Indian Panorama: Beyond Bollywoodby Renegade_Blaze | created - 19 Jul 2011 | updated - 16 Feb 2014 | Public
"Bollywood"....a self-derogatory and insulting term coined by the Bombay Film Industry to describe themselves, in a tasteless effort to compare themselves with "Hollywood". Needless to say therefore, that majority of the films which they churn out, year after year, are just product of shameless plagiarism. Films which are not lifted from other sources are almost always worthless. After being fed on this on-going rubbish for years after years, people now do not know how to distinguish a good film from a bad film; they were never given a chance to develop a good taste. No one really cares, be it the industry people or the audience. Film as a business is doing really great in India, but film as an artistic expression is almost non-existent. Plagiarized films like “Black” and “Bheja Fry” are considered to be achievements. The audience has no idea that they are being scammed and cheated by the film-makers and are happy to shell out their hard-earned money to watch these films made on stolen plots. Once in a blue moon there comes a refreshingly original film, e.g. Udaan, but they are so rare that they can be considered as negligible exceptions. Majority of the Indian audience are unaware of films by Ray, Ghatak, Sathyu, G. Aravindan, Gopalakrishnan, Kasaravalli, Shaji Karun, Jhanu Barua among others (forget Bergman, Tarkovsky, Mizoguchi, lol). After going through numerous lists of Indian films (mostly Bollywood, hence nothing to talk about) on IMDb, I came across maybe a couple of lists which had the genuine intent to portray quality Indian films (and I appreciate their effort), but I was not completely satisfied. And that’s when I decided to publish my own list of Indian cinema. This is my humble effort to present the truly artistic, original, uncompromising and exceptional (and in some case almost unknown gems) films from India, which represent the whole of India(not just Mumbai) irrespective of language and style, and undoubtedly beyond the offensive and limiting term of “Bollywood”. I hope this list comes in handy for film students like me doing research on Indian cinematic art, and other film connoisseurs in India and abroad. Fans of Bollywood, nothing against you personally, Cinema just means different things to us.
P.S. Few of the films are not of purely Indian origin as they are produced by other countries, but the films are Indian in content and subject matter. Also featured on this list are 6 TV series, which were incredibly well made IMO, therefore deserve their place in Indian Panorama.
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2. Pather Panchali (1955)
Not Rated | 125 min | Drama
Impoverished priest Harihar Ray, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work.
Votes: 16,449 | Gross: $0.54M
4. Jagte Raho (1956)
153 min | Comedy, Drama
In hopes of improving his lifestyle, a poor peasant re-locates to Bombay virtually penniless. It is late at night and he is thirsty, and he is unable to find water anywhere. A singing drunk... See full summary »
5. Mother India (1957)
172 min | Drama, Musical, Family
In this melodrama, a poverty-stricken woman raises her sons through many trials and tribulations. But no matter the struggles, always sticks to her own moral code.
9. Madhumati (1958)
110 min | Musical, Mystery, Romance
While driving his car on a rainy night, Anand's car breaks down, and he goes to seek shelter in a nearby house. He is let into the house by the servant, and he is permitted to stay until ... See full summary »
10. Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957)
143 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Progressive, reform-minded young warden gets permission to take six surly murderers from prison to dilapidated country farm, to rehabilitate it and themselves through hard work and kindly guidance.
11. Ajantrik (1958)
102 min | Drama
Bimal is a taxi-driver in a small town. His taxi is his only companion and, although very battered, it is the apple of Bimal's eye. The film shows the love of taxi driver Bimal and his pathetic vehicle Jagaddal.
13. Jalsaghar (1958)
Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Music
Depicts the end days of a decadent zamindar (landlord) in Bengal, and his efforts to uphold his family prestige even when faced with economic adversity.
Votes: 4,021 | Gross: $0.09M
14. Apur Sansar (1959)
Not Rated | 105 min | Drama
This final installment in Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy follows Apu's life as an orphaned adult aspiring to be a writer.
