Most-expensive Indian films per decade

Bollywood Box-Office Top

Film budgets in India have skyrocketed over the last 10 years or so on account of the multiplexes mushrooming in every nook and cranny of the country; escalating competition from Hollywood; and need for big films, with big stars, releasing on festival weekends to look as grand and lavish as possible. One also has to take into account how growing inflation has had a direct impact on production costs, which in turn has affected ticket rates and returns.

Source: Arka

Now, while it’s good that more money being pumped into Indian films, especially across the three major film industries of India – Bollywood, Kollywood, and Tollywood – has meant that several visionary filmmakers are getting to spur their creativity as desired, some of these bloated budgets are also the result of needless expenditure and production hassles, often resulting in heavy losses for their investors. With obscene amounts of money at play, the stakes have also risen exponentially.

Source: AGPL

However, there was a time not so long ago (till 2005, actually) when much-lesser budgets brought equally rich rewards. And as we continue to dial the clock back, you’ll be astonished to know how quickly the budgets keep dropping without the profit ratio being affected one bit. In fact, you may find it hard to believe that there was a time when films were regularly made with budgets in the lakhs, but yeilded returns in crores. To paint a clear picture of how production budgets in Indian cinema have grown, we’ve compiled a list below of the most-expensive Indian films (including all languages) from each decade.

Film Decade Language Budget (INR)
Savitri 1930s Telugu 75,000
Kismet 1940s Hindi 2 lakh
Chandralekha 1950s Tamil 30 lakh
Aan / Mother India 1960s Hindi 35 lakh
Mughal-e-Azam 1970s Hindi 1.5 crore
Sholay 1980s Hindi 3 crore
Jeans 1990s Tamil 20 crore
Blue 2000s Hindi 80 crore
2.0 2010s Tamil 543 crore


Budgets will continue to rise as time goes by due to several extraneous and financial factors that are constantly in flux. But it wouldn’t hurt for the new breed of filmmakers to take a cue from those before them on how the scale, cast, theme, and production values of a film should justify its budget.

Cover Photo Sources: Sippy Films, Bombay Talkies, and Lyca
Disclaimer: Our box-office figures have been compiled from reliable sources and our own extensive research, and are indicative of the film’s performance in the trade. However, Movified doesn’t claim any legitimacy over the accuracy of the data, and cannot be held responsible for any discrepancy in the same.

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