So, the last tag game on Facebook, got my friends interested (on Email of course) and then someone came up with let’s start a 10 movies that stayed with me tag. On the one hand, the 10 favourite movie tag is simple for me, because these will usually be Indian. On the other hand though, it is also extremely hard, because, there was a point, I was watching one movie a day, so just my consumption of movies has been so large that only just coming up with a handful of 10 movies that have stayed with me, is hard.
I will try.
the 10 movies that have stayed with me:
1. Chandni: It’s the first movie I remember being swayed by. I had already been a Sreedevi fan since my childhood dream was to be one Ichadhari Nagin. Chandni sealed it for me. I remember this was quite close to the time we were thrown out of home and terrorist activities in Srinagar were at its peak. Schools were often closed for curfew and while there was hardly any electricity, we were still able to watch this movie on a Video cassette on our small VCP. My cousin and I would dance for hours on Chandni Chandni. It was our happiness booster. I was in love with Rishi Kapoor’s sweaters. It had also broken my heart to realize that there was such a thing called Playback singing after hearing Sreedevi make those shrieking noises in the title track.
2. Pakeezah: I think my mother was attracted to it, after which I ensured I was seeing almost all of Meena Kumari’s movies who is just incredibly emotive and exceptionally talented as an actress. Also to be able to carry the weight of a Bollywood movie with no slim figure or dancing style so to speak of- in fact, she even played a real dancer in one movie so believably. Her movies also had just the best songs. Much later I discovered her own writing was something I found immense interest in.
3. Aaradhana: It was here that I fell in love with Rajesh Khanna and I have no embarrassment in accepting that I really thought he was the first real superstar. All the other movies followed and I usually liked him in most (Bawarchi, Anand, Kati Patang, everything with Sharmila Tagore)
4. Dev D/ Gulaal: I thought Indian movies changed with these two. I saw Dev D first, loved it. I followed this up with Gulaal in quick succession, and felt it. The use of references, the strong performances, and this darkness that Kashyap brings about is so fancy. I spent hours thinking what each reference meant. My friend wanted to marry Kashyap. We love him.
5. Swades/Dil se: Swades spoke to me in many ways. There are few movies in which Shah Rukh Khan has been mellowed and is reachable. Every frame of Dil Se is art. Especially when they’re in the radio station with the doors opening off and on. But it’s a lie that I didn’t watch Dil Waale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge 400 times.
6. Maqbool/Blue Umbrella: My greatest regret being outside of India is missing the first week of any thing Vishal Bharadwaj touches. Maqbool took me to the theatres and Pankaj Kapoor is God.
7. Mera Naam Joker: Just the canvas of this movie is so large. He was also so mainstream and yet so ahead of his times.
8. Ek Doctor Ki Maut: I feel it could happen now and we still won’t do anything. It spoke to me on such a personal level. It also stars the best actor in Indian cinema.
9. Gol Maal: I like most of Amol Palekar’s 70s middle class action, but I can still laugh like crazy seeing what I’ve seen a hundred times before. The only one I laugh equally with is perhaps Chupke Chupke.
10. Jaane bhi do yaaro: It’s just so poignant. There’s nothing to say. And Draupadi is hillarious.
Movies in addition that I was thinking of: Guide, Suraj ka saathva ghoda, Rockstar (Ranbir Kapoor is one), Mirch Masaala, Arth, the Lunch Box, Mughal-e-azam, Shri 420, Bagh Bahadur (Pavan Malhotra) , Masoom, Lekin, Mr. India, Harishchandra chi factory, Munnabhai MBBS, Rang De Basanti, Lamhe…oh well.
I just think perhaps for visual stories via the medium of movies, local references are so critical to me, that most stories that strongly impact me came from India and the 10 I could readily think of were all Hindi. Although, it is because this is how I spent my childhood stuck to Doordarshan and thus 10 movies that have stayed with me were all in one language. If I were not doing what I was, I would be thinking/creating film stories, that my friend Vishal would direct. I should next do a list of songs, with 50 per cent coming from Rafi.