• Himani Srivastava

Highest Grossing Films of Indian Cinema, ever


The Hindi film industry, popularly known as Bollywood, is one of the largest film production centres in the world. Indian Films have been screened in markets around the world since the early 20th century. Beginning with the 1940s, Bollywood films saw major commercial success, and several box office milestones were breached. The Success of a film was determined by box office longevity than revenue. However, due to increasing competition from television and the threat of piracy, longevity of films decreased drastically and revenue became the focus of success.

'We have compiled a list of top 14 films which have been the highest grossing Indian films -inflation adjusted.'

In 2003, there were markets in over 90 countries where Indian films were screened. During the decade of 21st century, there was a steady rise in the ticket price, a tripling in the number of theatres, an increase in the number of prints of a film being released which led to a large increase in the box office collections. The revenue-earning pattern has become increasingly front-loaded over the years, and now most films depend only on first weekend/first week revenue to decide the fate of a film. This trend was further intensified after the multiplex boom in India following liberalisation, which caused ticket prices and theatrical screening scope to increase.

Below is a set of lists which tracks the record of highest-grossing films in India (Inflation adjusted):

Mughal-e-Azam (Rs. 2000 Crores)

Mughal-e-Azam is a 1960 Indian iconic historical drama film directed by K. Asif and produced by Shapoorji Pallonji. Mughal-e-Azam was released on 5 August 1960 in 150 cinemas across the country, establishing a record for the widest release for a Bollywood film. It broke box office records in India and became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time, a distinction it held for 15 years. By some accounts, Mughal-e-Azam was the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time, the film’s adjusted gross would have amounted to Rs. 2000 crore (US$ 310 million), ranking it as “All-Time Blockbuster”.

Sholay (Rs. 1,500 Crores)

Bollywood library is incomplete without Sholay. Ramesh Sippy's Sholay which is a 1975 Indian action-adventure film, written by Salim-Javed, produced by G.P. Sippy may have drawn extensively from the American Western tradition, but with the film's phenomenal success, Jai, Veeru, Basanti, Thakur and Gabbar became iconic Bollywood characters that would inspire countless heroes, heroines and villains. It is often sited that after adjusting the figures for inflation i.e. Rs. 1,500 crores (US$ 230 million), Sholay is one of the Highest-Grossing films in the history of Indian Cinema.

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (Rs. 1,417 Crores)

The most awaited film of the year Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is a fantasy-action film directed by S.S. Rajamouli and written by his father K.V. Vijayendra Prasad. It was produced by Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni under the banner Arka Media Works. With the 'Baahubali' second installment, it was the audience that kept wondering: Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali? After all, this one held the answer to a life-changing question. It became the first Indian film to exceed $11.1 million in Middle-East-GCC-Gulf, surpassing Bajrangi Bhaijaan. The film’s adjusted gross revenue would have amounted to Rs. 1,417 crores (US$ 220 million).

Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!! (Rs. 1,197 Crores)

Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! is a 1994 Indian musical romantic-comedy film, written and directed by Sooraj Barjatya, and produced by Rajshri Productions. It is an adaptation of the studio's own Bhojpuri film Nadiya Ke Paar (1982). The film explored Indian values, traditions, romance and presented it in a grand way on screen. Made on a budget of around Rs. 42.5 million (US$ 660,000), it went on to collect Rs. 1.23 billion (US$ 19 million) in India and Rs. 1.35 billion (US$ 21 million) worldwide. Adjusted for inflation, Hum Aapke Hain Koun is believed to be among the top five highest grossing Hindi films. Its adjusted gross is approximately Rs. 1,197 crores (US$ 190 million).

Mother India (Rs. 961 Crores)

Mother India, a 1957 classic by the iconic Mehboob Khan, is often acknowledged as the “most Indian” movie ever. Khan was inspired by American author Pearl S. Buck and her books The Good Earth (1931) and The Mother (1934). “The Mother” documents the life of a Chinese woman, including her married life and lonely struggle after being abandoned by her husband. Khan already made a film Aurat (1940) which was influenced by the same topic. For Mother India, it was reworked by Mirza and the young screenwriter S. Ali Raza. The script was written in a way that promoted the empowerment of women in Indian society. The film earned the highest revenue for any Hindi film at that time. Adjusted for inflation i.e. Rs. 961 crores (US$ 146 million), Mother India still ranks among the all-time Indian box office hits.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (Rs. 915 Crores)

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is an Indian romantic film, directed by Aditya Chopra, produced by his father Yash Chopra, and written by Javed Siddiqui with Aditya Chopra. DDLJ opened to huge popular acclaim in India in 1995. It has since become the longest running film in the history of Indian cinema - and changed the face of Bollywood. Many critics praised the film, which connected with different segments of society by promoting strong family values and the following of one's own heart. Earning Rs. 1.06 billion in India and Rs.160 million overseas. It’s adjusted gross is approximately Rs. 915 crores (US$ 140 million). It became the highest grossing Bollywood film of the year, and one of the most successful Indian films of all time.

