Bollywood entertainers or masala movies are the ones that do not fit in one particular genre. These are total entertainers that contain everything – music, romance, action, drama, melodrama and of course, comedies. These are escapist movies, brisk-paced films that take you away from your usual humdrum at work or college into the beautiful cinematic world of picturesque locations, breezy songs, cheesy dialogues and eye-popping thrills. Logic is not exactly the track on which your train of thought should run, when you watch these flicks. Enjoy these movies for their pure masala appeal, most of them get slashed by the average reviewer but are celebrated by the viewer. And yes, these Bollywood entertainers may be light-weight but make serious money, capable of crossing 200 crores seamlessly.
Here is the list of the all-time best 20 Bollywood entertainers and masala movies –
20. Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)– This ‘lost and found’ action comedy of three brothers separated during their childhood, and being brought up in three different backgrounds, adopting three different religions, found many takers. The songs, the one-liners mouthed by Amitabh Bachchan and the appeal of religious tolerance made it a landmark film in Bollywood. The movie won several Filmfare Awards including the Best Actor for Amitabh Bachchan, the best music director for Laxmikant Pyarelal and best editing for Kamlakar Karkhanis.
19. Ishq (1997) – This musical-comedy-drama directed by Indra Kumar had top class comedy in the first half, followed by heavy drama in the second half. The ‘mara mara –rama rama’ scene still gets the laughs on Youtube, and is one of the funniest scenes in Indian cinema. The movie was the most expensive movie of that time, and became the fourth biggest hit of the year. Ishq starred Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, Ajay Devgan and Kajol in lead roles.
18. Yaadon ki Baarat (1973)–Built on the clichéd ‘lost and found’ premise, Yaadon ki Baarat was an entertainer all the way. The icing on the cake was the fabulous peppy music score by RD Burman. Aamir Khan, incidentally, made an appearance as a child artiste in the film that starred Dharmendra, Zeenat Aman, Ajit Khan, Neetu Singh, Tariq and Vijay Arora among others.
17. Dil (1990) – One of the best Bollywood romantic dramas of the 90s, this blockbuster cemented Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit’s place in Bollywood. While the music score by Anand Milind was memorable, the slapstick comedy in the first half followed by the intense romantic track between the lead-pair, made Dil a heart-warming experience.
16. Khudgarz (1987) – This movie based on Jeffrey Archer’s novel ‘Kane and Abel’ resurrected Rakesh Roshan’s career as a film-maker. Son Hrithik Roshan recalls that his father who was under mounting debt, perceived this movie as his litmus test. The family entertainer Khudgarz had all the elements in place – comedy, music, action, powerful drama and fabulous performances by Jeetendra and Shatrughan Sinha. The thumping dance number ‘Aapke Aa Jaane Se’ picturized on Govinda and Neelam, caught the frenzy of the nation, and still gets lot of Youtube hits.
15. Rangeela (1993) – This Bollywood entertainer was a trend setter of sorts, the movie was seminal on many counts. Costume designer not only gave Urmila Matondkar a sexy makeover, he also changed the way women were presented in movies. A.R.Rahman’s music and the background score were sheer eargasm. Aamir Khan gave one of his career-best performances as the lovable tapori ‘Munna’. The one-liners by the movie are still a rage. What is unbelievable that this movie was directed by Ram Gopal Varma.
14. Mr. India(1987) – This Bollywood entertainer remains the cult classic of Bollywood, on many counts. Also a seminal movie, this Shekhar Kapoor films introduced so many unique elements – a larger than life villain ‘Mogambo’ played outstandingly by Amrish Puri, the sensuous ‘I love you’ number choreographed on Sridevi and the invisible man phenomenon. It is also the last film that Salim-Javed worked together on, as a duo. Rajesh Khanna was supposed to the role which was later played by Anil Kapoor. The 70s star declined the role because he couldn’t identify with an invisible hero.
13. Dabangg (2010) – Salman Khan’s Chulbul Pandey act in Dabangg, is a tough act to surpass. While critics may not exactly laud Salman Khan for his acting skills, it is not denying that nobody can pull of characters like Chulbul Pandey effortlessly as Salman Khan can. The one-liners from the film have become immortal. Sonakshi Sinha, in her debut film was impressive enough to get many more movie offers lined up her way. The action-comedy-drama was a no-brainer and had a clichéd story-line but is still a cult entertainer.
12. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)- The iconic romantic comedy drama film directed by debutant Karan Johar and starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukherjee; hit the bull’s eye at the box-office. The movie was released on the same day as another hot favorite ‘Bade Miyan Chote Miyan’. While BMCM became the second biggest hit of the year, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai turned out to be the biggest hit and also one of the greatest films of the decade. The romantic chemistry between Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, the understated performance of the sizzling Rani Mukherjee and Salman Khan’s easy-going extended guest appearance were the hallmarks of this refreshing movie. Parzan Dastur as the silent-Sikh boy was also an interesting character as was the little girl Sana Saeed, who played SRK’s daughter.
11. Om Shanti Om (2007) – This Farah Khan entertainer was built on the premise of reincarnation and romance, the twin subjects that never fails to captivate the nation. The movie was also a spoof film of sorts, poking fun of the movies in the 70s and even the lead-actor Shah Rukh Khan. Deepika Padukone debuted in the film, although her voice was dubbed by Mona Shetty. The title track of Om Shanti Om, had 32 movie stars making an appearance in it. With memorable one-liners and fantastic songs, and spirited performance by Shah Rukh Khan, the movie went on to become the biggest blockbuster of 2007.
