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This list will keep it tight to Top 50 with stiff competition between films and thus making it more exciting.
The clash of the titans and the two Screen Gods in one frame.Shakti delivers it all–emotion,drama,action and a tight script. Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan portray two souls at the extreme end of a single spectrum-Life! One identifies with the protagonists and also can understand their disposition.The agony of a father,a father torn between duty and family,a son who gre rebellious out of a hatred having its inception in his childhood,a mother that could have bridged the gap but couldn’t and finally the union of father and son in a circumstance that they both would not want to be in.Shakti boasts of a terrific performances,a great psychological insight into the ways life can treat us and a definite statement about it is never made,instead the viewer is asked to contemplate on the choices Life has to offer!!
A piece that speaks of the culture that we do not “want” to behold. A film that is bold not onlt at its inception but also in its execution.Deepa Mehta takes a critical take at the theme of homosexuality and challenges the established order,facilitating the onset of a new era in Cinema,atleast for India.She depicts the “suppression of desires” and “the subsequent rebellion against it” in a light that also encompasses many other issues,like that of infidelity,sexual frustration and the life of a woman in a joint household where the income is low but the orthodox morals are high.A hammer on the existing system,this piece is seminal in nature and also speaks of “sex” as an important means of liberation and an act that transcends just the basic purpose of reproduction.
I miss Benegal of the old days! Such a fantastic piece of work,this film never ever takes itself very seriously but also evokes great concerns where it deems it apt.Set around the brothel and politics of the state,it not only is extremely satirical at times but also very candid in accepting the effect of politics and also its association on the business of sex in a state.[ A very burning issue considering the likes of N.D.Tiwari and Bhanvri Devi and Madhumita exist in our times]. The most interesting aspect of this film is that it deals with the subject of “castrating” the brothels[that are endorsed by the society itself] from the city to its suburban areas. Thus a “subject” that is patronised by the society itself is never accepted by it on the face.Many events unfold around this theme in this movie that has acting stalwarts like Shaban Aazmi,Smita Patil,Kulbhushan Kharbanda.
47. Chupke Chupke:
Immortal movies of Hrishikesh Da which have a sense of world far different from the real but then the simplicity is so elegant[samev with Basu's films] that one just cannot remain “not” enamoured by them.Dharmendra,Sharmila Tagore,Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri and Om Prakash star in this feature that boasts of a humour that arises out of not only the interactions that the protagonists have but also from the situations that the director provides for via the script.Brilliant performances from an ensemble acst and all the more,a simple narration and to surpass it all,who can forget the “Professor of Botany”. Watch out for the Keshto Mukherji’s famous comic scene. Love the scenes where Sukumar Sinha[AMITABH] tries coming close to Vasudha[Jaya Bachchan] and she suspects him to be an infidel man.Also the sequences where Dharmendra corrects Om Parakash on his Hindi pronunciation and irks him a lot. Lovely world of Hirishikesh Da!
46. A Wednesday:
A film that traverses the expected and very much desired response that a mango man would want to provide to the question of terrorism that is mauling India. Based around the Mumbai Train Blasts,this movie encompasses the various aspects of terrorism and the frustration of a common man through the eyes of Naseeruddin Shah,who puts up an entire city’s police force on its toes by monitoring the city in the same way as terrorists do but for an alternative and radically different ending.Anupam Kher plays the razer sharp cop efficiently and effectively.Also involved are the dialogues by Naseer over the phone that simply are a perfect summation of the sum total of all emotion that the man on the road harbours when he sees the bloodbath every alternate month. Brilliant script,overtly splendid screenplay,crisp dialogues and some lessons that we feel like teaching to the terrorists.
Abhishek Bachchan’s zenith and Ratnam’s fine piece of work. It is all about dreams,the desire to excel and the desire to lead by example. Loosely built around the life of Dhirubhai Ambani,the movie is not only a sort of biopic but also a tribute to men around us who have dared to aspire for heights.The movie is a befitting homage to the adage– “It is not the aptitude but the attitude that determines the altitude.” Gurukant Desai epitomizes the collection of dreams and Ratnam treats the script much close to his own strength of being able to impart it a flair of richness and sublimity.Abhishek is splendid and acts in a manner that Clift and Brando would be proud of!!
