Opiate of the masses

Print edition : October 18, 2013

Fans of actor Shahrukh Khan celebrating in front of a cinema hall on the release of "Chennai Express" in Kolkata recently. Photo: PTI

Salman Khan in "Dabanng". Films like "3 Idiots", "Dabanng" and "Chennai Express" have notched up more numbers in the first week of their release than the biggest hits of yesteryear. Photo: by special arrangement

Meena Kumari in "Rukhsana". Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala in "Naya Daur". Photo: The Hindu Archives

Sunil Dutt and Pran in "Bhai-Bhai". Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Raj Kapoor and Nargis in "Shree 420". Photo: The Hindu Archives

Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman in "Pyaasa". Photo: The Hindu Archives

From the film "Umrao Jaan", in which Rekha had a well-etched-out role.

A handbill of "Alam-Ara" at Majestic Talkies in Bombay. The film arrived amidst newspaper advertisements gloating about "all talking, singing and dancing". Photo: The Hindu Archives

Whether dabbling in mythology, as in the silent era, or Nehruvian socialism, or the escapist formula fare in the 1970s and later, Hindi cinema was always an enchantress, now nudging and cajoling, now pampering and pleasing the senses.

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