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Best of Bollywood: Our top 10 films

  • Story Highlights
  • CNN celebrates the Indian Film Awards with the top 10 Bollywood films
  • Think we've missed one? Post your comments to the Screening Room blog
  • Ramesh Sippy's 1975 classic "curry western" Sholay comes in number one
  • Next Article in Entertainment »
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(CNN) -- From the best of the Big B to the hottest routines, we celebrate the Indian Film Awards with our top 10 favorite Bollywood films. Spice up your life with these all-singing, all-dancing spectaculars.


Young, impetuous Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) stands up to the greedy British in this Oscar-nominated Indian blockbuster

Don't agree? Think we've missed one? Post your comments to the Screening Room blog and we'll publish the best.

Read other CNN viewers' best and worst Bollywood movies, and tell us yours >>

1. Sholay
Ramesh Sippy, 1975
This classic curry western sees two convicts unleashed by a retired cop after the murderous Gabbar Singh, with his tobacco-stained teeth, played by the outstanding Amjad Khan. The legendary pairing of Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra is just one of the ingredients that makes this, the biggest Bollywood box-office smash, also the greatest. The question on all our lips: will the remake do it justice?

2. Devdas
Bimal Roy, 1955
Childhood sweethearts Devdas (Dilip Kumar) and Paro (Suchitra Sen) are denied happiness by his snobbish parents; his alcoholic descent into insanity is heartbreaking. Sen is radiant as the lower-caste Paro; Kumar is mesmeric as the anti-hero; and Vyjayanthimala is touching as his devoted courtesan. This black-and-white masterpiece has seen several remakes, but remains the finest version.

3. Lagaan (Once upon a time in India)
Ashutosh Gowariker, 2001
Young, impetuous Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) stands up to the greedy British in this Oscar-nominated Indian blockbuster that sees the plucky villagers take on their dastardly oppressors in -- what else -- a game of cricket. Tax relief if they win; triple-rate tax if they lose -- but most of them have never held a bat before. Add a love triangle, a double-crossing woodcutter and a climactic showdown, and it's a perfect battle of courage against villainy!

4. Kabhi Kabhie (Love is Life)
Yash Chopra, 1976
Poet Amit (Amitabh Bachchan) and beautiful Pooja (Raakhee Gulzar) seem destined for each other, but parental intervention forces her to marry Vijay (Shashi Kapoor) instead; their children's love lives are just as complex. This cross-generational love story is played against a stunning aural backdrop of some of Khayyam's best lilting melodies.

5. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...
Karan Johar, 2001
Shahrukh Khan's finest moment yet sees him shine triumphantly as the dutiful Rahul, torn between his family and the woman he loves. A modern star-studded classic that travels from India to London and back, K3G's breathtaking dancing makes up for the occasional wince-worthy moments. A great turn from Hrithik Roshan, too.

6. Umrao Jaan
Muzaffar Ali, 1981
A kidnapped girl, sold to a brothel, falls in love with the Nawab Sultan but her dreams are dashed. She seeks solace in the arms of a bandit, but that romance is also doomed. Will she find her way home, and what awaits her there? This classic tale of the cultured courtesan underwent a classy remake in 2006 with Aishwarya Rai in the title role.

7. Laawaris (The Orphan)
Prakash Mehra, 1981
Abandoned as a boy, Heera (Amitabh Bachchan) goes on a quest to discover his roots, so as to win the hand of his love, Mohini (Zeenat Aman). The only one who can help him is the elusive alcoholic, Gangu (Shreeram Lagoo). But you all know that the highlight is seeing Bachchan in drag going through five costume changes in the penultimate number -- worth the price of a movie ticket on its own.

8. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar
Prakash Mehra, 1978
Abandoned as an orphan, Sikandar (yes, the Big B again) struggles to survive in a cruel world. He succeeds in business but is thwarted by love, as his childhood sweetheart, Kaamna (Rakhee Gulzar) ends up in the arms of his so-called friend, Vishal (Vinod Khanna). A tragedy that will haunt you, as will the melodic strains of Kishore Kumar's "O Saathi Re."

9. Deewaar
Yash Chopra, 1975
One of Amitabh Bachchan's defining "angry young man" films sees him playing Vijay, an embittered smuggler, whose younger brother, policeman Ravi (Shashi Kapoor) is hot on his tail. Will Ravi and their mother persuade Vijay to abandon his criminal ways before it's too late? Sharp dialogue and a breathtaking performance by the Big B.

10: Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak
Mansoor Khan, 1988
Aamir Khan burst onto the Bollywood scene in QSQT's modern-day Romeo and Juliet to become an overnight heart throb. Star-crossed young lovers Raj (Khan) and Rashmi (Juhi Chawla) escape their feuding families and elope, but their romance is doomed, and the couple choose death rather than give each other up. A fresh and tender film, and Anand-Milind's soundtrack is still a classic.

Your views


Now it's your turn. What are your favorite -- and worst -- Bollywood films? Which ones have we missed? Post your comments and suggestions to the Screening Room blog and we'll publish the best.

Read other CNN viewers' best and worst Bollywood movies - and tell us yours >> E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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