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Bollywood Recommendation

Joe Borderi
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Joined: Oct 23, 2004
Posts: 151
This question is primarily meant for our Indian comrades in code: what is the best, indispensable, classic movie recommendation for an American's introduction to Bollywood?

For example, if I were to recommend indispensable, classic American cinema movies, I would start with "The Godfather", "Casablanca", and "Gone With The Wind".

Which movies are the Bollywood equals to these films and why do you recommend them?
Aj Mathia
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 11, 2003
Posts: 478
some that come to mind
Sholay
Salaam Bombay
Dil Chaahta Hai
ABHIMAAN
Nayagan
Bandit Queen
Jaane bhi do yaaron
Parinda
Satya
ARTH
QAYAMAT SE QAYAMAT TAK
QURBANI
PADOSAN
MASOOM
HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Angoor
Andaz apna apna
Lagaan

the reason for these to be in my list would be a very large to list so will provide them on demand.


You think you know me .... You will never know me ... You know only what I let you know ... You are just a puppet ... --CMG
Sonny Gill
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Joined: Feb 02, 2002
Posts: 1211

There are easily over a hundred considered all time classics. Ones I can quickly remember -

- Mahal (featuring Ashok Kumar one of the oldest actors that current generation is still familiar with)

- Awara (Raj Kapoor)
- Mother India (Nargis got an award for this)
- Devdas (quintessential Dilip Kumar)
Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand were THE THREE stars of that era.

Ohh I almost forgot Guru Dutt!
- Pyasa
- Kaagaz Ke Phool

- Satyakam (one of the few movies where Dharmendra, considered the most handsome man on Indian screen at that time, actually acted .

- Sholay, influenced by hollywood westerns, considered The Classic by young and the old alike

- Deewar, Amitabh Bacchan! enuff said.

- Chupke Chupke - Amitabh and Dharmendra together, at their comic best

Jeeez...you might as well be searching through IMDB !!

Let me just recommend
- Pyasa
- Awara
- Any Satyajit Ray movies you can find with subtitles. Some of these were on
Time magazine's list of greatest movies

Cheers.

Sonny


The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet. - William Gibson
Consultant @ Xebia. Sonny Gill Tweets
Varun Khanna
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Joined: May 30, 2002
Posts: 1400
Pushpak

A movie without any dialogue. A masterpiece


- Varun
R K Singh
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Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
if you are looking for mild comedy then you can go for :

Manoranjan (The only movie directed by Shammi Kapoor) http://imdb.com/title/tt0071811/
Love story of a hooker and policaman.

Katha http://imdb.com/title/tt0085776/
Might give a sense of 80s Bombay, hmmm.. I think majority of Bombay is still more or less like this only. As they say Bombay lives either on local trains or in Chaals(a kind of appartment).

Jane Bhi Do Yaro http://imdb.com/title/tt0085743/
Its kind of black-comedy on corruption.
But some funny scenes require you to know Indian mythology (at least you should know Ramayana and Mahabharata).

Shaukeen http://imdb.com/title/tt0158213/
Really good movie. Story revolves around three old men who wants to have sex good time, away from their aged wives, with a young girl.
And one of the old man is father of girl's boy friend's friend.

Pushpakhttp://imdb.com/title/tt0251355/
Beyond the barrier of language.
No one has spoken a single word in the film. And situations are like that they dont have to. I only wish that its not a copy of any foreign film.

Chhoti Se Baathttp://imdb.com/title/tt0072777/


Following movies might have been recommended earlier also but still here goes list of my favourites:
Mahal http://imdb.com/title/tt0041619/
I had to watch 5 times to understand what writer-director Kamal wants to convey. Some people consider it to be horror movie, but I think its a master piece of bollywood with tight story line and good direction.
Note: Its a black & white movie.

Sahid Bibi Aur Gulamhttp://imdb.com/title/tt0056436/
Actually another classic remake of bengali movie.


Ijaazathttp://imdb.com/title/tt0091256/
I think the best love-story I have ever seen.

Arthhttp://imdb.com/title/tt0083578/
Movie on the meaning of Marriage.

Maya Memsaabhttp://imdb.com/title/tt0137100/
I dont remember the tag line of the movie, I call this movie, "A journey to woman's heart."

Sparsh http://imdb.com/title/tt0079938/
Story goes around a blind school, its principal, a widow and principal's ego.

Sheeshahttp://imdb.com/title/tt0158215/
On the line of Disclosure[Demi Moore,Michael Douglas], but much before it.

I think this much is enough for today.


