That '70s show

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 23.11.10

Retro in films, retro in fashion. t2 turns the clock back to the Seventies to bring you the iconic images and ideas of Bollywood from one of the most dramatic decades ever...

Milan Luthria, who directed the retro hit Once Upon A time in Mumbaai, picks his five fave films of the 1970s


Amar Prem (1971) by Shakti Samanta

Shakti Samanta’s masterpiece of relationships, emotions and music. Sharmila Tagore matches up to the best in the world!


Bobby (1973) by Raj Kapoor

Raj Kapoor’s got everything right — incredible lyrics and melodies, superb situations, brilliant casting and unforgettable performances. It has remained the benchmark for young, romantic films for the generations that have followed. In a small way, I paid an ode to Bobby in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (the Pee loon song) and the sequence became a rage.


Deewaar (1975) by Yash Chopra

The brilliance of writers like Salim-Javed, a director like Yash Chopra and an actor like Amitabh Bachchan — they could tell as dark and artistic a tale as they liked and yet deliver a box-office bonanza.


Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) by Manmohan Desai

It ran for 75 weeks! The sheer audacity of the title, plot, casting, canvas and finale. Here is confidence at its best... a director and six superstars at the peak of their form, delivering a powerhouse hit with no logic!


Don (1978) by Chandra Barot

What a mystery! Chandra Barot directs one of the biggest blockbusters of all time and is never heard of after. A huge inspiration for the dialogue, background score and styling of Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai.

Vishal Dadlani of vishal-shekhar, who had gone retro with om shanti om, picks the best soundtracks of the seventies


Aandhi (1975) by RD Burman

Magnificent tunes and the perfect example of an utterly complete album. Also definitive of a composer’s range.


Sholay (1975) by RD Burman

Shows how music should and can be used. The songs are as essential and eternal as the dialogue of the film. When you hear the album you actually watch the film in your mind.


Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977) by RD Burman

The essence of youth and romance. Simply brilliant with a timeless freshness.


Karz (1980) by Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Although the film was released in 1980, this was very much the sound of the 1970s. Karz was the perfect example of the Indianisation of international music as well as the co-opting of one composer’s style by another.

Khel Khel Mein (1975) by RD Burman

Another fresh and young soundtrack. Also the sheer power of music to stick around longer and stronger than the film it comes from.


Devika Bhagat, writer of Manorama — Six feet under and Aisha, picks the best-written films of the seventies


Mausam (1975) by Gulzar, Bhushan Banmali and Kamleshwar

A poignant saga that traverses complex human emotions of love, betrayal and regret. Gulzar creates a screenplay and a female protagonist that most Indian filmmakers would shy away from even today.


Kabhi Kabhie (1976) by Pamela Chopra and Sagar Sarhadi

Dealing with the maturity of love lost and the immaturity of young love, this screenplay travels through two generations of relationships with ease. The scene between Vijay (Shashi Kapoor) and Amitabh (Amitabh Bachchan) where Vijay lets Amitabh know he is okay with the fact that Amitabh had once dated his wife and probably is still in love with her, is path-breaking even for today.


Abhimaan (1973) by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Nabendu Ghosh and Rajinder Singh Bedi

This one deals with the great Indian chauvinistic streak and makes me believe that Hrishikesh Mukherjee was a feminist. The screenplay creates scenes that precariously balance on just the play of emotions.


Anand (1971) by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Gulzar, Bimal Dutta and DN Mukherjee

The greatest tale of friendship in Indian cinema and the most heartbreaking ending ever. The use of one friend as a narrator of the other friend’s story is brutal to your tear glands.


Sholay (1975) by Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar

A list of the 70s is never complete without this iconic film that includes brothers in arms, an evil villain, a disabled thakur, a horse named Dhanno and a two-headed coin. Romance, comedy, tragedy, action and a helluva lot of drama — this screenplay had it all.

Manish Malhotra picks his five favourite super stylish heroines of the seventies


Sharmila Tagore

Her knotted blouses made history. So did her bouffant and elaborate eye make-up.


Zeenat Aman

Zeenat Aman pushed the envelope. There was no one so glamorous, so sexy, so chic. I loved her pastel colours, straight hair and pretty make-up. I’m really inspired by her school of style.



Mumtaz tops my list of stylish heroines. She has been my all-time favourite. She used to dress very cool in animal prints, knits and so on. Her bikini image from Apradh is one of the most fashionable images.


Hema Malini

Her beauty is unparalleled, she is the original ‘dream girl’. I remember watching Hema Malini on screen and wondering from where she used to buy her sandals, her shades…


Parveen Babi

Parveen Babi brought minimalism into fashion. She was always impeccable, not overdoing it even once.


And now meet Manish’s five most glamorous men


Amitabh Bachchan

Big collars, big bellbottoms — everything about Big B was larger than life. He was — and still is — on top of my style chart.



He used to wear these fitted suits way ahead of his time. He had an enviable body in those days when gyms weren’t as commonplace as they are today.


Feroz Khan

He had a fantastic sense of fashion. His knowledge was amazing. Not only did he dress himself superbly, he also went all out to glam up his heroines.


Rajesh Khanna

He was some trend-setter — no one can forget the kurtas he popularised. They still come and go in fashion.


Dev Anand

Dev Anand was so cool and he used to shop abroad even back then!


Manish picks the five most fashionable films of the seventies


Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)

It was an iconic film when it came to many things, style being one of them. It epitomised the ‘flower power’ that the 70s are known best for. The shades, the prints, the silhouettes — it was so fashionable.


Lahu Ke Do Rang (1979)

This film by Mahesh Bhatt was super-stylish. It showed Shabana Azmi in a different avatar. I particularly love her tribal jewellery. The men were cool too, in their denims and jackets and hoodies.


Apradh (1972)

The most stylish scene in the film undoubtedly is the bikini shot. Mumtaz is wearing this slinky black bikini which has a side buckle. Very Versace! I still remember her gold earrings — they were so contemporary.


Pakeezah (1972)

This is a very stylish film of a different kind. Meena Kumari’s styling is exquisite and each time I watch the DVD, I like it even more.


Kabhi Kabhie (1976 ) & Trishul (1978)

Yash Raj films have always been very stylish and ahead of their time. From this decade, I pick these two. In Trishul, Hema Malini wears these maxis and halter blouses and saris. She plays golf, does yoga… How cool is that?