The world of science fiction gripped India like never before,thanks to two Kapoors–Shekhar and Anil.A fantastic theme of “being able to go invisible” on wearing a watch is woven around a common man whose father once invented the watch. Now this man aloof from such facts is happy with his bunch of adopted children.But Life takes a turn for him when he has to stop “Mogambo” ,the deadliest villain of all times,in his heinous plans to destroy India.To support him is Hawa-Hawai,the ever gorgeous and always effective–Sridevi. The movie is a very interesting take at science,its possibilities and also speaks tonnes about human emotions,the loss of life and how the anti-social elements are ever ready to destroy a country.You just cannot miss out on Sridevi in a Blue Saree in “Kaate Nahi Kat-te Ye Din Ye Raat”. Amrish Puri as Mogambo steals much of the show– “Mogambo Khush Hua”–immortal dialogue!!
43. Hera Pheri:
A riveting comic tale of three men who have nothing to lose and “loss” laughs at them.The best thing about the greatest piece of comic works in cinema is that they always are very rooted and close to the bourgeois.This film too boasts of the same.Paresh Rawal,Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty star in a feature that revolves around a phone call,a kidnapped girl and the drama that ensues further.Marred with the constraints of daily life,the film in someway also presents a tale of the society with respect to the luxury that money can bring.Mark the scene where Paresh Rawal asks the creditors to come next day and take their money,almost over publicizing it,infact he single-handedly allows us to realize the importance of money when the question of life is on the anvil!!But it never undermines the human emotions that are beautifully captured in the movie.
A disturbing movie.Saw it in Nandan once 3 years ago. The movie deals with the chakra of Life!The way life keeps turning its wheels,no matter what the circumstances are and no matter how they change is symbolically depicted in the movie.One thing is remarkable–Smita Patil’s oeuvre will never be defined better than the way this movie does. Depiction of slums,its dwellers,the mentalities,the bargain of body for a livelihood and finally the disintegration of that world and the protagonist moving onto another thus completing the wheel of life. Naseeruddin Shah,Kulbhhushan Kharbanda and Patil make this movie just terrific and nothing less! A very important scene is when Patil procalims her in-utero child to be of Kulbhushan although she herself does not know whose it is–Naseer’s or Kulbhushan’s.This scene portrays the eternal rule–the woman will want to bear the child of a man who can provide for the child.Patil chooses Kulbhsuhan over Naseer “off the bed” here,though she is “on the bed” with both of them in different moments!
The movie is a highly acclaimed feature in the anals of Hindi Cinema.It signifies the strength of human relationships even if the “senses” do not directly perceive them.Yes,it is about the “touch of love” that effects the heart,no matter if the eyes beheld it or not. Naseeruddin[a blind man who also is a principal of a blind school] and Shabana Aazmi[ a woman who starts teaching at the school on Naseer's request] get entangled in a web of emotions as they both come to realize the “strength of love” in times of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. My only complain about the movie is its second half that drags a bit,otherwise the issue of “complexity” of relationships that this movie deals in is brilliantly poratrayed! Naseer at his best!
40. Boot Polish:
One of the seminal pieces on life on roads and the difficulties thus encountered.Two children–brother and sister,motivated by an alcoholic, leave begging and start polishing boots but find themselves in dismay when rains pour in and their work gets withheld. Now turns of event place both the brother and sister in different places and will they meet forms the rest of the story.The film takes a very high moral on the “alm” business and despises beggary and induces the belief of the hard work that can win more than just coins and that is a belief to live with the head held high. Baby Naaz and Ratan Kumar deliver sheer awesome performances.I am particularly fond of Baby Naaz’s screen presence. One of those simple tales where isuses are raised and answered too but then the film never goes way too serious in dealing with them.the balance is maintained beautifully!
One may raise objections,even laugh at the inclusion,but the film is an awesome enthralling mystery game with some great music and background score.The mystery in itself is not important,but the “obsession” and the further depiction of it combined with the effect it has on the scheme of things later,is what makes this film quite worth a watch.Moreover the director always is successful in hiding the “truth” behind the mystery by always forcing us to think about the case in a manner that will always lead away from the truth.This is the hallmark of a great script and effective treatment,.Other movie in the same vein is Khiladi. Both are great entertainers and worth a watch!
