Top 10 Highest Grossers of 1971 That Turn 50 in 2021

Top 10 Highest Grossers of 1971 That Turn 50 in 2021 View All Articles

Posted On: 04 Feb 2021 | Last Updated: 23 Aug 2021

The beginning of the 70s saw the end of the Black & White era as a trend of the new crop of actors, directors, and musicians making a mark at the box-office. The year 1971 saw more socially relevant and romantic-driven thrillers with fast pace music hitting the silver screens. The Rajesh Khanna storm increased further with newbies like Amitabh Bachchan, Randhir Kapoor, Jaya Bhaduri, Zeenat Aman, Jeetendra, Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha knocking at the doors of stardom. Except for Dev Anand, the era of Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, Raj Kapoor were almost over while Hema Malini, Mumtaz, Rekha and Rakhee emerged as top actresses. Rajesh Khanna’s famous ‘Guru’ kurta became a fashion among youngsters and the fast-growing hippie generation. The year 1971 saw an increase in film releases and music lp records despite the Indo-Pak war. Getting into flashback mode, let's take a glance at the top 10 highest grossers of 1971 that turn 50 years in 2021.

1. Haathi Mere Saathi (14 May) - Budget 1.00 Cr, India 3.50 Cr, Worldwide 7.00 Cr

Counted among Rajesh Khanna’s 17 consecutive hits was Haathi Mere Saathi which emerged as the ultimate winner among the top 10 highest box office collection movies in 1971. Also starring Tanuja, Madan Puri, K.N. Singh, Sujit Kumar, Mehmood Jr., and Ramu the elephant, the film was directed by M.A. Thirumugam and written by Salim – Javed. Music by Laxmikant – Pyarelal, and lyrics by Anand Bakshi contributed a lot towards the success of the film which at one point was the biggest ever hit made by a south Indian producer in Bollywood. The song Chal Chal Chal Mere Saathi is still sung by kids.

Haathi Mere Saathi

2. Mera Gaon Mera Desh (25 June) - Budget 90 Lacs, India 3.0 Cr, Worldwide 6.00 Cr

Raj Khosla’s dacoit action drama Mera Gaon Mera Desh was a runaway hit making it the second-highest grosser of that year. Starring Dharmendra, Asha Parekh, Vinod Khanna, Laxmi Chhaya, Jayant and Asit Sen, the movie had memorable songs like Apni Prem Kahaniyan, Aaya Aaya Atariya Pe Koi Chor, Sona Lai Ja Re, Kuch Kehta Hai Yeh Saawan and Maar Diya Jaye Ki Chhod Diya Jaye composed by Laxmikant – Pyarelal and penned by Anand Bakshi. Vinod Khanna’s performance as Jabbar Singh was the highlight of the movie for his name those days sent down shivers among the audience’s spine.

Mera Gaon Mera Desh

3. Anand (12 March) - Budget 70 Lacs, India 3.0 Cr, Worldwide 5.50 Cr

Immortal dialogues by Gulzar like Maut Tu Ek Kavita Hai…, Babu Moshai, Zindagi Badi Honi Chahiye Lambi Nahin…, Hum Sab Rangmanch Ki Katthputliyan Hain…and Rajesh Khanna’s heartwarming performance made Anand touch every cine-goers heart. Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and written by Gulzar, the film also starred Amitabh Bachchan, Sumita Sanyal, Ramesh Deo, Seema Deo, Lalita Pawar in prominent roles and is considered a landmark in Indian cinema. Songs composed by Salil Chowdhary continue to remain chartbusters to date.


4. Maryada (16 July) - Budget 1.00 Cr, India 2.25 Cr, Worldwide 4.50 Cr

Producer-director Arabind Sen’s Maryada was a romantic melodrama that added another feather to the overcrowded cap of Rajesh Khanna. Maryada also starred Mala Sinha (in a double role), Raaj Kumar, Pran, Rajendra Nath, Bipin Gupta, Helen and Asit Sen while the songs were composed by Kalyanji – Anandji and lyrics by Anand Bakshi. The film ended up becoming the fourth-highest earner that year while the combination of Rajesh Khanna and Raaj Kumar worked big time at the box-office only to return again to share screen space 10 years later in Kudrat (1981).


