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India's highest grossing film made Rs 3650 cr, sold more tickets than RRR, Jawan combined; not Sholay, Dangal, Baahubali

This Bollywood classic earned Rs 3650 crore when adjusted for inflation and sold more tickets than RRR and Jawan combined

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India's highest grossing film made Rs 3650 cr, sold more tickets than RRR, Jawan combined; not Sholay, Dangal, Baahubali
K Asif, director of India's highest grossing film, on its set
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It has not been even 20 years since the term 100-crore club was coined as a measure of successful Indian films. This club was meant for films that were able to earn Rs 100 crore net at the box office in India. But already, it has been replaced by the 1000-crore club, such has been the rise in collections of Indian films recently. So it’s no wonder that older films, from 60-70 years ago, feature much lower in the list of highest-grossing Indian films. The only way to bring parity is to adjust films’ earnings for inflation. This way, films have a level playing field when compared. As things stand, Dangal remains the only Indian film to gross Rs 2000 crore but when adjusted for inflation, one film surpasses even Rs 3000 crore.

Highest grossing Indian film when adjusted for inflation

K Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam holds the record for being the highest-grossing Indian film when adjusted for inflation. When it was released in theatres in 1960, the film earned just over Rs 10 crore, the highest by any Indian film till then. When adjusted for inflation for 2023 figures, this comes out to Rs 3650 crore, the highest by any Indian film ever. This is hardly surprising given that most expensive tickets in 1960 were Rs 1.50 and today, the average ticket prices go over Rs 200. The demand for tickets was so high that many were sold in black for as high as Rs 100 (around Rs 4000 today).

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Starring Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Prithviraj Kapoor, Durga Khote, and Ajit, Mughal-e-Azam was a historical epic, fictionalising the rebellion of Mughal prince Salim against his father Emperor Akbar and woven around the legend of the courtesan Anarkali. As per Box Office India, Mughal-e-Azam sold 10 crore tickets in India, more than the combined figure of recent all-time blockbusters like RRR (4.4 crore) and Jawan (3.9 crore). Only two films have sold more tickets than Mughal-e-Azam in India – Sholay and Baahubali 2. But K Asif’s magnum opus was more successful overseas than either of these.

Other high-grossing Indian films adjusted for inflation

Mughal-e-Azam is the only film whose collections cross Rs 3000 crore when adjusted for inflation. The second spot is – quite expectedly – occupied by Sholay, with an estimated inflation-adjusted worldwide gross of Rs 2800 crore. Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal is next with Rs 2650 crore. Four other films notionally cross the 2000-crore mark when their earnings are adjusted for inflation - Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (Rs 2170 crore), Mother India (Rs 2120 crore), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (Rs 2100 crore), and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (Rs 2000 crore).

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