Most film critics or reviewer say that the 1980s was a downfall for the Hindi film industry. But is that true? Did the Hindi film industry had nothing good worth celebrating? and if there was nothing then what was the reason behind it? First of all, let me clear the air by saying there is nothing like that. In the 1980s is there were some gems and some newcomers that took the grip of the Hindi film industry into their hand totally. You can call the 1980s was the stepping stone of the nineties which was the dreadful year for Bollywood.
The reason behind the movie critic from that period said that 1980 is was a declination of Bollywood was because the superstars as in Rajesh Khanna, Sanjeev Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Dharmendra were not in the movies, from the previous decade. Yes, Amitabh Bachchan was there but still he didn’t Steal the Lime Light in the 90s. But some new comers came in that era who stole the LimeLight.
Aamir Khan and Anil Kapoor started their career in the film industry. And from the beginning only they made sure that they are not just any other actor but the upcoming stars of Bollywood. But they didn’t know that till 2021 they will still be giving superhits in Bollywood. It’s been more than four decades and we have seen their movies like forever. Aamir Khan became the perfectionist and Anil Kapoor became the man who you can never grow old. They were superstars, they are superstars, and they will remain superstar till you don’t know what.
However, with these newcomers, there was Rishi Kapoor who was flexing his Rockstar image in his romantic movies. And Amitabh Bachchan also featured in Namak Halal where he received a good critical response. The 1980s was the decade when Kamal Haasan did his first Bollywood debut with Ek Duje Ke Liye. The evergreen actress Rekha received higher praises with Umrao Jaan. Her Ada in Mujra, the poetries and her acting was phenomenal. And it still is one of the immortal performances by Rekha.
So why do the critics say that it is was a downfall for Bollywood? Well, one point may be that the movies were evidently Romeo Juliet plot based. It lacked in in the real aspects of life. The movies were a mixture of meaningful and commercial minded plots. The major contrast that came up from the previous decade was the exclusion of the poor and the backwards in its stories. Yes, though one guy was poor in all those movies – the hero. In most of the movies The Hero was portrayed as a poor and deprived individual whereas the villains were mostly rich.
We cannot wrap up the introduction only by talking about the actor and actresses of that era. The musical Legend Laxmikant Pyarelal and RD Burman give us some best melodies of the 1980s. Also, the directors like video Vinod Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt, and Om Puri came out as the best director of that decade.
Here is the mixed array of cinematic delights that the 1980s gave us
1. Karz (1980)
Genre: action, musical, Romance
Director: Subhash Ghai
Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Tina Ambani, Simi Garewal
IMDb rating: 7.5
Karz is one of the earliest movies of Bollywood that had a plot related to reincarnation. This shows an example of musical blockbuster. Hits director Subhash Ghai thought the movie was a flop. Moreover, in an interview he said every critic criticized that film. However he didn’t know that in coming days the movie is going to be a Pioneer in Bollywood’s story telling.
The movie was an adaptation from 1975 film the reincarnation of Peter proud. But the main highlight of the movie was its music that was under the direction of Laxmikant Pyarelal. The music help the movie to become a commercial hit even though it was not critically acclaimed. When we say a musical blockbuster this is what we mean by it. Karz set an prime example of it. It inspired Bollywood in so many ways with its music. Tum movies chartbusters song Om Shanti Om song by Kishore Kumar received number 2 spot on Binaca Geetmala annual list of 1980. Moreover another song from that film Tu kitne Baras Ki song by Lata and Kishore reached the spot number 13.
Laxmikant Pyarelal received the Filmfare Award for Best music director. The songs later inspired several film titles such as Om Shanti Om, Aashiq Banaya Apne, Ek Hasina Thi, etc.
The theme of the movie is about reincarnation. Ravi retrieve back his father’s assets from sir Judah. But Juda planted this girl Kamini in his life. Ravi is madly in love with her and marriage Har. But Kamini kills Ravi by ramming him over a cliff. 20 years later Monty who is an orphan come to the picture. Who is the reincarnation of Ravi. He goes to Ooty for vacation and there she falls in love with Tina. In Ooty only Monty gains back the memory from his previous life. He finds out Kamini and takes Revenge from her for his previous life.
