13 Most-Watched Indian Movies of All Time By Footfalls


The success of a movie can be determined by number of people it can attract in theatres. It goes without saying that almost all the superhit movies of all time had a good number of people coming to theatres to watch them. The main reason for such high footfall can be the ensemble cast in the movie where actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Salman Khana and alike attract more audience than others. Another reason could be how the movie works with word-of-mouth publicity like in Sholay. The plot of the movie, the larger-than-life scenes, and the characters also influence the audience which leads to the movie being a favourite at a certain time. The best way to determine the movie’s success is by determining the most-watched Indian movies of all time by footfalls in theatres.

In recent times, movies like Pathaan, Dangal, and Gadar-2 became some of the highest-grossing movies of all time. But you will be surprised to know that these movies do not actually have the highest footfalls among most of the yesteryear movies. With every passing year, the ticket price of movies increases, and thus the highest grosser of all time may not have the same number of movie-goers as others. Even with less number of theatres and little accessibility, some of the ’60s and ’70s movies fared well at the box office considering the footfall than most of the Bollywood movies today. The reasons are different for different movies.

Here are some Indian movies with the Highest Footfalls over the years:

Also read: 10 Indian Movies with Highest Opening Day Collections

1. Sholay, 1975 | Domestic Footfall: 15 Crore

This action-adventure movie is as Bollywood as it can get. Directed by Ramesh Sippy with a great ensemble of cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar and many more popular names, Sholay is one of the most-watched movies of all time. Although, initially, Sholay received a lukewarm response from the audience and critics, the word-of-mouth publicity is what made it the highest-grossing movie ever of that time until Hum Aapke Hain Koun..? released in 1994. The film was also an overseas blockbuster, particularly in Soviet Russia, where it sold 4.8 crore tickets during the initial run and 6 crore tickets overall. The film had around 2 crore footfalls from the rest of the world as well, which raised the total footfall of Sholay up to 22-26 crores. It ran for more than five years at Mumbai’s Minerva Theatre breaking records for for continuous showings in India. The dialogues and characters from the movie are still a popular hit in the meme culture!

2. Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion, 2017 | Domestic Footfall: 12 Crore

This Telugu-language action-epic movie directed by S.S Rajamouli was a pan-India success. The previous Bahubaali had garnered a lot of buzz and appreciation from the audience. Since the first installation ended in a cliffhanger, people were excited to know the answer to the very famous ‘Katappa ne Bahubaali ko kyu maara?’ the film premiered on over 9,000 screens worldwide, with 6,500 of those screens in India alone, setting a new record for the widest release of an Indian film. The film sold over 10 crore tickets in its box office run and also became the highest-grossing film in India. It was also the first movie to cross 1000 crores INR in just a span of 10 days!

3. Mughal-e-Azam, 1960 | Domestic Footfall: 10 Crore

This epic-historical drama starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, and Durga Khote, was one of the most popular movies of that time. It had the widest release among any Indian film up to that date. Patrons often queued up in lines all day to watch the movie. It broke the box office records at that time and became the highest-grossing movie ever during its time and held the record for 15 years. It was originally released in black and white but a digitally coloured version was also re-released in 2004 which was also a commercial success. It was one of the most-watched Indian movies of all time.

4. Mother India,1957 | Domestic Footfall: 10 Crore

An epic drama movie by Mehboob Khan, starring Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, and Raaj Kumar, Mother India is a classic Bollywood movie with a backdrop of Indian village life. It was one of the most expensive Indian movies and also the highest revenue-earning movie at the time. It is still considered an all-time hit at the Indian box office. It was released in India amid fanfare and had several high-profile screenings, including one at the capital, New Delhi, attended by the country’s president and prime minister. It was also the first Indian film to be ever nominated for the Academy Awards. It premiered at the Liberty Cinema in Mumbai and continuously ran there for over a year. Box Office India later estimated in 2017 that Mother India had over 100 million footfalls at the domestic box office, making it one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time when adjusted for inflation.

5. Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!, 1994 | Domestic Footfall: 7.4 Crore

A musical romantic drama movie by Sooraj Barjatya, this movie broke the records made by Sholay. Starring Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan, Hum Aapke Hai Koun is all about a big fat Indian wedding. It was the highest-grossing movie at the time of its release with a worldwide gross collection of 200-250 crores INR. It was the first film to gross over 100 crores INR in India and is also one of the highest-earning Bollywood movies ever. Box Office India described it as “the biggest blockbuster of the modern era.” This movie not only broke box office records but also influenced Indian weddings for generations to come. The songs and games shown in the movie are still a big part of Indian wedding traditions. It was one of the most-watched Indian movies of all time.

6. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, 1978 | Domestic Footfall: 6.7 Crore

This Indian drama film by Prakash Mehra stars Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Raakhee, Rekha, Ranjeet, and Amjad Khan in pivotal roles. It was the highest-grossing Bollywood movie of 1978. It was also the biggest Diwali blockbuster of all time. An overseas blockbuster in the Soviet Union, this movie was the third highest-grossing Indian film of the decade, after Sholay and Bobby. With a budget of just 1 crore INR, this movie grossed 17 crores INR in India. It was such a huge hit that people used to stand in queues, waiting to buy the tickets. Adjusted for inflation, its Indian gross is equivalent to 550 crores INR.


7. Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977 | Domestic Footfall: 6.2 Crore

This Hindi-language masala film by Manmohan Desai, stars Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi, Nirupa Roy, Pran and Jeevan. The movie earned 15.5 crores INR becoming the highest-grossing movie of that year. With a landmark theme of religious tolerance, this movie had a lasting impact on pop culture with its catchy songs, quotable one-liners, and characters. It has since been regarded as one of the most iconic films of Indian cinema. Adjusted for inflation, the film has grossed approximately ₹423 crores as of 2023. It was one of the most-watched Indian movies of all time.

8. Kranti, 1981 | Domestic Footfall: 6 Crore

This Indian historical drama movie by Manoj Kumar, stars Manoj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Hema Malini, and Parveen Babi. It ranks among the top 10 highest-grossing Indian films of all time when adjusted for ticket price inflation. It was the biggest patriotic hit that India had ever seen. Although it was the second highest-grossing Indian film ever behind Sholay at the time of its release, it did better business than Sholay in its original run and earned 20 crores INR while Sholay earned 15 crores INR in its original run. It celebrated a silver jubilee in 26 centers. The craze for the movie was such that in many places shops started selling Kranti t-shirts, jackets, vests and even underwear. It ran for 67 weeks straight in theatres including a theatre where it was houseful for 96 days.

9. Bobby, 1973 | Domestic Footfall: 5.3 Crore

This musical romance film was produced and directed by Raj Kapoor and starred his son Rishi Kapoor in the leading role opposite Dimple Kapadia. It was a blockbuster and the highest-grossing movie of 1973. It was also the second highest-grossing movie of the 1970s at the box office. It was an overseas blockbuster in the Soviet Union with 6.26 crore viewers and became one of the top 20 biggest box office hits of all time in the Soviet Union. The film was widely popular and was a trendsetter. It introduced a new genre of romance in Bollywood. Indiatimes Movies ranks Bobby amongst the ‘Top 30 Must See Bollywood Films’.

10. Ganga Jumna, 1961 | Domestic Footfall: 5.2 Crore

This Indian crime drama movie by Dilip Kumar stars Dilip Kumar with Vyjayanthimala and his real-life brother Nasir Khan in the leading roles. The film was well-received by the audience and critics as it was one of the biggest hits of the 1960s and one of the most successful Indian films in terms of box office collections. An estimated footfall of 8.4 crore tickets worldwide was recorded for this movie. When adjusted for ticket-price inflation, it is still among the 10 highest-grossing Indian films of all time. The film inspired numerous filmmakers for being the trendsetter it was.

11. Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, 2001 |  Domestic Footfall: 5 Crore

This romantic period action drama film, by Anil Sharma, stars Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel in lead roles. Although it was released against Aamir Khan’s critically acclaimed Lagaan, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha fared well at the box office with a worldwide gross collection of 133 crores INR and became the highest-grossing movie ever after Hum Aapka Hai Koun…? at that time. It is the second most-watched Hindi film in India since the 1990s, recording more than 5 crore footfalls in India. Even after its excessive length and weak music score, Gadar became one of the most-watched movies of all time.

12. KGF Chapter 2, 2022 | Domestic Footfall: 5 Crore

This Kannada language period action film is the sequel to the much-appreciated KGF: Chapter 1. Directed by Prashanth Neel, the movie has a huge ensemble of cast Yash, Sanjay Dutt, Raveena Tandon, Srinidhi Shetty, Prakash Raj, Achyuth Kumar, Rao Ramesh, Vasishta N. Simha, Ayyappa P. Sharma among many others. It is the most expensive Kannada film ever made. It recorded the second-highest opening day in India and set domestic opening day records in Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam. It became the highest-grossing Kannada film in two days. With a box office collection of over 1200 crores INR, K.G. F: Chapter 2 is the fourth highest-grossing Indian film worldwide, and the second highest-grossing film in India.

13. Sangam, 1964 | Domestic Footfall: 5 Crore

This romantic drama movie by Raj Kapoor, stars Raj Kapoor, Vyjayanthimala and Rajendra Kumar in the lead roles. It is the first Indian movie to be completely shot in abroad. It also had the longest runtime for any Indian movie at the time. The movie had a good plot and a classy script which contributed immensely to its commercial success. The film had a gross collection of 8 crores INR which was considered a success in the 60s. It also ranked as the second highest-grossing film of the decade by Boxofficeindia.com behind Mughal-e-Azam.

The figures have been gathered from various sources including IMDb, Box Office India, Indicine, and Wikipedia.

Looking at all these most-watched Indian movies, we can surely conclude that actors play a huge role in determining the movie’s success. Every movie on the list has the name of a big-shot actor of that time who might have helped attract the audience. We missed DDLJ in the list as it deserved to be here despite still running in Maratha Mandir more than 25 years after its release. One very important thing to also notice is how these films not only had great actors but also good plotlines and incredible screenplay to justify the performance. Also, a small section of movies also fared well because of a great prequel. We might not fully what makes and breaks a film but surely can get an idea with these most-watched Indian movies list.

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