7 Visually Stunning Period Films of Hindi Cinema

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Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

K. Asif's recreation of the romance between Mughal prince Salim and court dancer Anarkali took sixteen years to come to light. Asif juggled delays and cost overruns to ultimately produce, with cinematographer RD Mathur and the art team of Shri Krishna Acharekar and MK Syed, an all-time classic.

Pakeezah (1972)

Kamal Amrohi's tribute to Meena Kumari took a decade and a half to make and release, eventually opening a month after the actress' passing. Years had passed between filming schedules, but the Eastmancolor photography of Josef Wirsching, the sets by NB Kulkarni and SD Najaf.

Lagaan (2001)

Ashutosh Gowariker's directorial comeback made tremendous use of the minimal sets that Nitin Desai put up, and really hung on to Anil Mehta's frames to impress upon the audience the real problems of the people of Champaner.

Lootera (2013)

Vikramaditya Motwane's doomed romance ventured into the countryside of 1953. Eschewing the grandeur of period dramas, Motwane, cinematographer Mahendra Shetty, costumer Subarna Rai Chaudhuri, and production designer Aditya Kanwar sought a subdued but elaborate recreation of the past.

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015)

Dibakar Banerjee's take on Saradindu Bandhopadhyay's iconic "truth-seeker" was a real ride and a half, with shades of the graphic novel and neo-noir cinema seeping into wartime Calcutta courtesy Nikos Andritsakis' cinematography, and Banerjee's sharp choices in music and plot.

Bombay Velvet (2015)

Anurag Kashyap's ambition was fructified in the splendour that production designer Sonal Sawant, costume designer Neeharika Bhasin Khan, and director of photography Rajeev Ravi lent to his idea of mid-20th century Bombay, which was rooted not in typical Kashyap reality but drew from the aesthetic of the classic American crime film.

Bajirao Mastani (2015)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali expanded the scale of his cinema with the romance between Mastani of Panna and the Maratha Peshwa Bajirao I. Sets by Nitin Desai, costuming by Neeta Lulla, and images by Sudeep Chatterjee all came together in classic Bhansali fashion to produce an operatic love story for the ages.

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