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The best ever books on film?

Last updated on: September01, 2003 14:54 IST

Raghunandan Khandala: Have you seen Mulholland Drive?? Saw it recently, pretty amazing and really makes you think later to figure it all out, I had to take the help of the internet to figure it out. How about Memento? What did you think of that?

 

More later, but you are right about Kshanakshanam. Awesome movie and great entertainment, I almost know all of Paresh Rawal's dialogues by-heart. I too must have watched that movie a dozen times.

 

Mohan Kulkarni: Great Subject Prem...I am not sure if anyone talked about Ek Ruka hua Faisla after somebody posted about it. The movie was made by Basu Chatterjee with Pankaj Kapoor as the lead actor. 'EK Doctor ki Maut' was another one which i loved, though i am not sure about the filmmaker....might be Sudhir Mishra....

 

Anyways, Ek Ruka...has been made from '12 Angry Men' a Hollywood film made in the 50s starring Henry Fonda and directed by Sidney Lumet. Its a fascinating film and still grabs your atttention after a few decades thanx to great acting and superb screenplay.

 

The last really good movie i saw was 'Finding Nemo'. I wish they could make such nice animations in india...the recent javed jaffri movie was bad...at least that's a start.

 

I have been catching up on Japanese movies lately and saw Kurosawa's 'Ran' adapted from the Shakespeare play 'King Lear'. Nobody can film an epic battle scene like Kurosawa. Another one that i saw was 'Shall We Dansu'... a totally commercial movie about a guy in his 40s losing his inhibitions and breaking out of the rut of his life by taking up dancing lessons. This movie would be a great one to be remade in India.

 

Prem: Hey, if you liked Ran, you'll love Throne of Blood – Kurosawa again, but this time the theme is Shakespeare's Macbeth. I have in fact been building up a collection of his films, on DVD – Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo… brilliant works all. You might also want to read his book Something Like A Biography; I found it added to my appreciation of his movies.

 

Saurab Wahi, Richmond, London: This is in respone to Himanshu Soni's mail. "Ek ruka Hua Faisala" (Starring

Pankaj Kapoor) is a remake of "12 angry men" directed by Sidney Lumet.

 

Both

were excellent movies. Some of Sidney Lumet's other works include Dog Day

afternoon, Serpico, Murder on the Orient express, The Fugitive Kind, etc.

 

All Great movies!

 

Interestingly, I am currently reading a book by Sidney Lumet titled "Making movies". It is a MUST read for all movie fans. Check out some of the reader reviews on amazon.com to get an idea how great the book is.

 

Prem: Books relating to movies seems to crop up, one way or the other – so let's get some feedback going on that? What are your favorite book(s) on movies, guys? I've got a short list of six books – but I'll wait for your lists before going into mine. BTW, when writing in, would appreciate a few lines on why you are picking the particular book or books.

 

Harish Patel: I have always enjoyed reading your articles about cricket, I am enjoying reading your articles about movies even more.

 

I think there was a film revolution in hollywood during the 60's

and 70's. I personally think that the biggest reason for the

striking revolution was Lucus's STAR WARS. This movie

single-handedly changed the entire future and the way the movies

were going to be made in hollywood. If not for STAR WARS and its

radical change in mediocre stories (which I think hollywood

definetly had, just like bollywood has right now), movies like

TERMINATOR (all three), MATRIX (and II), E.T., SPIDER-MAN,

JURASSIC PARK (all three), ALIENS, PLANET OF THE APES,

INDEPENDENCE DAY, ARMAGEDDON, BACK TO THE FUTURE, etc, would never

have been made.

 

Also, out of the 10 movies that i have just named,

4 of them are top 10 all time top world-wide grossers (not

including STAR WARS). All five STAR WARS movies are in top 20 all

time top grossers in America.

 

Coming to the point, I think Indian movies need to have something

similar to this kind of sci-fi revolution. Not that many Indian

movies are sci-fi based, the only two I can think of are MR.

INDIA, and the new KOI MIL GAYA. I don't know if KOI MIL GAYA is

going to do the trick, but lets hope it at least inspires the

producers and directors to dump the same old banal stories and

movie themes. I don't really watch movies in other languages

except hindi, so I don't know if there are sci-fi movies in other

languages. But if you can think of some science friction movies in

indian cinema, please tell me so I can watch them. I am sure that

most of the movies that you will name, if you name any,  will be

copied from hollywood movies which is even more ridiculous.

 

Prem: Nah, can't think of any. At least, sci-fi themes, of a kind, seem occasionally to pop in to our films – like, I remember a long time ago, an ET type thing making it into an M G Ramachandran film. But did we do sci fi? No. Shouldn't we? You would think so, wouldn't you? I guess what inhibits our movie makers from going that route is, how the heck do you make an ET from, say, Mars, sing a ditty about zulfen and chunri and all the rest of it? Even for mainstream Bollywood, I guess that would be a bit of a reach. J

 

Pramod Pillai: Himanshu has listed another of my favourite movie " a few good men"

 

That movie simple mazes me . Shows how a simple story

can be made extremely watchable without putting any

extra spicing and how as you say actors become

characters. Another thing which i liked abt that movie

was that no one is wrong . Their perceptions just

differ.

