History has fascinated filmmakers in Bollywood from the beginning only. In fact, when Bollywood regularly started to make movies, many period movies were made by the likes of Sohrab Modi and Mehboob Khan. Till today period movies held a special place in Bollywood but making a period movie is not easy because of the research and money that goes into it. At present Sanjay Leela Bhansali is famous for making grand period movies with great stories and larger-than-life sets. Here we have listed down six best period movies from Bollywood to binge on.
K’Asif directed Mughal-E-Azam is one of the greatest movies ever made in Bollywood. Based on the love story between Prince Salim, the son of Mughal Emperor Akbar, and a court dancer Anarkali. The truth of Salim-Anarkali’s love story is highly debatable but that does not take away anything from the greatness of Mughal-E-Azam. Mughal-E-Azam was the dream project of K. Asif and he left no stone unturned to bring his dream come true. The movie featured Dilip Kumar as Prince Salim, Madhubala as Anarkali, and Prithvi Raj Kapoor as Emperor Akbar. It was the costliest movie made till then in Bollywood with a budget of more than one crore which was unheard of then. Made on a grand scale, each and every scene was made with detailing and it can be seen on screen. When released the movie became a grand success and set a bar for period movies.
Lagaan directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar was a fictional story set during British rule in the 1890s. The movie was produced by Aamir Khan who also played the lead role in the movie. The movie was made with a budget of 25 crores, a big amount back then in 2000, and was shot in a single schedule in Bhuj, Gujarat. The story of the movie revolves around the villagers of Champaner, Gujarat, who have to face the problems of high taxes and drought. The movie takes an interesting twist when an arrogant British officer offers to cancel the taxes if the villagers can defeat his team in a game of cricket. But, a loss for the villagers would result in the taxes being expanded three times. Despite being set in the past, the movie was quite interesting and entertaining. It became a massive success when released and even became the third only movie from India to be nominated at the Oscars after Mother India and Salaam Bombay though it lost the race of Oscars to Bosnia’s No Man’s Land.
Asoka told the story of Mauryan King Ashoka who ruled over most of the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BC and is famous for renouncing war after seeing its ill effects after the Kalinga war and embracing Buddhism. The movie featured Shahrukh Khan as King Ashoka and the movie tells a fictionalised version of the story of King Ashoka. The movie was directed by Santosh Sivan and also featured Kareena Kapoor, Tamil actor Ajith, Rahul Dev, and Danny Denzongpa in important roles. Contrary to other periods, the budget of Asoka was relatively low. The movie was critically acclaimed and did decent business at the box office.
Ashutosh Gowarikar directed Jodha Akbar which tells the fictional love story of Mughal Emperor Akbar and a Hindu princess Jodhabai. Hrithik Roshan played the role of Akbar and Aishwarya Rai played the role of Jodhabai in the movie which transports us to the Mughal era at the time of Emperor Akbar. The story of the movie revolves around Mughal Emperor Akbar who marries a Hindu Rajput princess Jodhabai for political alliances which later turns into true love. The movie also showcased Akbar’s liberal policies where people of every religion were respected. Despite its lengthy runtime, the movie was highly praised for its story, grand visuals and costumes, and amazing performances, making it a must-watch for all the history buffs out there. The movie was released in 2008 and was a critical and commercial success and it won five Filmfare Awards that year.
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali who is known for making epic big-budget dramas, Bajirao Mastani is based on the Marathi novel, Rau by Nagnath S Inamdar. The movie tells the story of Maratha Peshwa Bajirao I and his second wife and princess of Bundelkhand, Mastani who was half-Muslim. Ranveer Singh played the role of Peshwa Bajirao and Deepika Padukone played the role of Mastani and Priyanka Chopra played the role of Kashibai, the first wife of Peshwa Bajirao. The movie was grand in every way possible, be it the sets, the dress, the war sequences, etc. The movie was released with great critical acclaim, especially for the performances of the lead actors, and went into becoming a commercial success also. Ranveer Singh won his first Filmfare Best Actor Award for his brilliant performance in the movie.