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Woh Kaun Thi 1964
Continuing the tradition for mystery thrillers and whodunit genre after ‘Bees Saal Baad’ there were a spate of such films; all quite well made and having some story and substance too like, ‘Gumnaam’, ‘Teesri Manzil’ etc. with a notable film Woh Kaun Thi? Woh Kaun Thi was one of them shot in black and white which added to the mystery, macabre and eerie settings specially the scenes shot in the rain. It turned out to be a timeless classic flaunting the haunting beauty of its leading lady Sadhana and suaveness of Manoj Kumar. It was part of the mystery trilogy directed by Raj Khosla namely, Who Kaun Thi, Mera Saaya and Anita all within a span of three years and starring Sadhana in the main lead. At the same time Bollywood was also having an affair with double role movies. Woh Kaun Thi was loosely adapted from the English novel by Wilkie Collins ‘The Woman in White’ on ....
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Do Bigha Zamin 1953 Bollywood retro movies
Do Bigha Zamin was a ground-breaking movie which reflected the true ground realities of rural India of the time and features in many an all-time great movies list of India. Though India was free but young India was still grappling with the colonial and zamindari mindset which made the zamindars the absolute owners of the rural India and even controlled the lives of the small and distressed farmers. Though instruments of justice were in place but they were heavily loaded in the favor of the rich and the powerful as they could bend things as they liked, even playing with the lives of the peasants and farmers who were dependent on their compassion and help for even small occasions in their lives as they were totally unprepared for any incidental or expenses as they had no fallback income of their own and were self-sufficient to the extent of producing and consuming their own food but loo ....
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Aan - 1952
A critically acclaimed movie in India as well as abroad, and Aan had many firsts to its credit. The first Hindi movie to be shot in Technicolor, the first Indian movie to be released world over in more than 25 countries not just the Soviet Union but in US, UK as well and first ever to release in Japan with subtitles in over 15 languages by the name of ‘The Savage Princess’. Aan also launched the career of Nadira. It was praised by the foreign press as well as personalities, in fact the Hollywood great Cecil B. DeMille personally wrote to Mehboob Khan the producer and director of the movie; praising it. It was the most expensive movie made at that time in true Mehboob Khan Tradition, no expenses were spared but collected 10 times over on the Indian and worldwide Box Office. It was the first movie to be dubbed and released under the same name in the south. This costume drama abou ....
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Bees Saal Baad 1962
The first genuine murder mystery bordering horror made in Bollywood by a debutante director Biren Nag, Bees Saal Baad was basically of the suspense or psychological thriller genre. It was produced by the famous singer and music director Hemant Kumar, who has also sung some fantastic songs in the movie. Bees Saal Baad had launched the career of actor Biswajeet in Hindi movies. The male cast is shown well dressed to the extent that the normally obese looking Asit Sen too looks dapper as the detective. It was adapted and reinterpreted in the Indian context from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel of Sherlock Holmes “Hounds of Baskervilles”. It tried and recreated similar settings as in the novel, a family palatial mansion, an eerie setting, a background story, a misty swamp and a story of revenge and of course love. All the characters are shown suspicious looking, right from the Doctor, ....
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Ganga Jumna 1961
Hindi cinema had a love affair with dacoit stories beginning from Mother India, Ganga Jumna and through ‘60s thru to Sholay. Many great movies were made on the life and times of dacoits, roaming the Chambal ravines and other places in the Hindi heartland of India, even to the extent of glorifying them. Movies like ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’ and ‘Mujhe Jeene Do’ also stand out in the crowd. Ganga Jumna was also of the same genre but the difference was that no cinematic liberties were taken while narrating the tale on screen and a village pastoral style and substance was adhered to. It had genuine dialogues in chaste Awadhi/Bhojpuri dialect which the star of the era Dilip Kumar delivered with absolute ease, thus putting him into a different league of actors and is not called a thespian for nothing. This movie belongs to Yusuf Khan aka Dilip Kumar, he gave a spirited perfo ....