 

My other english favourites are Men of

honour, jerry maquire and as good as it gets. Hindi I

have liked Lamhe. I had to bring up 1 point here. South

Indians generally bash bollywood actors . But I need

to give 1 eg of Mohanlal who is considered a great

actor. In saza e kaalapaani he was supposed to be

starving and both he and prabhu appeared to be well

fed. But so much was made of his dedication coz he

licked dirty shoes for his role.

 

On the other hand my

favourite actor Tom Hanks. look at a silly movie like

castaway and see what natural acting is all about.

 

His physical transformation and his acting and u feel

for him. All I wanted to say is that lets accept the

fact that our directors copy , have no originality and

actors are not so dedicated coz they want to make the

mazimum money till the time people get bored. They are

not here for the craft but to earn money.

 

Even in your

example I don't think now Vikram(hope he is a big star

now) will ever put so much into a role. Even an

excellent actor like Kamal hasan is so gimicky that

its not funny. With all the flaws I still prefer to

see a Hindi movie than any other movie. Guess I try to

overlook the fact that I can't always see an Arth, a

lamhe, an  ek ruka huwa faisla. But at least if I get a

chaalbaaz, mr India, kuch kuch hota hain etc I am happy.

 

by the way satyan is my daddy's fav actor. I have not

seen his movies but I have heard he is very good.

 

Prem: Ouch, that bit about Satyan being your dad's favorite makes me feel positively geriatric. (*L*)

 

I caught some of his movies, during their third or fourth outings, mainly because a couple of my uncles were huge fans.

 

He had what it took; two examples for why I like him are his role in Chemeen, and the one I mentioned of him as a consumptive rickshaw puller in Odayil Ninnu. He had the sort of presence and charisma a Mammootty has – but he definitely had that something extra as well.

 

Aravind: Rediff.com is my home page. Some first thoughts may be "Show me your home page and I will tell you who you are".

 

There are some columnists on Rediff for whose next article I wait. That includes Rajeev Srinivasan, Varsha Bhogle and you. And my liking for RSs' and your columns has nothing to do with the fact that I share the same home state with you guys.

 

When there is talk of good Indian commercial cinema on the net, I have never heard/seen much about the Malayalam film industry. I lived my life in Bangalore and Hyderabad and spent just 4 years of my entire life in my home state, Kerala. In my pre-college years in Bangalore, the only Malayalam movies I was exposed to were the arty ones that would appear in the 'Regional language film' slot on 'dukh-'…oops, Doordarshan on Sunday afternoons.

And then there was the infamous Opera cinema house at the intersection of Brigade Road and Residency Road that always had Malayalam porn movies showing. I shouldn't have been too surprised when some of my blisfully ignorant colleagues in Hyderabad, where I landed my first job, asked me if all that the film industry in Kerala churned out was porn.

 

But the 4 years I spent in Kerala for my Engineering were an eye-opener. I learnt a lot about my home state and its movie industry and on my list of favorite actors, which then had the likes of Kamal Hassan, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Amithabh Bacchan, I pushed right to the top a new name, Mohan Lal.

 

His performance in the movie Kireedam was out of this world and I didn't even dare to watch the Hindi remake Gardish. I have the very same emotions about the attempt to remake Kilukkam as Muskurahat. The apparent ease with which he morphs into his roles be it in 'serious' roles as a classical singer in Bharatham, a Kathakali dancer in Vanaprastham, an egoistic landlord in 'Devasuram' (one of my favorite performances), a don in 'Abhimanyu', a lunatic in Thalavattam or in comic roles as a gorkha in Gandhinagar 2nd Street, a detective in the series Nadodi kattu, Pattana Pravesham & Akkare Akkare Akkare, a tourist guide in Kilukkam, etc. is incomparable.

 

His role in 'Company' did not really allow him to showcase his real talent, not that he was out trying to prove anything. Purely for the sake of the moviegoers and the Hindi film industry that is starved of good talent, especially the types who think Salman Khan's performance in Tere Naam was good, I wish more Hindi movie directors would offer Mohan Lal meaty roles. I may have come across as a fanatical follower of Lal. In fact, I think I am, considering the fact that I sat through movies like 'Narasimham' and 'Ustaad'.

 

Prem: Actually, for a long time I was more of a Mammootty freak; but over time, I've come to admire the heck out of Lal.

 

The guy has that knack, which you look for in top performers, of transcending his own persona and making you see the character he is playing; he lives it without making a fuss about method acting and stuff. This might be a bad – or vague – way of putting it, but he seems to believe completely in whatever character he is doing; and because he does, the character comes alive on screen. Amazing range, what is more – absolutely believable whether he is doing comedy, romance, tough guy, or off beat characters. Incidentally, if you are a Lal freak, get hold of Vaanaprastham, Shaji Karun directing – it's a film I've watched several times, with total fascination.

 

 

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