1993: The A to Z of Hindi Cinema three decades ago

The poster of 1993’s biggest hit, Aankhen. Photo: Publicity Photo 

Let us travel three decades back today. 1993 was a memorable year in many ways for Hindi cinema. Here’s looking at the films that made or broke records, became trendsetters, were distinguished for the right (or even wrong!) reasons, and helped make the year significant in Hindi cinema. And of course, through the fate of these movies and their music, the year helped define careers of stars, filmmakers and music makers, besides generating some interesting fodder for trivia hunters! Here we go—in alphabetical order.


Yash Raj Films presented this story of two sisters, one simple, one devilish, in love with the same man. The music by Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen remains their career-best work, with the hits Meri saanson mein tum and Goriya re goriya, including what is arguably their best-ever song to date—Yet raat khushnaseeb hai.

Aaj Kie Aurat

Director Avtar Bhogal thought of cashing in on his 1988 hit, Zakhmi Aurat by recasting Dimple Kapadia in another revenge aurat drama fraught with feminism. But this time, he came unstuck.    


Not just the biggest hit of the year, it was also the film that had three actors in dual roles—Govinda, Raj Babbar and Kader Khan. This ensemble comedy, which also featured a monkey, was a scream of a crime caper. It consolidated for a long time the combination of Govinda and director David Dhawan and marked the beginning of his typical style of illogical filmmaking.        

Aashik Awara

The Umesh Mehra film was notable for being Saif Ali Khan’s first solo film, and his first success. His mother, Sharmila Tagore, made a cameo as his parent but shared no frame with him.  


Hit producer D. Rama Naidu launched his son Venkatesh as a leading man in Hindi cinema. With beginner’s luck and some hummable Anand-Milind tunes, the film, co-starring Karisma Kapoor, went on to be a hit.


The fourth biggest hit of the year, it established top music label Venus as film producers (under the name of United Seven Combines) and directors Abbas-Mustan as big names. But much more importantly, the film marked the breakthrough of Shah Rukh Khan (who had a gray role), a grand comeback for composer Anu Malik, and a hit debut for Shilpa Shetty. Not just that, it is the first hit for Kajol and gave a major career boost to singer Vinod Rathod and comic genius Johny Lever.       


This Salman Khan-Sridevi fiasco was noteworthy only for one trivia: its story was credited to Salman himself!


Prakash Mehra produced this Partho Ghosh story that set, along with Roja and Aankhen, the trend of songs with double entendre in their lyrics and vulgar filming: the Gutar gutam song was a chartbuster in this Mithun Chakraboirty-Ayesha Jhulka starrer. But Bappi Lahiri, the composer, gave a gem of a score otherwise, and the songs Mere Ramji bhagwanji and Thehre hue paani mein led the fabulous soundtrack in quality.


Yeh dhai kilo ka haath jab uthhtaa hai na, to insaan uthhtaa nahin, uthh jaata hai.” and “Taareekh pe taareekh, taareekh pe taareekh, taareekh pe taareekh milti rahi hai, par insaaf nahin mila, my lord!”: who does not recall those iconic lines uttered by Sunny Deol in a (very) special appearance? Rajkumar Santoshi’s hard-hitting Damini etched the director as a rare species in 1990s Hindi cinema. The family-cum-courtroom social was a moderate success then and has since emerged as a cult film featuring Rishi Kapoor and Meenakshi Seshadri.

Shah Rukh Khan made his mark with Darr, Baazigar & Maya Memsaab too. Photo: Media Relations


This milestone thriller on obsessive love saw Shah Rukh Khan triumph as a besotted lover who can go to any lengths, consolidating his star-status after Baazigar. The third biggest hit of the year, it saw the momentous beginning of the long Shah Rukh Khan-Yash Chopra-Yash Raj Films association that has continued even now, 30 years down. Sunny Deol again was the hero, with Juhi Chawla as the two men’s objet d’amor.


This was Priyadarshan’s first success in Hindi. A dark action drama, the film starred Jackie Shroff and Aishwarya (actress Laxmi of Julie fame’s daughter), who made her Hindi debut but never did a Mumbai film again. Amrish Puri featured in a key role.


Mahesh Bhatt directed six films this year, of which three feature in this list. The action drama based on Bangkok Hilton was produced by Yash Johar of Dharma Production, now best known as Karan Johar’s father. The crime-based love story featured Sanjay Dutt, Sridevi and Rahul Roy and saw composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal give non-film ghazal singer Roopkumar Rathod a new image with the breezy number. Main tera aashiq hoon.   


