Indian top 10

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Re: Indian top 10

Postby madhuban » Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:12 am

@John

I am a little puzzled by the attribution of "Black Friday" to Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The only film known by that title is a 2004 film on the bomb blasts in Bombay, by the scriptwriter-turned-director Anurag Kashyap. It was stuck at the censors. I do not know of any Hrishikesh Mukherjee film by that name. Do enlighten me.

You do have a damn good list there!

M
madhuban
 


Re: Indian top 10

Postby madhuban » Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:19 am

Aparna Sen has redeemed herself with this film. There are the occasional glitches, especially her penchant for being politically correct. But, overall, it was a very satisfactory film. The concluding sequence was quite special! Will write in more detail. Do watch this instead of "Rang de Basanti"

M
madhuban
 

Re: Indian top 10

Postby Johndav » Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:02 am

Thanks for all that work. I don't understand my attribution of Black Friday either cos it's in my little list here i was using as by Kashyap! It was next on the disorganised list to Kismet by G.Mukherjee but even that's not H.Mukherjee. Strange! I don't know what i was thinking of at the time. Black Friday gets excellent ratings at imdb but then so too i think does Rang de Basanti! Just shows you can't trust strangers, eh?..

Another film i'd love to see now is Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam(Dutt). There's an interesting article on Dutt in last month's Sight and Sound by Mark Cousins, which praises the film (though it isn't one i'd noticed in top 10's), and it's rated Dutt's greatest achievement in my Pocket Essentials Bollywood. Fascinating background with all Dutt's personal problems, alcoholism, Suyicide attempts, marriage breakdown (film feud between his wife and mistress Waheeda Rehman), stars refusing to participate etc. He did kill himself 2 years later.
Johndav
 

Re: Indian top 10

Postby madhuban » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:03 am

The majority of the people here are also raving about "Rang De Basanti"! I just cannot understand it! One reason could be that Amir Khan is still a huge crowd-puller. But then, Mangal Pandey: The Rising" went out of the box office with a whimper inspite of having Amir and his patiently grown regal moustache! Maybe, popular taste in the cities is veering towards technical finesse of a certain kind, which this film seems to deliver on. But then, Ramgopal Varma's films have that and don't go down well with the city audience. I am frankly perplexed!

While we are on Ramgopal Varma, who is also a great producer and nurturer of young talent, would like some of you to try "Darna Mana Hai" (a bad translation would be "You are not allowed to get scared") by Prawal Raman. Six stories exploring different kinds of fear are strung together. Just checked and saw that imdb has a hopeless review. Do try and see this film, if only for a few whacky stories and great acting. I loved it inspite of the weakness of the thread that holds all the stories together.

Another strong recommendation is "Let's Talk" by Ram Madhvani. Should be easy to find because it is in English and has done the smaller festivals circuit.

John, my memory of Dutt's "Sahib, Biwi Aur Gulam" (as also Barua's "Devdas") is rather dusty. I watched it ages ago. Should see it again before I say anything about the film. Regarding the other films on your list, I should be able to write about them from memory, but given the pace at which I review films, it might take a year or more

M
madhuban
 

Re: Indian top 10

Postby Johndav » Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:21 pm

Well you've already greatly increased my knowledge and interest in Indian cinema and made a magnificent contribution to this site
Johndav
 

Re: Indian top 10

Postby arsaib4 » Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:32 pm

Thanks for the warning, Madhuban; I'll try to avoid Basanti.

I've sen Sen's Mr. and Mrs. Iyer. Nothing great, but still much more mature than what usually gets produced.

Varma's Satya was impressive; Company, not as much.
arsaib4
 

Re: Indian top 10

Postby madhuban » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:23 am

@arsaib
Nicely shot film, but what annoyed me no end was the simplification of the communal issue. I do not think communalism can be toyed with to lend an aesthetic backdrop to a story of two people. More than being politically incorrect, what it does is to push a complex and brutal reality under the carpet of an abiding humanism. To me, this is criminal. Aparna Sen's flirtation with the political has been a consitent problem. She does not need to make a political film if she chooses not to, but to sprinkle these issues like exotic garnishing throughout her films, to make them look socially relevant, is a bit hard to swallow.

I loved "Company", but I do see that you would not have the vantage that we, in India, who regularly watch bollywood seem to have. Ramgopal Varma brought something quite unusual into the gangster genre. Other than mixing the realist and the non-realist, he demolished the high moral ground of Hindi films as also its stereotypical portrayal of the police and the gangster. The good and the bad, had been types - clearly identifiable by the clothes they are made to wear, the language they speak in and the moral decisions and the resultant actions that are attributed to them. The police have been depicted either as completely corrupt or self-righteous martyrs; gangsters as symbols of the society's rot or inherently good souls led astray. Varma's films do not offer us such black and white sterotypes. They do not allow us to judge, to take an all-too-comfortable moral position vis-a-vis his characters, whether they happen to be the police or the gangsters. Crime in "Company" is corporatised, almost functioning as flawlessly and efficiently like a multinational company. That is what makes the films morally ambiguous. A job is well or badly done, by the police and the gangster alike. Unable to occupy a high moral ground, it makes you awfully uncomfortable.

The chap who wrote "Satya" for Ramgopal Varma has gone on to make "Black Friday"
madhuban
 

Re: Indian top 10

Postby A » Sun Mar 12, 2006 4:55 pm

Very interesting to read your "conversations" on Indian film, though I notice I don't know @#%$ about it
Hopefully I'll see more in the future. I'll try to watch the ones you people recommend and any others I may lay hands on I'll ask madhuban for advice.
Thanks madhuban for your knowledge and insight into Indian film!
A
 

Re: Indian top 10

Postby madhuban » Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:37 am

A, I'm glad to help out with Indian films. But, I must warn you that I don't get to see enough of regional cinema (in languages other than Hindi, and my mother tongue Bengali), to have a fuller sense of what's happening. The problem with India is that each state is like a different country with its own language and culture, and the films (subtitled DVDs) emerging out of those contexts are as difficult to access as films from other parts of the world!

M
madhuban
 

Re: Indian top 10

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:00 am

Rang de Basanti is not "bad", it's embarrassing and, quite frankly, dangerous. As someone who cares about how history is represented, I was nauseated to even consider a comparison between subcontinent's greatest freedom fighters and these idiots who decide to take the law in their own hands based on ... I'm not exactly sure what. If I was a government official I'd be scared after watching this. The "SMS generation," which is what they are referred to, may need to be awakened but this is certainly not the route to take. Simply put: Basanti threatens to offer a patriotic lesson via a text message.
arsaib4
 

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