Gunga Jumna (Rs. 793 Crores)

Ganga Jamuna or Ganga Jamna is a 1961 Indian dacoit crime drama film, produced in Technicolor. It was written and produced by Dilip Kumar, and directed by Nitin Bose, with dialogues written by Wajahat Mirza. It is a classic entertainer at its best with a powerful story, outstanding performance and riveting music. It inspired generations of actors and filmmakers. The film was a trendsetter, inspiring films such as Deewaar (1975), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Trishul (1978) and Sholay (1975) and was an inspiration for screenwriter duo Salim-Javed. In India, Gunga Jumna had a box office gross of Rs. 7 crore, with a nett of Rs. 3.5 crore, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film of 1961. After adjusted inflation, the film grossed Rs.793 crores (US $ 120 million).

Raja Hindustani (Rs. 691 Crores)

Raja Hindustani is a 1996 romantic drama film directed by Dharmesh Darshan. It is a remake of the 1965 film “Jab Jab Phool Khile” starring Shashi Kapoor and Nanda. The movie which is no less than a classic was high on romance and had music that we call evergreen. Not to forget the perfect pairing that hailed duo as the dream couple of the 90’s. While working on the film, Dharmesh was so impressed by Aamir’s acting skills that he complimented him with the remark, ‘I see Dilip Kumar in you’. Raja Hindustani earned Rs. 871.5 million worldwide, including a domestic gross of Rs. 738.4 million. Its domestic nett was Rs. 431.5 million, whereas adjusted inflation is Rs. 691 crores (US$ 110 million).

Mere Mehboob (Rs. 655 Crores)

Mere Mehboob is a 1963 Indian film directed by Harnam Singh Rawail and starring Rajendra Kumar, Sadhana, Ashok Kumar, Nimmi, Pran, Johnny Walker and Ameeta. The film became a big hit and took the number one position at the box office in 1963. It’s a Muslim social drama set in Lucknow, with all the attendant grace and beauty you would expect. Elaborate sets and costumes are de rigueur! The film became a big hit and took the number one position at the box office in 1963. The film’s adjusted net revenue would have amounted to Rs. 655 crores (US$ 101 million).

Naya Daur (Rs. 652 Crores)

Naya Daur is a 1957 Indian drama film. Originally filmed in black and white, the film was colourized and re-released on 3 August 2007. Naya Daur is arguably BR Chopra's finest, best known and most successful film. By the end of its theatrical run, Naya Daur collected around Rs. 5,40,00,000 thus becoming the second highest grossing film of 1957 behind Mother India, whereas adjusted inflation is Rs. 652 crores (US$ 100 million).

Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (Rs. 596 Crores)

Gadar: Ek Prem Katha is a 2001 Indian period action film starring Sunny Deol, Amisha Patel, and Amrish Puri, set in the time of the Partition of India in 1947. Director Anil Sharma has spent Rs 18 crore (all issued in cheques) to hire steam engines, create great images and conceive some stunning scenes. Gadar is a true account of the incidents during the period of partition and conveys the hatred and emotions during that time. Gadar collected Rs. 78.6 crores in its initial theatrical run and its adjusted gross is Rs. 596 crores (US$ 93 million). It was declared as "All Time Blockbuster" in box office.

Dangal (Rs. 587 Crores)

Dangal, another Bollywood hit by Aamir Khan is a 2016 biographical sports drama film, directed by Nitesh Tiwari and produced by Aamir Khan, under his studio Aamir Khan Productions with UTV Motion Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures India. The film is loosely based on the Phogat family, telling the story of Mahavir Singh Phogat, an amateur wrestler, who trains his daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari to become India's first world-class female wrestlers. Dangal became highest grossing Indian film worldwide in July 2017, with a gross of Rs. 2,000 crores, after its second phase of release in China and Taiwan. After adjusted inflation, the film grossed Rs.587 crores (US$ 92 million).

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Rs. 565 Crores)

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai created history when it released 19 years ago on October 16, 1998. It is a Romantic Comedy Drama Film. It was written and directed by Karan Johar, and starred the popular on-screen pair of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in their fourth film together. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai's release in 1998 was no less than a landmark for Bollywood. Not only was the film a roaring commercial success, it also brought in a wave of western concepts and style that were never-heard-before in India. The film’s characters were trendsetters and are still remembered for their spunk. The film grossed Rs. 80.12 crore (US$ 12 million) in India and $6.3 million (Rs. 26.61 crore) in other countries whereas the adjusted inflation would have amounted to Rs. 565 crores (US$ 88 million).

PK (Rs. 556 Crores)

PK is a 2014 Indian sci-fi comedy film. It was directed by Rajkumar Hirani, produced by Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Rajkumar. At some points, PK seems quite inspired by Umesh Shukla's ‘Oh my God' as Hirani has used the same satirical and amusing style to address the issue however it is much different from what is dealt in OMG. The intriguing factor is its USP. Who’s PK? What about him? His quirkiness…relation between a radio and nude Aamir and a lot more? All these questions are aptly answered in the humorous yet thought-provoking production of Hirani. PK emerged as the highest-grossing Indian film of all time with the adjusted inflation of Rs.556 crores (US$ 87 million).

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