2. Khoobsurat (1980)
Genre: comedy, drama, family
Cast: Ashok Kumar, Rekha, Rakesh Roshan
IMDb rating: 7.6
Khubsurat is a great Hindi language comedy drama film. It is one of the best light hearted movies to see if you are in the mood. The movie was a box office hit and received positive critical responses. In 1987 movies fair somewhere stagnant in between romantic Dramas and stale content Khubsurat brought a fresh breath of air with it.
The movie showcases great contrast between the new ages hot bloods and the olds with strict discipline. In spite of being a comedy drama the movie does not Centre around the actor and actresses of the movie. Instead it shows the relationship between a woman and her future mother in law. How she has to to mould herself into her strict rules or how to to get a wave without following rules and moreover the comedy induced drama around it will bring tears of Laughter in your eyes.
The movie won the Filmfare Award for Best film in 1981. Rekha won her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress for the role of Manju Dayal. The movie might not be the best from Hrishikesh Mukherjee but it definitely was one of the biggest commercial hits from the maker.
Nirmala Gupta played by Dina Pathak is mother of 4 children. She is not only a mother but a strict discipline follower. Her household has some strict rules and everyone have to abide by it. Like any other Indian mother from 1980 she has the the power of selecting the life partner of their son. Per second son she selects Anju. But with Anju are younger sister Manju also comes to her household as it is a ritual of Indian weddings.
However the third son Inder falls in love with Manju . But Manju is totally opposite of how Nirmala Gupta would want her daughter in law to be. Manju is young fun loving and naughty full stop following rules is the last thing to expect from her. For the other family members Manju was a refreshment from the dictatorship of Nirmala Devi. However in the end when Dwarka Prasad the husband of Nirmala Devi has an Cardiac Arrest it was Manju who acted upon and saved him. This lead to a change of heart of Nirmala Devi.
3. Ek Duje Ke Liye (1981)
Genre: drama, musical, Romance
Director: K Balachander
Cast: Kamal Hassan, Rati Agnihotri, Madhavi
IMDb rating: 7.5
Ek Duje Ke Liye was one of the greatest blockbuster hits of the 1980. It was the Hindi debut of Kamal Hassan full stop however the movie was the Hindi remake of Telugu film Maro Charitra. Telugu movie was from the same director where Kamal Haasan was in the lead role. In 1981 its total earning was hundred million rupees in receipts. The movie also was a musical hit as its music was pressed upon after its release. And of course when Laxmikant Pyarelal is in the direction and Anand Bakshi is on turning the lyrics there is no other way.
The music of the movie was so popular and great that later many e Hip Hop artists sample did the song for their songs. Such as in parties childish gambino sample the song tere Mere bich Mein free song ‘toxic’. Similarly another hip hop artist Tony Yayo’s song ‘love my style’ sample the song tere Mere beech mein.
S. P. Balasubrahmanyam received the National Film Award for Best male playback singer what is movie. The movie got 13 nominations on Filmfare awards and won 3. For best editing best lyricist and best screenplay.
The cross culture Romance is the plot of Ek Duje Ke Liye. How is South Indian and North Indian who are neighbours falls in love with each other in spite of their language barrier and cultural barrier. Even after the fall in love their families get to know about it and strongly opposes their decision. Both the families tries to to keep them apart at any cost. In their Love Journey the face several obstacles. Even though they get over all the obstacles will they be united or a tragic destiny is waiting for them?
4. Umrao Jaan (1981)
Genre: drama, musical, Romance
Director: Muzaffar Ali
Cast: Rekha, Farooq Shaikh, Naseeruddin Shah
IMDb rating: 7.8
The greatest female led movie of Bollywood is Umrao Jaan. Even though it was 1981 having a female character as the protagonist was out of the box for that time as it is now. Even though is 2021 we don’t see many movies with female lead character. Rekha was the one actress who you with her phenomenal acting and grace won audience’s heart. No other actress before that got a chance to work as the protagonist of a movie. Her confidence her Grace others in Umrao Jaan tells it all why she is the one to set Trend.
