Special feature: Bollywood’s rendezvous with period drama

BizAsia Correspondent



Larger than life and downright alluring, Bollywood has never failed to re-create the past and transport the audience back in time, even without the help of a time machine. The big screen has always regenerated glorious historical events and people into drama.

With the launch of the teaser of ‘Kalank’, the audiences are eagerly waiting for the yet another historical spectacle. Ahead of its release, BizAsiaLive.com looks back at the various period dramas Bollywood has been over the years, made by numerous directors.

‘Mughal-E-Azam’ (1960)
It is the movie that paved the way to a new genre in the Bollywood film industry and was a magnum opus of K Asif and the first of its kind. ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ was set during the reign of Mughal empire and depicted the exquisite love story between Badshah Akbar and his sweetheart Anarkali. In 2004, the earlier monochrome version was re-released in a rendered in a colour format illustrating the popularity of the film even after four decades.

‘Kranti’ (1981)
This is a smart script of battle, scars and history. The reel world through ‘Kranti’ has beautifully portrayed the spirit of patriotism during the colonial reign of Britain in India. By the man Manoj Kumar, with a multi-star cast including him, Dilip Kumar, Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha to name a few. ‘Kranti’ has touched the realities of colonial times rather than romanticising it. The film also constitutes of one the best melodies from the yester-years and is a must watch for every nationalist soul.

‘Earth’ (1999)
The second instalment of Deepa Mehta’s element trilogy, ‘Earth’ is a romantic period drama set during the partition era. The magnanimity of the film touches the deep-rooted drama of India-Pakistan partition and how it caused a rift in the daily lives of every individual of the countries. ‘Earth’ is a sorrowful yet an enlightening watch.

‘Lagaan’ (2001)
Potentially one of the most popular period drama across the entire globe, ‘Lagaan’ is a piece of fiction set during the British rule. It was also nominated at the Academy awards. The theme of sports juxtapositioned with British rule depicted a power struggle between common Indian villagers and the colonists thus making it a widely accepted and great watch among audiences all across the world

‘The Legend of Bhagat Singh’ (2002)
This film is based on the glorious and eminent freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. It was constructed to highlight the struggle and turmoil of freedom fighter and how they gave up their “today for the tomorrow of the nation”. It is an authentic movie deconstructing the life of the great legend, played by Ajay Devgn and has beautifully immortalised the great martyr.

‘Devdas’ (2002)
The grandeur version of the novel by Sharat Chandra Chootpadhyay, ‘Devdas’ is a visual treat. It is a gripping story of love, family feud and death. The film is intimate, visually extortionate accessorised with variety of hues, lights and breathtaking dance and music numbers. It goes without saying that the extraordinary melodrama has overall been very strongly appreciated and is worth the watch.

‘Mangal Pandey’ (2005)
One of the many reasons to watch ‘Mangal Pandey’ is the quintessential acting by the protagonist Aamir Khan. This historical epic rewinds the time of Bollywood and transports it to the pre-independence era. It’s a lore of an ordinary soldier doing remarkable wonders in setting one of the first revolution against the British reign into action.

‘Jodhaa Akbar’ (2008)
Through the magical yet delicate love story ‘Jodhaa Akbar’, the audiences were given a treat. Set against the backdrop of turbulent reign of Mughal empire, the plot is based on an empowering love between two people of different caste who united for political allegiance. The charismatic union and alluring backdrop makes the movie a must watch.

‘Bajirao Mastani’ (2015)
Nothing works wonder than the trio of three blockbuster actors coming together to depict an age old story. The sizzling chemistry, love triangle, Maharastrian culture blending with colour and drama makes it one of the most loved and enjoyed period drama of all times.

‘Padmaavat’ (2018)
Even with Karni Sena controversies, 33 cuts, a delayed released and highly censored legalities, ‘Padmaavat’ was unstoppable. This blockbuster and highest revenue generating film of last year still remains etched in every viewers heart. The Rajput regality mixed with sauveness of Khilji’s terrain makes ‘Padmaavat’ a beautiful watch.


By Survi Agarwal