I have the music CD of this film which my father bought in the ’90s when we had our first stereo at home.’
Jewel Thief (1967)
The movie ‘Jewel Thief’ is a gem. Three amazing actors were in the lead Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand, and Vyjayantimala. The story revolves around the character Vinay who is mistaken for a look-alike jewel thief. To his name, he joins his hands with the police. It is a treat to watch and listen to the beautiful songs even today.
Jewel Thief is a classic evergreen film of Hindi Cinema and one of the best movies of Dev Anand.
1969 film Aradhna is a romantic film starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore. The movie has some of the most beautiful songs of all time.
It is a story of lovebirds who marry secretly. Rajesh Khanna played the role of an Indian Air Force office Arun who dies in an air crash, and Vandana (Sharmila Tagore) is pregnant who is forced to give up her child in adoption due to social unacceptance. She becomes the nanny of her child and never disclosed her identity to her son who grew up to an air force officer.
Eventually, in the end, Suraj her son finds out about his birth parents and the movie ends.
Story-wise there is nothing extraordinary, but for the performance and music the movie stood out.
One of my favorite song from the movie “Aradhna.”
One of the best Indian comedy film Padosan was directed by Jyoti Swaroop and produced by Mehmood and NC Sippy. The whole casting of the film Sunil Dutt, Saira Banu, Kishore Kumar, Raj Kishore, Kesto Mukherjee were great.
The music was composed by R D Burman and was a huge success. The story is simple two neighbors Sunil Dutt and Saira Banu, where Sunil Dutt fell in love with Saira Banu, and he tries to impress her through singing.
Whereas Mehmood played the role of a South Indian music teacher of Saira Banu. Both are rivals because both loved the character of Saira Banu. There is a lot of fun elements in the movie.
Mera Naam Joker (1970)
The movie Mera Naam Joker was directed and produced by Raj Kapoor.
In the film Raj Kapoor is the main character, showing his journey from childhood till death. The movie is also the debut movie of his son Rishi Kapoor. Raj Kapoor plays the role of a clown, his struggles, sorrows and how three women played an essential role in shaping his character.
The movie is quite lengthy but sometimes monotonous too, but it is a highly acclaimed movie of Raj Kapoor’s career.
Kati Patang (1971)
The movie ‘Kati Patang’ is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love the performance of Asha Parekh playing the role of a woman who pretends to be a widow and how she is dealing with her terrible past.
Also, the movie was Rajesh Khanna’s one of the major super hit movie in that era. Once again, the music was composed by RD Burman and mainly two hit songs “Yeh Shaam mastani” and “Pyar Deewana Hota Hai” was sung by Kishore Kumar.
Legendary Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s directorial movie ‘Anand’ won several awards for best film. This was also a breakthrough for Amitabh Bachchan who played the supporting role, a dear friend and doctor of Anand (Rajesh Khanna).
It is a simple story of the character Anand, who is suffering from a rare type of cancer and who will soon die. He has a cheerful nature and spread happiness around him. As Anand’s condition worsens, he wants to live his life cheerfully not in the hospital bed.
I don’t find anything extraordinary in the storyline, but it is the acting and emotions of each character that keeps you stuck with the movie. The movie was the 17 consecutive hit films of Rajesh Khanna from 1969 to 1972.
Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)
Hare Rama Hare Krishna was written, directed and produced by Dev Anand and also, he played the lead role in this film.
The story is about the bonding of a brother and sister who got separated. Years later, Prashant (Dev Anand) who has grown up decided to find his sister in Kathmandu. Janice (Zeenat Aman) who is the lost sister of Prashant but is living a hippy life and has no memories of her childhood. There was some drama followed by and in the end, Janice commits suicide (which I find rubbish).
For one reason, you will surely be going to love the movie is “songs.”
Pakeezah is the Indian classic cult movie starring Meena Kumari, Raaj Kumar, Ashok Kumar in the lead. The great Naushad Ali has composed the music for ‘Pakeezah.’ This movie was Meena Kumari’s last work as an actor. She was sick and died a weeks later the film got released.
The film portrays the story of a Muslim Lucknow, where the central character (Meena Kumari) is a Lucknowi nautch-girl. For her to ‘love’ was forbidden in society’s eyes. It was considered a sin. It tells the underlying cause and situations faced by a nautch-girl.
Amar Prem (1972)
An Indian romantic drama film which is a remake of the Bengali film “Nishi Padma.” Sharmila Tagore in the film played the role of prostitute and Rajesh Khanna, a lonely rich businessman.
The film describes the human values and relationship. One of the noteworthy songs “Chingari Koi Bhadke” which I have in my mobile playlist I often love to listen to old songs. A beautiful, emotional film which is one of the top films of the ’70s.
A few days ago, I along with my husband watched the movie “Bawarchi” in the ‘Hotstar.’
A movie that tells us the importance of family, staying together in sadness and happiness and how often in life we ignore the small moments and goes on chasing towards the big.
This is one of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s classics movie that talks about family moral values.
If you haven’t watched the film yet, please do watch this. It is available on YouTube.
The movie tells the story of a married couple both deaf and mute and conflicts in their daily life. ‘Koshish’ is an inspiring and emotional movie starring Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri.
How can I miss the 1973’s “Bobby,” the classic Bollywood romantic musical drama starring the young Dimple Kapadia and Rishi Kapoor.
The film became a box office hit due to their sizzling chemistry and songs. It became extremely popular among the teens, and the movie set a new trend in the Hindi cinema for the romantic genre of films.
The audience still loves the songs of the movie. You can listen to a few of my favorites like “Jhoot Bole Kauwa Kate,” “Main Shayer To Nahi.”
Please, listen to this song. One of the most beautiful song created by Laxmikant- Pyarelal
Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973)
Nasir Hussain directorial movie “Yaadon Ki Baaraat” is written by Salim-Javed and this film is a blend of every element drama, romance, action, music, and crime.
The movie is a breakthrough for several actors like Zeenat Aman and Neetu Singh. The story revolves around three brothers who got separated when the villain of the film killed their parents. The movie goes on with the story of each brother’s life.
Chupke Chupke (1975)
The romantic comedy movie of Bollywood which was also directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, based on the Bengali story “Chhadobeshi” which was written by a great Bengali writer “Upendranath Ganguly. The movie was critically applauded for the comic scenes of Dharmendra and Om Prakash.
Truly an amazing light-hearted movie watching which you will feel joy and happiness.
Salim-Javed wrote the much-acclaimed Indian crime drama movie “Deewar” and directed by Yash Chopra.
The film starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh, and Nirupa Roy. The movie reflects the socio-political climate of the 1970’s India.
The story of a two brother who was poor and tried to survive in the slums. Amitabh Bachchan was playing the anti-hero character who ends up being a gangster and his younger brother a police officer.
‘Deewar’ is also a masterpiece collaborated work of Salim and Javed.
The friendship of Jai and Veeru and one of the most fabulous creations of a villain character ‘Gabbar’ has what made ‘Sholay’ so successful. Also, how can I forget the ‘Thakur’ of the film?
Sholay has been listed several times in the “Top 10 best Indian Films”. The movie received negative reviews initially, but later it picked up the pace and emerged as the highest-grossing Indian films of all time.
The audience still love the bond between Jai-Veeru in the screen.
Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978)
One of the most controversial movies of Raj Kapoor for showing partial nudity of Zeenat Aman. If you talk about the storyline of the film, it represents the difference between physical and spiritual love.
Beautiful songs, excellent acting, and solid story are the reasons this movie is on my list of best classic Bollywood movies.
Once again Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s directorial movie “Golmaal” is a family romantic comedy-drama film.
Amol Palekar’s character Ramprasad is a qualified CA and is looking for a job. He joined Utpal Dutt’s character (Bhavani Shankar’s) firm. I won’t reveal the rest of the story as I want you guys to watch the movie and tell me your opinion.
Being a Bengali, I have seen several movies of Utpal Dutt but among all ‘Golmaal’ is my favorite.
There are too many movies, but in this list, I have added the movies of (the 1950s -1979). There are a few Bollywood movies in this list that I love to watch more often. Most of them, you will get on YouTube, and you can enjoy watching.
I hope you all have enjoyed this article “My List of 33 Best Classic Evergreen Bollywood Movies” and if you want to add your favorite movie too, you can comment in the below.
Feature Image Credit : Unsplash and headline created in Canva
Memory lane for me… I watched most of it, my teenaged children too.
I love the movies of 70s’. Often while cooking, I play those old songs in YouTube and enjoy.
Mostly into the films from 1965-1985, so this is a great list to me!
Love Awaara, Guide, Deewaar, Anand, Koshish, Golmaal, Bawarchi, Kati Patang, and Sholay. Teesri Manzil and Hare Rama Hare Krishna have more amazing songs than amazing plot. “Phoolon Ka Taron Ka” is actually my #1 favorite Bollywood song.
Yeah you are correct. I feel those movies are still fresh in our memories because of the songs. Each music composition is so pleasing.
“Old is Gold’.
Thank you reading my blog post.