15 Bollywood Movies From The Past That Were Way Ahead Of Its Time

We argue with our parents for not understanding us. But when we need the most expert advice, we always end up going to them at the end of the day. Because no matter the mindset, they are modern enough to grasp the entire situation.

Just like that, there are movies from their generation that were way more modern than expected. However, it was able to catch the attention of even the audience regardless of age these days due to its very modern and innovative plot.

1. Ankur – 1974

The title means “seedling”; it holds the tag of being the most parallel film back in the 70s. The movie portrayed interrelationships between the people in the village and how they end up behaving under duress. Serving as the debut for Shyam Benegal, the film starred Shabana Azmi, Anant Nag, and Priya Tendulkar in lead roles.

2. Trikal – 1985

The film was selected for the Indian Panorama at Filmotsav 1986 and the Indian Film Retrospective, Lisbon 1986. It was later invited to the London Film Festival 1986. Set in 1961 Goa, when the colonial rule of the Portuguese was in its last gasp, the movie revolves around the life and tribulations of a fictional Goan Christian family called “Souza Soares.”

Liberally sprinkled with dashes of humor, this is a fast-paced drama about a family and their friends who lived through the transition of Goa from a Portuguese colony to a state governed by India.

3. Ijaazat – 1987

This is one of the very famous and modern movies on this list. However, the topic which the makers focused on was very looked down upon. Two lovers who broke off crossed paths reunited in a railway station’s waiting room. They started talking about their past and how they could’ve done better for their marriage to be a success and not a broken-off successful.

4. Mandi – 1983

Based in a brothel in the city’s heart, which some municipal officials want to tear down – the movie was a satire on the oppressed and the politics around sex workers. Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, and Smita Patil in the lead roles, the film gave some significant insight into the lives of those involved in prostitution.

5. Nishant – 1975

The film was so excellent and mind-opening that it did end up winning some awards as well. Not only that, it was invited to the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. The film was invited to the London Film Festival of 1976, the Melbourne International Film Festival of 1977, and the Chicago International Film Festival of 1977, awarded the Golden Plaque.

The plot revolved around the sexual exploitation of women around the rural area. It focuses on how innocent lives get destroyed just due to mere negligence and fear.

6. Arth – 1982

It was said that the movie was based on the life of the renowned Bollywood name, Mahesh Bhatt. The fun fact is Mahesh Bhatt himself directed the film. It showed how extramarital affair was a thing.

Starring Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Smita Patil, and Shabana Azmi in the lead roles, none of the characters were painted villains but emphasized their flaws as human beings.

7. Saaransh – 1984

An elderly Maharashtrian couple, trying to get over the loss of their only son. He finds an opportunity to save the lives of other children. Which eventually becomes his thing, to get a move on from his loss.

It was chosen as India’s official entry for the 1985 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but it wasn’t nominated.

8. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron – 1983

One of the most madcap satires ever made in Bollywood, this gem directed by Kundan Shah starred fantastic performances from everyone, including Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, and Satish Shah. Along the lines of Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, the movie is a hilariously funny movie to watch. Even the characters did an amazing job to help the film reach its genre and make sense of it.

Kundan Shah won the 1984 Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director for his work. In addition, the film was part of the NFDC Retrospective at India International Film Festival in 2006.

9. Chhoti Si Baat – 1976

Way before Will Smith’s Hitch, we made a movie on the ‘Date Doctor’ played none other than Ashok Kumar, who helps Amol Palekar win over his lady love. Directed by Basu Chatterjee, the movie was uncharacteristically receptive to modern relationships. A timid young man, Arun falls in love with Prabha but is too afraid to share his feelings with her. However, things take a turn when another man attempts to woo Prabha. And with Salil Chowdhury’s winning score, the movie was a fresh romantic comedy without the usual drama.

10. Kamla Ki Maut – 1989

Bollywood doesn’t hold a good name when it comes to psyched movies. But this film did complete justice to the genre. By making the family face their demons, the scenes were bone-chilling with a hint of a real spark. Unlike few other movies, the film asked essential questions about fidelity, the physical aspect of relationships between lovers.

11. Aandhi – 1975

This movie became a cult film. Since the references were not subtle at all, they ultimately represented the life of Indira Gandhi, and later it was banned. However, seeing champion performances by Suchitra Sen and Sanjeev Kumar. It was mature and groundbreaking for its time.

12. Manthan – 1976

This movie is quite an excellent movie and can be called a revolutionary movie of Indian village culture and Indian cinema. Dialogue delivery and camera work were tremendous. Girish Karnad and Smita Patil did excellent work.

13. Mera Naam Joker – 1970

It is a film that truly defines the term ‘cult classic’; Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker was rejected by the audience on its initial release but is regarded as one of the greatest films made in Bollywood.

A life story of a joker named Raju who falls in love with three different women at various stages of life; the film was semi-biographical, and Raj Kapoor had invested a fortune in it.

14. Masoom – 1983

Movie to watch to feel the genuine emotions of a human being, which you cannot control. Love, hate, attraction, jealousy, forgiveness. It’s more like a poem showing the different colors of life.

All actors did beautiful work, including child artists such as Jugal Hansraj. It couldn’t get better. It’s a movie of a lifetime: special mention – Songs, lyrics, and music. You cannot get over it. I love the Masoom for its story, screenplay, background music, songs, acting, and especially child artists.

15. Julie – 1975

The indication of marrying a woman who is already a mother seemed like a disaster back in the day. But the entire film dealt with that plot itself. Julie, played by Lakshmi, gets pregnant by her best friend’s brother.

That was not something she could talk about; they parted ways. Julie decided to keep the baby (abortion was also a burning topic back then). Years later, they (Julie and her best friend’s brother, her child’s dad) met suddenly. And that made him decide that he’d want a family with Julie making him marry her.

The movie turned out to be emotional; it got tears rolling down the audience’s face. It did break some social stereotypes and thoughts, but obviously, people couldn’t digest such heavy of a plot back then.