The 60s decade is the golden era in Bollywood history. This is the decade when Bollywood explored its creativity skills and produced some of the most memorable films in Bollywood cinema.
This era is also special because it is in this era that the trend of black and white cinema was replaced totally by Technicolor films. While the early years of the ’60s saw many black-and-white movies, eventually Technicolor films took over and breathed a new air into Bollywood cinema. This is also the decade when the film industry got its first superstar Rajesh Khanna.
As the early stars of the 50s graduated in the 60s, the Bollywood film fraternity also got new stars in Manoj Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Saira Banu, Sadhana, and more.
Best Bollywood Movies of the 60s
Films in the 60s were different not because of their versatility but because of the experiments made with several different genres such as war drama, romance, comedy, horror, and others.
Here are the top Bollywood Movies in the 1960s decade:
The epic Historical drama film changed the way we look at Bollywood cinema. To produce such a film at such a massive scale requires courage and that courage was shown by Shapoorji Pallonji who produced the film. Directed by K. Asif, the film stars the tragedy king Dilip Kumar and the gorgeous diva Madhubala in the lead roles, whereas Prithviraj Kapoor, Durga Khote, Ajit, and Murad play pivotal roles.
Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960)
After working as a cinematographer in several Kapoor’s films, Radhu Karmakar finally got a break as a director with 1960 film Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai. The film tells us the story of a pure-hearted orphaned man who ends up with a group of bandits and tries to divert them in the path of righteousness. Whether he triumphs or fails forms the rest of the story. The film stars Raj Kapoor, Padmini, Pran, and Lalita Pawar in important roles.
Gunga Jumna (1961)
Gunga Jumna is an epic Bollywood film with the story of brothers who find themselves on the either side of the law. It is a 1961 dacoit drama directed by Nitin Bose. The titular roles of Gunga and Jumna are portrayed by Dilip Kumar and Nisar Khan, who are brothers in real life too. The film also stars Vyjayanthimala as the female lead. The theme of the film became a trendsetter for several Amitabh Bachchan’s blockbusters films like Deewar, Amar Akbar Anthony, and Trishul.
Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)
Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam is a 1962 Hindi drama film based on the Bengali novel by Bimal Mitra. Directed by Abrar Alvi, the film depicts a dramatic story in the midst of the tragic downfall of feudalism in Bengal during the British Raj. The film stars Rehman, Meena Kumari, and Guru Dutt in the titular roles, whereas Waheeda Rehman plays an important character in the film.
A classic film of 1963, Bandini is directed by Bimal Roy. The film stars Nutan, Ashok Kumar, and Dharmendra in the lead roles. Based on a Bengali novel Tamasi by Jarasandha, the film tells the story of a woman serving life imprisonment for murder. However, the fact that she was imprisoned doesn’t justify the title of the film but her whole life where she is bound by misery, suffering, and most importantly love.
Also Read: Must Watch Women-centric Films of Bollywood
Sangam is a 1964 romance drama directed by Raj Kapoor. The film is about a romantic triangle between the three lead characters in the film portrayed by Vyjayanthimala, Raj Kapoor, and Rajendra Kumar. It was Kapoor’s first color film and is even today considered as his best work. Also, it set a new trend of using foreign locations in Hindi films, especially the song sequences.
Also Read: Bollywood Movies about Love Triangle
Dosti is an Indian black and white and is focused on friendship as the title suggests. Directed by Satyen Bose, the film is about two boys, one blind, and the other cripple, who are united and become friends to help each other against the hardships in life. It was the second film of Rajshri Products, one of the major production houses in the country today. Dosti is one of the Best Bollywood Movies on Friendship or about Friends.
Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)
Woh Kaun Thi is a 1964 psychological mystery film starring Manoj Kumar and Sadhana in the lead roles, whereas Prem Chopra plays a supporting character. Directed by Raj Khosla, the film is about a Doctor played by Manoj Kumar who inherits a large fortune but later is haunted by a girl played by Sadhana. The plot takes a turning twist when he finds out that the girl he married is the same girl who was haunting him. Whether the mystery behind the girl unfolds or the doctor loses his mind, is what the rest of the film is all about.
Gumnaam is even today considered as the best suspense thriller film in the Bollywood history. Directed by Raj Nawathe, the film features Manoj Kumar, Nanda, Pran, Helen and Mehmood in pivotal roles. Gumnaam is a film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel And Then There Were None. The film tells a story about a group of people who are stuck on an island while they are hunted down by a mystery killer. Whether they survive and find out the real killer or not forms the rest of the story.
