Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Top Ranked Films From India

Top ranked films on the internet polls from India

Only ten in the top 1000, shame on western critics and poll respondents! That's only 1% of the top ranked films, when France has 148, or 14.8%?

[The first three films by Satyajit Ray are known as The Apu Trilogy; Ray has won 37 film awards and is considered to be India's most important director]

1. Pather Panchali [Ray, Satyajit; 1955] #32 - Drama
2. The World of Apu [Ray, Satyajit; 1959] #218 - Drama
3. Aparajito [Ray, Satyajit; 1956] #313 - Drama
4. Music Room, The [Ray, Satyajit; 1958] #438 – Drama
5. The River [Renoir, Jean; 1950, US-India] #453 – Drama-Romance
6. Charulata [Ray, Satyajit; 1964] #530 - Drama
7. Pyaasa [Dutt, Guru; 1957] #561 - Musical
8. Cloud-Capped Star, The [Ghatak, Ritwik; 1960] #594 - Drama
9. Kaagaz Ke Phool [Dutt, Guru; 1959] #846 - Musical
10. Pakeezah [Amrohi, Kamal ;1972] #885 - Musical
11. Mother India [Khan, Mehboob; 1957] #1029 - Drama
12. Days and Nights in the Forest [Ray, Satyajit; 1970] #1061 - Drama

There are far more Indian films to see than these few. The problem in the west is that even Ray’s Apu trilogy is not available here on dvd. Most of what is available are the new light Bollywood films that almost all feature 4-8 musical numbers with ready-made tv videos. Some of these are still quite enjoyable but won’t makes critics’ lists.

The Indian Film Academy Awards
Link to the International Indian Film Academy Awards

Here are the ones I’ve see that I would recommend that didn’t make the critics polls:

Salaam Bombay! – Mira Nair’s first feature film, made with funding aid from the governments of India and the UK, exposed street poverty there, and allowed Mira to open 4 orphanages with the profits, now numbering 17

Jodhaa Akbar – a historical musical costume epic romance (!), one of the most opulent and visually beautiful films ever made; based on the story of the first Muslim king of Hindustan (music by 2 Oscar winning A.R. Raman, who won for Slumdog Millionaire, see below) - just won 11 Int'l Indian Film Awards, incl. Best Picture

A Wednesday – a topical and brilliantly engrossing film about a modern terrorist in Mumbai, a computer hacker holding the police hostage

Bride and Prejudice – a light-hearted musical romance based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, updated to modern India, with a few songs and the most beautiful four sisters you’ll ever see on film, including former Miss World Aishwarya Rai (my choice for most beautiful woman in the world)

Veer-Zaara – a cross-cultural romance with a light first half, and a dramatic 2nd part, the story of an Indian rescue pilot, Veer, and a visiting Muslim aristocrat from Pakistan named Zaara; winner of 8 Int’l Indian film awards

Some more you may want to check out:
Black Friday (terrorist drama), Guru (capitalist musical romance), Koi Mil Gaya and sequel Krrsh (E.T. type fun musicals for kids, based on Hindu mythology, but obviously not serious)

Here are also some great western films about India

Gandhi – the Richard Attenborough bio of the legend; winner of 8 Oscars including actor for Indian born Ben Kingsley; this was a 19 yr project for actor Attenborough

Heat and Dust – the Ruth Jvabala award-winning novel transformed by her and director James Ivory into a beautiful romance starring Julie Christie in present day India, and Great Scacchi as her aunt in colonial India, linked through the aunt’s diaries

Slumdog Millionaire – UK director Danny Boyle’s popular and inspiring drama also won 8 Oscars, incl best picture, and 75 total awards (!). It seems to have been inspired by Salaam Bombay Note: I'm compiling and will add a list of some fan recommendations from here and IMDB, which will provide about 20 more titles, so please comment with some more suggestions.

are the Indian films recommended by other film fans so far; I'm sure it's predominately Hindi films because one group was listing their favorites of those at IMDB. I'll add to this as I find or get readers favorites. (*= at the top of someone's list)

3 Deewarein* (03)
Andaz Apna Apna (94)
Azam (97)
Chhoti Si Baat (75)
Company (02)
Dil Chahta Hai* (01)
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayene (95)
Droh Kaal (94)
Gol Maal (79)
Hey Ram (00)
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (07)
K3G* (2001 - 22 awards, 43 nominations! Awards page at IMDB
Kaante (02)
Khakhee (04)
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (98)
Lagaan* (Indian Film Awards, best picture)
Lali Mucaj (not found at IMDB)
Maine Pyar Kiya* (89)
Mumbai Meri Jaan* (08)
Munnabhai M.B.B.S. (03)
Naseeb (81)
Parinda (89)
Prahaar (91)
Saathya (02)
Sarfarosh (99)
Satya (98)
Sholay (this film sucked, imo.. a guy with no arms takes on a guy with two, and says "all I need to take care of you is my feet" - right - too bad the other guy didn't think of using a gun or knife!)

Int'l Indian Film Academy Awards - Best Picture (year of release)
2008 - Jodhaa Akbar (winner of 11 awards)
2007 - Chak De! India
2006 - Rang De Basanti
2005 - Black
2004 - Veer-Zaara
2003 - Kal Ho Naa Ho
2002 - Devdas
2001 - Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
2000 - Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai