1960 to 1970 was a decade of refreshment for Bollywood. In the earlier years of this decade, there were some black and white films. But in later years we saw the black and white films were totally replaced by the technicolor movies. Even though the first technicolor movie Bollywood released was the 1953 movie – Jhansi Ki Rani. But during the years 1957 to 1967, technicolor movies were in trend. The 1957 movie Mother India became the first technicolor film to become a super hit. And the lead role was played by Nargis. There were newborn stars like Manoj Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Saira Banu, Sadhna, and many more. Later in 1960 Mughal E Azam released, it was also a technicolor film. And with that, the era of colored movies started in Bollywood.
Why do we call the 1960 to 1970s the decade of experiments? Because it was the era when directors, story writers, producers, musicians shifted from the mainstream conventional Bollywood movies. Previously the theme of the movies centered around Romance, drama, or emotional stories. But in the sixties, we can see Bollywood showing its creativity at its peak. It was a time when genres like drama, Romance, comedy, horror, Epic stories, and historical plots came into Trend.
The actors and actresses from the 50s were there but in the 60s we found Bollywood’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna. Other than Rajesh Khanna there were newborn stars like Manoj Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Saira Banu, Sadhana, Mumtaj, Sharmila Tagore, Dev Anand, and many more.
The audience loved this era because of such a heavenly combination of great directors, experimental plots, technical up-gradation, and musical Masters. Here is the list of best Bollywood movies of the 60s.
Best Bollywood movies of 1960 to 1970
1. Guide (1965)
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Director: Vijay Anand
Cast: Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Leela Chitnis
IMDb rating: 8.4
The storyline of the movie is an adaptation from RK Narayan’s novel The Guide. The protagonist is Raju – the guide played by Dev Anand. He takes tourists to historical Sports. But one day an archaeologist comes to visit the city along with his wife Rosie. Their marriage is not smooth. As an archaeologist, Marco does not want her wife Rosy to follow her passion for dance and which is to dominate her. Rosie tense Raju you about her and successful marriage.
However, back into the cave, Rosie finds out about Marco enjoying the company of a native tribal girl. Enraged she leaves Marco and went on to commit suicide. But Raju comes to her rescue. He takes her to his home and falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Raju out of jealousy does a forgery. Unfortunately, they found out about Raju’s fraud and then sentenced him to 2 years in jail. Upon his release events on with a group of monks. He now is on a path of wisdom and spirituality trying to withdraw all his wrongdoings in his previous life. However, in the end, Raju reunites with Rosie. But he dies of a 12 day fast on the path of guiding The villages of spiritual wisdom.
The guide was one of the top-grossing movies of 1960. It became one of the evergreen Bollywood class 6. Upon release the movie was highly successful full stop the memorable acting of Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman the lead actors and exceptional music by SD Burman took the movie to the peak. In 2007 Cannes Film Festival screened the guide after 42 years of its release. Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman on the Filmfare Award for Best Actor and Actress respectively. Vijay Anand also won the Filmfare awards in the category of best director and best dialogue.
2. Teesri Manzil (1966)
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Mystery
Director: Nasir Hussain
Cast: Shammi Kapoor, Asha Parekh, Raj Mehra
IMDb rating: 7.7
The film starts with rupa’s mysterious death due to jumping from the third floor of The Park Hotel in Dehradun. Everyone assumed it was a suicide except her sister Sunita. Upar Centre related to Sunita mentioning that she is in love with the drummer Rocky At The Park Hotel. She also stated that they are in a deep relationship and she is singing to marry her. Sunita on her way to Dehradun to find out the mystery behind her sister’s suicide which she thinks is Murder meets Anil. But Anil actually is Rocky.
He gets to know about Sunita’s intentions and tries to distract her by impersonating another person as Rocky. He convinces Sunita that he is not the murderer of rupa and he joins hands with Sunita to find out the murderer of Rupa. The actual culprit tries to kill all the witnesses and also Anil. However, on the journey, Sunita and Anil fall in love. Sunita also got to know about the truth of Anil’s identity. Anyhow, at last, they find out the killer but the killer jumps off the third floor the same way Rupa was killed.
