1. Gandhi (1982)
Gandhi is a 1982 period biographical film based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of nonviolent non-cooperative Indian independence movement against the British Raj during the 20th century. A co-production between India and United Kingdom, it is directed and produced by Richard Attenborough from a screenplay written by John Briley. It stars Ben Kingsley in the title role. The film covers Gandhi's life from a defining moment in 1893, as he is thrown off a South African train for being in a whites-only compartment, and concludes with his assassination and funeral in 1948. Although a practising Hindu, Gandhi's embracing of other faiths, particularly Christianity and Islam, is also depicted.
Gandhi was released in India on 30 November 1982, in the United Kingdom on 3 December, and in the United States on 8 December. It opened to critical acclaim with major praise drawn towards the film's historically accurate portrayal of the life of Gandhi, Indian independence movement and the deteriorating results of British colonisation on India and also Kingsley's titular performance, production values and costume design. It also became a commercial success grossing $127.8 million on a $22 million budget.
The film received a leading eleven nominations at the 55th Academy Awards, winning eight (more than any other film nominated that year), including for the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (for Kingsley). The film was screened retrospectively on 12 August 2016 as the opening film at the Independence Day Film Festival jointly presented by the Indian Directorate of Film Festivals and Ministry of Defence, commemorating the 70th Indian Independence Day.The British Film Institute ranked Gandhi as the 34th greatest British film of the 20th century.
IMDB RATINGS :- 8.0/10
2. Jodhaa Akbar (2008)
Jodhaa Akbar is a 2008 Indian historical romance film, co-written, produced and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. It stars Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the lead roles, with Sonu Sood, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Ila Arun in supporting roles. The shooting began at Karjat and the film was released on 15 February 2008.
Set in the 16th century, the film centers on the romance between the Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar, played by Hrithik Roshan, and the Rajput Princess Jodhaa Bai who becomes his wife, played by Aishwarya Rai. Acclaimed composer A. R. Rahman composed the musical score. The soundtrack of the film was released on January 19, 2008.
Upon release, it was a critical and commercial success. The film won the Audience Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the São Paulo International Film Festival,two awards at the Golden Minbar International Film Festival, seven Star Screen Awards five Filmfare Awards and two National Film Awards, in addition to two nominations at the 3rd Asian Film Awards.
IMDB RATINGS:- 7.6/10
3. Black Friday (2004)
A dramatic presentation of the bomb blasts that rocked Bombay on March 12, 1993, displays the police investigation, amidst allegations of human rights violations, led by DCP Rakesh Maria, in tracking down the suspects, especially Bashir Khan. Bashir managed to elude authorities by re-locating to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and West Bengal, after finally being apprehended in Bombay. His confession and subsequent flashbacks showcases the apathy shown by authorities who refused to intervene during the destruction of the sacred Babri Masjid by Hindu Kar Sevaks, and the inability of the police to fulfill their mandate and protect the vulnerable, forcing many to flee to other locations. The subsequent aftermath that succeeded in irreversibly polarizing communities in Bombay; Pakistan's involvement in training and arms' supplies; the main alleged suspects, Dawood Ibrahim, and Mushtaq Memon, sought refuge in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, while Indian politicians made a cosmetic move to ...
IMDB RATINGS:- 8.5/10
4. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
Lagaan (transl. Agricultural Tax), released internationally as Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, is a 2001 Indian Hindi-language epic musical sports film written and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, and produced by Aamir Khan. Khan stars along with debutant Gracy Singh, with British actors Rachel Shelley and Paul Blackthorne in supporting roles. Made on a then-unprecedented budget of ₹43 crore (US$6.0 million), the movie was the maiden project from Aamir Khan Productions and was shot in villages near Bhuj.
The film is set in the early 1890s, during the late Victorian period of India's colonial British Raj. The story revolves around a small village in Central India, whose inhabitants, burdened by high taxes, and several years of drought, find themselves in an extraordinary situation as an arrogant British army officer challenges them to a game of cricket, as a wager to avoid paying the taxes they owe. The narrative spins around this situation as the villagers face the arduous task of learning a game that is alien to them and playing for a result that will change their village's destiny.
