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Worth Their Weight In Gold!

It is the eternal debate: which are the biggest films of all time?

‘Gold is a wonderful clearer of the understanding; it dissipates every doubt and scruple in an instant.’

Joseph Addison

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the biggest Hindi film of them all?

The simple answer to that question, going by box office collections, would be 3 Idiots.

But then, as all of us know, the value of money today is not what it used to be a year ago, let alone a decade back and certainly not 50 years in the past. Indeed, soaring inflation is one of the most dominant national and political issues.

So given how much the real value of money has changed over time, how do you compare a Mughal-E-Azam to a 3 Idiots, a Sholay to a Bodyguard, a Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) to a  Golmaal 3?

There is no perfect answer to that question, and perhaps there will never be. But as an interesting academic exercise during this festive season of Diwali, we have tried to create a level playing field by pegging box-office collections to something that many of us not only worship, but also pray for at Diwali – Gold!

Gold has always been a highly valued and coveted metal since the very dawn of recorded history. The universal acceptance of gold as a repository of enduring value has led to gold standards being the most common basis for monetary policies throughout human history.

However, while gold lust may be prevalent all over the world, nowhere is the shiny yellow metal as much a part of the collective national social culture and ethos as it is in India – a precious heirloom passed down from generation to generation. Unsurprisingly, India is by far the largest consumer of gold in the world and buys close to a quarter of the world’s production of gold every year.

The purchasing of gold is traditional during important festivals such as Akshaya Tritiya, Dussera and Dhanteras, the first day of Diwali.

So it is appropriate, during this festive season, to use that most ancient and universal repository of value – gold – to try and create a level playing field on which we can compare the box-office performances of films released at different points in time.

Our methodology for compiling the charts, simply and briefly put, uses the current rate of gold as the base and arrives at multiples for each year using the gold price at that point in time. By way of illustration, if gold is say, 6 times more expensive now than it was in 1993, then we have multiplied the box office collection of films from 1993 by 6. The logic is that if the entire proceeds had been utilised in buying gold, that gold would be worth six times the original investment in today’s age.

No study of this nature, spanning 50 years, can ever be perfect. Just as, to use a cricketing analogy, you cannot really compare a Don Bradman to a Sunil Gavaskar to a Sachin Tendulkar, you cannot really compare a Mughal-E-Azam to a Sholay to a DDLJ to a 3 Idiots to a Bodyguard. There is a case for further bolstering the numbers of older films given the much larger population and per capita income now. Conversely, and contrarily, one could argue that today’s films are competing with a host of other entertainment options and piracy whereas cinema was the only source of entertainment in the past. Therefore, they would have had a larger audiences had they released in the earlier years.

But hey, just because you cannot have a foolproof comparison doesn’t mean that it is not fun to attempt to do so!

So here it is, the ‘Gold Test’ applied to the top films in the last 50 years…

 

 

The Top Ten films of every year from the 60s for you!

 

1960
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Mughal E Azam 5,50,00,000 119 12,34,95,79,832
Barsaat Ki Raat 1,75,00,000 119 3,92,94,11,765
Chaudvin Ka Chand 1,25,00,000 119 2,80,67,22,689
Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraya 90,00,000 119 2,02,08,40,336
Love In Simla 85,00,000 119 1,90,85,71,429
Kanoon 75,00,000 119 1,68,40,33,613
Kohinoor 1,50,00,000 119 3,36,80,67,227
Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai 1,00,00,000 119 2,24,53,78,151
Kala Bazaar 65,00,000 119 1,45,94,95,798
Chhalia 60,00,000 119 1,34,72,26,891

 

1961
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Ganga Jamuna 3,50,00,000 127 7,36,37,79,528
Junglee 1,75,00,000 127 3,68,18,89,764
Gharana 1,25,00,000 127 2,62,99,21,260
Aas Ka Panchi 1,00,00,000 127 2,10,39,37,008
Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai 90,00,000 127 1,89,35,43,307
Sasural 85,00,000 127 1,78,83,46,457
Hum Dono 80,00,000 127 1,68,31,49,606
Kubuliwala 70,00,000 127 1,47,27,55,906
Jhumroo 50,00,000 127 1,05,19,68,504
Shola Aur Shabnam 56,00,000 127 1,17,82,04,724

 

1962
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Bees Saal Baad 1,50,00,000 134 2,99,10,44,776
Ek Musafir Ek Haseena 1,25,00,000 134 2,49,25,37,313
Professor 1,00,00,000 134 1,99,40,29,851
Hariyali Aur Raasta 95,00,000 134 1,89,43,28,358
Asli Naqli 90,00,000 134 1,79,46,26,866
Dil Tera Diwana 85,00,000 134 1,69,49,25,373
Anpadh 80,00,000 134 1,59,52,23,881
Aarti 75,00,000 134 1,49,55,22,388
China Town 70,00,000 134 1,39,58,20,896
Half Ticket 60,00,000 134 1,19,64,17,910

 

