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Recently, Time magazine announced its list of the 100 greatest films of all time, and the eclectic selection includes five Indian films.

While none would question the brilliance of the selected Indian classics like Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy, Guru Dutt's Pyaasa and Mani Ratnam's Nayakan, decided to ask Indian filmmakers, artistes, technicians and critics what they felt were the best Indian films of all time.

Today, we feature Kannada director Girish Kasaravalli.

His debut film Ghatashradha won the Golden Lotus for best national film in 1977. The director won the prestigious award several more times, with Tabarana Kathe in 1987, Thayi Saheba in 1998, and Dweepa in 2002.

He spoke to Shobha Warrier about his ten selections.

Check out what our top moviemakers say about India's Best Films

Pather Panchali

Number one on my list. A pathbreaking film which heralded a new approach to film narrative in India. It opened Indian cinema to the world. I would rate Pather Panchali the most important film in the history of Indian cinema.

Director: Satyajit Ray


Charulata is a perfect film. I don't think any other Indian film has reached this level so far. It had great performances, greater cinematography and art direction, and even better narration. These two Ray films are number one and two on my list. The rest are not in any particular order.

Director: Satyajit Ray


Adoor introduced a unique way of depicting the socio-political situation of contemporary India. It is metaphorical.

Director: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Akaler Sandhane

It is an open-ended film, quite unlike other Indian films. It makes a major statement about the continuity of history. It is about a famine, and the film is about filming the famine. Structurally, a very unique film.

Director: Mrinal Sen


It raises quite a few questions about the relationship between the State and the individual, about calamity and crisis in a subtle way. Generally, when you make films in a subtle way, emotions get dried up but this doesn't happen in Piravi.

Director: Shaji N Karun

Chomana Dudi

A very honest cinematic rendering of a social situation. There is also simplicity and clarity because of which it connects with the audience.

Director: B V Karanth

Garam Hawa

It deals with one of the major events of Indian history, the Partition of India. The film does not sensationalise or sentimentalise the issue, but brings forth the trauma of displacement in a very objective way.

Director: M S Sathyu

Bhavni Bhavai

A unique experiment in Indian cinema. It uses a very traditional folk idiom and folk structure but tells a story that is very contemporary in nature like untouchability, caste relationships, etc. It ends with a multiple interpretation.

Director: Ketan Mehta


A very interesting film. Has a very minimalistic approach, but in an effective way. It talks about the tragedy of a woman. What makes it unique is that the director uses traditional religious motions in a cinematic way.

Director: Aribam Syam Sharma

Thayi Saheba

Let me add a film of mine to the list. I have used a different narrative structure here. The personal becomes the political in the film, but without showing the political development of any society. I tried to show the negative and positive of the Nehruvian era through the small world of a man.

Director: Girish Kasaravalli

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Number of User Comments: 12

Sub: bakwaas

all the films mentioned are BAKWAAS. i have never heard of these fims in my life and even a comman man in India ever heard ...

Posted by mayank

Sub: Kasaravalli's List

Sir, Arguably the best list of the lot. And thanks for including Piravi and Mukhamukham. Being a bong brought up in Cal I do not ...

Posted by Partha P Mukherjee

Sub: The most sensible list so far...

Though more films from Ray and Adoor can well feature in the list... it was better you chose a more spread out list..honest work that ...

Posted by krishna kumar

Sub: good list

lovely welcome from the demented lists by bollywood guys. ddlj, taal as all time best movies! did these jokers escape from the asylum or have ...

Posted by hari

Sub: honesty...

sirrrr.. ur selection is very honest one.... Among the best films listed by film personalities till now ... ur & adoor's selections r the best... ...

Posted by santanu


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