You can never forget Bollywood of 1990s. There were some of your childhood movies right there. Those films became your favourites quick enough, and after watching them on a VCP or VCR, you felt so good. To get those video cassettes, you had to wait for such a long time, and once you get the film you have been looking for, it was the best feeling. Finding Hindi movies was a process which was achieved by watching Chitrahaar, just like the Malayalam movies came in Chitrageetham. Those movies with good songs always had an advantage, just like the favourite actors and actresses attract us to the cinema. The following were my favourites of the time.
1. Sabse Bada Khiladi (1995): I had to start with Sabse Bada Khiladi, one of those movies which I watched at the ancestral home. It is to be noted that I never liked those over hyped romantic movies of Bollywood. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge was never my kind of movie, and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai never came close to being an interesting flick. Akshay Kumar movies were my type then, and this one in particular was always in my mind. It proved to be one effective thriller then, and I wouldn’t think otherwise even now. “Bholi Bhaali Ladki” is a favourite even now, and the action hero whom we knew the best was Akshay Kumar, and this one was a perfect khiladi.
2. Gupt (1997): It took me about two years to watch Gupt, because from the songs, it feels that the movie is a love triangle – one of the best suspense thrillers of all-time was thus misunderstood with its songs. But this turned out to be an all-round film at that time. It was a romantic suspense thriller with comedy also present there. The stylish movie has so many songs which we still listen to, and none of the new Bollywood songs could match this one with music. Bobby Deol was one stylish action star at that time, as we can see from this movie, even though Soldier might be the movie which gave him that title with clarity – that one was also the first movie I watched with him in the lead.
3. Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi (1996): I was a big WWF fan at that time, and when the Undertaker was coming to Bollywood, even though it was the imposter version and nor Mark William Calaway who performed in wrestling as the “dead man walking”, one could only get more interested than ever. Another wrestler, Crush was also features in this movie which had a lot of action going on at all times. Even though it was quite a long movie, it was never boring, and you are always waiting for the Undertaker to come to fight. It was one of those movies which decided to think beyond the usual limitations, and among the Khiladi movies of Akshay Kumar, it does have a special place.
4. Soldier (1998): Preity Zinta had already made her film debut in a supporting role in Dil Se, and “Jiya Jale Jaan Jale” was one of the most popular songs with its Malayalam words. But Soldier was her debut as the leading actress, and this heroine was one which everybody loved from this action thriller. Bobby Deol further established him as the action hero, and the film had so many lovely songs. There was no part of this music which we didn’t love. This movie was also remade into different languages, and a Tamil version actually released more than ten years later, asserting the film’s worthiness. The song “Soldier soldier” still remains in the USB in my car.
5. Khiladi (1992): From this movie onwards, we have known Akshay Kumar with the film’s title, and so many movies with the name “khiladi” in the title have followed, but nothing after Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi maintained that quality and essence. Still, Khiladi was one of the real thrillers of the time. There were some good songs, and even though a thriller, there was a funny side, with Johny Lever coming out of nowhere to deliver the best of them. There is also a fine twist coming in the end, and you need to be ready for the same. Even if you watch this movie now, it can still make that fine impact. If a good movie can be made with the name “khiladi” in the title, it would be an interesting watch.
6. Baazi (1995), Damini (1993) and Angrakshak (1995): Aamir Khan takes us into the action thriller genre nicely with Baazi, and Mamta Kulkarni is once again in one, like in Sabse Bada Khiladi which released in the same year. It does have elements from Die Hard, but it was indeed working very well. At the same time, Damini is one of the best movies with the leading actress having the much needed significance. Meenakshi Seshadri does a perfect job there, and the dialogues of Sunny Deol in the courtroom are to be remembered. Angrakshak is another movie that comes to the mind, and the political side of this particular film with Sunny Deol in the lead, is relevant even today.
***The images used in the blog post are from the respective films on bookmyshow and youtube used for supporting this particular post on the blog only.
***These are taken from childhood memory, and therefore, none of these films might feel the same if I watch them again now.