Vinod Mehra produced and directed this tepid success with Sridevi in a double role opposite Rishi Kapoor and Anil Kapoor. Raj N. Sippy completed this film after Mehra died during production. Veteran lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri confessed that this was the only time he succumbed to temptation and wrote a double-meaning song, Ek din tera dheere se darwaza kholunga.         

Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke 

Mahesh Bhatt’s cute adaptation of Walt Disney’s The Houseboat saw Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla, the Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak pair, get their second Golden Jubilee. Aamir himself co-scripted the film in which Kunal Khemu made his debut as a child artiste. The film was produced by Aamir’s father, producer Tahir Husain and had hit music by Nadeem-Shravan. Buzz was that Aamir himself directed portions of the film as Bhatt was overloaded and a tad indifferent to his work then!


Saawan Kumar’s gimmick to cash in on the title of a potential Subhash Ghai blockbuster backfired, though the film managed to just break even. Anu Agarwal played the femme fatale in what was essentially like a distaff version of Darr.    

Madhuri Dixit with Sanjay Dutt as Khal-Nayak. Photo: Publicity Photo  


Choli ke peeche was the cult classic song that highlighted Subhash Ghai’s latest blockbuster that became the second biggest hit of 1993. The song not only was the Numero Uno song of the year on Cibaca Geet Mala, the only radio countdown then, but also on Philip Top Ten, Super-Hit Muqabla and BPL Oye on Channel [V], the first three TV countdowns that began airing in that year. The music remains Tips’ highest-selling soundtrack to date and is the only film music album ever sold in the black market! Sanjay Dutt played the title-role in this Jackie Shroff-Madhuri Dixit film that made news also because Dutt was also arrested during its making.

Maya Memsaab

The Ketan Mehta produced and directed drama was based on Gustave Flaubert’s 1857 novel Madame Bovary. A film that had one of the finest music scores of the 1990s (by Hridaynath Mangeshkar), its rights are now owned by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment. Shah Rukh starred in the film with Farouque Shaikh, Raj Babbar and Deepa Sahi.


This potboiler melodrama was noted only as the first film in which Sonu Nigam’s voice was heard, in a solo and a duet. He had made his debut earlier in a TV serial.

Pehla Nasha         

Ashutosh Gowariker’s debut as a director was a flop, but can be remembered as the first film in which Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan came together in cameos, almost three decades before another disaster, Laal Singh Chaddha.

Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee

This was strictly a tele-film, but marked the stunning creative comeback of composer Anu Malik. As a movie, it remains one of the many films directed by Mahesh Bhatt that have autobiographical touches.


Phool was the much-anticipated Hindi debut of Pushpak and Appu Raja director Singeetham Srinivasa Rao. It was a major flop, though aimed as a last-ditch attempt by actor-father Rajendra Kumar to rejuvenate son Kumar Gaurav’s career.

Professor Ki Padosan

Why is this catastrophe even listed here? Simply because it is the last film in which Sanjeev Kumar was seen!

Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja

A mammoth spectacle that turned turtle, this Anil Kapoor-Sridevi-Jackie Shroff extravaganza marked Arshad Warsi’s debut—he choreographed the title-song!


The dubbed film that marked the arrival of A.R. Rahman in Hindi cinema and forever changed Hindi film music, it was an instant hit and marked the first double-entendre song, Rukmanee Rukmanee, as well. Mani Rathnam became a sensation and more Tamil films of his were dubbed in Hindi, though never with the same quantum of success.


Mahesh Bhatt directed this film that was the first exceptional score of Anu Malik this year. Paresh Rawal made a mark as a villain for the first time. Songs like Aaj mere dil ka har qissa are remembered to this day, and Naseeruddin Shah, Pooja Bhatt and Atul Agnihotri starred in the musical.      


Mehul Kumar directed the first of his hit pop-patriotic sagas that brought together two firebrands—Raaj Kumar and Nana Patekar.

Waqt Hamara Hai

Today, producer Sajid Nadiadwala is a big name, and this film was his first success. It was also the first movie in which Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty featured together. This team was to give many more hits in the years to come.

Zakhmo Ka Hisaab

A flop featuring Govinda and Farha (Tabu’s elder sister), Zakhmo Ka Hisaab had a unique distinction: it was the first Indian film to release theatrically in Canada!




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