An American friend asked me the other day to recommend "some good Bollywood movies", and I must admit, I was stumped. How does one choose just a few films from a film industry that churns out 300 films a year? (And that is just in Hindi)
On vacation in Texas last week, I was reading Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games. More on the book itself in another post. In the 'Extras' section of the book, there was an author Q&A with that same conversation again. The interviewer (presumably an American) is talking to Chandra about the copious Bollywood references in his book. To someone who doesn't quite get all the allusions, the interviewer says, what movies would you recommend to get a feel for Bollywood over the years.
Now remember, Sacred Games is a gangster book. So there is a distinct gangster bias to the list Chandra comes up with. Still, I found the list extremely interesting.
Here then is Vikram Chandra's list of notable Bollywood films over the years:
1. Pyaasa (1957)
2. Kaagaz ke phool (1959)
3. Mughal-e-Azam (1960)
4. Sholay (1975)
5. Parinda (1989)
6. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995)
7. Satya (1998)
8. Lagaan (2001)
9. Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006)
10. Rang de Basanti (2006)
He has persuasive reasons for why each film makes it on this list, but I will let the list stand on its own. For my American readers - you could do much worse than this list if you are looking for an introduction to Bollywood. For my Indian readers - What do you think? How different would your personal top 10 look ?