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‘Sholay’ crowned best Bollywood film in TimeOut London poll

Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra in 'Sholay'
Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra in ‘Sholay’

Ramesh Sippy�۪s action thriller ��Sholay�۪ (1975) has been voted the best Bollywood film of all time according to a poll of leading experts commissioned by Time Out. Historical romance ��Mughal-e-Azam�۪ (1960) took the number two spot, while ��Mother India�۪ (1957) (Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film) came in third.

Cult masala western ��Sholay�۪ was chosen as the overall winner for its fast-paced, action-packed plot that sees escaped convicts Veeru (Dharmendra) and Jai (Amitabh Bachchan) defend a village terrorised by bandits led by the maniacal Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan). The experts agree that ��Sholay�۪ has it all ��� epic fight scenes, bromance, humour, memorable songs, plot twists, thrilling dance sequences and sparkling performances. The haunting score and Bollywood�۪s baddest villain are the icing on a rollicking, all-action cake.

Time Out chose 30 Bollywood cinema experts, from the UK, US and India, and asked them to rank their top ten Bollywood films of all time to determine the definitive top 100. The result is an eclectic mix, with family drama, romance and action-packed thrillers dominating the top ten.

Contributors include our very own Showbiz Editor Amrita Tanna, Metro�۪s Bollywood columnist Stacey Yount, Priya Joshi, entertainment reporter at Digital Spy and The International Business Times, BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan, Bollywood and Indian cinema expert for BBC London and Cineworld cinemas Ashanti Omkar, Time Out�۪s Bollywood film critic Anil Sinanan, Mumbai Mirror journalist Aniruddha Guha and Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS.

Top ten Bollywood films as chosen by the experts:

1. Sholay (1975)

2. Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

3. Mother India (1957)

4. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

5. Pyaasa (1957)

6. Guide (1965)

7. Deewaar (1975)

8. Lagaan (2001)

9. Pakeezah (1972)

10. Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

To see the full list, visit

Yash Chopra was crowned as top director, responsible for the success of six of the films that have made it into the Time Out top 100: 1975�۪s ��Deewaar�۪ (7), 1976�۪s ��Kabhie Kabhie�۪ (77), 1979�۪s ��Kaala Pathaar�۪ (36), 1981�۪s ��Silsila�۪ (28), 1997�۪s ��Dil To Pagal Hai�۪ (21) and 2004�۪s ��Veer Zaara�۪ (97).

Top acting talent includes the three Khans, Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir, who rule the box office and have conquered their own specialist genres: Salman for comedy-action films like the 2012 hit ��Ek Tha Tiger�۪ (36), Shah Rukh for emotional tear-jerkers like the 1997 romance ��Dil To Pagal Hai�۪ (21), and Aamir for wholesome, funny films such as the 2009 hit ��3 Idiots�۪ (13).

Amitabh Bachchan, otherwise known as ��The Big B�۪, is in his fortieth year of silver screen mega-stardom and still holds his position as the ��grandfather of Bollywood�۪. He appears in fifteen of the full list of 100 movies, including three films in the top ten: 1975�۪s ��Sholay�۪ (1), 1975�۪s ��Deewaar (7) and 1977�۪s ��Amar Akbar Anthony�۪ (10).

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan also cements her iconic status with two films in the top 100: 2008�۪s ��Jodhaa Akbar�۪ (38) and 2002�۪s ��Devdas�۪ (66). Younger stars such as Deepika Padukone are following in her footsteps ��� roles in several films starring Shah Rukh ��King Khan�۪ (such as 2007�۪s ��Om Shanti Om�۪) have confirmed her as Bollywood�۪s current leading lady.

The Indian indie and art-house scene is also booming with some exciting contemporary offerings making it into the top 100. 2013�۪s ��The Lunchbox�۪, in at number 43, is a restrained romance about lost souls connecting in Mumbai via hand-delivered lunch-boxes that shows a thoroughly modern approach to the traditional love story.

Dave Calhoun, Time Out Global Film Editor commented, “It�۪s an exciting time for Bollywood, due to India�۪s changing demographic. With 65 per cent of India�۪s 1.3 billion population now under 25 and city populations rapidly growing, the song-and-dance film is on the wane and films reflecting urban middle-class lifestyles and anxieties ��� films like 2013�۪s ��The Lunchbox�۪ ��� are on the up. That said, the 1960s and 1970s classics that first drew mass audiences to Bollywood have risen to the top of our list, showing how loved these films still are. There�۪s still plenty of space in popular Hindi cinema for the epic songs, drama, dance, action and romance that have defined the international image of Bollywood.”