Since the year 1943, 16 films have redefined the Box-Office number game in India. In these 75 years, the business of the Hindi films grew from Rs 1 crore to Rs 385 crore, however on the flip side, the footfalls i.e. the number of tickets sold fell from Rs. 15 crore to Rs. 3.85 crore. A lot from the trade believe that the increase in collections over the years has got a lot to do with the rise in ticket rates and the industry now must try to get more and more people in the cinema hall. The 16 films we are talking about are the films that proved to be all time grosser i.e. the biggest hit of all time upon their release. While the obsession with numbers among the audience has started this decade, a glimpse into the historic films would indeed be an exciting space for our readers. Here’s a look at the films that redefined the number game and the period for which the record stood unchallenged:
Kismet (1943 to 1949): The 1943 blockbuster, Kismet was the first Hindi film to collect over Rs 1.00 crore at the Box-Office India. The movie starred Ashok Kumar and Mumtaaz in lead. The record stood unchallenged for 6 years.
Barsaat (1949 to 1952): The Raj Kapoor – Nargis starrer, Barsaat is remembered for its iconic music and historic Box-Office performance. The film, that released in 1949 raked in Rs 1.10 crore at the domestic Box-Office, thereby proving to be an all-time grosser. The record stood unchallenged for 3 years.
Aan (1952 to 1955): The tragedy king of India, Dilip Kumar delivered his first blockbuster in the form of Aan in 1952 which proved to be an all-time grosser. The film shattered the previous record by a margin of 35%, as the film collected approximately Rs 1.50 crore in India. The record of this film starring Dilip Kumar and Nimmi stood tall against all competitors for 3 years.
Shree 420 (1955 to 1957): Raj Kapoor delivered his second all-time grosser in the form of Shree 420 in 1958. The film starring Nargis as the female lead proved to be the first ever Hindi film that collected over Rs 2.00 crore in India. The record stood unbroken for 2 years until the release of Mother India.
Mother India (1957 to 1960): Mother India is one of the most iconic films of Indian cinema, more so because it is the only film that has female as the central character that emerged as an all-time grosser i.e. industry hit. Starring Nargis and Sunil Dutt in lead, the film raked in Rs 4.00 crore at the domestic Box-Office thereby shattering the previous record by a 100% margin. The record stood firm for almost 3 years
Mughal – E – Azam (1960 to 1975): Dilip Kumar was at the top of his game in 1960, and the phenomenal performance of Mughal-E-Azam at that point of time consolidated his place in list of all-time greats of the Hindi film industry. Also starring Prithviraj Kapoor and Madhubala in lead, the movie collected Rs 5.50 crore in India thereby proving to be an all-time grosser. The collections don’t take into consideration the unaccounted ticket sales during the re-runs of the film over the years. The record stood unchallenged for almost 15 years, until the arrival of Sholay.
Sholay (1975 – 1994): One of the most iconic films of the Hindi film industry, Sholay starring Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini and Jaya Bachchan in lead raked in Rs 15.00 crore upon its release in India thereby emerging an all-time grosser. Shockingly, it is the only all-time grosser for the two stalwarts – Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan. It is the first film to rake in over Rs 10 crore in India. The record of Sholay stood unbroken for nearly 19 years until the arrival of Hum Aapke Hai Kaun.
Hum Aapke Hai Kaun (1994 – 2001): Sooraj Barjatya’s family drama, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun apart from being an all-time grosser is historic for the sheer margin by which it broke the previous record. Starring Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit in lead, the film raked in approximately Rs 69 crore in India thereby breaking the previous record by a margin of 500%. The record stood unchallenged for 7 years. Hum Aapke Hai Kaun is the first film that raked in over Rs 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 crores in India.
Gadar (2001 – 2006): Sunny Deol is one of the biggest mass superstars that India has ever seen, and he reached at the peak of his career in 2001 when Gadar crushed the previous records to emerge an all-time grosser. Despite a clash with Lagaan, the film also starring Ameesha Patel in lead raked in Rs 75 crore in India and the same stood unbroken for nearly 5 years.
