Ten Bollywood movies Obama should watch
India is brimming with excitement. And it's not just for Diwali.
The arrival of United States President Barack Obama has sent the nation in a delightful frenzy. Considering his immense popularity as an international leader and icon, the enthusiasm seems well justified.
Joining in the fun, we thought of picking 10 Hindi film titles he would like to unwind to after a hectic, packed schedule.
Having said that, this is a nearly impossible task. There are way too many great films to choose from. Nevertheless, for reasons, one different from the other, here's a look at 10 Hindi films, in no particular order, handpicked for the US President.
Lage Raho Munnabhai
A huge admirer of Mahatma Gandhi for bringing about revolution and justice by adhering to the principles of non-violence, Obama is likely to enjoy Rajkumar Hirani's on-screen lessons in Gandhigiri. Although a lot of tapori flavour is missed in translation, there's abundant wit and wisdom in the endearing Munnabhai's ways to provide the President a healthy dose of feel good.
Image: A scene from Lage Raho Munnabhai
Kaagaz Ke Phool
Though it met with almost offensive response on its release, Kaagaz Ke Phool eventually earned a well-deserved place among undisputed classics of Hindi films and beyond.
There's much poetry visual and vocal -- to be found in actor-director Guru Dutt's poignant reality of failure and dejection in the heartless realm of show-business. This is filmmaking at its finest, fragile best and well worth Obama's precious time.
Image: A scene from Kaagaz Ke Phool
Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds...' Surely, Obama is well-versed with William Shakespeare's oft-quoted sonnet.
Watching Mughal-E-Azam, a colossal period romance about forbidden love between a prince and a courtesan, starring an ardent Dilip Kumar and breathtaking Madhubala, will give him a better understanding of how Shakespeare's giddy definition of the L-word aptly sums up the magnitude of drama, morality and sentiment in Hindi films.
Image: A scene from Mughal-E-Azam
Director Vijay Anand's acclaimed adaptation of R K Narayan's novel is an unusual balancing act.
One half features vibrant entertainment highlighting intricate classical dance/music while the other muses over the myths and beliefs that link mankind with divinity.
Bet he'll appreciate the evolution of its chief protagonist from an ordinary, materialism-driven guy to an unconditional, saintly figure in this gorgeously shot story.
Image: A scene from Guide
No filmmaker could accentuate the virtue of simplicity like Hrishikesh Mukherjee did. And that's why we pick one of his timeless gems, Anand to enchant the American President.
There's a lighthearted philosophy in Anand's approach to life and death. The model of live-life-every-moment is effortlessly demonstrated through the cheery logic and playful actions of a career-best Rajesh Khanna as he goes about touching lives even though his own is on the dwindle.
Image: A scene from Anand
India is obsessed with Bollywood and cricket. And when the twain comes in a thrilling package of Ashutosh Gowariker's Oscar-nominated Lagaan, it obviously spells happiness in capital letters.
Set in Pre-Independence India, Lagaan is about a bunch of farmers taking on the British over a match of cricket to free themselves from the ever-imposing tax trouble.
Though 224 minutes long, Lagaan is much too fervent and cohesive to slip into a single dull moment. No points for guessing who Obama will root for.
Image: A scene from Lagaan
The badlands of North India meet Shakespeare's dark tale of love and mistrust in Vishal Bhardwaj's awe-inspiring Omkara.
With its grand wide-angled frames, nuanced performances, stark tone and gritty detailing, Omkara is a befitting tribute to Othello on all counts and reveals the uncompromising face of modern filmmaking. A quality we would love for Obama to witness and approve.
Image: A scene from Omkara
When it comes to unabashed entertainment by Bollywood, Sholay is right up there.
Call it a magnificent ode to spaghetti westerns or a desi retelling of Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, Sholay is much too assorted in its genre and treatment to stand any comparisons. Not only did Ramesh Sippy's dazzling drama of retribution, friendship, flirtations give birth to numerous characters that we today address on first-name basis Jai, Veeru, Gabbar, Basanti, it also underlined the importance of drawing fiction that would make unflagging connection with its viewers, which is pretty much the first commandment of moviemaking.
A must-watch, Mr President!
Image: A scene from Sholay
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
The marriage of contemporary mindset to traditional values is articulated without a single cringe-worthy moment in Aditya Chopra's debutant classic, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Even though its lead characters are fairly modern and raised abroad, they retain their essential Indianness, which translates to cordial conduct and respect for the elderly.
What makes DDLJ such an overwhelming success is that it neither belies the ideology of the young nor challenges the accomplishments of the experienced.
Needless to say, all this comes parceled in a colorful skin of European gorgeousness glittery Punjabi festivities. Also this is one movie Obama can actually watch in a certain Mumbai theatre where it's been playing for the last 16 years.
Image: A scene from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
President Obama's lucky charms made a lot of news during his electoral campaign. One of the articles happened to be a tiny Lord Hanuman figure. In that case, he would be only too happy to watch his favourite Hindu deity in action in this engaging animated caper.
Although the computer graphics are nowhere in the same league as The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast, the heroics of Hanuman are earnest and entertaining enough for even the President to complain.
Image: A scene from Hanuman