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The Top 25 Hindi Action Films of all Time

Last updated on: January 27, 2012 17:10 IST

The Top 25 Hindi Action Films of all Time

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Raja Sen in Mumbai

Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan bring action back in the mainstream with much success. Here's looking at the best action films Bollywood has churned out over the years.

A
ction's back in Bollywood.

Shah Rukh Khan's Don 2 was one of 2011's biggest hits, Hrithik Roshan's all bloodshot and gore-ready in this week's release, Agneepath and the new trailer for Saif Ali Khan's Agent Vinod is a must-see.

In a new series of major movie lists, here's my pick for the 25 best Hindi actioners of all-time, in alphabetical order:

Ab Tak Chhapan

Shimit Amin's first film for Ram Gopal Varma's Factory was a perfectly paced, taut actioner where Nana Patekar played an encounter specialist.

A solid firecracker of a film.


Image: Movie poster of Ab Tak Chappan


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Angaar

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Patekar pops up again in this Shashilal Nair thriller where he plays a Muslim gangster, reportedly inspired by the life of Karim Lala.

Jackie Shroff and Dimple Kapadia also star.


Image: Movie poster of Angaar


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Arjun

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This Rahul Rawail film features Sunny Deol at his freshest, an optimistic youngster who, when exploited by opportunistic politicians, turns into a fighting machine.

A delightfully rough actioner.


Image: Movie poster of Arjun

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Batwaara

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A melodramatic tale of a princely family torn apart by the erosion of power towards the centre, this is a no-holds-barred assault with Dharmendra and Vinod Khanna at their most testosteroney.

Much fun.


Image: Movie poster of Batwaara


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The Burning Train

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Ravi Chopra assembled an all-star cast -- Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Danny, Jeetendra, Parveen Babi, Ranjeet, Neetu Singh -- threw them aboard a train, then lit it on fire.

Immensely enjoyable.


Image: Movie poster of The Burning Train


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Company

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With Jaideep Sahni providing the best script Ram Gopal Varma ever worked with, the director took this story -- born out of a Rediff interview with Chhota Rajan -- and crafted a very, very fine film out of it.

Ajay Devgan and Vivek Oberoi rocked the lead roles very well indeed.

Image: Movie poster of Company


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Darr

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Yash Chopra's tale of psychotic obsession was so outrageously performed by Shah Rukh Khan that things were kept consistently menacing, and a particularly breathless chase sequence on foot remains one of our best.


Image: A scene from Darr

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Dacait

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A rousingly watchable Rahul Rawail film where a citybred youngster (Sunny Deol) gets caught up in village feud and left for dead.

He is then raised by dacoits who all have an axe to grind against the evil Thakur (Raza Murad).


Image: A scene from Dacait


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Dharam Veer

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A period film set in a fantastical kingdom -- which allows director Manmohan Desai to make his cast wear atrocious cosumes -- this has it all.

Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Zeenat Aman, Neetu Singh and swords. What's not to love?


Image: A scene from Dharam Veer


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Don

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A lurid prince-and-pauper tale turned into a sensationally thrilling actioner, this Chandra Barot film featured Amitabh Bachchan at his very coolest, playing both in-control bastard and naive everyman.

Not to mention Zeenat as karatebabe extraordinnaire.


Image: Movie poster of Don


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Ek Hasina Thi

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Sriram Raghavan's first film, based on Asphalt Jungle, is a killer noir tale told cracklingly well, highlighted by the best fist-fight in all of Hindi cinema as Saif Ali Khan takes on opponents in a hotel corridor.


Image: A scene from Ek Hasina Thi


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Gardish

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Priyadarshan's take on his own Malayalam hit Kireedam remains one of his better films, with Jackie Shroff and Amrish Puri performing excellently.

The action is rough too, especially when Shroff tangles with Mukesh Rishi's Billa.


Image: Movie poster of Gardish


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Ghayal

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An amateur boxer finds himself flung into a murder plot, thrown into jail and strikes out looking for revenge.

It's a template many Sunny Deol movies followed, but Rajkumar Santoshi made sure this one was unforgettable.


Image: A scene from Ghayal


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Ghulam

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A strange Vikram Bhatt retelling of On The Waterfront, this Aamir Khan starrer makes it to the list largely because of its climactic battle pitting Khan against the believably monsterlike Sharat Saxena.


Image: A scene from Ghulam


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Gunda

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Because it's Gunda. And the word iconic isn't big enough.


Image: Movie poster of Gunda

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Johnny Gaddaar

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Sriram Raghavan's second film, a pulpy thriller with Neil Nitin Mukesh in the lead, features a terrific action set-piece based on a train right in the middle of the film.

There's much action before and after too, but the train scene is seriously sexy.


Image: A scene from Johnny Gaddaar


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Kaminey

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Speaking of seriously sexy, Vishal Bhardwaj's Kaminey is a rollicking thriller set in one very hectic Mumbai night -- which includes estranged twins, a diabetic politician, lovers on the lam, Bengali mafia-men, and many many chases.

Dhan te nan indeed.


Image: Movie poster of Kaminey


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Karma

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Subhash Ghai's tale of a jailer (Dilip Kumar) recruiting outlaws (Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor) to go grab a terrorist named Dr Dang (Anupam Kher) borrows liberally from Sholay but has its own madly masala charms.


Image: Movie poster of Karma


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Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi

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This Umesh Mehra film is exceptionally cheesy, but Akshay Kumar -- the Shawn Michaels lookalike with long-enough legs to slap baddies in the face -- had to make our list.

And this film, where he fights off WWF wrestlers and mudwrestles Rekha, gets its plotpoints just right.


Image: A scene from Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi


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Mera Gaon Mera Desh

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Sometimes IMDb just can't process our masala awesomeness.

The plot summary for Raj Khosla's terrific Mera Gaon Mera Desh says simply, "Ajit saves the village from the dakus; whilst having romance with Anju."

True, and it does so in a way only our films can. Also, Dharmendra is Ajit, Asha Paresh is Anju and Vinod Khanna is daaku Jabbar Singh. Oh yeah.


Image: A scene from Mera Gaon Mera Desh


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Parinda

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So real seemed Vidhu Vinod Chopra's gangster masterpiece that the words and slang used in the film, written by Shiv Subramaniam, ended up becoming common parlance in actual mobs.

An unapologetically, gloriously violent film.


Image: A scene from Parinda


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Satya

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Ram Gopal Varma's most visceral film, Satya explored the Mumbai underworld by getting its hands dirty and showing us both blood and filmmaking bravado in a film that impressed, influenced and electrified.


Image: Satya


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Shiva

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RGV changed the way Hindi cinema perceived violence in this 1990 film, about student politics and just how gruesome it can all get.

Nagarjuna and JD Chakravarthy went head to head with many a collateral casualty, and cycle-chains were used with lethal innovation.


Image: Shiva


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Sholay

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Ramesh Sippy's masterpiece -- the Hindi film that makes it onto every genre list almost by default -- starts with two outlaws fighting bandits on a train.

Then it just gets progressively more intense from there. Easily our best actioner ever, this.


Image: Sholay

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Tezaab

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It's the old Sunny D template -- that of a good clean man wronged and in the mood for revenge -- but N Chandra and his leading man Anil Kapoor scorch up the screen quite dynamically in this film, and the best leading lady of all time makes sure the stakes are higher than ever.

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Image: Tezaab


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