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The Seven Biggest Blockbusters ever in Hindi Cinema..

There are a few ways to decide the biggest hits ever in Hindi cinema. If we go to go by cost to earnings it is very clear cut and Jai Santoshi Maa (1975) is by far the biggest blockbuster ever. Jai Santoshi Maa (1975) was made on a 4-5 lakhs budget and collected a distributor share of 5 crore which is 100 times its costs. Next on the list would be Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) which returned around 15 times its cost but even that is still way below the returns of Jai Santoshi Maa. But the real mega blockbusters we believe are decided by the volume of public watching them in a particular era. Jai Santoshi Maa would not have been an All Time Blockbuster if it was a big budget film of that time while Maine Pyaar Kiya would have just about made it. There are seven films in the history of Hindi cinema till date (2010) which stand above the others. What these films did is smash barriers by a distance. If a huge blockbuster of their times were expected to hit a certain level, then what these films did was go much much higher than that level. They all practically went twice as high. The seven films are easy to pick out but the order after Sholay is debatable but the following list is how we see it to be.

1. SHOLAY (1975) – Simply the most watched and loved film of Hindi cinema by a distance. Dominated theatres for 25 years with umpteen re-runs. Business in re-runs was on many occasions higher than newly released films of the time.

2. Mughal E Azam (1960) – Smashed all records when first released and the amazing re- run with its colour version (2004) gives it number two position.

3. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994)/Gadar Ek Prem Katha (2001) – Tough to split the two, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun basically changed film business while Gadar is the most watched film of the modern era (post Hum Aapke Hain Kaun) . Basically these films are the biggest blockbusters of the modern era.

5. Mother India (1957) – The first film to smash records by a margin. Business is similar to Mughal E Azam but impact of that film in 2004 re-run gives it edge.

6. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)/Three Idiots (2009) – Tough to split the two, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was a huge follow up a year after Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and a 15 year (still going) run at one cinema in Mumbai. Three Idiots was the first true mega blockbuster since business became dominated by multiplexes. Another similarity between the two is that though they were the second biggest hits of their respective decades they were liked more by the classes than Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Gadar so therefore have a better media perception than those legendary box office blockbusters.

Other huge grossers would be Sangam, Upkar, Bobby, Roti Kapada Aur Makaan, Kranti, Coolie, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Maine Pyaar Kiya, Raja Hindustani, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Dhoom 2 and Ghajini but these films are well below the big seven. Some All Time Blockbusters are missing as they were All Time Blockbusters due to being smaller films and not huge takings at the box office.

BOI

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16 COMMENTS
  1. Ihab

    So all the three Khans have one movie among the BIG seven.. SRK has DDLJ, Salman has HAHK and Aamir has 3 Idiots. Nice..

  2. Manish

    and yakuza bhai ur was more logical for sure :)

  3. shezad

    ihab bahi i was to post this article too.
    nice list btw

  4. shezad

    yakuza in ur list u dont mention rnbdj, and this film have crossed previous record holder in date of release time,
    doom2 80cr and rnbdj 87. ghajinii released 2 week later.

  5. Yakuza

    shezad, Margin was not enough between rnbdj and dhoom-2 considering 2 years gap , I also exclude few movies of 50′s only because of this reason. As i explained well in post, business should be way above the past highest grosser, all these movies doesn’t fit into criteria.

  6. SV

    Ghajini is not an ATBB.Rest I agree.

  7. Pseudo

    What about Kismet, Rattan ..those movies in early 40s grossed around 1Cr nett – I dont agree with BOI’s “adjusted gross” in those cases – I know Kismet was loved by a generation of people and 1Cr at that time – before Indipendence – is HUGE.

  8. Manish

    aisa kya ritz ??? how was the movie kismet ?? haveu seen it ???

  9. Pseudo

    No I haven’t Manish. But I know it was a rage – some ppl have told me so(from that era)…

  10. Yakuza

    Pseudo, Kismat is very well in list at first spot itself. As Rattan was released later and didn’t cross Kismat gross, it got excluded and after adjustments Kismat spots seventh position.

  11. Yakuza

    Ohh sorry pseudo,I didn’t realize you are talking about BOI, not bollybusiness.

  12. Pseudo

    Yakuza bhai, saw your post. Interesting that you include Dhoom 2 in the list. Yes I agree on Rattan.

  13. sputnik

    I saw Kismet on TV when I was a kid. I don’t remember anything from the movie except the song ‘Mera Bulbul So Raha Hai’ sung by Ashok Kumar. I have seen the song later and I find the hand movements in songs of those times quite funny.

    I remember reading in Limca Book of Records that it ran in the same theatre for 3/4 years.

  14. Pseudo

    Sputnik, one of the main highlights was “Door hato aye duniyawaloon Hindustan hamara hai” Song…this being a movie which came before Independence.
    I dont think its funny at all (the song) although I think MTv gen of today will make fun of anything….irrespective of feeling behind it…(not including u here)

    I like Ahok Kumar very much – he was India’s First Superstar – he seemed very natural in many movies – but very few know that he was a method actor to the core – he wud rehearse a dialogue or the way puffs cigar a dozen times before giving a final take…but came out as amazingly natural actor.

    Here is the song u mentioned.

  15. sputnik

    Pseudo,

    I saw the song “Door hato aye duniyawaloon Hindustan hamara hai” a couple of weeks back on TV. I did not know that song was from Kismet till yesterday when I tried to look up the story of Kismet on google. It has good lyrics by Kavi Pradip. I think he is the best lyricist on patriotic songs.

    What I mean by funny is that the actors would act out what they are singing using their hands. It seems odd but I actually find it endearing especially the ‘Mera BulBul’ song. I think they were just limited by the technology back then.

    I like Ashok Kumar a lot too and agree with you that he is very natural. I read that he was a method actor too.

    I don’t really care whether an actor did a scene in one take/100 takes, whether he did method acting or spontaneous acting. What matters is the final product. I like performances which are natural and do not feel like they are acting.

    If one can see they are acting, to me that it is not good acting.

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