The movie was one of the greatest mysteries and thriller movies of an early age. Indiatimes Movies ranked the movie among the top 25 must-see Bollywood films. Delete pair of the movie of Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh was a memorable pair with superb chemistry. Today matter of fact in the beginning Dev Anand was approached for the leading role of the movie but due to a dispute between him and the producer, Nasir Hussain Devanand left the film. However, the movie was a box office hit because of its coming up with a mystery plot that was comparatively new in Bollywood and the splendid musical compositions by RD Burman.
3. Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
Director: K. Asif
Cast: Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Prithviraj Kapoor
IMDb rating: 8.2
Another example of Bollywood getting experimental in its 1960s. Mughal-e-Azam is an epic historical drama that is still one of the breathtaking works of Bollywood. Story of Mughal Emperor Akbar who had a son Salim from his wife Jodha Bai. Salim grew up to be a spoilt silver pendant, self-indulgent Prince. Akbar sent Salim to war where he learned courage and discipline. On his return, after 14 years Salim fell in love with the court dancer Nadira as known as Anarkali. But another jealous hide and dancer Bahar wanted Saleem to love her as she Aspires to become the queen one day.
Her failure made her expose the relationship between Salim and Anarkali. When Emperor Akbar got to know about their relationship he ordered to imprison Anarkali. Salim rebels against his father to rescue Anarkali but his Army defeated and Akbar sentenced him to death. In the end, Akbar gives a proposal to Anarkali that if she gives herself up then the prince will be granted forgiveness. Anarkali accepted to get entombed alive but before that, she asked for some time alone with Salim. She sedated Salim so that he can not disrupt in between the process of her entombment. However in the end Anarkali’s mother asks Akbar for the due favor Akbar owes to her. And asks for Anarkali’s life.
Working on an epic historical storyline was not a cup of tea for everyone. The film needed a large amount of money. This big project was produced by Shapoorji Pallonji. The immense courage and skill that needed to execute a film like Mughal-e-Azam was found in director K Asif for staff the stars of the movie Dilip Kumar and Madhubala played such pivotal roles that are still cherished. The film had the widest release of any Indian film from that time. It was also the highest-grossing Indian film of that time. And they remained on the top for 15 years. The movie won 1 National Film Award and three Filmfare Awards. Mughal-e-Azam was also the first frame to be digitally colored. And not only that it was also given a theatrical release that released in November 2004.
4. Jewel Thief (1967)
Genre: Crime, Drama, Musical
Director: Vijay Anand
Cast: Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand, Vyjayanthimala
IMDb rating: 8.0
The Movie is a mystery crime thriller movie directed by Vijay Anand. The movie is about a mysterious Jewel Thief who is stealing precious Jewellery from all around the country. The Bombay police commissioner gets to know about the thief taking a halt in his jurisdiction. And he says that he will catch the culprit by January 26th. The commissioner’s son is Vinay hu is hired by a renowned Jeweller Vishambhar Nath.
Vinay falls in love with the Jeweller’s daughter Anjali. At a party thrown by Anjali, Vinay meets with Arjun and Arjun sisters Shalini. Shalini and Vinay become a friend and when he finds out that the engagement ring of Shalini is a previously stolen piece of jewelry. The police suspect Amar who is very similar to Vinay. now at Vishambar’s shop, a robbery happens. To find Amar train Banai goes to Gangtok and there he gets to know that Amar never existed only. Vinay also discovered that the actual thief is Arjun. with the help of Anjali police catchers, Arjun and everyone reunites.
Director Vijay Anand first approached Rajkumar for the role played by Ashok Kumar. But Rajkumar turned down the proposal because they were not towards the producer and lead actor of the movie. For the lead female role, Dev Anand approached Saira Banu but Saira Banu declined her proposal because of her marriage to actor Dilip Kumar. This movie was a massive hit and it was the sixth highest-grossing movie of the year 1967. J M Barot on the Filmfare best sound award and Tanuja received the nomination for best supporting actress.