"Thanks to Indian media who has over the period of time swiped out intellectual taste from mass Indian population." - Chetan Parekh
Bhiku Mhatre
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 08, 2002
Posts: 127
Daddy
Munnabhai MBBS


The difference between winner and loser is making things happen and letting things happen.
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
[Sonny]: There are easily over a hundred considered all time classics.

No doubt. But the point here is to pick out a few at the very top. Of course, it's unlikely everyone will agree. For comparison, many would argue with J Borderi's omission of Citizen Kane - but hey, disagreements happen. It's still useful to gather opinions about the top five or so, especially for those of us who have seen few if any of them.

I've actually noticed the Apu trilogy on DVD in the local library - been tempted to check it out. Unfortunately they never have the first film available; only the second and third. Still I suppose I could fix that problem easily enough by modifying my netflix.com queue...
[ July 14, 2005: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]

"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Mani Ram
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Joined: Mar 11, 2002
Posts: 1140
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
For comparison, many would argue with J Borderi's omission of Citizen Kane


And I'm disappointed with the omission of Highlander II


Mani
Quaerendo Invenietis
R K Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Originally posted by Bhiku Mhatre:
Munnabhai MBBS


i think Munnabhai MBBS will lose its charm with sub-titles.

Lot of movies I have not mentioned like Hera-Pheri(Paresh Rawal) etc because they would lose the charm if they would be translated in English or if you have to watch it with sub-titles.

Ironically, not all good movies can be translated.
I think it applies mostly on comedy movies else sentiments can be conveyed in any language.
Aj Mathia
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 11, 2003
Posts: 478
Originally posted by R K Singh:


i think Munnabhai MBBS will lose its charm with sub-titles.



I remember reading some were that Munnabhai MBBS is going to be made in hollywood starring Chris Rock called Gangster MD
R K Singh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Originally posted by Ajay Mathew:
I remember reading some were that Munnabhai MBBS is going to be made in hollywood starring Chris Rock called Gangster MD


I think remake could be possible cause then they would use their lingos.

Can you trasnlate "Mamu" or "Kharcha Pani Do Kya" or Bambaiya slang ??
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
[RKS]: Ironically, not all good movies can be translated.

Very true. Map is unvailable for comment at the moment, or I'm sure she would wish to discuss this for several pages. Maybe later.

I think it applies mostly on comedy movies else sentiments can be conveyed in any language.

Yes, I think comedy is much more likely to be lost in translation than drama is. It depends on the type of comedy of course. E.g. physical comedy is pretty eay to "translate" to any language (if any translation is required at all). And simple (childish) humor is usually easy to translate. But humor for educated adults tends to be much harder to translate, as it's more likely to rely on wordplay or cultural references which have no real cognates in other languages.
Anjali S Sharma
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Joined: Jun 29, 2005
Posts: 279
Originally posted by Bhiku Mhatre:
Daddy
Munnabhai MBBS


Must watch "Anand" and "Lakshya", two most inspiring movies ever made in Bollywood.
R K Singh
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Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Originally posted by Anjali S Sharma:
"Lakshya", two most inspiring movies ever made in Bollywood.


I think I am getting old ..

In the category of inspiring movies, I would suggest "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar".
R K Singh
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Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
Very true. Map is unvailable for comment at the moment, or I'm sure she would wish to discuss this for several pages. Maybe later.


Oh.. Map.... who is this ??

Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi (Again I recall your story)
Another good movie from Mahesh Bhatt.. [true, story is not as tight as his earlier good movies, but still can be watched.]
Sonny Gill
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Joined: Feb 02, 2002
Posts: 1211

Originally posted by J Borderi:

For example, if I were to recommend indispensable, classic American cinema movies, I would start with "The Godfather", "Casablanca", and "Gone With The Wind".


Mmm..I think J was expecting to hear more about movies on par with a 'Gone With The Wind' or 'Casablanca'. Most of the 'new' movies listed above, however entertaining or inspiring, hardly approach the cinematic standards of the classics IMHO.

@Jim Yingst.

I absolutely agree Jim. I started off listing down movies as I thought of them but realized the list would be humongous.
I would love to watch the Apu trilogy. Unfortunately, I cant find these classics around where I am. I probabely saw some of these on Indian National TV scores of years ago.

Cheers
Sameer Jamal
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Joined: Feb 16, 2001
Posts: 1870
Mughle Azam
Pakeeza
Umrao Jaan
Joe Borderi
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Joined: Oct 23, 2004
Posts: 151
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
For comparison, many would argue with J Borderi's omission of Citizen Kane - but hey, disagreements happen.


