Fifteen years ago Google was launched, the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released and Tiger Woods won the 2001 Masters.
That same year, Bollywood released 90 films.
While not every film was a blockbuster, or even a hit, there were several that went on to garner international attention with refreshing stories, breathtaking cinematography and notable performances.
If you are new to Bollywood, here are the five award-winning films from 2001 that you should add to your viewing list.
Release Date: 26 October 2001
Director: Santosh Sivan
Music by: Sandeep Chowta, Anu Malik
Produced by: Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla
Description: Epic historical drama. A dramatised version of the early life of emperor Aśoka (Shah Rukh Khan), of the Maurya dynasty, who ruled in the 3rd century BCE and was responsible for spreading Buddhism and peace in the Indian subcontinent. It begins with his conquests as General in Takshashila (modern-day Punjab) and ends with the bloody battle with Kalinga (modern day Odisha State) that led to his personal embrace of Buddhism.
Awards: International Indian Film Academy Award (IIFA) for Best Cinematography (Santosh Sivan); IIFA Critics Award for Best Actor (Shah Rukh Khan); Filmfare Awards Best Cinematography (Santosh Sivan)
2. Dil Chahta Hai
English Translation: "The Heart Desires"
Release Date: 10 August 2001
Director: Farhan Akhtar
Music by: Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy
Produced by: Ritesh Sidhwani
Description: Coming of age comedy drama. After university, three childhood friends - Sameer Mulchandani (Saif Ali Khan), Siddharth "Sid" Sinha (Akshaye Khanna) and Akash Malhotra (Aamir Khan) - take a once-in-a-lifetime road trip before settling down into their adult lives. Afterwards, as they pursue their individual careers they also fall in love. Sameer falls for the unavailable Pooja (Sonali Kulkarni). Siddharth pursues older divorcée and alcoholic Tara Jaiswal (Dimple Kapadia) whom his friends and family find unworthy of him. Akash travels to Australia, where he reconnects with Shalini (Preity Zinta), a girl he previously wronged. These new relationships pull the friends apart until they are brought together again around a tragic event.
Awards: Bollywood Movie Award-Best Comedian (Saif Ali Khan); Bollywood Movie Award-Critics Award Male (Aamir Khan); Filmfare Award for Best Choreography (Farah Khan); Filmfare Award for Best Editing (A. Sreekar Prasad); Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role (Saif Ali Khan); Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy); Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay (Farhan Akhtar); Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor (Akshaye Khanna); Filmfare Critics Award for Best Film (Farhan Akhtar); IIFA Award for Best Choreography (Farah Khan); IIFA Award for Best Screenplay (Farhan Akhtar); IIFA Award for Best Supporting Actor (Saif Ali Khan); National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi (Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani); National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer (Udit Narayan); Zee Cine Award for Best Action in a Supporting Role (Saif Ali Khan); Zee Cine Award for Most Promising Director (Farhan Akhtar)
3. Gadar: Ek Prem Katha
English Translation: "Revolt: A Love Story"
Release Date: 15 June 2001
Director: Anil Sharma
Music by: Uttam Singh
Produced by: Nitin Keni
Description: Romance action drama. Set in 1947 during the Partition of India, truck driver, Sikh man Tara Singh (Sunny Deol) falls in love with the aristocratic Muslim girl Sakina (Amisha Patel). Initially her protector during the violent clashes between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs as people migrate from India to Pakistan and visa-versa, the two eventually get married and have a son. When Sakina learns that her family survived the Partition, she travels to Lahore only to be kept a hostage by her family who refuse to acknowledge her marriage and motherhood. Loosely based on the real-life story of Boota Singh.
Awards: Bollywood Movie Award-Best Villain (Amrish Puri); Filmfare Award for Best Action (Tinu Verma); Filmfare Special Jury Award (Amisha Patel); IIFA Award for Best Dialogue (SHaktimaan Talwar); Screen Award for Best Actor (Sunny Deol); Zee Cine Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor (Sunny Deol)
4. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
English Translation: "Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sadness"
Release Date: 14 December 2001
Director: Karan Johar
Music by: Jatin Lalit, Sandesh Shandilya, Aadesh Shrivastava, Babloo Chakravarty
Produced by: Yash Johar
Description: Drama. Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) , the adoptive son of business magnate Yashvardhan "Yash" Raichand (Amitabh Bachchan), feels eternal gratitude to his father for rescuing him from a life of poverty. Yet, when Yash forbids his love of poor sweetshop owner Anjali Sharma (Kajol), Rahul marries her and moves to London with new wife and sister-in-law, Pooja (Kareena Kapoor), breaking the heart of his mother Nandini (Jaya Bachchan). Ten years later, Rahul's younger brother (Hrithik Roshan) travels to London intent on brokering peace between father and son.
Awards: Filmfare Award for Best Actress (Kajol); Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress (Jaya Bachchan); Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue (Karan Johar); Filmfare Award for Best Art Direction (Sharmishta Roy); Filmfare Award for Best Scene of the Year; IIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress (Jaya Bachchan); IIFA Award for Best Male Playback (Sonu Nigam, "Suraj Hua Maddham"); IIFA Award for Best Dialogue (Karan Johar); IIFA Award for Best Art Direction (Sharmishta Roy); IIFA Award for Best Background Score (Babloo Chakravarty); IIFA Award for Best Sound Recording (Anil Mathur and Nakul Kante); IIFA Award for Best Costume Design (Manish Malhotra); IIFA Award for Best Makeup (Mikey Contractor); Screen Award for Best Actress (Kajol); Screen Award for Jodi No. 1 (Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol); Valenciennes International Film Festival Special Jury Award for Best Film (Yash Johar); Valenciennes International Film Festival Audience Jury Award for Best Film (Yash Johar); Valenciennes International Film Festival Student Jury Award for Best Film (Yash Johar); Valenciennes International Film Festival Award for Best Actress (Kajol); Valenciennes International Film Festival Bleu Nord Award (Jatin Lalit, Sandesh Shandilya, Aadesh Shrivastava); Zee Cine Award for Best Playback Singer–Male (Sonu Nigam, "Suraj Hua Maddham"); Zee Cine Special Award for Outstanding Performance–Female (Kajol)
5. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
Release Date: 15 June 2001
Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Music by: A. R. Rahman
Produced by: Aamir Khan, Mansoor Khan
Description: In 1893, the tyrannical British Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne) has imposed an extremely burdensome land tax on the local villagers who are already experiencing financial loss due to drought. The rebellious farmer Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) rallies the villagers to oppose the tax. Russell offers to settle the issue by challenging the villagers to game of cricket, a sport unfamiliar to the villagers. If the Indians defeat the British team, the tax will be repealed for the locals as well as the surrounding villages. Bhuvan accepts but soon realizes the game is more difficult than he anticipated. Recognizing the unfair advantage of the British team, Russell's sister Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley) helps the Indians learn the game.
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Awards: The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 74th Academy Awards - the third of only five Indian films to receive an Oscar nomination. The film won numerous other national and international awards and nominations. See full list.
Don't know which film to watch first? The following playlist features trailers for each of the films except for Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, for which no official trailer was available online.
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