The movie is an adaptation of the Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada (1905). The historical plot of the movie is carefully knitted with its set design art music and phenomenal acting of the artists. I cannot forget the songs of Asha Bhosle performed by Rekha with so much grace and authenticity in it.
Even though the movie was critically acclaimed it only had average box office response. But the movie won several awards. Rekha won the National Film awards as best actress. Mohammed Zahur Khayyam for best music direction where as Asha Bhosle as best female playback singer and Manzur won the National Film awards for best art direction.
Amiran a little girl is kidnapped from her family who lives in Faizabad. Later they sell him to Khanum jaan who is is the madam of a brothel in Lucknow. She teaches amidon how to become a well cultured woman and to Captivate man of wealth and taste. She renamed her Umrao Jaan.
Many well the people come to the Mehfil of Umrao Jaan. The Nawab Sultan falls in love with Umrao Jaan. But he denies marrying her as he has to marry the women chosen by his family. Then falls in love with bandit chieftain Faiz Ali. Their low but local police kill Ali and Umrao Jaan returns back to Lucknow.
Afterwards the British soldiers attack Lucknow and Umrao Jaan flees away. Upon reaching Faizabad reunites with her mother but her brother forbids her return. Devastated She Goes back to Lucknow only to find out that the bottle is looted and deserted by the British soldiers.
5. Satte Pe Satta (1982)
Genre: action, comedy, drama
Director: Raj N Sippy
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Ranjeeta Kaur
IMDb rating: 7.2
Another Hindi action comedy film with the cost of Amitabh Bachchan Hema Malini Amjad Khan extra. Even though the movie did not want awards it was at number 10 on the box office collection list of 1982. Because the movie was a great comedy film. Where we see several characters as the brother of Amitabh Bachchan who is the eldest of them.
You would love the movie on a Sunday afternoon. When I watched the movie for the first time I was in tears because it was so funny. The seven brothers who were less human more animal in their behaviour were out of the way funny.
Seven brothers live in a farm house where the run an animal farm. They are often and uneducated. Hence they do not have any etiquettes, sophistication or hygiene. There elder brother Ravi falls in love with a nurse named Indu. He marries her but she does not like disorganization and untidiness. While marrying her Ravi did not tell her about her five brothers except one the youngest one who is comparatively more civilized.
When Indu came to ravis home she found out about his five other brothers. Shortly see also gets to know about how uncivilized and uncouth they are. She turns their life upside down as she tries to make them human like. Soon enough they all started liking Indu. And soon after that they fall in love with a group of 6 women. But in this comic story there is also a villain the look alike of Ravi whose name is Babu. How the story takes turn when Babu tries to impersonate Arabi but has a change of heart after living with his family for so many days.
6. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)
Genre: comedy, crime, drama
Director: Kundan Shah
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Bhakti Barve
IMDb rating: 8.4
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is such a low budget movie at one of the best of its time. The movie had a very low budget of 89 lacs. Would you believe Naseeruddin Shah was paid only rupees 15000 for his role. He also brought his own Nikon camera for the shooting of the movie. The camera was used as a prop in the movie. But the sad part is that someone stole the camera by the end of the shooting. The movie shows the corruption in Indian politics business Bureaucracy and news media.
One of the early movies of Naseeruddin Shah. Shop with is significant acting came up as a rising star in Bollywood. Food thought of bringing all the cinema Titans in one platform other than Kundan Shah. Om Puri Satish Shah Bhakti Barve Vidhu Vinod Chopra Sudhir Mishra, not a talent I could think of was left.