5. Do Raste (1969)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director: Raj Khosla
Cast: Rajesh Khanna, Mumtaz, Balraj Sahni
IMDb rating: 7.0
Navendu a young man who looks after his stepmother and her brother to fulfill the promise he made to his father. The movie is based on the storyline of brothers and sisters choosing different parts of their life. The movie feeds into the Indian psyche for ages that tells us to respect the elders Paramount status of mother and the pros of living in a joint family. The younger sibling Viju went to England for studies and there you fall in love with a fellow student Neela. We come back to India and get married.
Neeraj’s mother Bhagwanti advises her daughter to not live in a joint family and to get separated from them. But however, she moves into the joint family because of Viju’s wishes. But he keeps on having a selfish attitude toward the family members. Her quarrelsome and ignorant nature shook the base of the family and affected the good relationship between family members.
It was one of the early movies acted by Rajesh Khanna as a hero. The movie was a family drama and did not entirely center around him. Mumtaz who till then had only worked in B grade movies is the second lead In A grade movie was playing the heroine of an A-grade movie for the first time. This became a turning point in her career. Till then Hardol was only for looking glamorous and singing songs. The daughter-in-law which was the most powerful role of the movie was played by Bindu who also got a nomination at the Filmfare Awards.
6. Dosti (1964)
Genre: Drama, Musical, Family
Director: Satyen Bose
Cast: Sudhir Kumar, Sushil Kumar, Sanjay Khan
IMDb rating: 8.4
Dosti means friendship in English. Evident from the title the plot is about friendship. But the friendship is very unique because Ramu who is a couple needs in the streets of Mumbai Mohan who is a blind boy. They become friends both were from a similar background and had some disabilities that made them feel for each other. Both of them came to Mumbai in search of a job. Ramu was good at playing the Harmonica and Mohan was good at singing. To earn money they collaborated and started singing songs in the streets of Mumbai.
However, Ramu gets admission to a school where he excels in his studies but the rich kids Bully him. Their friend Manjula dive. The headmaster of Ramu School Sharma Ji as Ramu to move in with him as his surroundings were and fit for studies. At first, Ramu denies him as he did not want to leave Mohan. But unfortunately, Ramu gets involved in a burglary case mistakenly. Sharma Ji helps him to get out of the trouble and ensures he move in with him. therefore Ramu leaves Mohan. But suddenly Sharma Ji died and Ramu needed money for his final exam entrance fee. upon hearing Ramu’s problem Mohan helps him without even telling him but Falls ill. The highlight of the movie is the ending where Ramu and Mohan embrace each other forgiving everything and leaving behind the past. A movie that set an example of true friendship.
The movie became very famous because of its unique plot. Even Without any Romance or drama, the movie became a great hit because of its phenomenal acting by two actors and unique storyline. The film received 6 Filmfare Awards including the best film in opposition to Raj Kapoor Sangam. The movie also received a national award. in 1965 Moscow international film festival Dosti was screened and it was India’s official entry in the film festival. The movie at the time of release had 90 Prints which was an extraordinary number for that time. Sudhir Kumar Sushil Kumar both were newcomers, but still, their work was outstanding.
7. Aradhana (1969)
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Director: Shakti Samanta
Cast: Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna, Sujit Kumar, Ashok Kumar
IMDb rating: 7.6
An Indian Air Force officer Arun Verma meets Vandana in the hilly terrain while singing Meri Sapnon Ki Rani. Soon they fall in love and marry each other secretly. But Varun, unfortunately, dies in a plane crash leaving behind his wife along with their Unborn child. Due to social judgments, nobody accepted their marriage as they married secretly. Vandana’s father also died leaving Vanfdana all alone in this world. She gave birth to a son and named him Suraj who she had to give up to a childless couple.
However, she managed to become his nanny. But one day the brother of the adopted father of Suraj tried to rape Vandana. Suraj in the heat of the moment stabbed that culprit and run away. Vandana took the blame on herself and received the sentence of 2 years. Upon releasing she started living in the glasshouse as they became friends by that time. To realize daughter Renu was dating Suraj. Through Renu, Vandana made Suraj but did not reveal her identity meanwhile Suraj had become the Air force officer just like his father Wanted on an airplane crash Suraj got in your but he survived. Vandana thought that her son will be embarrassed to know about his real parents so she left without telling anyone. But Suraj got to know about his real parents from the diary of Vandana.
