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.

Update:
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

11 comments:

Greener Bangalore said...

Great info Jose!! even many our new generation doesn't know who Satyajit Ray is..........

Neeraj Ghaywan said...

Its Black Friday and not Black Sunday. The director of the film is quite popular. His name is Anurag Kashyap. He was on the jury of Venice Film festival this time. Check out his Dev.D, No Smoking and Gulaal too. Even Vishal Bhardwaj is a great filmmaker from India.

Jose Sinclair said...

Thanks Neeraj,
I do that in my head all the time, b/c of the awful US film Black Sunday, about terrorists using a blimp to attack a football stadium! I just type away and forget to re-read it.. glad someone is noticing, I want to be accurate, don't want them renting the US film!
Keep the corrections coming.. I'm trying to compile a list of other India films to view to I'll always add recommended ones..
.. Jose S..

Jose Sinclair said...

The list of Indian films has now been updated with some selections from film fans, here and at IMDB..

I'll add more as they come in, and try to find more on the net.. Jose

Surya Krishnan said...

Pity that none of the regional movies in India which are far far superior to the works mentioned do not even appear in the list. Auteurs like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mani Ratnam, Girish Kasaravalli....none of them find a mention. How can someone miss NAYAKAN which made it to the TIME's list of greatest movies? Really, You Need To Understand That Hindi Movies and Bollywood are only a part, not the sum of Indian Movies.

Surya Krishnan said...

My small advice to you, Jose, is to check the Indian National Awards which is announced by the Government of India on an annual basis to get an idea of how vast the Indian Film Industry truly is. Your blog comments only on Bollywood with a nod to Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak as well. The list of great movie makers in India ignored by your blog is criminal!!. Please check out for regional movies in India like the Tamil, Telugu,Malayalam and Bengali film industry. Please check for the works of people like Shyam Benegal*, Govind Nihalani*, Mani Ratnam*, K. Balachander, Padmarajan, Bharathan, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Sibi Malayil,Sathyan Anthikad, Aparna Sen, Rituparno Ghosh...the list goes on. Hindi film industry better known as Bollywood is representative of only one type of movie which is popular there. There are far more superior movies, both in content and style made in regional languages of India.

Anonymous said...

indian film can do it!

MMB :-)

Jose Sinclair said...

You're right about the limited scope of our knowledge of Indian films here. I mentioned it before: that many Indian films are not available in the U.S.; if not on dvd here, they certainly aren't going to be shown on cable tv either, so it's hard to get to see many at all. The list I provided came from all the internet polls put together, which only yielded 11 Indian films, so I'm adding more recommendations as I work on this.

I don't think most people in the west even understand that there are differently languages there, all we hear are Hindi and English! Personally, I'm indignant that the west will only want non-subtitled films so they don't become available; that's like saying 90% of the world population isn't worth listening to because they aren't using "our language". There are many more films produced in India, Russia, and China than the U.S., yet we somehow think we are the "kings of entertainment", when we are really the purveyors of commercially acceptable, mediocre, non-intellectual entertainment, and not much in the way of serious cinematic art.

Hopefully Netflix will make more Indian films available; we currently cannot rent the Apu Trilogy of Ray's, which is a crime for serious film fans, and indicative of the dilemna we face over here.

I'm sure you have the same problem there, I doubt all the European classic films have been made into films subtitled for all languages of India. Can you see 400 Blows, Umberto D, The Conformist, Fitzcarraldo, The Seventh Seal, Cinema Paradiso in Tamal? I hope so, but I doubt that all the 500 of so European classics are all available there, just the more commercially successful. Unfortunately, it all comes down to "how much money can we make on this?"

Thanks for the comments, I'll post links to the other awards as well.
..Jose..

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Surya Krishnan said...

Ah!! Good question. Fortunately for us in India, we do get subtitled world movies. I am in possession of most of the movies that you have mentioned in their original language. The issue? If you buy the official release version from the distributors, chances are that it will be edited. The other option? You do get the original unedited version in the grey market. But you will have to be lucky to get the ones you want. I am surprised by the fact that you are not aware of regional language movies. Most of the regional language Indian movies have office overseas and sell officially as well there. Please do check out in some Indian DVD stores there.

Jose Sinclair said...

That's good info to know and I wish I were closer to some int'l US cities that might have Indian film stores, like L.A., New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago- but I'm thousands of miles from any.. I would love to rent Indian films if they were available in the U.S. Someone should start a company doing that, and blow Netflix away re Indian dvds!

Not having been able to visit India myself (first lack of time, now lack of finances), I have heard of visits there from friends, and love the exposure to the culture that I can get only through films and tv, however myopic and slanted those points of view may be presented.. it seems to be one other most varied and interesting cultures in the history of civilization with much to offer the world. I can only surmise then that the film industry would be reflective of all these various subcultures if we could see enough Indian films.

I'll keep researching all the suggestions and building a longer list of Indian films as I go through this educational process. Thanks again for all the comments.

.. Jose ..