Top Bollywood movies of 70s (1970 to 1979):
The Bollywood in 70’s was at the peak of of its game. Everything you can relate to in a Hindi movie – acting, directing, music and exploring new boundaries – was flourishing. Some of the best Bollywood movies of all times were produced during this decade.
Choosing top 20 movies out of a span of 10 years, when every year was producing score of hit flicks, is almost impossible. The selection below tries to accommodate every genre – action, classic, artistic, popular….
So here we go:
1. Sholay (1975): This all-time-great movie needs no introduction; it is one of the biggest hits ever. It is a classic thriller of modern days, a must watch Bollywood gem. The mega cast includes Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan. Sholay is the highest grossing film of all time in Indian cinema. When first released, the movie did not win any major awards from the film critics, but it has a cult like following. At the 50th Filmfare, it received the award as the Best Film of 50 Years.
2. Bobby (1973): The movie is a brilliant combination of romance, music and social conflicts. This blockbuster is known to be a trend-setter in its own rights. Raj Kapoor introduced the genre of teenage romance with a rich-vs.-poor clash as a backdrop. Some of the romance scenes were simply too bold for its time. This popular flick was a debut film for Dimple Kapadia and the first leading role for Rishi Kapoor.
3. Pakeezah (1972): This is a legendary movie; with a larger than life appeal. Beautifully directed by Kamal Amrohi, this movie is a combination of good artistic tastes, lovely costumes, a fluid storyline, excellent settings and melodious music. The film is a story of a Lucknow tawaif (courtesan) played by actress Meena Kumari. Raaj Kumar and Ashok Kumar lead the cast. The evergreen and superb music comes from Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad.
4. Mera Naam Joker (1970): Raj Kapoor spent every penny he had on this movie, and it flopped during the first release – it was just too long, with run time over 5 hours. The second release, the re-edited and compressed version, ended up as one of the most successful films of all times. Comedy, drama, tragedy, romance…. it has something for audiences of all tastes, including a fine soundtrack. The mega cast includes Raj Kapoor, Simi Garewal, Manoj Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Dara Singh, Kseniya Ryabinkina, Padmini and Rajendra Kumar
5. Deewaar (1975): Deewaar established Bachchan as the “angry young man” of Bollywood. Directed by Yash Chopra, this blockbuster film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Neetu Singh and Parveen Babi as the lead cast. Deewaar tells a story of two brothers struggling to survive the streets of Mumbai. It has some of the best dialogues, acting, direction and storyline. Deewaar received the Filmfare Best Movie Award in addition to six other Filmfare Awards.
6. Roti Kapda Aur Makaan (1974): Written, produced and directed by Manoj Kumar, this super hit and a popular film is fun to watch. It stars Manoj Kumar alongside Shashi Kapoor, Zeenat Aman, Amitabh Bachchan, Moushmi Chatterjee, Prem Nath and Madan Puri in lead roles. It has a very refreshing and inspiring soundtrack, fine tunes coming from Laxmikant Pyarelal.
7. Garam Hawa (1973): This is probably one of the most sensitive and poignant films based on the 1947 Indo-Pak partition. Directing by M.S. Sathyu, the film is about a Muslim family that decides to remain in India after the partition. This art film was India’s official entry to the Academy Award’s Best Foreign Film category, also nominated for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. This masterpiece won a National Film Award and three Filmfare Awards as well.
8. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978): Another gem from Bollywood. Produced and directed by Prakash Mehra, it stars Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Raakhee Gulzar, Rekha and Amjad Khan. The film was one of the top grossing hits of entire 1970s decade. The ever popular soundtrack was composed by the brothers’ duo of Kalayanji Anandji, with the lyrics by Anjaan.
9. Ankur (1974): This is not a flick that you should watch with little kids – there is some whipping involved and profanity is everywhere. Ankur is one of those ’art’ movies that is completely opposite to the typical Bollywood melodrama. Through a true story, the movie exposes the day-to-day living of rich vs. poor in a rural settings; the caste system is a prevalent theme. The movie is a beautiful take on human behavior based on the social classes in the society. It was the first feature film directed by Shyam Benegal and the debut of Shabana Azmi getting her the Filmfare and National awards for the Best Actress category.
10. Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971): This Raj Khosla creation has Dharmendra and Asha Parekh in the lead role, and Vinod Khanna as the villain. The movie features some of the most melodious songs of 70s and a lively rural settings with action packed storyline. This super hit is said to have many elements that inspired Sholay a few years later.
11. Anand (1971): Beautiful songs, touching story, dialogues by Gulzar and great acting are the hallmark of this award winning movie. Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the movie stars Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan in the lead. Rajesh Khanna beautifully plays Anand, a man suffering from cancer, but never seen unhappy or sad.
12. Kabhi Kabhie (1976): Produced and directed by Yash Chopra, this movie stars Waheeda Rehman, Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Raakhee Gulzar, Neetu Singh and Rishi Kapoor. This blockbuster movie is particularly noted for its soundtrack compositions by Khayyam, who won Filmfare Award for the Best Music, while Sahir Ludhianvi won the Best Lyricist Award for “Kabhi Kbhie Mere Dil Mein”, the evergreen song which also got singer Mukesh, the Best Male Playback Singer award.
13. Amar Prem (1973): This is a touching story with moral and social values at the center; a beautiful portrayal of a man’s innocent love for a neighborhood courtesan. The movie has a soulful music by R.D. Burman. There are many memorable songs with lovely lyrics, like Kishore Kumar’s ‘Chingari koi bhadke’ and ‘Yeh kya hua’. The movie won 1973 Filmfare Awards for Best Dialogue and Best Screenplay. The film is directed by Shakti Samanta, starring Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna and Vinod Mehra in the lead.
14. Johnny Mera Naam (1970): This is a light and entertaining movie – funny, action-packed, great music and brilliant acting. Directed by Vijay Anand, it stars Dev Anand in the role of a pair of brothers separated in childhood. Hema Malini, Pran , Jeevan, Premnath, I. S. Johar and Iftekhar also star in this lively flick.
15. Mere Apne (1971): The movie depicts the life of a widow in a small village but the story is ever evolving and fluid. She moves to the city and find many more surprises. The movie has everything ‘bad’ – gang fights, violence and child abuse. Directed by Gulzar, the film stars Meena Kumari, Vinod Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha, Danny Denzongpa and Mehmood.
16. Andhi (1975): This movie was not allowed a full release due to its similarity to Indira Gandhi’s life, then Prime Minister of India. After her loss in the 1977 elections, the ruling Janata party cleared the film. This is a romantic drama with politics in the background, and is supported by a fantastic soundtrack from RD Bruman. All the songs are very catchy and evergreen. Suchitra Sen and Sanjeev Kumar lead the cast.
17. Nishant (1975): This crime-drama film is directed by Shyam Benegal and stars Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Smita Patil in the lead role. Brilliant acting and superb direction carry this movie from beginning to end. The themes of social hierarchy and the sexual exploitation of women are poignantly depicted. It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film, and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.
18. Amar Akbar Anthony (1977): This is a light and entertaining movie with a star-studded cast. The film was directed by Manmohan Desai and starred Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi, Neetu Singh ….and Pran. The music and the soundtrack are equally refreshing.
19. Mausam (1975): A beautiful but sad love story from Gulzar covering a variety of social and emotional aspects of blindly falling in love. This award winning film has a very intertwined storyline and brilliant acting. The cast includes Sharmila Tagore, Sanjeev Kumar and Dina Pathak.
20. Trishul (1978): This Super Hit movie has excellent ’all in one’ combination: directed by Yash Chopra, written by Salim-Javed, music by Khayyam and lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi. It combines actions, drama and music with a natural flow. The cast includes Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Raakhee Gulzar, Waheeda Rehman and Prem Chopra.
What did I miss? I am sure you have your own picks! Go on, share your comments below.
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