Of course I am well aware of Citizen Kane's place in movie history and among film historians. Nonetheless, I don't think Citizen Kane is as purely entertaining as the movies I mentioned. Citizen Kane's importance in movie history is lost on the casual viewer because all movies incorporate the innovations introduced by Citizen Kane.

Consequently, Citizen Kane, although always mentioned as a top movie by film critics and historians, is not on the fan favorites' lists. If I were to recommend to an Indian friend a must-see American film as an introduction to the American cinema, I don't think I'd recommend Citizen Kane. Birth of a Nation is recognized as important and "great" by movie critics, but (and even without its thematic considerations) I would not recommend this as an introductory "must-see".

...And as Jim put so eloquently and politely, "...but hey, disagreements happen."
Joe Borderi
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Joined: Oct 23, 2004
Posts: 151
...hmmm, upon reading the posts in this thread, I think I should enter some other criteria. I am not well-educated in Indian culture, and any movie that requires beyond a rudimentary knowledge of Indian culture or history would not be a good recommendation for me.

As a criterion in pruning this list, therefore, the recommendations should be more culturally neutral. Applying this criterion to my list of "The Godfather", "Casablanca", and "Gone With The Wind", I would cut "Gone With The Wind" as being too culturally dependent.

I will also use "having a universal theme" as a criteria to further lessen the impact of cultural and historical dependence in a movie recommendation. Although I would like to see an Indian film with an Indian flavor, I don't want to get lost in something I won't understand.

These criteria leave standing Casablanca as my single movie recommendation to an Indian friend for an introduction to the best in American cinema.
R K Singh
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Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Originally posted by J Borderi:
I will also use "having a universal theme" as a criteria to further lessen the impact of cultural and historical dependence in a movie recommendation.


I beg your pardon, as a "universal theme", I dont have any movie to recommend.

A story is written for particular reader, a movie is made for particular viewer.
Can you think of "Reservoir Dog" movie with songs and dance, and here we have a remake of Reservoir Dog with songs and dance and it is a hit movie(i am talking about Kanteey)

Universal theme is a mirage ..
R K Singh
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Joined: Oct 15, 2001
Posts: 5371
Originally posted by Sameer Jamal:
Mughle Azam
Pakeeza
Umrao Jaan


Can you watch any of them with english sub-title.

Aap Aapne Pairoo Ko Zamme Par Mat Rakhiyega, ye Mailey Ho Jayegey
Do you think, this dialogue would ever be hit or would sound as nice as it sounds now.

Do you think it would be acceptable, that a man is marrying a whore/courtesan/dancer because he likes her leg ???
Sameer Jamal
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 16, 2001
Posts: 1870

Can you watch any of them with english sub-title.
Aap Aapne Pairoo Ko Zamme Par Mat Rakhiyega, ye Mailey Ho Jayegey
Do you think, this dialogue would ever be hit or would sound as nice as it sounds now.


Do you think it would be acceptable, that a man is marrying a whore/courtesan/dancer because he likes her leg ???

Actually the above films show a glimpse of part of Indian Culture, If we try to present it with english subtitle the impact of the films will never be the same just because of cultural difference.
Joe Borderi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2004
Posts: 151
Originally posted by R K Singh:


I beg your pardon, as a "universal theme", I dont have any movie to recommend.

A story is written for particular reader, a movie is made for particular viewer.

...Universal theme is a mirage ..


Either you misunderstand what I mean by "universal theme" or I must disagree with you. The most universal of universal themes is "love conquers all." That theme crosses all cultures. Another is something to the effect "what profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul in the process?"

Casablanca's "sacrifice for a greater cause" theme is easily understood across all cultures.
Joe Borderi
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Joined: Oct 23, 2004
Posts: 151
Thank you all for your many suggestions.

I've done some reading into the many wonderful recommendations, and I'm favoring Guru Dutt's Pyaasa (1957) (thank you, Sonny) because I like sultry stories and Mani Ratnam's Nayakan (1987) because Time compared it to The Godfather. Also in the running is the following:
Originally posted by Varun Khanna:
Pushpak

A movie without any dialogue. A masterpiece

I love the idea of a movie without any dialogue and Varun's pithy critique. His paucity of words conveys a wealth of knowledge of Indian film.
Sonny Gill
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Joined: Feb 02, 2002
Posts: 1211

All 3 are good choices, J.
Pyaasa has that classic, eternal feel to it IMO.
I remember watching it when I was quite young, rewinding the tape, and watching the whole thing again. No other movie had made me do that

Hope you enjoy the Indian movie experience. Cheers.
 
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