Indian top 10

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Indian top 10

Postby Johndav » Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:16 am

Hoping for plenty of interesting suggestions, here are mine (from quite small viewing pool):

1.Apu trilogy (Ray, 1955-9)
2.Pakeezah (Amrohi, 1971)
3.Cloud-Capped Star (Ghatak, 1960)
4.Charulata (Ray, 1964)
5.Days and Nights in the Forest (Ray, 1969)
6.Paper Flowers (Dutt, 1959)
7.Mughal-e-Azam (Asif, 1960)
8.Baiju Bawra (Bhatt, 1952)
9.The Music Room (Ray, 1958)
10.Awara (Kapoor, 1951)

So, Mother India didn't make it, though it's a long time ago i saw it. Pyaasa and Sholay (the dvd i found available is expensive) are top of my must-see list. Need to see some by Sen + Benegal, and pre-WW2 classics like Devdas and Sant Tukaram among many others. Not greatly impressed by any of the recent popular films i've seen. Mira Nair came close to the 10. I may give Ghatak's A River Called Titash another chance; i loved the opening, but became increasingly bewildered and alienated. It may well be a great testing masterpiece, in what's certainly a very rich, unfairly neglected cinema tradition. So much still to explore!

Re: Indian top 10

Postby madhuban » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:55 am

my top ten in no particular order:

1. E-Flat (Ghatak)
2. The Music Room (Ray)
3. Mr Shome (Mrinal Sen)
4. Om Dar-b-Dar (Kamal Swaroop)
5. Our Daily Bread (Mani Kaul)
6. Hot winds (M. S. Sathyu)
7. 36 Chowringhee Lane (Aparna Sen...everything else she made is bogus!)
8. Monologue (Adoor Gopalakrishnan)
9. Seventh Horse of the Sun (Shyam Benegal)
10. Pyasa (Guru Dutt)

One film that almost made it to the list is "The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha", a fantasy by Ray. Taken from a story by Ray's grandfather, this is Ray at his best in all departments, not the least being music. The subtitles do not do justice, but go ahead and see this anyway!
Other strong recommendations are: "Who Pays the Piper" (Kundan Shah), "Pestonjee" (Vijaya Mehta), "Time Addiction" (Amitabh Chakraborthi), "The Chess Players" (Ray), "Titas, the Name of a River" (Ghatak). There are many many more actually!

Re: Indian top 10

Postby Johndav » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:28 pm

Wow, plenty of unexpected choices (unexpected by a non-expert, that is). Several haven't appeared in lists by Indian critics i've seen over the years in polls like Sight + Sound. I'll look some up in my excellent Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema (Rayadhyaksha,Willemen).

Re: Indian top 10

Postby A » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:39 pm

I have seen very few indian films, but these would be the 10 best:

1. Uttara (Buddhadev Dasgupta)
2. Aparajito (Satyajit Ray)
3. Charachar (Buddhadev Dasgupta)
4. Sant Tukaram (Vishnupant Govind Damle, Sheikh Fattelal)
5. Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray)
6. Subarnarekha (Ritwik Ghatak)
7. Kaalpurush (Buddhadev Dasgupta)
8. Piravi (Shaji Neelakantan Karun)
9. Mahanagar (Satyajit Ray)
10. Jukti, Takko Aar Gappo (Ritwik Ghatak)

Re: Indian top 10

Postby trevor826 » Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:05 am

Like A I haven't seen a great many Indian films and the only ones we get on TV are the Bollywood films that last around 3 hours and are shown around 2.00am. I will check over my lists and try to do a top 10 if possible.

A, what did you find so disgusting about Monsoon Wedding?

You should try Salaam Bombay.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Indian top 10

Postby A » Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:34 am

The way the film dealt with the girl being molested by the "uncle". Besides that the film was totally India through the exotic glance of western Europe, not to mention bad dialogue, acting, directing - the same as "Kama Sutra".
But I don't remember much for a fair critique anymore, have successfully suppressed most of it.

Re: Indian top 10

Postby Johndav » Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:27 am

I'll admit i was disappointed with Monsoon Wedding, having expected more from a Venice winner. I thought the comic elements in the first half too broad, with some apparent caricatures rather than characters, but the more serious second half was relatively convincing. I did prefer Salaam Bombay, the likeable, colourful and involving film that made her name in the West, though i think she'd done documentaries before that.

A: where did you get to see Sant Tukaram and the 2 by Ghatak? I'd be very interested if they were on dvd.

Re: Indian top 10

Postby madhuban » Fri Jan 13, 2006 6:33 am

@ A

Have you put "Aparajito" above "Pather Panchali" in terms of rating? If you have, i agree

'Monsoon Wedding" is not only bad cinema, it is an unacknowledged lift from a great film very close to my heart - Vinterberg's "Festen" - the incest plot, the servant quarters subplot, the hand-held camera et al. Probably it is so unrecognisable because of the mess she makes of it! I have no problems with lifts (bollywood is always doing that), but one wonders what she was trying to make of it!

a bit of useful info for Ghatak fans. i work for a grantmaking organisation in the arts, and we've just made a grant to the Ghatak Memorial Trust for the restoration of the negative and making of fresh positives of Ghatak's first film, "The Citizen" and seven of his short films. Hopefully, those films will travel. Interestingly, "The Citizen" would have pioneered alternative Indian cinema (1952-53), had it not run into release problems. Instead, "Pather Panchali" became the first film of its kind, and "The Citizen" had a posthumous release in 1977!


Re: Indian top 10

Postby Johndav » Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:53 am

Monsoon Wedding- yeah, Festen sprang to my mind too, so the "lift" can't have been very well hidden. Critics should certainly have picked up on the similarity. I'm still at a loss as to why it received so many rave reviews and the Golden Lion; i'd assumed before seeing the film she must have made grand progress since Salaam Bombay (which was a work of promise rather than refinement).

I noticed at imdb that the highest rated Indian film is Pushpak, which surprised me as i knew nothing about it. What's your opinion, Madhuban?

Re: Indian top 10

Postby madhuban » Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:52 am

I have a some recommendations from vintage bollywood. As an aside, i'm having genuine fun finding the english titles for the indian films. if i were given a list with those and asked if i'd seen any, i'd have said no

Here they are:

Towards the Light (1944), Two Acres of Land (1953), Madhumati (195 & Bandini (1963) - Bimal Roy

Andaz (Beau Monde/A Matter of Style) 1949 - Mehboob Khan

The Division (1953) - Kamal Amrohi

Two Eyes, Twelve Hands 91957) - V. Shantaram

Master, Mistress and Slave (1962) - Abrar Alvi (Guru Dutt plays the master)

Fire (194 & My Name Is Joker (1970) - Raj Kapoor (the second film is deeply flawed, but a pathbreaking one for bollywood, nevertheless)

Guide (1965) - Vijay Anand

The Third Oath (1966), Experience (1971), Discovery (1973) - Basu Bhattacharya

Flames (1975) - Ramesh Sippy (better known as "Sholay" worldwide, this is kitschy and over-the-top, but a milestone in Indian mainstream cinema)

Just realised that i'd forgotten to mention two lovely films in my "also" list following the top ten: "What Makes Albert Pinto Angry?" & "Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro" (can't find the English title) by Saeed Mirza.

especially @ john
Seek out this film called "Umrao Jaan" by Muzaffar Ali. I think you'll love it.



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