The 1969 movie Aradhana was a great romantic drama film of that time. Starting the inevitable duo of Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna that mesmerized the audience. The film won the Filmfare Award for Best film at the 17th Filmfare Awards. For this movie, Sharmila Tagore won her first Filmfare award in the category of best actress. The movie was actually in the Hindi language but later they dubbed it in Bengali. Aradhana became a blockbuster hit of 1969.
8. Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hai (1960)
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Director: Raju Karmakar
Cast: Raj Kapoor, Padmini Pran
IMDb rating: 7.4
A very unique storyline of Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai that released in the year 1960. The plot of the movie was an inspiration from the initiative of Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan. They motivated hundreds of decorates to surrender themselves to the police as they were rehabilitated into mainstream society. The protagonist of the movie Raj Kapoor playing the role of Raju is a friendly or who lives a simple life. Leading his life by singing songs. One day, Raju a kind-hearted man helps an injured person.
A group of bandits mistakenly kidnap Raju thinking he is an undercover policeman. The leader of the gang was the person that Raju help. The leader of Sardar treated Raju with Honours and her daughter Kammo fell in love with him. They made Raju understand that they are good Bandit and they believe in equal distribution of wealth among the people. But in one incident Raju so one of the group members murdered a newlywed couple and then he decides to leave the group and inform the police about them. However, the police decided to kill the members of the group will start with Raju feared and tried to convince the police not to kill them. But police did not listen to him and stood down to the lowest level to stop crime.
It was the first movie of Raj Kapoor where Nargis was not the female lead. The movie won the National Film awards in 1960. It also got phone Filmfare awards for best movie Raj Kapoor for best actor best editing and best art direction. Padmani Kolhapuri was nominated for best actress.
9. Gunga Jumna (1961)
Genre: Drama, crime, Romance
Director: Nitin Bose
Cast: Dilip Kumar, vaijantimala, Nasir Khan
IMDb rating: 7.7
Ganga Jamuna Or Gunga Jumna was one of the trendsetting movies of 1960 is which shows the conflict between two brothers. Where one brother is at one side of the law and another is at the other side. The movie is about two Sons Ganguram and Jamuna who spend their days with their mother as a servant in the home of Zamindar will stop Zamindar accuses Ganga of a crime he did not commit. Then Ganga fled away from the village and took shelter in the mountains with a group of bandits. She went there with her girlfriend Dhanno.
On the other side, Jamuna went to the city and completed his education. He became a police officer and came back to the village. When Ganga was about to become a father he thought of coming back to the village to his family and ask for forgiveness. But his younger brother Jamuna asks him to surrender to the police for the crimes he has done as a bandit. However, Ganga refuses to surrender and tries to go back to the mountains. And then Jamuna shot him dead. Only after that Jamuna gets to know about his brother’s hard works to earn money that paid for his education.
The movie was a major trendsetter of the time. The theme of the film became a trendsetter for the upcoming films. Mostly the films of Amitabh Bacchan like Deewar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Trishul. It became a blockbuster hit which released in the year 1961. The movie was critically acclaimed for its screenplay direction cinematography and music along with the performance of the lead actors Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala.
The acting of Dilip Kumar in the movie is one of the finest of his works. The movie won so many awards which include Filmfare awards in the category of the best film and best director bus stop Vaijanti Mala also won the Award for Best Actress, V Balasaheb for best cinematography, and for best dialogue writer Mr. khan won awards. Other than this Ganga Jamuna’s image greatest hit at the 25th Bengal film for journalist Association awards. it won a total of nine hours in the Hindi film category. Moreover, the film won awards at the 9th National Film awards and international film festivals including Boston international film festival and Karlovy vary international film festival.