Lagaan released on 15 June 2001, clashing with Gadar: Ek Prem Katha starring Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel. Lagaan received widespread critical acclaim and awards at international film festivals, as well as many Indian film awards. It became the third Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film after Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988).
IMDB RATINGS:- 8.1/10
5. Mughal-E-Azam (1960)
Mughal-e-Azam (transl. The Great Mughal) is a 1960 Indian epic historical drama film directed by K. Asif and produced by Shapoorji Pallonji. Starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Durga Khote, Madhubala and Dilip Kumar, it follows the love affair between Mughal Prince Salim (who went on to become Emperor Jahangir) and Anarkali, a court dancer. Salim's father, Emperor Akbar, disapproves of the relationship, which leads to a war between father and son.
The development of Mughal-e-Azam began in 1944, when Asif read a play set in the reign of Emperor Akbar (1556–1605). Production was plagued by delays and financial uncertainty. Before its principal photography began in the early 1950s, the project had lost a financier and undergone a complete change of cast. Mughal-e-Azam cost more to produce than any previous Indian motion picture; the budget for a single song sequence exceeded that typical for an entire film of the period. The soundtrack, inspired by Indian classical and folk music, comprises 12 songs voiced by playback singer Lata Mangeshkar along with Mohammed Rafi, Shamshad Begum and classical singer Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, and is often cited among the finest in Bollywood cinematic history.
Mughal-e-Azam had the widest release of any Indian film up to that time, and patrons often queued all day for tickets. Released on 5 August 1960, it broke box office records in India and became the highest-grossing Indian film of all time, a distinction it held for 15 years. The accolades awarded to the film include one National Film Award and three Filmfare Awards at the 8th Filmfare Awards. Mughal-e-Azam was the first black-and-white Hindi film to be digitally coloured, and the first in any language to be given a theatrical re-release. The colour version, released in November 2004, was also a commercial success.
The film is widely considered to be a milestone of its genre, earning praise from critics for its grandeur and attention to detail. Film scholars have welcomed its portrayal of enduring themes, but question its historical accuracy.
IMDB RATINGS:- 8.2/10
6. The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)
The Legend of Bhagat Singh is a 2002 Indian Hindi-language biographical period film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. The film is about Bhagat Singh, a socialist revolutionary who fought for Indian independence along with fellow members of the Hindustan Republic Association. It features Ajay Devgn as the titular character along with Sushant Singh, D. Santosh and Akhilendra Mishra as the other lead characters. Raj Babbar, Farida Jalal and Amrita Rao play supporting roles. The film chronicles Bhagat's life from his childhood where he witnesses the Jallianwala Bagh massacre until the day he was hanged to death—23 March 1931.
The film was produced by Kumar and Ramesh Taurani's Tips Industries on a budget of ₹200–250 million (about US$4.2–5.2 million in 2002).The story and dialogue were written by Santoshi and Piyush Mishra respectively, while Anjum Rajabali drafted the screenplay. K. V. Anand, V. N. Mayekar and Nitin Chandrakant Desai were in charge of the cinematography, editing and production design respectively. Principal photography took place in Agra, Manali, Mumbai and Pune from January to May 2002. The soundtrack, composed by A. R. Rahman, was released on 4 May 2002 to positive reception, with "Mera Rang De Basanti" and "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna" being well-received in particular.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh was released on 7 June 2002 to generally positive reviews, with the direction, story, screenplay, technical aspects and the performances of Devgn and Sushant receiving the most attention. However, the film underperformed at the box office, grossing only ₹129 million (US$2.7 million in 2002).It went on to win two National Film Awards – Best Feature Film in Hindi and Best Actor for Devgn – and three Filmfare Awards from eight nominations.
IMDB RATINGS:- 8.1/10
7. Jhansi Ki Rani (1953)
Jhansi Ki Rani (transl. Queen of Jhansi) is a 1953 Indian Hindi-language historical drama film produced and directed by Sohrab Modi for his Minerva Movietone production banner. It is credited as the first Technicolor film made in India and starred Modi's wife, Mehtab in the title role, with Modi in the important role of her mentor, Rajguru (royal adviser).The film was dubbed in English as The Tiger and the Flame, which released in 1956 with the same star cast. The cast besides Mehtab and Sohrab Modi included Mubarak, Ulhas, Sapru, Ram Singh, Baby Shikha, Marconi and Shakila.
