Bollywood Movies

The highest-grossing Bollywood movie of all time

August 22, 20233 Mins Read

Cinema is known for the Hollywood glitz and glamour, filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino, as well as good-looking movie stars Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie. Yet, one thing that is too often forgotten is the abundance of world cinema that slips beneath the radar, with almost each and every country having a film industry of their own that creates unique, creative, cinematic gems.

Whilst British, French and Russian cinema is popular and well-established, to name just three nations, they largely don’t compare to the sleeping giant of the film industry: Bollywood. Popular mainly in India, but also in Central Asia, West Asia and even China, where the industry is growing in popularity, Bollywood refers to Hindi cinema, the film industry of Mumbai that makes millions of dollars each year, despite Hollywood barely taking notice. 

Most recently, Hollywood has sat up to take notice, however, with the release of S. S. Rajamouli’s RRR, a wild action flick that recently became the third highest-grossing Indian film of all time. Despite popular belief, RRR is not a Bollywood movie, however, being a Telugu film from the south of India instead, causing many people to make this same correction when the film was nominated at the 2023 Academy Awards.

Another Telugu film, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, takes the second spot in the list of the highest-grossing Indian movies of all time, with the beloved 2017 film telling the story of Amarendra Baahubali, the heir to the throne of Mahishmati whose life is thrown into disarray following the return of his brother. Also helmed by Rajamouli, the film starred the likes of Prabhas, Rana Daggubati and Anushka Shetty.

Yet, neither of these films compares to the highest-grossing Bollywood movie of all time, the Hindi-speaking 2016 sports film Dangal.

Starring Aamir Khan, who is perhaps best known for his role in 2009’s 3 Idiots, the film tells the story of a former wrestler and his two daughters who are fighting to win glory at the Commonwealth Games. On a budget of just ₹70 crore, which translates into around $8.8million, Dangal was able to make a total of ₹2,024 crore, $250m, becoming the highest-grossing Indian movie of all time in the process.

Winning huge amounts of critical and commercial plaudits, Dangal won the large majority of awards at the Screen Awards in India, including ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Director’, ‘Most Promising Debut Actress’ and ‘Best Child Actor’. In fact, the film was such a triumph at the awards ceremony that it remains tied as the most decorated movie in the event’s history, sharing its title with 2019’s Gully Boy from director Zoya Akhtar.

Take a look at the trailer for Dangal below, and dive into a film that is an inspiring sports epic that rivals the brilliance of Hollywood’s greatest offerings.

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