top of page
  • arnab dasgupta

Films that define Indian Cinema



India produces over 1500 films per year which are screened in over 9500 theatres including single screen and multiplexes which attracts around 146 million cinemagoers. The value of the film industry in the financial year 2020 was about 183 billion Indian rupees. These figures are rare in other countries as cinema plays a big part in the economy of India. With this said, there are hundreds of amazing films produced over the years.

I would like to share a few films which I feel have defined the film industry of India.


1. Do Bigha Zamin (1953): Directed by Bimal Roy and shot by Kamal Bose, this film was an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's "Dui Bigha Jomi". A neo-realist film that dives deep into the subject of the struggles farmers faced with authority and greedy landlords.


2. Pather Panchali (1955): Directed by Satyajit Ray and shot by Subrata Mitra, this iconic film has been honored with 2 national awards, the BAFTA award for the best film, Kinema Junpo Award, and many more. Based on the novel written by Bhibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, the legendary Satyajit Ray directed this film and the music was given by non-other than the sitar virtuoso of India Pandit Ravi Shankar. The film depicts the harsh village life and the childhood of Apu and his elder sister Durga.

3. Mughal-e-Azam (1960): Directed by K. Asif and shot by R. D. Mathur, Mughal-e-Azam is known to break the box office becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time, a distinction held for 15 years. It has won 1 National award and 8 Filmfare awards and is the first Indian film to be digitally colored for theatrical re-releases. The film tells the story of a young prince hardened from the war and striving to meet his father, emperor Akbar's expectations. Instead falls in love with a beautiful, intelligent courtesan. From its grand set design to iconic dialogues and songs, Mughal-e-Azam creates imageries no cinephile can forget.


4. Sholay (1975): Directed by Ramesh Sippy, shot by Dwarka Divecha and music composed by R. D. Burman, Sholay ushered in the era of "supervillain" with the sadistic bandit Gabbar Singh and his iconic laugh and made Amitabh Bachchan a superstar. The film grossed over 350 million rupees and sold more than 100 million tickets. It dwells into the plot to bring down the notorious bandit made by Baldev Singh and enlists the help of two small-time criminals, Jai and Veeru.


5. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983): Directed by Kundan Shah and shot by Binod Pradhan, this film was the epitome of razor-sharp writing and absurdist set-pieces. The satirical black comedy film had a mere budget of 10 lakhs but eventually become a cult classic in Indian Cinema. Two photographers, who are employed by a newspaper editor to expose the scandalous activities of the rich, come across corruption by a builder and accidentally photographed a murder.


6. Dil Se (1998): Directed by Mani Ratnam, shot by Santosh Sivan and music composed by A. R. Rehman, Dil Se has been screened at the prestigious Helsinki International Film Festival and the first film to enter the top 10 in UK box office charts. It has won 2 National Film Awards and 6 Filmfare awards. Journalist Amar falls for a mysterious woman on an assignment, but she does not reciprocate his feelings. However, when Amar is about to get married, the woman shows up at his doorstep asking for help.


There are other films that we can discuss and include in this list. Instead of creating a protracted and tedious write-up, I would just include the name of some of these movies in the list.


7. Mr. India (1987): Directed by Shekhar Kapoor and shot by Baba Azmi

8. Iruvar (1997): Directed by Mani Ratnam and shot by Santosh Sivan

9. Satya (1998): Directed by Ram Gopal Verma and shot by Gerard Hooper and Mazhar Kamran

10. Hera Pheri (2000): Directed by Priyadarshan and shot by Jeeva

10. Dil Chahta Hai (2001): Directed by Farhan Akhtar and shot by Ravi K. Chandran

11. Lagaan (2001): Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar and shot by Anil Mehta

12. Rang De Basanti (2006): Directed by Rakesh Omprakash and shot by Binod Pradhan

12. 3 Idiots (2009): Directed by Rajkumar Hirani and shot by C. K. Muraleedharan

13. Gangs of Wassaypur 1 & 2 (2012): Directed by Anurag Kashyap and shot by Rajeev Ravi

14. Angamaly Diaries (2017): Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery and shot by Girish Gangadharan

15. Tumbbaad (2018): Directed by Rahi Anil Barve and shot by Pankaj Kumar

15. Jallikattu (2019): Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery and shot by Girish Gangadharan

16. Super Deluxe (2019): Directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja and shot by P. S. Vinod and Nirav Shah

14 views0 comments
bottom of page