Set in the 19th century against the backdrop of the Mutiny of 1857, the film is about the bravery of queen Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi, who took up arms and led her army against the British. She was one of the first Indians to do so. It was the most expensive Hindi film up until then, with a budget ₹6 million, but became a box office failure.
IMDB RATINGS:- 6.7/10
8. Sardar (1993)
Sardar is a 1993 Indian biographical drama film on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, one of India's greatest freedom fighters, directed by Ketan Mehta and written by noted playwright Vijay Tendulkar. The film was screened retrospective on August 12, 2016 at the Independence Day Film Festival jointly presented by the Indian Directorate of Film Festivals and Ministry of Defense, commemorating 70th Indian Independence Day.
The film begins with a young Sardar Patel playing cards with his friends and ridiculing Mahatma Gandhi and his policies to achieve independence. His views change however, when he is introduced to Gandhi by his brother, and upon listening to a lecture delivered by Gandhi, he joins him in his struggle. Sardar then successfully organises various Satyagrahas throughout Gujarat. The film then moves to the age of the Quit India Movement and India's freedom. Sardar is instrumental in convincing the working committee of the INC and Nehru to accept a proposal for the partition of India, when riots break out on the league's call for Direct Action. Sardar realises that not tackling the problem now might result in civil war in the country. Once the partition has been accepted, Sardar then works to get all the princely states to join the Union of India, the film depicts his handling of the problems posed by the princely states of Kashmir, Junnagad and Hyderabad. The film also portrays his differences with Nehru and how they work together after the death of Gandhiji. The film ends with Sardar resting in a village saying that today from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, there is one independent nation.
IMDB RATINGS:- 7.9/10
9. Amrapali (1966)
Amrapali is a 1966 historical Hindi film directed by Lekh Tandon, starring Vyjayanthimala and Sunil Dutt as leads. The film's music was by Shankar-Jaikishan.
It was based on the life of Amrapali (Ambapali), the nagarvadhu (royal courtesan) of Vaishali in present-day Bihar, the capital of the Licchavi republic in ancient India around 500 BC, and Ajatashatru, the Haryanka dynasty king of the Magadha empire, who falls in love with her. Though he destroys Vaishali to get her, she in the meantime has been transformed by her encounter with Gautama Buddha, of whom she becomes a disciple and an Arahant herself. Her story finds mention in old Pali texts and Buddhist traditions.
The film was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 39th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee. Though the film wasn't a commercial success, in time it started being seen as classic and is remembered not just for its dramatic cinematography of war scenes by Dwarka Divecha, and Bhanu Athaiya's costumes for which she traveled to the Ajanta Caves, to seek references in Buddhist frescoes of the era, to create period costumes that subsequently became a template for costumes of that era, but also for the strong anti-war sentiment the film reveals in the end.
The rights to this film are owned by Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment.
IMDB RATINGS:- 6.6/10
10. We Play with Our Lives (2010)
Circa 1930 in Chittagong, male teenagers are asked by British soldiers to play football elsewhere. Since there is no other ground, they decide to approach widower school-master Surjya Sen, and join his band of freedom fighters. Since Gandhi had announced a ban of violence for one year, Surjya patiently waits, then raises Rs.18000/-, with this amount he procures guns, four vehicles and 25 bicycles, and inducts two women, Pritilata, and Kalpana Dutta in his team. Their plan is to surprise the British by disabling telecommunications and transportation, liberating jailed comrades, taking guns and ammunition from the armory, and holding Britishers hostage at the European Club. Before they could carry out their plan, both women are instructed by their respective families to re-locate to Calcutta. Surjya, nevertheless decides to simultaneously carry out the attacks but his group is unable to hold any hostages due to the holiday of Good Friday, and the raid on the armory gets them rifles but no ammunition. They do succeed in cutting off communications and transportation, however, the British do recover and devise plans to capture the group. With no food nor shelter, little or no ammunition, how long will Surjya and his group elude the determined British?
IMDB RATINGS:- 5.8/10