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Ten most popular period films of Bollywood

With the release of Bajirao Mastani, the already spectacular genre seems to have hit an all-time high

New Delhi: It’s rained period films this year and with Bajirao Mastani, the already spectacular genre seems to have hit an all-time high. Indian cinema, however, has always loved setting its stories in the glorious past. Here are 10 of the most-loved period films of Bollywood.

1.Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

Director K.Asif’s epic historical drama is widely considered the most popular Indian film of all time, rivaled only (and much later) by Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay. Based on the love story of Prince Salim (who went on to rule as Emperor Jahangir) and a court dancer, Anarkali, the film was in the making for nearly a decade and boasted of the widest release for its time in about 150 cinemas. It became a phenomenal box office success, earning more than 4 crore which adjusted for inflation today, is equivalent to more than 1,000 crore. Its songs and scenes have inspired many filmmakers (including Bhansali himself in Bajirao Mastani). A colorized version of the film was released in 2004 to critical acclaim.

2.Shaheed (1965)

Before the likes of Ajay Devgn and Bobby Deol took over, the struggles of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh were brought alive on screen by Manoj Kumar in this period film. The first of a series of Kumar’s patriotic films, including Upkar and Kranti, the S. Ram Sharma-directed movie grossed 2 crore at the box office and won three national awards.

3.Border (1997)

The war epic set during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan clash was directed by J.P. Dutta. Featuring a host of actors, including Sunny Deol, Sunil Shetty and Akshaye Khanna, and an immensely popular music score by Anu Malik, the film netted 30 crore in box office collections and won three national awards.

4.Lagaan (2001)

The Ashutosh Gowariker-directed film was set in the Victorian period of India’s colonial rule and narrated the extraordinary story of a group of villagers who fight the oppressive system of taxation. The Aamir Khan-starrer not just earned 25 crore in box office collections but became the third Indian film of all time to reach the top five nominations of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

5.Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001)

The Sunny Deol film was released on the same day as Lagaan and went on to become one of the biggest commercial successes in Indian film history. Set during the horrific time of Partition and directed by Anil Sharma, it made more than 43 crore at the box office and recorded more footfalls than the Oscar-nominated movie.

6.Devdas (2002)

The first colour version of the oft-attempted Bengali tale was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and featured Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai in lead roles. With a budget of 50 crore, it was the most expensive Indian film for its time. At nearly 25 crore, it emerged as not just the biggest commercial grosser of the year, but also India’s official entry to the Academy Awards and a winner of five national awards.

7.Parineeta (2005)

The debut film of actor Vidya Balan, Parineeta was a romantic musical drama based on a Bengali novella and set in the period immediately after Independence. Also starring Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt, the Pradeep Sarkar-directed film was premiered at several international film festivals and made about 20 crore at the box office, giving Balan a head start in the industry.

8.Jodhaa Akbar (2008)

The historical drama directed by Ashutosh Gowariker was based on the romance between Mughal Emperor Akbar and his Hindu wife Jodhabai. Featuring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai in lead roles, the film made more than 45 crore at the box office despite protests on the accuracy of the film’s details, including the name of the queen itself.

9.Lootera (2013)

Director Vikramaditya Motwane’s romantic period drama was based on a short story called The Last Leaf by O. Henry. The film received a lukewarm response at the box office then and made only 29 crore. But given its cult status today and the love for its music and performances, the Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha-starrer promises to be perceived differently in the long run.

10.Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

The biographical sports film based on the life of Olympian Milkha Singh was directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and featured Farhan Akhtar in the title role. One of the most successful biopics in the country, the film made close to 108 crore at the box office and won Akhtar every best actor award that season.

All figures have been sourced from movie websites Bollywood Hungama and IBOS Network.

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