Votes: 8,430 | Gross: $0.02M
15. The River (1959)
151 min | Drama
This is one of the best films of great director Rajen Tarafdar. He has beautifully portrayed the life of fishermen and their relation with the river. Bilas a poor fisherman who had lost his... See full summary »
16. Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
148 min | Musical, Romance
Suresh Sinha, a famous director, discovers star potential in Shanti, a woman he stumbled into one rainy evening, and casts her as the lead in a film. In a twist of fate, Shanti becomes a superstar and Suresh faces a decline in his career.
24. Half Ticket (1962)
168 min | Musical, Comedy, Romance
A diamond thief hides his loot on an innocent child, but the child turns out to be an adult posing as a youngster to purchase a half-priced train ticket. Now, the thief will have to outwit the eccentric in a series of wacky misadventures.
25. Bandini (1963)
157 min | Drama, Musical, Romance
During the British Raj of the 1930s, a prison-doctor falls in love with a convict who eventually reveals the story of her past and her connection to a freedom fighter.
26. Charulata (1964)
Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Romance
The lonely wife of a newspaper editor falls in love with her visiting cousin-in-law, who shares her love for literature.
Votes: 3,769 | Gross: $0.08M
33. Padosan (1968)
Not Rated | 157 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance
A simple man from a village falls in love with his new neighbor. He enlists the help of his musical-theater friends to woo the lovely girl-next-door away from her music teacher.
34. Bhuvan Shome (1969)
96 min | Comedy, Drama
Bhuvan Shome is a lonely widower, a proud old man and a strict disciplinarian. Looking back on the trodden path, strewn with staunch determination and drab attitudes, Bhuvan Shome, a ... See full summary »
37. Uski Roti (1970)
110 min | Drama
A woman waits for her truck driver husband, everyday, with his daily bread. Her concern for their dying relationship and her sister grows fast as she starts to doubt his loyalty.
38. Pratidwandi (1970)
110 min | Drama
A young college graduate is struggling to find a job. He lives in a flat with his younger, employed sister, revolutionary brother and widowed mother. The strain of the situation ultimately causes him to hallucinate.
39. Sagina Mahato (1971)
148 min | Drama
Sagina Mahato, a factory laborer,an aggressive, honest and lovable character who was the first to fight against the tyranny of the British bosses in the Tea gardens of North-Eastern India.
40. Calcutta 71 (1971)
An angry young man on trial in 1971,a rainstorm in a slum in 1933,a lower-middle-class family during the 1943 famine,teenage smugglers in 1953 and a middle-class group in a posh hotel in 1971.
45. Koshish (1972)
125 min | Drama
Romantic drama spaning nearly 20 years involving a deaf-mute couple, Haricharian and Aarti. Deaf and dumb bicycle messenger Haricharian meets equally deaf Aarti, and persuades her to go to ... See full summary »
48. Ankur: The Seedling (1974)
131 min | Drama
Laxmi lives a poor lifestyle in a small village in India along with her husband, Kishtaya, who is a deaf-mute. Both husband and wife work for the wealthy landlord. The landlord's son, Surya... See full summary »
49. Rajnigandha (1974)
110 min | Drama, Romance
A Delhi-based woman in a steady relationship with her boyfriend is forced to come to terms with her true feelings when a job interview in Mumbai brings an old flame back in her life.
50. Sholay (1975)
Not Rated | 162 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
After his family is murdered by a notorious and ruthless bandit, a former police officer enlists the services of two outlaws to capture the bandit.
51. Deewaar (1975)
174 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Vijay struggles as a dockworker. Eventually, he becomes a leading figure of the underworld, while his younger brother, Ravi, is an educated, upright policeman. This divide causes problems in their relationship.
