The Enchanting World of Classic Hindi Movies

India is a vast country, rich and diverse in culture.  It has an ancient mystic and spiritual allure; however, over the past century a particular film making genre has risen in prominence and has become as synonymous with India as the Taj Mahal and Dharamsala.   Known as “Bollywood”, or Hindi Movies or Cinema, the popularity of this genre is massive in India and growing in every other part of the world (primarily Egypt, Oman, Russia, Germany, UAE and the US).  The epicentre of Bollywood is Mumbai (formerly Bombay) which has grown to become one of the top centres of film production in the world.  In Indian pop culture, Bollywood actors are on par with Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp.  

Hindi films have been an important source of entertainment over the past century because they celebrate Indian culture and espouse historical values. In an era of First World overconsumption and at a time when corporate corruption has given rise to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, India still holds on to its age-old values and is proud of its culture that is remains rich and colorful. This is very much evident in the cultural character in each motion picture - one can see its rich culture portrayed in different classic Hindi movies.Pyaasa Kaagaz Ke Phool

It was in 1896 that the first silent film (produced by the Lumiere Brothers) was shown in Bombay, India. Two short films were made in India the following year, and thereafter the industry and it’s the thematic messages evolved concurrently. Early film producers were seeking to not only to entertain, but also to educate its audience on various cultural and social issues.

The golden age of Indian Cinema was in the 1950’s and 1960’s when some of the most remarkable and classic Hindi movies were made. Some well-known titles include Pyaasa Kaagaz Ke Phool (Soul of an Indian), Awaara, Mother India and Pyaasa. The attention to detail within these movies ensured that these films were true to the Indian culture in every way.

Mother India (1957 - no subtitles)


In the 70’s and 80’s, other well-known classic Hindi movies were Kanoon, Khilona, Milan, Professor, Purani Haveli, Amar Prem, Alibaba Aur 40 Chor, Babul, Bombay To Goa, and Pehchan.  The movie that is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of classic Hindi films is the action-adventure Sholay (available with English subtitles). Given Bollywood’s rise in popularity, these movies are seeing resurgence (DVD sales and download volumes are strong) as newcomers to the genre seek out the classics.

 If you are a Bollywood fan, I would love to hear your take on what the top 3 movies are of all time.  Please use the comments box below to record your votes.