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ZANJEER | 1973
The film that heralded Amitabh Bachchan's rise to superstardom is also the pioneer of Bollywood action films. At a time when moviegoers were used to epics and romances, the idea of the anti-hero shocked the audience. The fight scene between Pran and Amitabh is one of the finest in Hindi films.
SHOLAY | 1975
Even almost 40 years after its release, it's difficult to find an Indian who hasn't seen Sholay. The country's most iconic Hindi movie broke multiple records. The gunfights, the chases, the scene where a menacing Gabbar chops off the Thakur's hands, still make one's hair stand on end.
SHIVA | 1990
The remake of a Telugu film, Ram Gopal Varma's take on student politics redefined violence in Bollywood. Varma recounts in his blog: "When the film's first trial happened many distributors felt it was too violent and feared that women and family audience would stay away. " Shiva received critical acclaim and is now considered a cult movie.
GHAYAL | 1990
Rajkumar Santoshi's directorial debut won seven Filmfare awards and sealed Sunny Deol's reputation as the ultimate action hero. The story of an amateur boxer and his quest for justice, this was action at its purest. A sequel to the film - Ghayal Returns - is being directed by Ashwini Chaudhary and will star a much older Sunny.
PHOOL AUR KAANTE 1991
The first star to launch himself purely as an action hero, Ajay Devgn's debut movie had spectacular stunts and a catchy soundtrack. Devgn's introduction in the film - where he arrives straddling two motorbikes - is still fondly remembered by movie buffs though the stunt seems ridiculously filmy by today's standards.
THE KHILADI SERIES
The original Khiladi came in 1992. Though the Abbas-Mustan movie was a suspense thriller, its success spawned many action films with names as outlandish as Mr and Mrs Khiladi (1997), International Khiladi (1999) and Khiladi 420 (2000). The common thread was Akshay Kumar, who even began to be called Khiladi.
GHAJINI | 2008
This Aamir Khan-starrer gave a new lease of life to the genre, which seemed to have run its course by the end of the 2000s. The remake of a Tamil film by the same name, Ghajinibrought to Bollywood the southern style of action, which is usually packed with elements of fantasy.
WANTED | 2009
The success of Ghajini led to a rush of South Indian remakes in Hindi, the first of which was Wanted. A fast-paced action thriller, the film had some of Salman Khan's most entertaining fight sequences. Other action remakes that followed - Ready, Bodyguard, Singham - also turned out to be massive hits.
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