Waqt is a 1965 epic family drama and one of the earliest films featuring the lost and reunite formula in Bollywood. Directed by Yash Chopra, the film features an ensemble cast of Balraj Sahni, Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Sadhana, Sharmila Tagore, Madan Puri, Achala Sachdev, and Rehman as important characters. The film actually revived the
“lost and reunite formula” where the family of Lala Kedarnath played by Sahni is separated after an earthquake and later is reunited at the end of the film.
Guide is a 1965 romance drama directed by Vijay Anand. The film is considered to be one of the best films of Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman. Adapted from R.K. Narayanan’s novel The Guide, the film has also successfully established its popularity as a cult classic over the years. The film tells the love story of a young tourist guide who falls in love with the wife of an aging archaeologist. Whether he is successful or not forms the rest of the story and we consider Guide as the Best film of 60s era.
Arzoo is a 1965 film directed by Ramanand Sagar. The film is a love triangle much similar to earlier mentioned Sangam with certain turns and twists. Arzoo features Sadhana, Rajendra Kumar, and Feroz Khan in the lead roles. The film is a love triangle featuring social elements such as “hating a disabled”.
Teesri Manzil (1966)
Teesri Manzil is a musical thriller Bollywood film starring Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh in the lead roles. Directed by Vijay Anand, the film revolves around the murder mystery of Roopa who is killed when she falls from the third-floor balcony, justifying the title of the film. Besides the murder mystery, the film also impresses with the spectacular R.D. Burman music.
Love in Tokyo (1966)
Love in Tokyo is a 1966 romantic Hindi film directed by Pramod Chakravorty. Starring Joy Mukherjee and Asha Parekh as the lead pair in the film, Love in Tokyo depicts a love story set in the capital city of Japan as the title suggests. It was the 2nd film of Joy Mukherjee’s “Love in” trilogy and became a super hit at the box office.
Upkar is a 1967 patriotic-themed Bollywood film starring Manoj Kumar and Asha Parekh in the lead roles. The film also marks the debut of Manoj Kumar with his patriotic Bharat persona. The film tells the story of a young village man Bharat who sacrifices everything for his brother’s welfare and education. The film also features a patriotic theme when Bharat enlists himself as a soldier during Indo-Pak war as well as other social elements such as family planning promoted by Asha Parekh’s character of a doctor in the film.
Jewel Thief (1967)
Jewel Thief is another Vijay Anand film that makes it to our list of best Bollywood films of the 60s. Starring Dev Anand, Vyjayanthimala, and Ashok Kumar in the lead roles, the film revolves around a jewel thief named Amar and his lookalike Vinay, both played by Dev Anand. The film is a mystery thriller and makes you go nuts as the truth is disclosed at the end. Besides the lead actor, the film also stars Tanuja, Helen, Faryal, and Anju Mahendru in several supporting characters.
Ram Aur Shyam (1967)
Ram Aur Shyam is a 1967 Hindi film starring Dilip Kumar in double roles. Directed by Tapi Chanakya, the film tells a story about twin brothers separated at birth and united at the end of the film. The film is actually a remake of Telugu blockbuster film Ramudu Bheemudu starring N.T. Rama Rao. The film also set a trend for this double role theme with multiple remakes such as Seeta Aur Geeta, Chalbaaz, and Kishen Kanhaiya featuring Hema Malini, Sri Devi, and Anil Kapoor in the lead roles respectively.
Hamraaz is a 1967 suspense thriller film starring Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, and Mumtaz in the lead roles. Directed by B.R. Chopra, the film is a suspense thriller where the murder suspects of a woman are the characters portrayed by Sunil Dutt and Raaj Kumar, one of whom is her current husband and the other is the previous husband who was pronounced dead at the front. As the mystery unfolds, we find out the real truth and the culprit behind everything.
Padosan is a 1968 Hindi comedy Film directed by Jyoti Swaroop. It is the official remake of Telugu blockbuster film Pakkinti Ammayi directed by Chittajallu Pullayya. The film features an ensemble cast of Sunil Dutt, Saira Banu, Mehmood, Kishore Kumar, Mukri, Keshto Mukherjee and others. Mehmood’s portrayal of a South Indian music teacher was one of the biggest highlights of the film and is even today considered as one of the best comic character portrayal ever.
Aradhana is a 1969 romantic drama directed by Shakti Samanta. The film actually set the success run for Rajesh Khanna as it was the first of the 17 consecutive hits of the original romance king of Bollywood between 1969 and 1971. The film also marks the debut of the actor-director pairing of Rajesh Khanna and Shakti Samanta who together collaborated in 8 films giving some of the biggest blockbusters of all times. The film also stars Sharmila Tagore, who is another favorite star of Shakti Samanta besides Rajesh Khanna.
Over to you!
That’s it. This is our list of best Bollywood films of the 60s. It is always difficult to choose the top 20 films from the golden era of Bollywood. Well, you can add your favorite films from the 60s in this list by commenting them below.