India at 75 | From Rs 1 crore to Rs 500 crore: A look at Bollywood’s box office journey

While it took Bollywood 65 years to reach Rs 100 crore mark from Rs 1 crore, the Rs 200 crore mark was breached within a year.

Bollywood box office, sholay, dangal, aamir khan, mughal e aazam, box office records, baahubali, KGF
Bollywood breached Rs 1 crore barrier at the box office before 1947.

India holds the record of making most number of movies in the world. Calling India the movie factory of the world won’t be an exaggeration. Indians love their films, and everything related to it. Be it dance and music or the movie stars. Actors are idolized and enjoy a huge fan following. The love of fans is reflected at the box office where year after year, BO records are broken and new ones created. Some movies reach the milestones before others. Bollywood breached Rs 1 crore barrier at the box office before 1947. Ashok Kumar, Mumtaz Shanti starrer Kismet and Swaran Lata, Karan Dewan starrer Rattan reached Rs 1 crore mark in 1943 and 1944 respectively. Suraiya and Noor Jehan’s Anmol Ghadi was a musical success and again collect Rs 1 crore in 1946. has curated a list of such record breaking movies from the first one to breach Rs 1 crore mark since independence to the latest BO hits. All figures reflect the domestic nett collection at the Indian box office ( Domestic (India) Nett = Total Gross in India – Entertainment Tax) as per IMDB. Check out –    

Barsaat – Rs 1.15 Crore

Released in 1949, Raj Kapoor paired with Nargis and created magic at the box office. The movie was an instant hit and began journey of Bollywood’s first golden pair. The dialogues of this movie were written by Ramanand Sagar who directed TV series Ramayan on Doordarshan in late 80s.  

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Awaara – Rs 1.25 crore

Two years later, in 1951, the sensational on-screen pair of Raj Kapoor and Nargis broke their own record and awed the audience with a crime -drama. Raj Kapoor directed his real-life father Prithviraj Kapoor in this movie. This movie’s song such as Awaara Hoon, Dam Bhar Jo Udhar Munh Phere and Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi are still famous.

Aan – Rs 1.5 Crore

In 1952, Dilip Kumar and Nimmi broke box office record with this period drama. Directed by Mehboob Khan, the movie set Indian BO on fire and was released in the USA and the UK as The Savage Princess. It was India’s first technicolor film.

Shree 420 – Rs 2 Crore

Raj Kapoor again paired with Nargis to break box office records. In this comedy-drama film, Kapoor played a character inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s little tramp. Its song Mera Joota hai Japani became a symbol of national pride.  

Mother India – Rs 4 croreIn 1957 came the mother of all Indian box office hits Mother India. It smashed box office and grossed Rs 4 crore in domestic market. Nargis played the tragic role of a poverty stricken woman who struggles and raises her sons through many trails and tribulations. Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar supported Nargis in this social drama directed by Mehboob Khan.  

Mughal-E-Azam – Rs 5.5 Crore

Three years later, in 1960, K Asif created one of the most celebrated Indian Films Mughal-E-Azam. Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Prithviraj Kapoor highlighted this period drama set in medieval India. Kamal Amrohi’s dialogues and Naushad’s songs were instant hits. The song Pyar Kiya to darna kya cost Rs 1 crore to shoot when movies were being made in few lakhs.  

Mughal-E-Azam then held on to its box office record for 15 years. In the meantime Bobby in 1973 with Rs 5,5 crore touched its collection but could not breach it. In 1974, Manoj Kumar’s Roti Kapda Aur Makan came close with Rs 5.25 crore BO collection.

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Sholay – Rs 15 Crore

In 1975, director Ramesh Sippy and writers Salim-Javed  created something that would become a gold standard for box office success in India. The movie had one of the best ensemble cast ever featuring Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri and newcomer Amjad Khan as the chief antagonist Gabbar Singh. Sholay’s character Jai, Veeru, Basanti, Dhanno, Thakur, Mausi, Kalia, Sambha are household names and its dialogues are still part of popular culture. Sholay also features in millennial trends like memes almost 50 years after its release, telling us why it is considered the biggest Indian movie ever!

Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! – Rs 70 Crore

19 years after Sholay, in 1994, a shy director Suraj Barjatya recreated his own production’s Bhojpuri Movie Nadiya ke Paar and it created a riot at the box office. Wave after wave of crowd flocked movie theatres to watch this family drama featuring Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan, Anupam Kher, Alok Nath, Mohnish Behl, Renuka Shahane and Reema Lagoo. The movie’s music by RaamLaxman is still a chart-buster and its songs have become an eternal part of Indian weddings.

Gadar: Ek Prem Katha – Rs 76.5 crore

Sunny Deol uproots a handpump in Lahore and all box office records are shattered. Directed by Anll Sharma the 2001 movie was set in the backdrop of India’s partition where a poor truck driver from India falls in love with an aristocratic girl from Pakistan. Amrish Puri played the chief antagonist Ashraf Ali.

Dhoom 2 – Rs 81 Crore

The glam and glitz of this Yash Raj Film created splash at the box office in 2006. Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai and Bipasha Basu’s glamour and its peppy music attracted young crowd to theatres. Sanjay Gadhvi directed Dhoom 2.

Ghajini – Rs 115 Crore

In 2008, this Aamir Khan starrer not only became the first Bollywood movie to breach Rs 100 crore mark but also started the reign of Mr Perfectionist at the box office. It was the remake of a Tamil movie by the same name. Directed by AR Murugadoss, Ghajini also had Asin and Jiah Khan in important roles.  

3 Idiots – Rs 201.4 Crore

While it took Bollywood 65 years to reach Rs 100 crore mark from Rs 1 crore, the Rs 200 crore mark was breached within a year as Aamir Khan delivered mega hit 3 Idiots in 2009 shredding all box office records. This drama-comedy film was loosely based on a book by Chetan Bhagat. Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, the movie also had R Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kareena Kapoor and Mona Singh in significant roles.  

Dhoom 3- Rs 271.3 Crore

Aamir Khan joined Dhoom franchise in 2013 and the result was a thunderous success at the box office. The movie directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya had Aamir in double role. Abhishek Bachchan and Katrina Kaif were other members of the cast.  

PK – Rs 337.9 Crore

Actor, director duo of Aamir Khan and Rajkumar Hirani again paired and created another milestone by breaching the Rs 300 crore mark for the first time ever! This 2014 movie created waves at the BO and featured Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput and Sanjay Dutt in prominent roles. Aamir Khan played an alien who crash lands in India and tries to find answers to many questions.  

Dangal – Rs 385 crore

Aamir Khan becomes wrestler Mahveer Phogat in this 2016 sports drama film and charmed box office with his extraordinary moves. The movie became a huge hit not just in India but also in China. Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, the movie also features Fatima Sana Sheikh, Sanya Malhotra, Sakshi Tanwar and Zaira Wasim. The film chronicles the journey of Phogat and his daughters.

After Dangal, dubbed movies from south like Baahubali  2: The Conclusion and K.G.F: Chapter 2 have breached both Rs 400 and 500 crore mark but the Hindi film industry is waiting a bonafide Bollywood movie to create a new record at the box office. 

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