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Movies from the Bygone Bollywood Worthy of the Oscars


“Kabhi kabhi puraane dino ki yaad, sehat ke liye bahut achi hoti hai.”
-Mera Naam Joker

The 91 st Academy Awards are soon to take place and as everyone is gearing up for the mega event, anticipating who makes it big, and looking forward to the cinematic calendar, we may sometimes forget how far cinema has come – Indian cinema, no less. Bollywood, as we know it, has crossed the 100-year threshold and so, it’s only natural that basal films get covered in dust.
However, we bring to you a selection of movies that are an epitome of the legacy that our Bolly-forefathers left for us.

1. Boot Polish


“Mujhe paise nahi chaahiye saahab, mujhe kaam chaahiye.”

Released a few years after Independence, it is a 1954 movie, that truly portrays what it’s like to be on “your own”. A story of two orphaned kids,
Bhola and Belu, it kickstarts powerfully and continues its narrative through ups and too-many-downs in their lives.

What it carries: Naaz as Belu is perhaps the highlight, but it does not take away from dynamic performances and the ideology of her equally talented on-screen brother Bhola – earn the food you eat.

2. Jagte Raho


“Insaan ki bhavnao se khelna koi mazaak nahi hai.”

A very simply laid out narration of how the world works, Jagte Raho is one of those movies that captivate you in ways a sophisticated movie never could.
Starring Raj Kapoor in the lead, the 1956 movie tells of how a villager learns the harshest truths of life while wandering about in thirst – all in the span of one night.

What it carries: Besides a unique storyline, amazing acting by Raj Kapoor, it lays out a few truths that stare you hard in the face but those that we otherwise dodge.

3. Pyaasa


“Mujhe shiqaayat hai samaaj ke us dhaanche se jo insaan se uski insaaniyat
chheen leta hai.”

Pyaasa (1957) is proof of how phenomenal Guru Dutt was as a filmmaker. A few minutes into the film, and you’re ensnared into the traps society lays out for you, just as Vijay is. A remarkably told tale of wistfulness, it is a piece of art that surpasses time. Believe us when we say, it never gets old.

What it carries: Theatricality, its ability to keep you guessing, beautiful music and social realism- you could fight for power or get crumbled- make Pyaasa a teaspoon serving of the genius of old Bollywood cinema.

4. Dosti


“Jaise tum nayanheen, vaise main charanheen.”

Dosti (1964) is what one would call a true heartfelt account of friendship.
Ramu and Mohan, two boys battling their own physical challenges, stumble upon each other and quickly develop a bond that makes them family. With no one else to rely on, they struggle to survive in a dramatic unfolding of events.

What it carries: An amazing screenplay of their perseverance and love for each other that pushes them forward and dares everyone to dream. Oh, and music that touches your soul.

5. Guide


“Jab matlab se pyaar hota hai, toh pyaar se matlab nahi rehta.”

Our list would be incomplete if we didn’t mention this paragon of Hindi cinema. This 1965 feature has Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehmaan steering the audience with commendable performances. Dwindling between greed-selflessness, atheism-faith, Guide takes you on a tour of all emotions (pun

What it carries: It puts forth the age-long battle between good and bad, portrayed as the heart and mind. The story is great, climax even better and the actors call for special praise.

6. Anand


“Jab tak zinda hoon tab tak mara nahi, jab mar gaya sala main hi nahi.”

Another exemplar of magical story-telling, Anand makes one wish to travel to 1971 and be a part of the filmmaking process. Such deep philosophy is so tastefully dished out, it makes you laugh with Anand and take away Anand in your heart (pun intended, again).

What it carries: Rajesh Khanna as the exuberant cancer patient makes you enjoy every moment of the motion picture as he enjoys every moment of his life. Hrishikesh Mukherjee as a director has brought a masterpiece to the table.

Words fall short if one looks at the grandeur of Indian cinema. Ranging from heartfelt, to tickle your funny bones to rejoicing with dance – Bollywood has gifted us everything that moves us as a nation. The magic that old talkies held can never be replaced. Words fall short, and so does this list. Aaaaaaand cut!

Written by: Shriya Singh Rawat

About author

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