The 1950s is considered as an emerging era for Bollywood. While Bollywood started during early 19th century, it became commercial during that time. The 50s was the era when superstars like Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, and Dev Anand took the stage and became the heartthrob of Bollywood cinema.
Talking about the actors, we shouldn’t forget the evergreen actresses like Nargis Dutt, Madhubala, and Waheeda Rehman, who didn’t just add grace to Hindi cinema but also brought out the pure emotion via their acting.
While the actors and actresses were spreading their charm throughout the country, the legendary filmmakers of the 1950s such as Guru Dutt, Mehboob Khan, Bimal Roy, and B.R. Chopra ensured that wonderful stories of all kinds were told in a fascinating way to the early audience of Indian cinema.
Best Bollywood Films of the 50s (1950-59)
Every decade since the start of Hindi cinema gave us some great evergreen films till date; however, the quality of films in the 50s actually built the base for Indian cinema.
The versatility of films that were produced during that era happened to be the best compared to other decades in the future. The primary reason is the fact that the films in the 50s were never dominated by a single genre.
Here’s the list of top Bollywood Movies of 1950s
Babul is an interesting film released in 1950 and features a love triangle between the lead actors.
Directed by S.U. Sunny, Babul stars Dilip Kumar, Munawar Sultana, and Nargis in the lead roles. The music of the film is composed by Naushad.
The film tells the story of a young postman, who falls in love with a rich landowner’s daughter Usha but little he knows that Bela, the daughter of former postmaster also loves him. From there begins a love triangle with so many turns and twists.
The list of best Bollywood Movies of the 50s is incomplete without a Raj Kapoor film and the icing on the cake will be a film where the greatest Showman is paired opposite the elegant Nargis Dutt.
Yes, I am talking about the 1951 film Awaara. Awaara is also special because 3 generations of Kapoor family is featured together in this film. While Raj Kapoor’s real life father Prithviraj Kapoor plays his father in the film, his grandfather Dewan Bashwanath Kapoor also plays a cameo in Awaara.
Kapoor’s younger brother Shashi Kapoor also features in the film as the younger version of Raj Kapoor’s character.
Besides Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand also rose to fame during the early 1950s. One of his best performances was delivered in Guru Dutt’s 1951 film Baazi.
This 1951 crime drama features the evergreen superstar of Bollywood as a gambler, who is framed for the murder of a dancer played by Geeta Bali.
The film is a complete entertainer consisting of all important elements such as love, morals, crime and drama.
Baiju Bawra (1952)
The 1950s was also known for its breakthrough in the music industry as films like Baiju Bawra became a musical hit. The film had a successful run of 100 weeks in the theaters celebrating golden jubilee for the film.
The film stars Bharat Bhushan in the titular role and Meena Kumari as the female lead. Directed by Vijay Bhatt, the film tells the story of a dhrupad musician from medieval India set during Mughal Emperor Akbar’s rule in India.
Do Bigha Zamin (1953)
Do Bigha Zamin is a 1953 social drama Film starring Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy in the lead roles. Directed by Bimal Roy, Do Bigha Zamin tells us the story of a poor farmer’s family and their hardships in life.
The main element of the film is about saving the 2 bighas land owned by the family and hence the film is titled Do Bigha Zamin.
Parineeta is a 1953 romance drama based on the Bengali novel of the same name written by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
The film features Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari as the lead pair, whereas Manorama, Nazir Hussain, and Asit Baran play pivotal roles. Directed by Bimal Roy, the film shares a gripping story of love and hatred between the lead pair.
Boot Polish (1954)
Boot Polish is a 1954 Hindi film directed by Prakash Arora and produced by Raj Kapoor. The film tells us the story of two siblings who are forced to beg in the streets by their aunt.
However, after getting some guidance from John uncle, both the kids buy a shoe-polish kit and began earning a livelihood by shining shoes. Eventually, fate plays its role and both the kids are separated. The rest of the film is about how the brother and sister find one another and are united again.
Shree 420 (1955)
Shree 420 is another film on our list of best Bollywood films of the 50s starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis as the lead pair. Directed by the legendary showman himself, the story of Shree 420 focuses around Raj, a poor but educated orphan who is drawn to Bombay to make in big in this dream city.
Shree 420 is also special as Kapoor draws his inspiration from Charlie Chaplin for his character portrayal in the film, much like his previous film Awaara. The term 420 in the film’s title actually refers to the Section 420 of the IPC as the film is somewhat based around it.
Mr. & Mrs. 55 (1955)
Mr. & Mrs. 55 is a 1955 socially critical Bollywood comedy film directed by Guru Dutt. Set in contemporary Bombay, the film stars Guru Dutt and Madhubala as the lead pair. The film tells a story of a wealthy young girl who must marry within one month of turning 21 to inherit her father’s fortune.
However, she and her feminist aunt decide to opt for a sham marriage and hire a struggling cartoonist to be her husband. Eventually, both of them fall in love and the rest of the story is whether they live happily ever after or get separated from each other.
Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1955)
Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje is another musical Bollywood film on our list of best Bollywood films of the 50s. Directed by V. Shantaram, the film features Shantaram’s wife Sandhya and famous dancer Gopi Krishna in the lead roles.
One of the earliest Technicolor films of Bollywood, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje won many accolades after the release. The eccentric music of the film is composed by Vasant Desai and the lyrics are penned by Hasrat Jaipuri.