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Baahubali is the most successful Indian fantasy film | © Arka Media Works
Baahubali is the most successful Indian fantasy film | © Arka Media Works
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Bollywood's Top 10 Highest Grossing Films

Picture of Mridu Rai
Updated: 19 March 2018
Bollywood is considered the world’s largest film industry in terms of output, but the industry is gradually becoming a financial powerhouse as well. The numbers may seem small in comparison to Hollywood’s box office collections, but films in India are made on a much lower budget and, therefore, their profit margins tend to be higher. Read on to find out the top ten highest grossing Bollywood films of all time.

Dangal (2016)

Dangal is a sports biopic about sisters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, India’s first champion female wrestlers who were trained by their father Mahavir Singh Phogat, an amateur wrestler himself. The family was endlessly ridiculed by the community for trying to enter a male-dominated sport, but Mahavir Singh made sure his unfulfilled dream of winning a medal for India was accomplished by his daughters. With $330 million worldwide box office collection, Dangal was the fourth highest grossing film of 2017 for Walt Disney Studios after Beauty And The Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Pirates Of The Caribbean 5.

Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017)

Baahubali: The Conclusion is the second and final installment of the hit Indian fantasy film series. The director, S.S. Rajamouli, has often credited the Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana as serving as constant inspirations. Standing at $40 million, the film franchise is the most expensive Indian movie ever made, but it was able to make generous profits after it enjoyed huge worldwide success. Baahubali: The Conclusion’s global earnings were $260 million. While a third film isn’t in the offing, an animated series is available on Amazon Prime and another spin-off TV series has been planned for the near future.

Secret Superstar (2017)

Secret Superstar is an endearing story of a young Muslim girl who wants to become a singer against the wishes of her abusive father. She starts uploading videos of her singing on YouTube while masking her identity under a burqa and becomes an overnight sensation. The film earned $150 million worldwide. Interestingly, Hindi films starring actor Aamir Khan seem to do exceptionally well in Chinese markets. While Dangal raked in a whopping $190 million in the country, Secret Superstar, too, has made over $100 million since its release in China.

PK (2014)

PK is another Aamir Khan starrer that must be mentioned on this list. The plot revolves around a naive alien (played by Khan) who is stranded in the deserts of Rajasthan. Although a comedy, the film questions important issues regarding religion in this day and age. Corrupted godmen, ludicrous blind faith and hypocrisy in the human world are all scrutinised through the eyes of an outsider. The film took home $140 million and was also the first Indian film to earn $100 million in global box office sales.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015)

Bajrangi is a simple and devout Hindu man who meets Shahida, a speech-impaired child separated from her family in Pakistan. Against all odds, the two embark on a journey back to Shahida’s home and develop a deep bond along the way. The tear-jerker was hailed by the audience and critics alike for being a standout film that spreads a message of peace and hope rather than highlighting the fragile political relations between Pakistan and India. The film saw a late release in China earlier this year, where it raked in over $30 million, and its worldwide box office collection stands at $137 million.

Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)

When the first part of this epic fantasy film was released, it caused a massive stir across the country. Only Hollywood films had managed to find success in this particular genre until then, but Baahubali: The Beginning proved that even the Indian film industry was capable of producing movies on such a large scale. The story line, highly influenced by Indian mythologies, resonated with the audience and the film netted a cool $100 million.

Sultan (2016)

The drama revolves around Sultan, an unambitious young man, who falls for professional wrestler Aarfa but the latter tells him that she’s only open to marrying a successful wrestler like herself. In a bid to win Aarfa’s heart, Sultan devotes himself to wrestling and soon becomes a renown champion. However, in his hunt for glory, he eventually ends up losing the love of his life. On its release, the film was praised for its touching story line and excellent performances by the cast. Sultan went on to make just over $90 million, proving to be one of the biggest hits that year.

Dhoom 3 (2013)

Dhoom 3 is the third and most successful installment in the popular Dhoom film franchise. In each of the three films in the action-adventure series, charismatic villains have stolen the spotlight and in Dhoom 3 it’s Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan who plays the swaggering baddie. A circus ringmaster, Khan has all the right tricks up his sleeve to rob several banks and vanish without a trace, but he also has another personal agenda behind these crimes. Dhoom 3 divided judgement among critics, but movie goers gave their thumbs up and the film made around $90 million at the box office.

Padmaavat (2018)

After earning about $90 million, Padmaavat isn’t just one of the highest grossing Bollywood films of all time but also happens to be one of the most controversial. Since it was based on the legends of a 14th century Rajput queen, several right-wing outfits claimed that the film manipulated India’s history and showed the queen in a bad light. Bounties were even placed on the actor and director of Padmaavat. After much protest, the film was finally released about a month later, and received mixed critical reviews.

Tiger Zinda Hai (2017)

Tiger Zinda Hai is a spy thriller and the second instalment of the Tiger film series. After a group of Indian and Pakistani nurses are held hostage in Syria by a terrorist organisation, the intelligence agencies of the two countries are forced to work together in a mission for the very first time in history. While some sequences in the film are quite unrealistic and simply defy logic, it still makes for an entertaining watch overall. Tiger Zinda Hai pulled in $87 million at the box office.