I was clicking around the wonderful timewaster that is BoxOfficeIndia, and it suddenly hit me: I still remained largely uneducated when it came to 1980's Hindi films. Of course, I'll be the first person to admit my ignorance towards certain large portions of Indian film history and the reasons why that is - I watch what I like, and don't believe in watching classics just because they're classics (classics I'm curious to see I'll naturally watch). So I spend my time delving deep into filmographies of favourites but not so much the actors who I haven't really become a fan of.
Fans, critics and academics alike tend to be in agreement that the 1980's was not a very fruitful time in mainstream Hindi film. The stars of the 70's were getting old, but still making films. There were new stars, too, but in terms of film makers, the stories they chose to tell, or the genres they told them in, just weren't very fresh. The real generation change happened in the late 80's; Maine Pyaar Kiya with Salman Khan, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak with Aamir Khan. Of course, it'd also be a gross exaggeration to say that 80's commercial Hindi films are universally hated or looked down upon. There are gems during any decade, and fantastic new talent, too. It's perhaps more the fact that creative energy wasn't so abundant as to give the 80's Hindi films their own, distinct look. 70's had interesting, socially conscious masala, and 90's brought on a wave of fluffy family entertainment. What's the 80's "mold"? Out-and-out action?
Whatever it may be, I got curious, thinking about this gap in my own knowledge, and decided to launch my own investigation into the top grossers from each year of the decade (based on the figures from BoxOfficeIndia.com). The list is, as follows:
1980 - Qurbani (Vinod Khanna, Feroz Khanna)
1981 - Kranti (Dilip Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini)
1982 - Vidhaata (Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Amrish Puri)
1983 - Himmatwala (Jeetendra, Sridevi)
1984 - Tohfa (Jeetendra, Sridevi)
1985 - Ram Teri Ganga Maili (Rajiv Kapoor, Divya Rana)
1986 - Karma (Dilip Kumar, Sridevi, Naseeruddin Shah etc)
1987 - Hukumat (Dharmendra)
1988 - Tezaab (Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit)
1989 - Maine Pyaar Kiya (Salman Khan, Bhagyashree)
I've already sought out most of these, and two of them I own (Qurbani and MPK). It'll be an interesting ride, and I'll try to watch and blog about all of these before the end of the year. A fair warning: I may have to watch a lot of these without the help of English subtitles, which will naturally colour my views and overall understanding of the film.
But I'm willing to take the plunge, so hey, bring on the 80's!