17 Movies from the Golden Age of Bollywood Cinema

Mother India

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Radha, a poor woman, is burdened with a loan her mother-in-law had taken from a moneylender called Sukhilala. After her husband dies tragically, she has to take the responsibility of raising her children alone and pay back the greedy moneylender. Radha never does anything against her moral code even if she has to suffer more hardships by taking the righteous route. She wants her sons to follow the same ethical route as she has but her sons decide against it.

Do Bigha Zamin

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A poor farmer in West Bengal is on the verge of losing his two acres of farmland where his family resides. He has to pay the money his family owes to a cruel landlord otherwise their homeland would be seized. To earn money, the farmer moves to Calcutta with his family and takes up the job of a rickshaw puller. He dreams of paying off the landlord gradually through his meagre salary, but his goal becomes difficult to achieve when his wife falls sick and they need money for her treatment. He soon realises that it is not easy to survive in the lanes of a big city where poverty is hidden in every corner.

Shree 420

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Raj, an ambitious but poor man, comes from a village to the big city of Bombay to earn a living. He meets a private school teacher named Vidya and they fall in love. Raj starts working in a laundry where he meets Maya, who recognizes his prowess in card games. She invites him to a casino and they win a big amount which is entirely pocketed by Maya. Raj’s problems are aggravated when he is hired by an unethical businessman, Sonanand. Raj learns the unscrupulous ways of business and becomes wealthy. However, his relationship with Vidya is falling apart as she doesn’t approve of his tactics.

Pyaasa

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Vijay is a talented and passionate poet but his family wants him to find a real job and support them. In his unique poems, Vijay narrates the conditions of the poor and the arrogance of the rich. However, he fails to get his work published. His failures cause him to drink excessively which in turn leads him into a brothel. Here, he meets a kind-hearted prostitute named Gulabo. Gulabo listens to his woes but before she can help him get his work published, she hears the news that Vijay died in an accident. Nevertheless, she gets his work published and Vijay returns only to realise that his friendships are no longer the same.

Mughal-E-Azam

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Mughal-E-Azam is the epic story of the greatest empire that ruled in 16th century India. Akbar is hailed as the supreme ruler of Hindustan and is well-respected among his subjects and other kings. His son and the heir to the throne, Saleem, falls in love with a court dancer named Anarkali. Saleem refuses to marry anyone else which angers his father. Akbar does not want his son to marry a common dancer so he imprisons Anarkali. Saleem escapes Anarkali and revolts against his father. The great king has to manage the empire and maintain peace, amidst the growing tension between him and Saleem.

Saheb Bibi Aur Ghulam

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A poor man in Calcutta is a servant in the house of a wealthy zamindar. Day in and day out, he watches the life of the wealthy man and his distressed wife. Her husband frequently visits brothels to engage with dancers and drink alcohol. He prefers this routine rather than spending time with his wife. The servant sympathises with the lady of the house and they soon develop a relationship over trust and understanding.

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi

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Three brothers Brijmohan, Manmohan and Jagmohan run a garage known as ‘Mohan Brothers’. Brijmohan has been unlucky in love and since then has started hating women. As a result, he doesn’t even let his brothers get involved with women. However, circumstances lead Manmohan to fall in love with a customer named Renu. Later, Jagmohan also falls in love with Renu’s friend. Now, the two brothers are scared of the reaction of Brijmohan and decide to conceal their whirlwind romance.

Guide

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The story is told as a flashback of an ex-tour guide’s life, Raju. He meets Rosie, an unhappy married woman who dreams of becoming a dancer and actor while he is working as a guide. With his encouragement and support, Rosie becomes successful in the industry and leaves her husband for Raju. But Raju gets arrested for forgery and theft and when he is finally released, he decides to restart his life in a new place.

Padosan

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Bhola, a conservative and simple man, leads his life with utmost righteousness. He meets and falls in love with a college girl named Bindu, his neighbour. He plans to marry her but Bindu is already in love with her music teacher. Bhola’s friends. who are the part of a musical theatre group, decide to help him win over Bindu and convince her for marriage by helping him fake his voice and impress Bindu with his singing. What follows is a musical drama with many twists and turns as Bindu finds out about Bhola’s plan.

