The 10 best Bollywood old movies come from the Hindi language movie companies found predominately in India and Mumbai-which was once Bombay, hence “Bollywood”. These ten best Bollywood old movies cover the birth of Indian cinema, to the social realist movement called Parallel Cinema and Neo Realism.
- “Raja Harishchandra” made in 1913 is the first silent, Indian film. It's directed by Dadasaheb Phalke. The story is told of King Harishchandra from the Ramyana. This king gives up his kingdom and his family because of a promise he made. It has a completely male cast, even playing the female roles.
- “Alam Ara” is one of the best Bollywood old movies and was made in 1931. It was the first talkie film, and met with great commercial success. In fact, they actually had to call the cops to control the crowds. It’s a love story that follows a prince and a gypsy girl who’s actually the banished daughter of an imprisoned chief minister. This film set the tone for following Indian musicals.
- “Pyaasa” is about a poet trying to find success in post independent India. It’s one of the best Bollywood old movies and was made in 1957. It’s director, Guru Dutt, is now considered one of the greatest Asian filmmakers. This film also made it in Time magazine’s All Time 100 Best movies.
- “Awaara”, made in 1951, is one of the best Bollywood old movies showing the struggle of a love that must deal with class limitations. It also reveals the depth of human nature, and not always good, when confronted with betrayal. It was ranked #1 on Time’s list of “10 Indian Films to Treasure”.
- “Mother India” was made in 1957, and nominated for an Academy award for “Best Foreign Language Film”. This is one of the best Bollywood old movies dealing with the themes of a family struggling to break free of the yoke of poverty, and the various ways reactions to this oppression can play out. A family’s grief, and their triumphs are shown here.
- “Madhumati” was made in 1958 and has a strong emphasis on reincarnation. It’s an Indian paranormal fully equipped with a dark, stormy night and spooky house. The story of a past life remembered, and the treachery and death that ensued is unfurled.
- “Neecha Nagar” was made in 1946 from a rising movement called Parallel Cinema. It functioned as a social realist film and won the Grand Prize in the Cannes Film festival. It dealt with the extreme expanse between classes.
- “Two Acres of Land” was made in 1953 and was part of the neo realist movement. It is one of the best Bollywood old movies, and India Times ranks it in the “Top 25 Must See Bollywood Movies”. It tells the story of a man and his family fighting to save their land, their only livelihood, from deceitful speculators.
- “Kaagaz Ke Phool” did horribly when it first came out, but is now considered a cult classic. It follows the tumultuous life of a filmmaker, his affair of the heart against his wife, and his tumble down into alcoholism after his love, an actress, leaves him so he can work out his marriage.
- “Mughal e Azam”, made in 1960, is directed by K. Asif. and was a box office record breaking epic that took nine years to complete. It’s the tragic love story between a prince and a dancing girl he is not allowed to marry.
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