38. Amar Akbar Anthony:
Probably the greatest Masala film ever made! Three brothers separated,Father-Mother separated,Mother is blind,three brothers are raised in three different cultures and religion,the villain has a daughter in love with one of the brothers,another brother is in love with a girl whose father is involved with prostitutes,and the last one is on the mature side of love and happily married. There is song,there is action,there is drama,there is melodrama–in sum total there is just everything that any cinema anywhere in the world can boast about. A remarkable feature is the unification of religion that is sought even if the effort is on a superficial level and marred by other sub plots.But the confession scene in church,the song praising Sai Baba and the various inferences always attempt to present a piece which makes an effort to put the disturbed order of the “society” to order,rest and peace.Afterall,at the end of our films,everything is always made correct,presented happily!! The next in this vein could well be a movie,i am highly critical about–OSO,but if “Masala” is in question..OSO is a welcome treat.Watch out for the iconic mirror sequence..Anthony nails it!
What more could one want from a director who best describes the bourgeois and the values associated with it in a manner where the “servant” Rajesh Khanna attempts to remodel a home ,that is broken from within by acting as a “glue” to help revive relationships.Set in a middle class joint family,Basu not only brings out the simplicity of such a setting but also tells about the minor issues that provide the tool to break the setting,dismember it!! Rajesh Khanna is charming,witty,intelligent,knows almost everything,is available at all times to everyone and in short is the superhero epitomizing the middle class social ambitions.He restores the order in a chaotic home by emotional manipulations but with a pure intent. A must watch if one wishes to have a feel of the middle class values and the apparel that Basu provides them!! “Tum Bin Jeevan Kaisa Jeevan” is the my pick amongst the songs!
Laden with memorable songs,it traverses the story of “pride” that kills the relationship between a husband and wife,when the wife starts surmounting the fame of the husband.The clash of the “male ego” with the :success of spouse” takes a very sentimental turn when both get separated.A very realistic depiction of a husband whose fame gets challenged by his own wife’s fame,when his own fans leave him and surround his wife for signature and autographs. It travels the emotions that build up a relationship and the egoe that shatters it. Abhimaan is just not about the couple,deep within it also strikes hard at some established norm that the wife should never be more successful than the husband.It challenges a social order,shows the members of civil society a mirror where there are dark psychological secrets!! Bachchan and Jaya,both are outstanding,especially Jaya!
35. Mirch Masala:
The inclusion is basically on two grounds:
1.The way the film deals with the pathetic condition of the deprived section being ruled by the wealthy,providing insights into the “capitalistic” practices rampant in a country which aims to be socialist.The conditions,the incidents that prevail and happen in villages,like confining woman to homes,not providing them education,suppressing them,bowing to the rich class,going to the extent of providing them woman to please them–are all indicatives of the failed system.Ketan Mehta does a credible job in capturing them.
2. The climax scene where Sonbai[Patil] and the other woman teach the Tax Collector[the symbol of capitalism] a lesson by hurling “Mirch Powder”in their eyes.This film talks a lot of social affairs and also presents them in an emphatic manner.
Extremely Political not only in reference but also in the subplots and cinematic attributes! Splendid performance by Suchitra Sen,playing a politician who earlier had fallen in love with Sanjeev Kumar,married him but later they get separated owing to the aspirational difference. They do meet again but then much has been lost in between,save the last few strings of emotion that bind them.Suchitra’s character,rumoured to be based on Indira Gandhi’s life is quite poignant,vulnerable and embedded with human infirmities. In my humble opinion,it is one of the only few movies where Sanjeev Kumar was outsmarted but not before he himself pitches in with an emphatic and sound performance that adequately supplements the story of Suchitra.Beautiful songs and beautiful capturing of relationships over time,time itself would stop to look at this poetic piece from Gulzaar!
33. Do Ankhein Baarah Haath:
I know the lambasting that awaits me for keeping it this low.But there are potential movies that in my opinion should be ranked above,although every movie in the list is way above rankings.
The film deals in the investment of intent and energy to revive the dead soul in the “criminal outcasts”.
V.Shantaram has put in all the social virtues at stake against the sort of “challenge” that the conversion of bad men to good men would place.There is a sort of discourse imparted on the chhanelisation of resources,internal ones basically for achieving the purity within. The song “Aye Malik Tere Bande Hum” captures this intent of reconciliation with the purest of all in a melodious tune. Beautiful theme directed beautifully.There are places where the film goes off track but then the restoration takes place very quickly!
