10 Longest Running Bollywood Movies: DDLJ, Sholay…

longest running bollywood movies

Until the 2000s, Hindi films enjoyed yearly runs in theatres.

Today, the makers celebrate even a 3-day run. ‘Success party’ is an abused term in Bollywood. It’s not surprising then that films which manage to cross a weekend and the week after, are classified ‘blockbusters.’

Back in the day, ‘blockbusters’ was a term sparingly used.

As DDLJ completes 23 years at the movies, here’s recalling some of the most memorable films that resonated with audiences and had a glorious run at the cinemas.


1. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (October 20, 1995)

23 years and counting!

When Aditya Chopra directed his first film at 26, little would he have known of the success that was to follow.

The film that established Shah Rukh Khan (there’s a poster in Aditya Chopra’s office signed by the actor that reads, ‘Thank you for making me the star that I am today’) was a turning point for Hindi cinema.

Released on October 20, 1995, DDLJ completes 23 years today, and still runs in Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir (a show a day).

No other Indian film has ever come close to the overwhelming love DDLJ has enjoyed both on the home ground and overseas, all these years.


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2. Sholay (August 15, 1975)

Hindi cinema’s first original ‘blockbuster’ Sholay initially opened to negative reviews. Trade analysts were quick to write it off because of the budget it was made on. It was only in the 15th week when the narrative changed and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay went on to become one of the most significant films in the history of our cinema, acquiring a cult status over the years. It ran 5 years at the theatres.


3. Kismet (1943)

Gyan Mukherjee’s Kismet held the record for the longest running film at the box office (for 32 years) until Sholay happened. Bold for its time, the Ashok Kumar-Mumtaz Shanti starrer ran 3 and a half years at Roxy Cinema in Calcutta.


4. Mughal-e-Azam (August 5, 1960)

longest running bollywood movies
Source: Bollywooddirect

K. Asif’s historical drama was in the making for over a decade before the world finally witnessed the grand spectacle. The cult classic Mughal-e-Azam was made on a budget of Rs. 1.5 crore, in times when budgets didn’t cross Rs 10 lacs. It ran 3 long years at the Maratha Mandir.


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5. Barsaat (April 21, 1949)

longest running Bollywood movies

The classic poster that would go on to inspire RK Studio’s logo, Barsaat was Raj Kapoor’s first biggest hit. The film starring the iconic pair Nargis and Raj Kapoor ran a 100 weeks (2 years) at the theatres.


6. Maine Pyar Kiya (December 29, 1989)

As far back as my memory takes me, this was the first film I ever saw. I was all 4 then. It’s one of the films my generation has grown up watching. Countless viewings notwithstanding, the film still manages to move me. Sooraj Barjatya’s romantic ‘family’ drama, grossed 66 crores and ran 50 weeks (almost a year).


7. Hum Aapke Hai Koun (August 5, 1994)

Another household name like DDLJ, Hum Aapke Hain Koun became a benchmark for family dramas to come. It ran a year at the theaters.


8. Raja Hindustani (November 15, 1996)

Dharmesh Darshan’s Raja Hindustani, two years later, also enjoyed a 50-week run at the movies. I could never get my head around to understand why.


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9. Kaho Naa Pyar Hai (January 14, 2000)

A rare film of debut actors to figure in the ‘top grossers’ list, Kaho Naa Pyar Hai was a massive hit, winning 32 awards in a year, a record for a Bollywood film. The Hrithik Roshan-Amisha Patel starrer had a year run at the movies.


10. Mohabbatein (October 27, 2000)

Mohabbatein was nowhere close to the success of Adi’s DDLJ. Nevertheless, it was the second biggest hit of the year.

The film revived Amitabh Bachchan’s career and the fact that it brought together him and Shah Rukh Khan for the first time onscreen was a major draw.

The romance drama ran a year at the theatres.


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