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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 Sabu Cyril, one of India's most respected art directors. His latest film to hit the screens is Shankar's Anniyan.

"I am not a film buff at all," he confessed to Shobha Warrier. "I don't watch all the films released in India. So I will not call my list a list of India's best films. It's a list of the best films I have seen, the films that have stayed in my memory. I saw almost all these films when I was not a technician."

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


I saw this Malayalam film when I was very young, but it still stays in my mind because of the way poverty was depicted. It touched me so much that even after ten years, I felt bad about the people who suffered in the film.

Director: A Vincent


I was in college when I watched this great Tamil film. I liked its technical excellence and look.

Director: Mani Ratnam


If I ever make a film, I want to make it like this silent movie. It could hold the attention of viewers without any dialogues. It was brilliant.

Director: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao

Mouna Ragam

I like the way the story unfolded, its narration. I find this Tamil screenplay perfect.

Director: Mani Ratnam

Raaja Paarvai

One of my favourite films. I found it visually very appealing because of the work of Thotta Tharani, the art director. It was his first film. I like the aesthetic look and the way Thotta Tharani created Kamal's house. Kamal acted as a blind man, and it was an out and out Kamal film. This Tamil film changed my life.

Director: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao


I liked the way Bharatan narrated the story. The Malayalam film starts with the heroine's release from jail, and the story unfolds. The title was very apt. The story touched me a lot.

Director: Bharatan

Oru Minnaminuginte Nurungu Vettam

This Malayalam film is about two lonely, retired school teachers played superbly by Nedumudi Venu and Sharada, and how their lives change with the arrival of a young girl. By this time, I had started appreciating films in a different way. It is amazing to see how the director made a film from a very thin thread. A wonderful film.

Director: Bharatan

1942: A Love Story

Aesthetically and art direction wise, a very good Hindi film. I like the way the songs were shot.

Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra


A typical commercial film. Rajnikanth [Images] has a double role, that of father and son. He has done an excellent job. I didn't expect him to act so well.

Director: S P Muthuraman

36 Chowringhee Lane

As good as any international English film. After I saw Black, I was reminded of 36 Chowringhee Lane, and felt the latter was more apt for the situation and surroundings. I love it.

Director: Aparna Sen [Images]

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