Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry, has always had a deep connection with Indian mythology. Over the years, filmmakers have explored various mythological tales and characters, bringing them to life on the silver screen. These movies not only entertain but also educate audiences about the rich cultural heritage and ancient stories of India. In this article, we present the top 10 mythological Bollywood films that have left an indelible mark on Indian cinema.
1 – Mahabharat” (1965)
Considered a classic, “Mahabharat” brought the epic tale of the Mahabharata to the big screen. Directed by Babubhai Mistry, the film featured an ensemble cast and narrated the gripping story of the Kurukshetra War, along with its moral and philosophical teachings.The storyline pans from the birth of the Bajrangbali as the son of Lord Vayu and Anjani, His childhood and the voyage of his devotion culminating at Lord Rama to the battle at Lanka, until the birth of Lava and Kusa. The best part is the narrative, which is crisp and concise, yet gives away almost everything.
2- Jai Santoshi Maa” (1975)
“Jai Santoshi Maa” revolves around the goddess Santoshi Maa and her devotee Satyavati. This film, directed by Vijay Sharma, achieved great success and popularized the worship of the goddess Santoshi Maa across India. For the uninitiated, ‘Jai Santoshi Maa’ is one of the highest grossing Bollywood blockbusters of its time. Fact check – the movie scene when Santoshi Maa or Goddess Santoshi actually appears on the screen, during the time when the movie was in theatres, the very frame of the Goddess’ appearance was paused and voluntary offerings were made to the Goddess by devotees in the theatre in the form of coconuts, flowers, incense and other delicacies. The overall story of Satyavati’s devotion and the appearance of the Goddess is and has been a much-talked affair and the telltale of the movie’s popularity and success is still passed on to generations.
3 – Jodhaa Akbar (2008)
Jodhaa Akbar” is a historical romance epic directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. Though not strictly mythological, the film delves into the legend of Emperor Akbar and his marriage to Princess Jodhaa. It beautifully captures the grandeur of the Mughal era and showcases the religious tolerance prevalent during that time.
4- Hanuman Janma” (1984)
Directed by Ganga Prasad Varma, “Hanuman Janma” focuses on the birth and childhood adventures of Lord Hanuman, the beloved monkey deity of Hindu mythology. The film beautifully portrays the devotion and courage of Lord Hanuman. ‘Hanuman’ depicts the life and times of Lord Hanuman, from his childhood until the epic war against Ravana. ‘Hanuman’, as a movie, is majestic and scintillating in all its departments.
5- Bal Ganesh (2007)
A film that begins with the birth or the inception of Lord Ganesha in His original form, His beheading by an angered Lord Shiva and His resurrection using an elephant’s head, followed by His adventures and quests to conquer evil while growing up – sums up the film perfectly. The animation is decent and the overall story, though not complete, is worth your time. ‘Bal Ganesh’ was perhaps a handful of animated firsts that landed in the theaters during a time when mythological movies were mostly live-action and the animation was limited to comic-book-based movies.
6-Bahubali: The Beginning (2015)
Directed by S.S. Rajamouli, “Bahubali: The Beginning” is a grand epic that follows the journey of the heroic prince, Shivudu, who learns about his true heritage and embarks on a quest to reclaim his kingdom. The film seamlessly blends mythological elements with breathtaking action sequences and stunning visual effects.
7- Padmaavat (2018)
Padmaavat” directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a historical drama inspired by the epic poem “Padmavat.” The film recounts the story of Queen Padmavati of Mewar, her courage, and the battle against the tyrant ruler Alauddin Khilji. While not strictly mythological, it showcases the valor and sacrifice of historical characters.
8 – Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior” (2020)
The Unsung Warrior” is based on the true story of the Maratha warrior Tanaji Malusare. This historical action film beautifully brings to life the valor and sacrifices made during the Battle of Sinhagad, emphasizing the indomitable spirit of Tanaji and his love for his motherland.
9 – “Laxmii (2020)
Directed by Raghava Lawrence, “Laxmii” is a horror-comedy film inspired by the Tamil film “Kanchana.” It revolves around the concept of gender fluidity and the transformation of a man into a woman possessed by the spirit of a vengeful goddess. The film explores the themes of acceptance and the power of divine intervention.
10- Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva
Brahmastra,” directed by Ayan Mukerji, is an eagerly awaited upcoming film that blends mythology with fantasy. Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, and Alia Bhatt, the movie promises to take audiences on a magical journey inspired by Hindu mythology, complete with epic battles and supernatural elements.Shiva and Isha, a young couple, learn about the secrets of the Brahmastra. Together, they must stop the forces of evil from destroying the universe.
These top 10 mythological Bollywood films have captivated audiences with their enchanting storytelling, larger-than-life characters, and awe-inspiring visuals. They have not only entertained but also served as a gateway for viewers to delve into the fascinating world of Indian mythology. These films showcase the enduring appeal of mythological tales and their ability to resonate with people across generations. As Bollywood continues to explore and reinterpret these ancient stories, we can expect more cinematic gems that honor the mythical heritage of India on the silver screen.