Top 5 Most Successful Bollywood Movies

The Hindi film industry, and particularly its most popular section known as Bollywood, is one of the largest film production industries in the world. From its humble beginnings as far back as 1913 when the first silent, full-length movie was released – ‘Raja Harishchandra’ – Bollywood has since grown into a global entertainment establishment, with huge budgets and even bigger box office revenue! It should therefore come as no surprise that some of the greatest films in history have been and will continue to be produced in India. Here is our pick of the ‘Top 5’ most successful films from the land of Bollywood…

1. Lagaan

‘Once upon a time in India’


One of the most expensive films to ever come out of Bollywood, Lagaan is a sporting classic that portrays the Chapaner, a drought and tax stricken Indian village enduring British Colonialism. The hero of the film Buhvan, played by the talented Aamir Khan, challenges the Englishmen to a game of cricket, with permanent tax exemption as the prize. ‘Lagaan’ is accompanied by numerous songs and dance, in keeping with the traditional Bollywood themes. There is no question whether ‘Lagaan’ should have made it to our ‘Top 5’ with it being feel-good, culture-rich and extremely entertaining.

Trivia– In 2011, it was listed in Time magazine’s special in ‘The All-TIME 25 Best Sports Movies’ list. It has also achieved many other accolades: ‘Lagaan’ was also listed as number 14 on Channel 4’s ‘50 Films to See Before You Die’ and was the only Indian film to be listed!

2. 3 Idiots

‘For these guys, college is a no-brainer’


This coming-of-age comedy was the highest grossing Bollywood film when it was released in 2009. What’s more, ‘3 Idiots’ broke records for being the highest grossing Bollywood film in overseas markets, grossing a whopping $25million, creating a buzz in the Eastern-Asian markets – rare for a Bollywood movie. ‘Box Office India’ rightfully went on to honour ‘3 Idiots’ as an ‘All Time Blockbuster’. There is no doubt that the majority reading this have seen the film, due to its huge popularity. The film follows three college friends and takes a look at their time at college and how this impacted each of their lives. During the film, you can expect scene after scene of hilarious takes, from the trio crashing a wedding, delivering a baby and experiencing an out-of-control funeral. Alongside these, you can expect heart-warming scenes from falling in love to friendships to heart-breaking moments such as dreams falling apart. ‘3 Idiots’ has something for everyone and is a much-adored Bollywood film, hence making into our ‘Top 5’.

Triva – ‘3 Idiots’ was shot in reverse – the present day was shot first, then they filmed the college days last.

3. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

‘Come… Fall In Love… All Over Again’


Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is well known and equally well loved across India. One of the film’s major appeals was the way in which the film reached out to the Indian diaspora, the community of  Indian citizens who emigrated to another country, more often than not Western countries. The film focuses on traditional Indian family values and reinforces the idea that they can be upheld regardless of where you are living. DDLJ follows the story of Raj, the ‘good guy’, who was brought up in London and Kuljeet, the ‘bad guy’ who was raised in India and their love for the same woman. It can be said that the popularity of this film was due to the fact that it broke from the tradition of many Indian films, where the Indian is made out to be morally superior to the Westerner.

Trivia – Tom Cruise was considered for the role of Raj Malhotra.

4. Sholay

‘The greatest star cast ever assembled, the greatest story ever told’


Sholay, probably one of the most admired and appreciated Bollywood films, is therefore considered a ‘Bollywood Classic’. The action-adventure movie, released in 1975, starred Bollywood royalty such as romantic hero Dharmendra and the talented Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjeev Kumar. The film follows a former police officer, played by Sanjeev Kapur, who enlists the help of two outlaws, played by Dharmendra and Bachchan, to capture a notorious killer who murdered his family. The film drew heavily from Western movies, in particular, the Spaghetti Western films and is a perfect example of a ‘masala film’, where there is a mix of genres in one film. The film became so popular, that it run in some cinemas for up to a year!

Trivia – Sholay was going to be removed from the cinemas when it was first released because of low attendance figures but attendance rose and word of mouth made it India’s biggest hit until 1995, when Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released.

5. Dhoom 3


Dhoom 3, released in December 2013, deserves to make it onto this list for the sole reason that it is the highest grossing film in Bollywood film history, both in India and globally, stealing ‘3 Idiots’ this title. What’s more, Dhoom 3 also secured the most profit on its opening day and opening weekend than any other film in Indian history. This leaves no argument against the huge success of this film. In the third installment of the ‘Dhoom’ series, the well known cop buddy duo Ali and Jai are called to help catch circus-entertainer-come-bank-robber Sahir played by Aamir Khan. Despite the film achieving incredible success in terms of revenue, the movie did receive quite a lot of criticism, many saying that it possessed over-the-top sequences with Khan giving one of the worst performances of his career. However, ‘Dhoom 3’ certainly cannot have been as bad as many made out as it still stands as the top grossing Bollywood film to date.

Trivia– ‘Dhoom 3’ is the first Indian film to be released in IMAX format.

If you want to catch up with all the latest Bollywood news and gossip or even catch a Bollywood movie, head over to where you can watch a variety of channels for free, from the likes of Bollywood Hungama, Films of India and  Lamhe TV.



Daniel Horgan

Author Daniel Horgan

Video Game and Wrestling fanatic. I enjoy watching the latest blockbusters at the cinema and all things film. To join in the conversation, follow Yamgo's official Twitter account @Yamgotv!

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