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Kismet 1943
This was the first blockbuster hit in the thirty year young Hindi Film Cinema at that time that Ashok Kumar's Kismet first to cross the threshold of Rupees One Crore an unheard of figure for film collection in that era. A record that was broken by Raj Kapoor’s ‘Barsaat’ a few years down the line. If one adjusts that for inflation and take gold as the standard for inflation then that amount would work out to a whooping Rs.1000 crores today (gold rate was Rs.51 per 10 grams in 1943 vs today’s rate of 51k per 10 grams). Kismet was also the first movie to show the hero with negative attributes like continuous smoking, drinking, gambling and of course robbery. The issue of unwed mother was also touched upon, despite these factors which had a shock value in a pre-independence conservative India, the movie still did roaring business and ran for over three years in a single talkies in ....
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Chori Chori 1956
A fun film from the AVM stables. Chori Chori was the last movie pairing Raj Kapoor and Nargis together ending an era of on and off screen romance between the two. It was adapted from the famous Hollywood movie with Clark Gable, Frank Capra’s ‘It Happened One Night’. Some fantastic music of that era was provided by the duo of Shankar Jaikishan who received the Filmfare award for the music rendered for the movie of romantic musical genre. Directed by Anant Thakur for AVM studios. Though Chori Chori was their last movie together but the on screen chemistry between Nargis and Raj Kapoor was still crackling. Apart from the lead the supporting star cast were also known faces of the Film Industry of that time including Pran, David, Johnny Walker and the duo of Gope and Bhagwandada (remember ‘Naam bade aur Darshan Chote’). The movie was in black and white but two of its songs were s ....
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Such comedies can only be pulled off by Kishore Kumar, the genius. What strikes you about him in the early movies, and particularly in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, is his busy energy. Not only do his songs which he sang for other actors haunt us to this day but the movies he directed, produced, wrote and acted in were not all comedies but some socials too with a message. When we mention Kishore Kumar what comes to mind is the maverick comedian, doing as he pleases but still able to raise the laughs, it wasn’t only what he did but his persona was such that even a silly thing would evoke laughter. Same is the case with this movie which seems to have been made with a mind that it may flop but the reverse happened and it went on to be a hit and he nominated the rights of the movie to his secretary to avoid Income Tax issues. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi is one of the few movies to star all the thre ....
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Pyaasa 1957
The genius called Guru Dutt who created Pyaasa, was lost to the Indian film Industry at a young age when he committed suicide but not before he had a fabulous body of work to boast about, whatever may have been his reasons but there is no doubt about his craftsmanship not only in direction but also acting, which he took up upon himself when directing one of the movie his hero did not turn up. The ‘50s and the early ‘60s was his time and Guru Dutt gave many hits not only as a director but also as an actor. Due to the tragedy of his death he is seen more related to his depressing tales of unfulfilled desires in both Pyaasa and Kagaz ke Phool. Pyaasa was close to Dutt’s heart and one of the few movies which he directed, produced and acted in. It is considered a classic and was well received by the audience too. There is a bit of a background to the movie Pyaasa, as his team want ....
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Mughal e Azam 1960
When cinema falls in love with history a Magnum Opus like Mughal-e-Azam is produced. Though a tale from an unverified chapter of history, it is known for its opulence and huge sets and big budget. It was truly K. Asif’s work of passion that bought it from the brink of shelving as it took a long time to make. It was started in late ‘40s with a totally different star cast and did not work out as partition took place at the time and many people linked with the film either migrated to Pakistan or died in the process. Mughale-e-Azam was finally green lighted by the famous businessman Shaporji Pallonji, with no cost was spared to bring the story to life on the celluloid. Made with an unheard of budget of Rupees 1.5 Crore at that time, it went on to become a superhit garnering more than seven times over. Though most of the film was shot in Black and white at the time of its release on 5t ....
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