5. Andaz (30 April) – Budget 75 Lacs, India 2.0 Cr, Worldwide 4.00 Cr

Andaz was Ramesh Sippy’s directorial debut starring Shammi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Rajesh Khanna, Simi Garewal, Roopesh Kumar, Aruna Irani, Achala Sachdev and Ajit. One of the last movies of Shammi Kapoor as a lead and duo composer Shankar – Jaikishan together after which the latter died of liver cirrhosis that year. Though the film dealt with widow re-marriage, it hit the bulls-eye at the box-office and went on to become the fifth highest grosser that year at the box-office. Rajesh Khanna’s cameo and the song Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana served as the highlights of this romantic musical drama.


6. Kati Patang (29 January) – Budget 95 Lacs, India 1.90 Cr, Worldwide 3.85 Cr

The combination of Shakti Samanta and Rajesh Khanna was back with yet another engrossing tale to tell after the successful Aradhana in 1969. Kati Patang which ranked among the top 10 successful movies of 1971, was initially planned with Sharmila Tagore as the female lead but due to her pregnancy, she had to back out, and in came Asha Parekh who was made to clad in a white saree throughout the film. Kati Patang was a romantic musical drama based on Gulshan Nanda’s novel of the same name which also starred Nazir Hussain, Prem Chopra, Bindu, Daisy Irani, Madan Puri and Kumari Naaz. Music by Pancham and lyrics by Anand Bakshi was brilliant with every song a chartbuster in itself which included Pyar Deewana Hota Hai, Yeh Shaam Mastani, Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai, Mera Naam Hai Shabnam, etc.

Kati Patang

7. Hare Rama Hare Krishna (17 December) – Budget 90 Lacs, India 1.85 Cr, Worldwide 3.80 Cr

After the lukewarm response of his directorial debut Prem Pujari in 1970, Dev Anand this time got it right with his second outing Hare Rama Hare Krishna which released at the end of 1971 and did very good business. Based on the decadence of the Hippie culture with an anti-drug message, HRHK re-introduced Zeenat Aman to the silver screen whose Dum Maro Dum song became a rage in the 70s. The other cast included Mumtaz, Prem Chopra, Rajendra Nath, Mehmood Jr., Sudhir, Kishore Sahu, Iftekhar and Achala Sachdev. Each song composed by R.D. Burman and penned by Anand Bakshi was a hit.

Hare Rama Hare Krishna

8. Caravan (5 November) - Budget 0.80 Lacs, India 1.80 Cr, Worldwide 3.60 Cr

Nasir Hussain directed this crime musical thriller drama for his brother Tahir Hussain’s banner. Caravan had Jeetendra, Asha Parekh, Aruna Irani, Mehmood Jr., Helen, Ravindra Kapoor, Madan Puri and Anwar Ali in main roles while Nasir Hussain loyalist R.D. Burman and Majrooh once again delivered a hit album. The songs – Piya Tu Ab To Aaja, Chadti Jawani Meri Chaal Mastani, Dilbar Dil Se Pyare, Kitna Pyara Wada Hai, etc., contributed in a big way to make the film a super hit. The film reportedly did extremely good business overseas, especially in China.


9. Sharmeelee (14 May) – Budget 0.75 Lacs, India 1.30 Cr, Worldwide 2.60 Cr

Sharmeelee was Rakhee’s second outing after her successful debut film Jeevan Mrityu which released in 1970. Despite Rakhee playing a double role and putting in a dare-bare act, the film received both critical as well as commercial success qualifying as a semi-hit at the box-office. Shashi Kapoor who played the male lead delivered a powerful performance along with Iftekhar, Nazir Hussain, Ranjeet, Narendra Nath and others. Directed by Samir Ganguly, the music was by S.D. Burman and included hits like Khilte Hain Gul Yahan, O Meri Sharmilee, Aaj Madhosh Hua Jaaye Re, etc.


10. Mela (2 July) – Budget 0.72 Lacs, India 1.20 Cr, Worldwide 2.50 Cr

Mela was Prakash Mehra’s second directorial venture after the successful Haseena Maan Jayegi in 1968. Real-life brothers Feroz Khan and Sanjay Khan appeared together for the first time on the screen while Mumtaz played the female lead. The film was a dacoit action drama about two brothers who are separated in childhood with one becoming a dacoit and the other a farmer. Fate unites them together after 20 years but not before the dacoit brother pays a price for it. Music was once again by R.D. Burman who gave some hummable numbers like Ek Baar Rakh De, Rut Hai Milan Ki, Gori Ke Haath Mein, etc.