Unpacked till date the movie remains and categorise able as reportedly Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was not planned it just happened. Even in 1980 the film reflected every aspect of corruption in our system that existed then and that is still existing today. When a movie is relative will even after three decades you know it was a successful movie. Kundan Shah won the Indira Gandhi Award for Best debut film of a director for Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro in 1984.
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is a black comedy movie where two professional photographers Vinod and Sudhir set up there studio. But Hard Luck their business is not running good. Hi were they agreed to work for Shobha Sen and editor. They work on exposing the malicious deals between Builders and contractors. Later they won a 5000 rupees lottery and decided to enter a photography contest for that the started clicking picture around the city.
After developing one of the pictures they found out that there is a man shooting someone in the picture. Going back and investigating the side to the found out some evidence related to the body. After crossing several opticals they found out the actual killer. Moreover, The Killer was the same person who they were investigating for Shobha Sen. The Killer being a rich influential person good Tryst his faith and pin Vinod and Sudheer for the murder
7. Ardh Satya (1983)
Genre: crime, drama
Director: Govind nihalani
Cast: Om Puri, Smita Patil, Amrish Puri
IMDb rating: 8.2
Next on our list is Ardh Satya. It is the first film of Om Puri in a lead role. Not only Om Puri but Smita Patil and Sadashiv amrapurkar got their breakthrough from this movie alongside. Interestingly the movie was offered to Amitabh Bacchan at first. Om Puri was different from the Bollywood cops from earlier movies. Before it the cops we see such as in Zanjeer was an angry young man but he found his way to manipulate a system and he believed in going against the rules to bring justice. Om Puri was also an angry young man but he never went out of his limits. He was a realistic cop.
The movie was one of the greatest work of Vijay Tendulkar full stop the movie with its beauty and blinking plot was one of the greatest commercial hits of the 1980s. The movie won several awards. Om Puri won the National Film Award for Best Actor and he was also nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. Other than that the movie won 5 more Filmfare Awards
Our protagonist Anant Welankar (Om Puri) joins the police force as the sub inspector of Bombay police. Anant is a honest police officer who after joining the police force finds out the corruption going on in the system. And no one is excluded starting from the local Mafia the cops politicians everyone is in this together. Anant being an honest police officer tries to fight Back every time but due to lack of authority he cannot do much. Design girl stacks up against the The Mafia Don and in the end he finds himself killing one of the leaders.
8. Mr India (1987)
Genre: action, comedy, drama
Director: Shekhar Kapoor
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Amrish Puri
IMDb rating: 7.8
Restaurant near reminds us of those good old days. It was perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Even the kids loved this movie. It was probably the first film of Bollywood that it was somewhat a superhero plot. It was the genre that Bollywood never touched. And in later years it inspired several Cinemas with superhero plot. The movie was a great commercial success. It was the second highest grossing movie of the year arning rupees hundred million. It became a milestone in Hindi cinema. With its success its cast and director got their breakthrough. People loved the jodi of Anil Kapoor and Sridevi. It had the modern Arctic as well as the witty comedy in it.
Mr India won best film best director best actor and best actress at the 1st Star & Style-Lux Awards.
The protagonist of the movie Arun played by Aamir Khan is A4 but big hearted man. Hi he gives shelter to the orphans in his home. Arun discovers that his father who was a scientist discovered a A device which makes you invisible. Device Arun not only rescue the Orphan child but also the country from a severe attack of Mogambo. Mogambo is the villain of the movie played by Amrish Puri. Hi captured the Orphan childs and then he planted bombs in several parts of the country. He also have plans to activate ballistic missiles missiles. Wat Arun with the help of his father’s device rescue everyone.
9. Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)
Genre: drama, musical, Romance
Director: Mansoor Khan
Cast: Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, Goga Kapoor
IMDb rating: 7.5
Qyamat se qyamat Tak is the Romeo Juliet version of Bollywood. Fittest movie to new stars born in the industry Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla. People love the chemistry between them. The tragic romantic story which reinvented the romantic musical genre in Bollywood set history in Hindi film industry. This was the movie that started the era of Bollywood musical Romance movies that defined the coming decade of the 1990. The cast direction screenplay and music everything was top-notch. This all together we came the reason of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak becoming a superhit Bollywood movie with best selling soundtrack album. Anand Milind composed the soundtrack and the lyrics are from majrooh Sultanpuri.This was the album That also became a breakthrough for T-Series which is now India’s largest music label.
