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!


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Mughal E Azam5,50,00,00011912,34,95,79,832
Barsaat Ki Raat1,75,00,0001193,92,94,11,765
Chaudvin Ka Chand1,25,00,0001192,80,67,22,689
Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraya90,00,0001192,02,08,40,336
Love In Simla85,00,0001191,90,85,71,429
Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai1,00,00,0001192,24,53,78,151
Kala Bazaar65,00,0001191,45,94,95,798


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Ganga Jamuna3,50,00,0001277,36,37,79,528
Aas Ka Panchi1,00,00,0001272,10,39,37,008
Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai90,00,0001271,89,35,43,307
Hum Dono80,00,0001271,68,31,49,606
Shola Aur Shabnam56,00,0001271,17,82,04,724


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Bees Saal Baad1,50,00,0001342,99,10,44,776
Ek Musafir Ek Haseena1,25,00,0001342,49,25,37,313
Hariyali Aur Raasta95,00,0001341,89,43,28,358
Asli Naqli90,00,0001341,79,46,26,866
Dil Tera Diwana85,00,0001341,69,49,25,373
China Town70,00,0001341,39,58,20,896
Half Ticket60,00,0001341,19,64,17,910


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Mere  Mehboob3,00,00,0001415,68,51,06,383
Taj Mahal1,75,00,0001413,31,63,12,057
Phir Bhi Wohi Dil Laya Hoon1,50,00,0001412,84,25,53,191
Dil Ek Mandir1,10,00,0001412,08,45,39,007
Tere Ghar Ke Saamne1,00,00,0001411,89,50,35,461
Mujhe Jeene Do80,00,0001411,51,60,28,369
Gehra Daag70,00,0001411,32,65,24,823


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Ayee Milan Ki Bela2,25,00,0001494,03,48,99,329
Woh Kaun Thi90,00,0001491,61,39,59,732
Kashmir Ki Kali1,30,00,0001492,33,12,75,168
April Fool95,00,0001491,70,36,24,161


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Jab Jab Phool Khile2,75,00,0001574,68,02,54,777
Himalay Ki God Mein2,25,00,0001573,82,92,99,363
Mere Sanam1,25,00,0001572,12,73,88,535


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Phool Aur Patthar2,75,00,0001634,50,79,75,460
Mera Saaya2,25,00,0001633,68,83,43,558
Teesri  Manzil2,00,00,0001633,27,85,27,607
Love In Tokyo1,75,00,0001632,86,87,11,656
Do Badan1,50,00,0001632,45,88,95,706
Aaye Din Bahar Ke1,25,00,0001632,04,90,79,755
Sawan Ki Ghata1,00,00,0001631,63,92,63,804
Pyar Kiya Jaye85,00,0001631,39,33,74,233
Dus Lakh80,00,0001631,31,14,11,043


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Ram Aur Shyam2,75,00,0001714,29,70,76,023
Jewel Thief1,75,00,0001712,73,45,02,924
Patthar Ke Sanam1,40,00,0001712,18,76,02,339
An Evening In Paris1,50,00,0001712,34,38,59,649


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Do Kaliyan2,00,00,0001763,03,63,63,636
Haseena Maan Jayegi95,00,0001761,44,22,72,727
Neel Kamal1,75,00,0001762,65,68,18,182


MovieNBOCValue of Gold at the time of Film’s releaseBox Office Value of the Film in today’s time
Do Raaste3,25,00,0001804,82,44,44,444
Ek Phool Do Mali2,50,00,0001803,71,11,11,111
Jeene Ki Raah1,60,00,0001802,37,51,11,111
Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke1,50,00,0001802,22,66,66,667
Jigri Dost1,35,00,0001802,00,40,00,000
Collection Chart
As on 16th December, 2017
Fukrey Returns146.93CR46.93CR
Sallu Ki Shaadi102.22LK02.22LK
Galti Sirf Tumhari12.29LK2.29LK
Game Over102.97LK02.97LK
Pyar Se Bolo Devaa110.00K10.00K

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