Dosti

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A young boy named Ramnath loses his parents and suffers an accident in which he loses a leg. He is forced into the streets of Bombay to find food and shelter. On the streets, he befriends a talented blind boy called Mohan. Together they form a music duo, in which Mohan sings and Ramnath plays the harmonica. Ramnath also helps Mohan find his sister, Meena, a nurse and together, they build a friendship based on trust and understanding.

Devdas

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Devdas and Parvati have known each other since childhood since they grew up together in the same village. Their love-hate relationship turns into love when they mature. However, Devdas’s father doesn’t approve of his relationship with Parvati and is adamant to never let him marry her. When Parvati is married off to a wealthy old man, Devdas cannot handle the separation and starts drinking excessively. He is sent to Calcutta where he meets a dancer, Chandramukhi. Chandramukhi develops feelings for Devdas but his life seems to have spiralled into a drunken mess.

Mela

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Mela is a musical drama about two lovers, whose love is always plagued by tragedy. Manju and Mohan reside in the same village. Their innocent friendship soon turns into love and they are excited to get married. However, due to the antics of a local villain, Manju is married off to a very old man. Her husband soon dies leaving her in charge of his kids. As a young widow, Manju decides to reach out for Mohan. She tragically falls off a cliff while looking for Mohan. Mohan is convicted of Manju’s murder and is given a sentence of 20 years in prison.

Madhumati

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Devinder’s car breaks down when he is on his way to pick up his wife from the railway station. He is forced to take shelter in a nearby mansion till the storm clears and he is able to fix his car. However, when he enters the mansion, he feels eerily familiar to the place. The servant’s mansion confirms his doubts when he starts telling Devinder about his previous life, his lover Madhumati and their tragic romance. Devinder learns about the events of his past life that have an effect on his present life.

Kagaaz ke Phool

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A movie director, Suresh Sinha, marries a normal girl Veena and together they give birth to a daughter. Suresh’s in-laws are not in favour of his career choices which puts a huge strain on his marriage. Suresh meets an orphaned but talented girl, named Shanti. He helps Shanti in becoming a successful actress. As Shanti’s career takes off, Suresh’s marriage fails and he loses custody of his daughter. He turns to alcohol, which results in his house being auctioned to pay for his debts. Shanti decides to help Suresh make a comeback in the movie industry.

Chori Chori

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Kammo wants to marry a pilot named Sumankumar and runs away to marry him against her father’s wishes. On her journey, she meets a reporter, Sagar, who is looking for a story to publish. He joins Kammo as they embark to the same destination. As she encounters various people and situations, Kammo begins appreciating the life of a commoner. When she finally returns to her home, she has transformed into a mature woman. Seeing a favourable change in Kammo, her father agrees to marry her to Sumankumar. However, Kammo’s heart is set on the charming reporter, Sagar.

Boot Polish

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Siblings, Belu and Bhola, lose their mother when they are toddlers. They are forced to live with their cruel and abusive aunt who also works as a prostitute. She forces the kids to beg on the streets to earn money. As the kids grow a little older, they decide to lead a respectable life instead of begging. They acquire a shoe-shining kit and begin shining shoes on the sidewalks of Bombay. When their aunt finds out about their little business, she throws them out of the house to fend for themselves. To make matters worse, the two children get separated and have to survive on their own in the big city.

Do Ankhen Barah Haath

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Jailer Adinath is kind and compassionate towards his inmates. He notices six prisoners who are serving life sentences for single or multiple homicides. However, Adinath feels that they can be reformed into better citizens. He convinces the jail authorities to allow him to take them to a dilapidated farm where he gives them the challenge of cultivating crops and making a living for themselves without any help. Here the six prisoners learn the meaning of hard work and the satisfaction that comes from it.


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Shivani Shah