Indiatimes movies rent the movie among the top 25 must see Bollywood films Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak won the National Film Award for Best popular film providing Wholesome entertainment. It also received 8 Filmfare Awards including the best film best director best male and female debut for Amir Khan and Juhi Chawla respectively.
Two lovers from different families who are Enemies fall in love . In spite of their family and Amity they they decide to continue their relationship. Eventually oneday the elope. The girls family was more powerful and rich they tried to track them down. They wanted Raj (Amir Khan) to be killed and to bring back their daughter to home. The film ends with a tragic ending where the both lovers keep their promise of never to leave each other.
10. Parinda (1989)
Genre: action, crime, drama
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Cast: Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor, Nana Patekar
IMDb rating: 7.9
Another gem from the collection of Vidhu Vinod Chopra is Parinda. In most of his movies he portrayed The Mafia Gang of run by dangerous Don. The movie letter inspired many e film makers specially Ram Gopal Varma and Mahesh Manjrekar for making Underworld films like Satya and Vastav: the reality. Desi period brings out the best out of a man. Vidhu Vinod Chopra made it true as his previous film Khamosh did not find the distributor due to it’s unconventional plot. Hence Chopra decided to make more mainstream films with well-known actors. His thought process went right. Parinda received critical acclimation.
The film won two National Film awards and 5 Filmfare Awards including best director best actor best supporting actor. They also sent the movie to the the 1990 Academy Award for Best foreign language film.
two orphaned brothers Christian and Karan lips in the streets of Bombay. Kishan wants to provide a better life for current hence he works for Anna Seth a Gangsta full stop and Karan went to the US for his studies. When he returned he wanted to meet his Inspector friend Prakash who was after Anna Seth. The day he was about to meet Prakash set sent his men to kill Prakash. He dies in Karan’s arms. Karan in spite of testifying against Anna he joins his gang to seek revenge. Karan how were successfully kills Abdul the killer of Prakash and Ud went on to marry Paro his love. But on his wedding night Anna gets to know about his manipulation and kills both of them. To avenge his brother’s death Kishan sets Anna’s residence on fire and kills him.
11. Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)
Genre: drama, musical, Romance
Director: Sooraj R. Barjatya
Cast: Salman Khan, Bhagyashree, Alok Nath
IMDb rating: 7.3
Last but not the least Maine Pyar Kiya was the highest grossing Bollywood movie of not only the year 1989 but of the decade the 1980s. The movie was a great commercial and Critical success. Its boxoffice income was 308.1 million rupees. Box office India declared the film as all time blockbuster. Salman Khan was a newcomer at that time and this became the breakthrough of his career. According to the reports even the the clue at the set did not give him much respect as he was not a renowned star. Even though bhagyashri who was just about to become a star did not actually lived her stardom. She was married against her will two men during the shootings of the movie.
The film was also great musical hit it had total 11 soundtracks which was more than usual numbers . SP Balasubramaniam won the Filmfare Award for Best male playback singer for the track Dil Deewana. Other than that the movie won five more Filmfare Awards including best film best music director best male debut best female debut.
Suman is a daughter of 4 mechanic. During a trip to abroad Karan let Suman stay at his friend’s place who is very rich. There Suman met frame the son of of his father’s friend. Suman and Prem falls in love and while staying at his house they both realise they cannot live without each other. Hi was women’s father comes back from abroad and takes Suman to his home. However Prem does not let go of his love and goes to Suman’s house to ask her father for her hand. But Karan dinners and asks him to prove his worth and also that he can become a self dependent man. Prem proves his worth by earning money and then convincing her father that he is the best man for Suman.