10. Saheb Bibi Aur Gulam (1962)
Genre: Drama, musical
Director: Abrar Alvi
Cast: Meena Kumari, Guru Dutt, Rahman
IMDb rating: 8.3
The storyline of the movie is an adaptation of the Bengali writer Bimal Mitra’s novel. The film shows the downfall of zamindari Raj in Bengal during the British Raj. But educated man Bhootnath comes to Kolkata in search of work. He stays at the same house with his brother-in-law and works in the factory of Mohini Sindoor run by Subinay Babu. The daughter of the factory owner Jaba falls in love with Bhoothnath. One day Bansi the servant of the Zamindar family introduces Bhoothnath to the Chhoti Bahu of the family was Bhag Chhoti Bahu playfully asks Bhootnath to bring Mohini Sindoor for her so that she can keep her husband home.
Surprised by her beauty and sadness of not having her husband by her side, Bhootnath created a soft corner for her in his heart. Bhoothnath went away for his work and on return, he finds out Chhoti Bahu has become a desperate alcoholic to keep her husband with herself. While her husband was paralyzed one day Chhoti Bahu asks Bhoothnath to accompany her to the temple for praying for her husband’s ailment. But the elder coming doubted them of having an affair. He stops them on their way knocking Bhoothnath down. Bhoothnath woke up in the hospital the next morning and Chhoti Bahu was not there, she disappeared. Years later Bhoothnath found Chhoti Bahu’s skeleton buried in the Zamindar Haveli.
Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam was another operation from the Bengali e novel Saheb Bibi Golam by Bimal Mitra. The movie was a great success both critically and commercially. In the movie, Meena Kumari’s performance as Chhoti Bahu was so phenomenal and one of the best performances in Hindi cinema. The movie got ate nominations at the 10th Filmfare Awards including best actor best-supporting actor best-supporting actress and it won a total of four Filmfare Awards.
The film was a success internationally too. It was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 13th Berlin international film festival and it emerged as India’s official entry to the Oscars. However, it did not make it to the nominations as The Academy wrote a letter to Guru Dutt stating that a woman who drinks was not permissible in their culture. The Indiatimes movies ranked it among the top 25 must-see Bollywood films.
11. Sangam (1964)
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Director: Raj Kapoor
Cast: Raj Kapoor, Vyjayanthimala, Rajendra Kumar
IMDb rating: 7.5
3 friends Gopal Radha and Sundar grow up together. Upon growing up Sundar starts having feelings for Radha to stop but Radha loves Sundar and Sundar also has mutual feelings for her. In between this love triangle, Sunderkand finds his love for Radha to Gopal. Gopal agrees to sacrifice his love for his friend Sundar. Meanwhile, Sundar joins the Indian Airforce for a dangerous mission and he had to go on a dangerous mission. But while going he asked his beloved friend Gopal to take care of his wife and not a single man come in between them. Unfortunately on the mission Sundar aircraft crashes and people assumed he was dead. The government facilitated Sundar with Param Vir Chakra posthumously.
Upon hearing this news Radha and Gopal both were mornings but they were now free to explore their love for each other. Gopal wrote a love letter to Radha without mentioning his name. Just when their love stories were starting Sundar came back well and sound. Once again Gopal sacrificed his love for Sundar. Radha and Sundar got married and they went on a honeymoon to England. Upon return, Radha asked Gopal to stay away from them as it was torture. But one day Sundar found out about the later Gopal road to Radha and threatened Radha to tell the name of the author of the letter. However, Radha denied but Sundar got to know about Gopal eventually. Sundar then confronted Gopal and Gopal admitted to his authorship to the latter. And to stay away from their married life Gopal killed himself with Sundar’s pistol.
The film was a great success in India and also Overseas. This film released in Soviet Union Turkey Bulgaria Greece and Hungary. The film won three Filmfare awards in the 12th Filmfare Awards. Raj Kapoor won it for best director and Vaijayanthimala for best actress. It also won six awards in Bengal Film Journalist’s Association Awards. The movie was a box office hit and became a commercial success.
So, here was the list of top 11 highest grossing movies of Bollywood from 1960-1969.