Dhoom 2 (2006 to 2008): Hrithik Roshan took over the Dhoom Franchise and delivered the first all-time grosser of his career. Also starring Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra in lead, the film raked in Rs 80.25 crore in India and the same stood unchallenged for two years until the arrival of Ghajini.
Ghajini (2008 to 2009): With Ghajini started the undisputed domination of Aamir Khan when it comes to delivering all time grosser. The film, also starring Asin in lead, opened the Rs 100 crore club in India and also got the audience to start their obsession with the number game. This was Aamir Khan’s first all-time grosser.
3 Idiots (2009 – 2013): Just a year after Ghajini came 3 Idiots and this film starring Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi and R Madhavan destroyed all previous records and became the first Hindi film to rake in over Rs 200 crore at the domestic Box-Office. The lifetime collections of this comic caper stand at Rs. 202.95 crore, which stood unchallenged for nearly 4 years.
Chennai Express (August – December 2013): 4 years after the release of 3 Idiots came Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer Chennai Express which created history at the Box-Office. The Rohit Shetty Directorial raked in approximately Rs 227.13 crore and proved to be the first all-time grosser for SRK. The record stood unchallenged for merely 4 months until the release of Dhoom 3.
Dhoom 3 (2013 – 2014): Just like Dhoom 2, even Dhoom 3 proved to be an all-time grosser. The film starring Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif in lead raked in Rs 284.38 cr at the domestic Box-Office and proved to be the first Hindi film to earn in excess of Rs 250 crore in India. The record stood unchallenged for 4 years until the arrival of PK.
PK (2014 – 2016): Since 2008, it seems as if Aamir Khan had made a habit of delivering all time grosser. After Ghajini, 3 Idiots, and Dhoom 3, PK also proved to be an all-time grosser as the film became the first Hindi film to collect over Rs 300 crore in India. Also starring Anushka Sharma in lead, the Rajkumar Hirani directorial collected approximately Rs 340.80 crore in India.
Dangal (2016 and counting): Nitesh Tiwari’s Dangal starring Aamir Khan in lead collected Rs 387.38 crore in India thereby opening the Rs 350 crore club at the domestic Box-Office. Despite being devoid of all commercial trappings, the film proved to be the 5thall-time grosser – the highest ever for any star in history of Bollywood.
Apart from the above mentioned 16 films, there are a few films like Maine Pyaar Kiya, Om Shanti Om and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi which missed out on the all-time grosser tag by a minor margin of less than 10%. As seen from the above list, Aamir Khan undoubtedly dominates the list of all-time grosser followed by Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor. Here’s a look at number of all-time grosser delivered by actors:
Aamir Khan: 5 Films – Ghajini, 3 Idiots, Dhoom 3, PK and Dangal
Nargis: 3 Films – Barsaat, Shree 420 and Mother India
Dilip Kumar: 2 Films – Aan and Mughal – E – Azam
Raj Kapoor: 2 Films – Barsaat and Shree 420
Ashok Kumar: 1 Film – Kismet
Sunil Dutt: 1 Film – Mother India
Dharmendra: 1 Film – Sholay
Amitabh Bachchan: 1 Film – Sholay (The mega-star would have had more all-time grossers had Sholay not released in the early days of his career. Call it sheer bad luck that he got a historic blockbuster like Sholay in just the 5th year of his acting career.)
Madhuri Dixit: 1 Film – Hum Aapke Hai Kaun
Salman Khan: 1 Film – Hum Aapke Hai Kaun (Maine Pyaar Kiya almost challenged the collections of Sholay upon its release, and fell short by a margin of merely 50 Lakh.)
Sunny Deol: 1 Film – Gadar
Hrithik Roshan: 1 Film – Dhoom 2
Shah Rukh Khan: 1 Film – Chennai Express (The count might have been 3 but Om Shanti Om unfortunately missed out on Dhoom 2 by a small margin. In the same way, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi might have been an all-time grosser had its run not been cut short by Ghajini.)
Deepika Padukone: 1 Film – Chennai Express
Note: The actresses who contributed significantly to the success of the film have been credited in the list above.