Rajiv Vijayakar | Jul 16, 2012
Over the last six decades, it is indeed a fascinating exercise to see which films proved the topmost box-office hits in each year from 1950 till the present. Their successes proved eye-openers not just for film buffs, industry and trade but frequently for their makers themselves, proving that hits happen and cannot be designed! In Part 4 of this 7-part series, we examine the films that have topped the box-office each year from 1980 to 1989.
The Top Guns
It was a toss between 1985’s Ram Teri Ganga Maili and 1989’s Maine Pyar Kiya as ten topmost grossers of the entire decade. The ten Numero Uno hits were:
-1980 - Qurbani, directed by Feroz Khan - an action drama that was also a love triangle
-1981 - Ek Duuje Ke Liye (K. Balachander) - a love story
-1982 - Vidhaata (Subhash Ghai) - a crime drama inspired by Godfather
-1983 - Hero (Subhash Ghai) - a love story against the backdrop of crime
-1984 - Aaj Ki Awaz (Ravi Chopra) - a political thriller
-1985 - Ram Teri Ganga Maili (Raj Kapoor) - a love triangle that was a social comment as well as an allegory
-1986 - Nagina (Harmesh Malhotra) - a supernatural drama about ichhadhari snakes, a rare but popular genre in Hindi cinema
-1987 - Hukumat (Anil Sharma) - an anti-terrorist thriller
-1988 - Tezaab (N. Chandra), also a love story against the backdrop of crime and
-1989 - Maine Pyar Kiya (Sooraj R. Barjatya) - a musical love story
It is a tangy coincidence indeed that Raj Kapoor’s swan song Ram Teri Ganga Maili vied for top slot with Sooraj R. Barjatya’s debut film Maine Pyar Kiya, which was almost a rehash of Kapoor’s Bobby, the biggest hit of 1973. Maine Pyar Kiya, however, had its share of triumphs - it saw lyricist Asad Bhopali’s smash-hit but short-lived comeback (because he passed away less than a year after its late December 1989 release), and an equally transient breakthrough and national acceptance respectively for composer Raamlaxman and singer S.P. Balasubramaniam. But above all it was the first solo lead of Salman Khan, the man who was to become Numero Uno 20 years after his superstardom began with this film! Maine Pyar Kiya also completed the process of the return to the movie halls of up market audiences. This had begun with 1988’s biggest hits Tezaab and Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and was consolidated before Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989 by Ram Lakhan, Tridev and Chandni, the other top hits of the year. In fact, Subhash Ghai’s Ram Lakhan lost the Numero Uno slot just two weeks before the year ended because of the release of this Barjatya whopper!
Shifts in tastes and trends
Major changes came in music with a new guard of singers led by Anuradha Paudwal, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthi, Amit Kumar, Nitin Mukesh, Suresh Wadkar, Manhar, Shabbir Kumar and Mohammed Aziz stepping into center stage as even Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle began to curtail work to an extent. Choreography too saw a mix of traditional and new styles and a new generation of stars came in with an influx of star-sons. Kamal Haasan, Rati Agnihotri, Sanjay Dutt, Padmini Kolhapure, Jackie Shroff, Meenakshi Seshadri, Raj Babbar, Mandakini, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor, Chunky Pandey and Salman Khan featured in the top hits alongside other artistes who never reached anywhere like Madhavi and Swapna from the South, Rajiv Kapoor, Divya Rana and Bhagyashree. Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla narrowly missed the bus when their QSQT came in second to Tezaab in 1988.
However, not all toppers of the decade had good (Hukumat) or hit music, with Aaj Ki Awaz and Nagina being largely one-hit scores. However, Qurbani, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, Hero, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Tezaab and Maine Pyar Kiya were musical milestones, with cult songs like ‘Hum Tumhein Chahate Hain Aise’ apart from the two songs mentioned earlier (Qurbani), ‘Tere Mere Beech Mein’ and ‘Solah Baras Ki Bali Umar’ (Ek Duuje Ke Liye), ‘Haathon Ki Chand Lakeeron Ka’ and ‘Saat Saheliyaan’ (Vidhaata), ‘Tu Mera Jaanu Hai’ and ‘Lambi Judaai’ (Hero), ‘Sun Sahiba Sun’ and the title-track of ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’, ‘Ek Do Teen Char’, ‘So Gaya Yeh Jahaan’ and ‘Keh Do Ki Tum Ho Meri Varna’ (Tezaab) and ‘Dil Diwana’ and ‘Kabutar Jaa Jaa Jaa’ (Maine Pyar Kiya).
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