10. Chennai Express (2013)- Director Rohit Shetty smartly made his own take on Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge with ‘Chennai Express’ a movie that made a killing in the box-office. It is the second highest grosser Bollywood ever, after Dhoom 3, that released in the same year. Shah Rukh Khan’s self-deprecating act, the action sequences, the funny musical antakshari, the interesting love-story of a man who falls in love with a don’s daughter and Deepika Padukone’s performance as the South Indian belle and of course, Honey Singh’s anthem ‘ Lungi Dance’ made it an infectious watch.
9. Khiladi (1992)- Almost every kid of the 90s remembers Khiladi fondly for many reasons. It is easily director duo Abbas Mustan’s best work till date in terms of content. It was the first in the Khiladi series of films. The comedy was seriously funny; Johnny Lever brought the whole house down with his Keralite bumpkin act. The music by Jatin Lalit was the mainstay of the film, with ‘Wada Raha Sanam’, being one of the most haunting romantic numbers ever in Bollywood. The kidnapping and murder plot was peppered with several twists and turns, keeping the viewer on the edge of the seat. The performances were solid, Akshay Kumar and Deepak Tijori ruled the roost, with fabulous support by Ayesha Jhulka and Sabeeha.
8. Mohra (1994) – One of the best entertainers ever, this movie had everything in balanced measure. A brisk movie with loads of action, romance, thrills, seduction and comedy – it is one movie that can be assured Rs. 300 crores minimum, if released now! The twist which happens towards the penultimate moment only adds to the excitement. Speaking of excitement, ‘Tip Tip Barsa Pani’ remains the most sensuous song in Bollywood ever. And then there was the infectious ‘Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast’. Mohra was originally supposed to have Divya Bharati as the female lead, but the role went to Raveena Tandon, due to the former’s unexpected death.
7. Karan Arjun – This Bollywood action-thriller with its premise on ‘reincarnation’ was a movie buffet of sorts for the viewers. For one, it had friends-turned-foes-turned-friends Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan sharing screen-space. Rakesh Roshan directed the movie to its box office glory. The movie was high on action, romance, music and thrills. Needless to say, it was the second biggest hit of the year, behind Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. As for Shah Rukh Khan, he moved up the ladder from star to superstar with a fantastic year that had two of the biggest money-spinners. Rakhi’s prophetic line ‘Mere Karan Arjun Ayenge’ is a parody maker’s favorite refuge.
6. Sholay (1975) – It is the heralded as the top of the tops when it comes to Indian films of all time. Sholay, the adventure-action film was seminal in many ways with so many aspects of the film acquiring legendary status. Every character of the film has been immortalized and replayed in spoofs and tributes over the years. The friendship between Amitabh Bachchan’s and Dharmendra’s character in the film, the insurmountable act of Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan), the non-stop chatter of Basanti (Hema Malini), the restrained love track between Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri (who played the widow) and Sanjeev Kumar’s class act of ‘Thakur’ are some of the memorable elements of this breezy action- adventure fiesta directed by Ramesh Sippy and penned by Salim-Javed.
5. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – Bollywood’s coming-of-age adventure film was laced with bromance, romance, comedy and drama. A wonderfully layered film, the movie was motivational and entertaining. Usually, entertaining movies tend to be away from logic, but this has its sensibilities in place. The movie extensively shot in picturesque locations with great music, had stellar performances by the lead cast, including Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan and Abhay Deol.
4. 3 Idiots (2009)- The Raju Hirani directed movie starring Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, Madhavan and Kareena Kapoor was a fascinating comedy-drama film, that broke all previous movie records during its release. The movie was loosely based on Chetan Bhagat’s book ‘5 Point Someone’. Aamir Khan was especially amazing in the role of the protagonist, getting the body-language of a 21 year old wonderfully right, though he was 44 at the time.
3.Aankhen (1993)- The Bollywood action-comedy-thriller had Govinda, Chunkey Pandey and Kader Khan in double-roles. Apart from being a laugh riot, this David Dhawan had an engaging plot-line of a chief minister being kidnapped and another being set-up by the underworld. The movie was a blockbuster and is guaranteed to make mega bucks even if it is remade now. It is Govinda’s most memorable act till date.
2. Kaho Na Pyaar Hai – The movie was quietly released but made a bang that still has a resonance among people. Hrithik Roshan’s debut created a never before seen hysteria – everything about the actor was to be relished, his dance moves, his amazing physique, his dishy Greek God looks and his empowering screen presence. Plus, he turned out to be exceedingly good at his acting skills. Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai directed by his father Rakesh Roshan, had Hrithik playing double roles; the first one dies and the second one surfaces to bring justice to the unfortunate way in which the former is killed. The interesting story, fabulous music and Hrithik- Amisha’s chemistry proved to be stellar points of the film. Kaho Na Pyaar Hai with its 102 awards, holds the record for the highest number of awards won by a Bollywood film (Limca Book of Records).
1. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar(1992) – The Bollywood sports-drama film is the most loved movie of the 90s. This coming of age Mansoor Khan movie was based on the story of a carefree boy who experiences a turn-around in his life, and wins the coveted tightly contested intercollegiate cycling competition. Anyone can identify with the film – the pranks, the laughter, the crush, the heart-breaks, the fights, the groupism and the resolve to win against all odds. Aamir Khan, Ayesha Jhulka, Dipak Tijori, Pooja Bedi and Mamik were among the top-billed cast of the film. ‘Pehla Nasha’ one of the songs from the film that was choreographed by debutant dance director Farah Khan, attained cult status along with the movie.