The top Bollywood films of the 1960s (1960 to 1969):
The decade of 1960s was unique for Bollywood in many ways. The legends like Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Rajender kumar, Sunil Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dharmendra were the leading heroes. The beauty and acting of Saira banu, Sadhna, Vyajanti Mala, Mala Sinha, Sharmila Tagore, Waheeda Rehman, Asha Parekh and Mumtaz was at its prime, adoring the big screens. The color movies had started to replace black-and-white cinematography. Mohammad Rafi,Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Manna Dey were at the peak of their vocal magic….
The decade of 1960s delivered some of the ever-green Hindi films, supported by soulful music and memorable acting. Here are some of the top Bollywood movies from 1960s.
Mughal-e-Azam (1960): This is one of the all time greats and one of the most expensive Hindi movies ever made. The star cast is great: Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Durga Khote. The acting is very ‘real’. The dance sets are unparalleled for its time. Some of the famous dance sequences of Madhubala are filmed in the Shish Mahal -The Palace of Mirrors- in Lahore Shahi Qila.
Barsaat Ki Raat (1960): This is beautifully told love-story; another classic B/W of the 60s. The film starring Bharat Bhushan, Madhubala, Shyama, Mumtaz Begum and K.N. Singh in the lead roles. With lyrics from Sahir, the film is also popular for its qawwali songs, the likes of ‘Yeh ishaq ishaq’.
Chaudvin ka Chand(1960): Another great movie with equally great music. The film centers on a love triangle between Guru Dutt, Rehman and Waheeda Rehman. The ever-green songs are composed by Ravi and the lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni. Rafi delivered a very versatile vocal performance for the title song ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho’ and other songs like ‘Mili Khak Main Mohabbat’.
Junglee (1961): The film stars Shammi Kapoor, Lalita Pawar, Shashikala, Asit Sen in the lead roles, along with Saira Banu in her debut role. The movie is lighthearted musical; it established Shammi Kapoor’s as the youth icon of the times. The song ‘Yahoo’, sung by Rafi, became a symbol of Shammi’s wild (Junglee) and lover-boy image.
Dharmputra (1961): Directed by Yash Chopra, the film features Shashi Kapoor and Mala Sinha as the lead cast. The movie is based on the the partition of India and the Hindu fundamentalism at the time. The film deals with the issues of religious bigotry and fanaticism during the dark days of 1947. This was Shashi Kapoor’s first film as an adult actor. Film’s music is by N. Dutta with lyrics by the famous poet of the era – Sahir Ludhianvi.
Bees Saal Baad (1962): This is a brilliant suspense thriller; the spirit of a dead girl, who committed suicide after being raped, seems to avenge her rapist. The film stars Biswajeet, Waheeda Rehman and Madan Puri among the main actors. With lyrics from Shakeel Badayuni, and vocals from Lata and Hemant kumar’s, the movie has some of the most memorable hits songs, like ‘Bekarar Karke Hume…’.
Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962): Emotionally charged, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam is a romantic and nostalgic tale of a bygone era. The story is a reference to the plot exploring a platonic friendship between a beautiful but a lonely wife (Bibi) of an aristocrat (Sahib) and a career-driven low-income part-time servant (Ghulam). The music is by Hemant Kumar and lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni. The film stars Guru Dutt, Meena Kumari, Rehman, Waheeda Rehman and Nasir Hussain. Meena Kumari’s performance as Chhoti Bahu is regarded as one of the best performances of Hindi theater.
Bandini (1963): This is a touching and a poignant drama directed by Bimal Roy. The movie stars Nutan, Ashok Kumar and Dharmendra as the leads characters. A story of a woman prisoner serving life imprisonment for a murder, the film explores the human conflicts of love and hate.It has a tragic but brave depiction of the sufferings and sacrifices of a strong Indian woman.
Mere Mehboob (1963): This is an interesting plot. The leading character suddenly finds himself in love after bumping into a woman who is clad in the traditional burkha. The problem – he has only seen her hands! Thus starts the plot to find the mystery of his love! The film stars Rajendra Kumar, Sadhana, Ashok Kumar, Nimmi, Pran and Johnny Walker in the main roles.
Dosti(1964): Dosti is a brilliantly told sad tale of human behavior in the face of adversity. This was Sanjay Khan’s debut film, with Sudhir Kumar and Sushil Kumar in lead roles. The film centers around the friendship between two boys – one blind and the other a cripple. The movie is also famous for its ever-green sound-track, including the songs ‘Jaanewalo Zar Mur Ke Dekho Idhar’ and ”Mera To Jo Bhi Kadam Hai’. The lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri and music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, Mohammad Rafi is the main vocalist for the songs. R. D. Burman played the harmonica throughout the film for the character of Ramu. After delivering the awe inspiring acting, the two lead actors were never seen in any Hindi movies after this one, raising all kinds of rumors and speculations about their fate.
Sangam (1964): This 238 minutes long film is produced and directed by Raj Kapoor. The movie stars Vajyantimala, Rajindar Kumar and Raj Kapoor himself as the main cast. This is a story of romantic love triangle and the resulting problems. The movie has beautiful cinematography and the melodious soundtrack; it has some of the best songs of the 60s decade, including ‘Dost Dost Na Raha’ and ‘Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega’.
Guide (1965): This is a masterpiece of the Indian cinema; the movie is known for beautiful cinematography, lovely music and spell-bounding storyline . The film’s cast includes Dev Anand as Guide and Wahida Rahman as the leading lady. The movie is based on the critically acclaimed novel, The Guide, by R. K. Narayan. The music is composed by S. D. Burman; the songs written by Shailendra. Some of the memorable songs from the movie are ‘Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai’, ‘Gaata Rahe Mera Dil’, ‘Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya’ and ‘Tere Mere Sapne’.