Caught it in Delhi just a few days ago at a relative’s place. Another winner from Sanjeev Kumar.A very unusual story,wherein a couple moves into a flat formerly occupied by a prostitute get daily knocks on the door from men dying to find the prostitute.This “dastak” hits hard on the life of the couple and their relationship comes in severe distress as the male protagonist[Sanjeev Kumar] starts losing his sanity considering his repute,integrity and honesty come under the hammer. The “dastak” starts destroying his belief in his ownself,leading to a molestation of the wife by the husband itself!! Rajinder Singh Bedi has depicted a story,much ahead of its time,in a manner that makes inconsequential happenings like a “dastak” turn into the reason for discord and distress in a couple’s life,thereby also giving a deep insight into the world of a middle class society marred with lust.This “lust” is signified by the “dustak” and the “love” and its credential between the couple finds itself in the witness box!
31. Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa:
Before 3 Idiots dealt in the freedom of a young gun to chose his career,KHKN had already depicted it but with many other aspect of the life of a young man in question.Sunil becomes the hero of the subject by refusing to bow down to his father’s wish to not pursue music and go for some hardcore academics.He stands for the subject by carving his own path,marred with humiliation,defeat,enthusiasm,joys,and loss!! He loves a girl but ultimately loses her.He loves music,almost lost it.He cheated on his parents,and beautifully accepts it in the whole function.He never wanted the ring to be found,but he again loses to the will of God.He lost much,but the smile never left his face.In this whole process,he found himself. An epic tale told in the most simple cinematic language,about the aspirations of a young man who has his own surreal world–he wins some from that world and loses most but at the end–he has been successful in knowing himself.SRK at his emphatic and natural best!
I was “still” in emotional lockjaw after the movie ended.I respect Fellini,Godard,.Kurusawa and many others,but Gulzaar with the volume he is occupying in my Top 50 is easily my favourite.This movie again exposes a truth about Gulzaar–that no one,mark it no one in Hindi Cinema comes even close to depicting human emotions more beautifully than Gulzaar.Deaf and Dumb Sanjeev Kumar meets a deaf Jaya Bachchan and a love story ensues that provides not only a peep into their camaraderie but also prove that love need not have voice.That it has heart would sufficeth! A beautiful scene and possibly the greatest piece of acting in Hindi Cinema is there when both leads describe a setting sun to their uncle and the sun seems smiling accepting their description.Beautifully scripted,deftly handled and executed with finesse!
Forget the sexual undertones the film deals in,let us focus on the pathos of a society without woman.The pandemonium thereafter is the very basis why this movie inspite of portraying Kalki[Tulip Joshi] in a distressed state,also affirms the fact emphatically that a social structure without woman is impossible and that the final means of genesis is a woman with the man just being an “associate”.The movie hits hard at the “female infanticide” and depicts a fictional[although not far from reality] tale of an era where one woman will act as the means of all men of a village to ejaculate not only their semen but also their frustration.In all this effort the director tells a gripping tale combined with a vision that he projects that depicts the harsh reality!
Prakash Jha visits the infamous incident that occurred in the circles of Bhaagalpur,Bihar where acid from battery sets was thrown in the eyes of a criminals.Ajay Devgan delivers a restrained and effective performance signifying the “hero” that will not opt for the methodology of “acid”[immediate punishment] but will take the course as law suggests. The moralities of a man in question in a lawless land.The fury of the public and a man standing in front of them delivering a justice that does not violate the norms.Human Rights intact,Justice meted out,and the record kept clean.The movie is a brilliant assimilation of script,acting and execution!
The crime will be punished but before the law does,the soul itself starts hating the body in which it resides.That is the real punishment.And the body yearns for freedom,for salvation.And who better than the mother–the entity who gave birth to the life–to facilitate the end of the same.Sanjay Dutt portrays the character of an underworld criminal with aplomb.There is something about Sanjay when he plays that rustuc criminal–he gets the texture right!! Vivek Oberoi falls in the same category. All in all,a very powerful film which depicts the rise that crime gives and also the downfall it causes.
Kashyap’s second and last film that i enjoyed.Crisp direction,taut script,no lack of pace,and a riveting tale of college politics that also gets entwined in the caste based politics.In fact it encapsulates the essence of caste based politics and simplifies it in the college setting.Credible and sincere performance by the cast that boasts of Kay Kay Menon,Aditya Shrivastava,Deepak Dobriyal and Raj Singh Choudhary,the film is an enthralling tale of the layers of society that are effected by the “politics”,not only of the state but also of relationships.