1963
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Mere  Mehboob 3,00,00,000 141 5,68,51,06,383
Taj Mahal 1,75,00,000 141 3,31,63,12,057
Phir Bhi Wohi Dil Laya Hoon 1,50,00,000 141 2,84,25,53,191
Gumrah 1,25,00,000 141 2,36,87,94,326
Dil Ek Mandir 1,10,00,000 141 2,08,45,39,007
Tere Ghar Ke Saamne 1,00,00,000 141 1,89,50,35,461
Shikari 90,00,000 141 1,70,55,31,915
Mujhe Jeene Do 80,00,000 141 1,51,60,28,369
Gehra Daag 70,00,000 141 1,32,65,24,823
Bandini 60,00,000 141 1,13,70,21,277

 

1964
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Sangam 4,00,00,000 149 7,17,31,54,362
Dosti 2,00,00,000 149 3,58,65,77,181
Ayee Milan Ki Bela 2,25,00,000 149 4,03,48,99,329
Ziddi 1,75,00,000 149 3,13,82,55,034
Woh Kaun Thi 90,00,000 149 1,61,39,59,732
Kashmir Ki Kali 1,30,00,000 149 2,33,12,75,168
April Fool 95,00,000 149 1,70,36,24,161
Zindagi 1,00,00,000 149 1,79,32,88,591
Haqeeqat 1,25,00,000 149 2,24,16,10,738
Rajkumar 1,50,00,000 149 2,68,99,32,886

 

1965
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Waqt 3,00,00,000 157 5,10,57,32,484
Jab Jab Phool Khile 2,75,00,000 157 4,68,02,54,777
Himalay Ki God Mein 2,25,00,000 157 3,82,92,99,363
Arzoo 2,00,00,000 157 3,40,38,21,656
Guide 1,75,00,000 157 2,97,83,43,949
Jaanwar 1,50,00,000 157 2,55,28,66,242
Khandaan 1,40,00,000 157 2,38,26,75,159
Gumnaam 1,30,00,000 157 2,21,24,84,076
Mere Sanam 1,25,00,000 157 2,12,73,88,535
Kaajal 1,10,00,000 157 1,87,21,01,911

 

1966
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Phool Aur Patthar 2,75,00,000 163 4,50,79,75,460
Suraj 2,50,00,000 163 4,09,81,59,509
Mera Saaya 2,25,00,000 163 3,68,83,43,558
Teesri  Manzil 2,00,00,000 163 3,27,85,27,607
Love In Tokyo 1,75,00,000 163 2,86,87,11,656
Do Badan 1,50,00,000 163 2,45,88,95,706
Aaye Din Bahar Ke 1,25,00,000 163 2,04,90,79,755
Sawan Ki Ghata 1,00,00,000 163 1,63,92,63,804
Pyar Kiya Jaye 85,00,000 163 1,39,33,74,233
Dus Lakh 80,00,000 163 1,31,14,11,043

 

1967
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Upkar 3,50,00,000 171 5,46,90,05,848
Ram Aur Shyam 2,75,00,000 171 4,29,70,76,023
Farz 2,50,00,000 171 3,90,64,32,749
Hamraaz 2,25,00,000 171 3,51,57,89,474
Shagird 2,00,00,000 171 3,12,51,46,199
Jewel Thief 1,75,00,000 171 2,73,45,02,924
Milan 1,60,00,000 171 2,50,01,16,959
Meharbaan 1,25,00,000 171 1,95,32,16,374
Patthar Ke Sanam 1,40,00,000 171 2,18,76,02,339
An Evening In Paris 1,50,00,000 171 2,34,38,59,649

 

1968
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Aankhen 3,25,00,000 176 4,93,40,90,909
Do Kaliyan 2,00,00,000 176 3,03,63,63,636
Kanyadaan 1,65,00,000 176 2,50,50,00,000
Shikar 1,50,00,000 176 2,27,72,72,727
Padosan 1,40,00,000 176 2,12,54,54,545
Brahmachari 1,25,00,000 176 1,89,77,27,273
Duniya 90,00,000 176 1,36,63,63,636
Haseena Maan Jayegi 95,00,000 176 1,44,22,72,727
Neel Kamal 1,75,00,000 176 2,65,68,18,182
Aadmi 1,00,00,000 176 1,51,81,81,818

 

1969
Movie NBOC Value of Gold at the time of Film’s release Box Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Aradhana 3,50,00,000 180 5,19,55,55,556
Do Raaste 3,25,00,000 180 4,82,44,44,444
Ek Phool Do Mali 2,50,00,000 180 3,71,11,11,111
Inteqaam 1,75,00,000 180 2,59,77,77,778
Jeene Ki Raah 1,60,00,000 180 2,37,51,11,111
Prince 2,00,00,000 180 2,96,88,88,889
Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke 1,50,00,000 180 2,22,66,66,667
Bandhan 1,40,00,000 180 2,07,82,22,222
Jigri Dost 1,35,00,000 180 2,00,40,00,000
Sajan 1,30,00,000 180 1,92,97,77,778

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