Waqt(1965): This is another gem directed by Yash Chopra. The movie stars an ensemble cast including Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Sadhana, Balraj Sahni, Madan Puri, Sharmila Tagore, Achala Sachdev and Rehman. The plot is based on the concept of ‘the lost and reunite formula’ commonly used in Bollywood. Composed by Ravi, some of the popular songs in the movie are ‘Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu’ and ‘Ae Meri Zohra Jabeen’.
Teesri Manzil (1966): This is a very popular and musical film from the 60s. It is a murder mystery, but continues to draw repeat audiences even though the identity of the murderer is no longer a secret. The main cast includes Shammi Kappor, Asha Parekh, Premnath, Prem Chopra, Helen and K. N. Singh. The sound track of the movie is equally popular; it has some of the best filmed dance songs of the era, including ‘O Mere Sona Re Sona Re’, ‘O Haseena Zulfonwali Jaane Jahan’ and ‘Aaja Aaja Mein Hoon Pyar Tera’.
Phool Aur Patthar (1966): This film helped establish Dharmendra as a leading star in the Hindi Film Industry; his shirtless scenes and a he-man image finally arrived with this flick. It also stars Meena Kumari, Shashikala and Madan Puri. This is beautifully depicted and a touching story of a common criminal with a golden heart. The film was instrumental in making Dharmendra-Meena Kumari a popular leading couple for many more movies down the road.
Upkar (1967): Another great movie with nostalgic scenes of Indian rural life of yester years. Directed by Manoj Kumar, the film portrays a story of patriotism and courage. The main cast includes Asha Parekh, Manoj Kumar and Prem Chopra supported by Pran in a character role. This popular films has some of the best ever-green songs of all times; songs like ‘Kasme Waade Pyar Wafa’ and ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti’ are among the all time greats.
Hamraaz (1967): Another popular film of the 1960s, this ones is is a suspense thriller. Produced and directed by B. R. Chopra, the star-studded cast includes Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, Mumtaz, Sarika, Madan Puri, Iftekhar, Balraj Sahni, Jeevan, Helen and Vimi. Composed by Ravi and penned by Sahir Ludhianvi, Mahendra Kapoor delivered some of his best songs of his music career. The movie soundtrack has the songs like ‘Neele Gagan Ke Tale’, ‘Na Mubh Chupaake Jiyo’, ‘Tum Agar Saath Dene Ka’ and ‘Kisi Patthar Ki Moorat Se’… some of the most soulful songs of all times.
Ankhen (1968): This is romantic spy thriller with a big budget for its times, and it established this ‘spy’ genre of the Bollywood movies. Produced and directed by Ramanand Sagar, the film was shot in many international locations. The film stars Mala Sinha, Dharmendra, Mehmood, Lalita Pawar, Jeevan and Madan Puri. The music is by Ravi and the wonderful lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi. The soundtrack has many ever-green songs, like ‘Milti hai zindagi mein mohabbat’, ‘Gairon pe karam’.
Brahmachari (1968): This is another romantic love-story with all kinds of twists and turns and unsuccessful suicide attempts. The movie stars Shammi Kapoor, Rajshree, Pran, Mumtaz, Jagdeep, Sachin and Asit Sen in the lead. The music is by Shankar Jaikishan. The film is als known for its versatile and lovely music; it includes the popular songs like ‘Aajkal Tere Mere Pyar Ke Charche’ and ‘Dil Ke Jharokhe Mein’.
Aaradhna(1969) This is a touching drama intertwined with the social taboos of unmarried mother, adoption and a lost love. The lead cast of Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna is supported by Sujit Kumar and Farida Jalal. This critically accailed movies touches on so many social issues surrounding love and acceptance. The romantic and soulful music is composed by S. D. Burman, with lyrics by Anand Bakshi, and has famous songs like ‘Roop Tera Mastana’, ‘Baghon Mein Bahar Hai’, ‘Chanda Hai Tu Mera Suraj Hai Tu’, ‘Mere Sapno Ki Rani’,’Gun Guna Rahe Hai Bhanvare’, ‘Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera’……a fantastic soundtrack by any measure.
Do Raaste (1969): This is a beutiful drama movie directed by Raj Khosla. It is based on a joint family dynamics and the daily frictions in a lower middle class society. The film has the star cast of Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz, Balraj Sahni, Kamini Kaushal, Prem Chopra and Bindu. The lovely music includes all time famous songs like ‘Bindiya Chamkegi’, ‘Yeh Reshmi Zulfen’ and ‘Chup Gaye Sare Nazare (Dil Ne Dil Ko Pukara)’….
Honorable mentions: There were so many memorable films made in the 1960 decade. Some other stand-outs are:
Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai (1960) – Starring Raj Kapoor and Padmini
Sangam(1964) – Vyjayanthimala and Raj Kapoor, and tons of fantastic music
Kashmir ki Kali(1964)- Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore with romantic and melodious music.
Arzoo(1965) – Sadhana and Rajendra Kumar
Gumnaam (1965) – Another suspense thriller film with melodious and haunting music,
Jewel Theif (1967) – With Dev Anand and VajyantiMala in the lead,
Padosan (1968) – Mehmood, Sunil Dutt, Saira Bano, Kishore Kumar. A lovely romantic comedy.
Love in Tokyo (1966)
Ram aur Shyam(1967)… we can go on….
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