Reading through all the comments I could feel that everyone was out to get to Bollywood. Not a bad idea because Bollywood is as I can say easily "beatable". What with 800 odd films produced in a year and only 10 of them recovering some money and that too year after year (gosh where does that money come from, another question though)
But I would not like to take the beaten and well traversed path. I will try to list down a few movies which I genuinely liked and try to give my reasons for liking.
a) Dharam & Sons Movies As you would have realised that I am a hardcore Dharamendra fan and this fan stuff extends to his handsome sons too. Dharaminder as he was originally spelled out in his earlier movies I believe had exceptional talent and his "simmer simmer" performances had me riveted to the TV screen. I am talking about his performances in Movies like
a. Satyakam He played the dying righteous cranky man to the hilt
b. Anupama He played the poet trying to do what is right
c. Naya Zamana He played a writer whose Book is stolen by the publisher
d. Phool Aur Pathar He played the rogue with a golden heart
e. Ghulami He played the man fighting for his rights in a caste ridden society. What a wonderful film.
His restrained performances in these movies move me till date. He underplayed the character so well that no one from the present generation would believe it.
He had another fabulous streak "Comedy". I cannot but forget Chupke Chupke which has more Hrishikesh Mukherji touch than Dharam touch but I would see it more as Dharam strength that he could gel in the movie.
Another comedy which I thoroughly enjoyed was Pratigyya. The comedy worked totally because of Dharam. It might be a little clichéd movie but the gags and the situation I found really funny. Sholay is another example.
Of course today he is virtually known from his action movies but one should look at good movies like Mera Gaon Mera Desh and some movies pointed out earlier to see real actions
Now coming to sons . Sunny's first movie that I saw was Arjun and I was bowled over by the thoroughly understated performance. Many modern day movies in various languages take of from this movie. Even Kamal Hasan acted in a remake of Arjun in Tamil called Satya.
Then from the same director Rahul Rawail another gem called Dacait. This movie was a story of a educated man becoming a dacoit. Excellent performances from Rakhee, Paresh Rawal, Suresh Oberoi and even Meenakshi Sheshadhri. But the film I remember was taken off from theatres in the first week itself because there was no regular daaku stuff there. Then of course who can forget his association with Rajkumar Santoshi. Ghayal was as Kamal Haasan said in one of his interview a "surprising performance". Every body was surprised (or shall I say shocked) by the intense performance. Damini and Ghatak followed. I hope these two guys create magic once again.
Bobby, I think is still looking for the defining movie of his career but I watch his movies with the same hope that he will one day give a performance befitting his genes. He was promising in Dillagi though
b) I also like movies in which the story moves at a very slow pace. Some movies which come to mind are
a. Kalyug Shyam Benegal directed it and was produced by Shashi Kapoor
b. New Delhi Times Shashi Kapoor I think got the national award for this
c. Pardes A very surprising movie from Subhash Ghai
e. Stanley and Iris Great acting by De Niro as an illiterate man and Jane Fonda (mother of two) and the romance between them
f. The Fisher King Robin Williams as a mad man with a past and Jeff bridges
g. The Champ Starring Jon Voight as a Boxing champ on the decline and relationship with his son
c) The final genre of movies which I like are the fantasy movies or rather movies which are made from old comic characters which I read about in my younger days and some which I still read ex. Harry Potter series. But let me list them in some kind of order
a. Hook: I think this is an excellent movie based on Peter Pan. Here the director went a step beyond showing a grown up peter pan and his old nemesis Hook. Dustin Hoffman as Hook takes the cake and Robin Williams as Peter Pan is his equal
b. Superman Series: I remember he was my favorite hero but seeing on the screen was good. However, you always felt that the movies were incomplete as I had read so much of them but could see only few of them on screen. I even saw those Superman younger days serial when I was in US
c. Harry Potter series these are an absolute delight to watch. I read the books after seeing the first movie and I felt this is the kind of movie I should like my children to
d. Lord Of The Rings series They are not a patch on the books but if you have not read the book then you would enjoy them immensely otherwise you will come out with a feeling of being cheated.
e. Mr India I cannot fail to mention this movie as I saw it 11 times and that too in cinema hall. This was again where I could live my fantasy. However, bad the special effects may look today but it was a delightful movie.
f. Spiderman I think he was less of a super hero than all the other super heroes but recently they made a fabulous movie. There was another movie in my younger days (10-15 years back) with a movie with Spiderman and I do remember it to be exciting and who can forget that cartoon series with Spider man Spiderman friendly neighborhood spider man chant on Doordarshan. By the way my 3 year old Son loves him
g. Batman I was not much a batman type of comic book reader but still like them for just to get introduced to him. My Son is being slowly weaned away from Spiderman to Batman
h. Phantom This was one of the heroes which I like but they messed it up.
I think that is all that I have to say for now. There are many more movies in each category but I cannot remember them now. Also, there will be movies not falling in these genres (comedy, romantic, I will write on later if you like) and I cannot group some of them at present.
But you would know that I am and was and will remain a movie buff. I still see mostly all the movies (Hollywood, Bollywood) and I have loved Koi... Mil Gaya and Hungama recently as also T3.
Prem: Interesting mail, in that it confirms something I've sometimes thought that when someone who genuinely likes a genre, or an actor, or director, whatever, writes about it, he often gives it a perspective more casual watchers might miss, or may not have bought into. Dharam and his sons being the example here.
In passing, though, I think Arjun was the remake of Satya and not the other way around.
Lakshman Vijaya Muddu: there was a sci-fi movie in telugu in 1993/94 "adithya 369" ing: balakrishna (ntr's son), directed by singeetham sreenivasa rao (of pushpak, apoorva sahodarulu, amavasya chandrudu, sommokadidi soakokadidi, michael madana kama raju etc with kamal) and produced by spb (yes balasubramanyam -playback singer).
its about a time machine: the hero goes back once to the 16th century - the time of vijayanagar kings (sri krishna deva raya - balakrishna again) and when he tries to come back, goes forward to the 25th century.
listen to the maestro ilayaraja's lilting tunes. balakrishna is ably supported by tarun - then a kid and a hero now. if KMG can be called sci-fi then adithya can well be.
long back - there was a movie dorikitae dongalu - with a flying car (coated from "flubber") with NTR in the lead.
Prem: Ah, didn't know Singeetam had directed a sci-fi type film; I remember spending time with him on the sets of Apoorva Sahodarargal; he talks well about films, and has a passion for the art form that comes through when he talks. I keep thinking, these days, it is a pity I don't understand Telugu in just a couple of weeks, readers must have suggested over a dozen interesting and/or unusual films in that language, makes me wonder what more I am missing.
That also brings up a thought when you have a national body, funded by taxpayers, to develop films in the country, shouldn't it be doing more to cross pollinate, to ensure that people in one state, and of one language, get to see the good films made in other languages and other states?
Magesh Rajamani: While reading through the your blog, found this comment of yours - and guess what, this theme already used in a Tamil movie - Nala Damayanthi - starring Madhavan and directed by Kamal Haasan!!
>>> From the blog : While on films that could so easily be adapted, consider this one: Green Card, starring Gerard Depardieu and Andie McDowell. French guy wants a green card, enters into marriage of convenience with an American girl who wants something else; they are forced to live together and along the way, their relationship of convenience changes -- neat, no frills, and full of aw-gee moments.
Prem: Write, many readers did write in to tell me about this film; since then I managed to get hold of a VCR of that film and watched it. It had its good moments and some overly loud ones but on the whole, right, it was more than decent. Incidentally, I think Kamal produced that movie, and it was Mouli who directed.