52. Chhoti Si Baat (1975)
123 min | Comedy, Romance
Arun (Amol Palekar) is a shy accountant in Bombay who dreams of romancing Prabha (Vidya Sinha), but never gets past following her around without managing to actually speak up. While Arun ... See full summary »
54. Aandhi (1975)
133 min | Drama, Romance
J.K. is a hotel Manager in a scenic location in India. One day he gallantly comes to the rescue of a drunk daughter, Aarti, of a politician, and chooses to be discrete about it. When she ... See full summary »
56. Nishant (1975)
140 min | Crime, Drama
Vishwam (Naseeruddin Shah) is the youngest brother of the powerful and influential village Zamindar (Amrish Puri). The Zamindar will not hesitate to do anything for the welfare and ... See full summary »
58. Duvidha (1973)
82 min | Drama
Film is Based on Duvidha by Vijayadan Detha, it's about merchant's son, whose relationship with his young bride, Lachhi is thwarted by his work and a ghost who falls in love with her, resulting in the ghost soon impersonating the husband.
59. Manthan (1976)
134 min | Drama
Dr.Rao (Girih Karnad) is a Vetinary doc, who comes to this village with the aim of starting a Milk Co-operative society for the welfare of the villagers. But the wealthy businessman ... See full summary »
60. Balika Badhu (1976)
111 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
In a village circa the British rule in India, lives a young school-going male named Amal, who is shortly to get married to a girl named Rajni. The traditional ritual-filled marriage takes ... See full summary »
62. Chitchor (1976)
Not Rated | 105 min | Musical, Drama, Romance
Meera, who lives in Bombay writes her parents about a prospective bridegroom for her youngest sister Gowri. Pitambar Chaudhry and his wife are overjoyed by the prospect of marrying Gowri ... See full summary »
63. Ghashiram Kotwal (1976)
108 min | Biography, History
This was the first movie made by this group (see Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978), a collective effort in direction and cinematography. The story tells the tale of Nanasaheb Phadnavis, ... See full summary »
64. Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977)
Not Rated | 129 min | Comedy, Drama, History
Wazed Ali Shah was the ruler of one of the last independent kingdoms of India. The British, intent on controlling this rich country, had sent general Outram on a secret mission to clear the... See full summary »
66. Oka Oori Katha (1977)
The father of a son living on the fringes of a village believes that working is a fools game, for the lord takes what little the workers make. When a young woman enters their home tensions begin to rise and their idle life is threatened.
68. Bhumika (1977)
142 min | Drama
Coming from a poor and destitute family, Urvashi is encouraged by her mother, Shanta (Sualbha Deshpande) to be on more than friendly terms with a much older male, Keshav Dalvi (Amol Palekar... See full summary »
70. Safed Haathi (1977)
Adventure, Drama, Family
Unsuccessful film-maker (Vijay Arora) chronicles the story of two orphaned children, Shibu (Ashwani), and his elder sister, Rani (Gayetri Sharma), who live with their abusive maternal uncle... See full summary »
72. Gol Maal (1979)
Not Rated | 120 min | Comedy, Romance
Ramprasad is a recent college graduate who finds a job with a finicky man, Bhavani Shankar, who believes that a man without a mustache is a man without a character. Bhavani Shankar is also ... See full summary »
73. Baton Baton Mein (1979)
112 min | Comedy, Romance
Rosie Perreira is an overly anxious widow, living with her guitar-obsessed son, Sabhi, and a lovely daughter, Nancy, who she would like to get married to a wealthy young man. Her helpful ... See full summary »
75. The Ritual (1977)
120 min | Drama
A young Brahmin Vedic school student, who is from an aristocratic family, befriends his school master's daughter who is a pregnant widow. The boy tries but fails in concealing his friend's ... See full summary »
78. Khubsoorat (1980)
Not Rated | 126 min | Comedy, Drama, Family
Nirmala Gupta runs her household and family in a very strict and authoritarian manner. While most of her family resent this, they do obey her and carry out her instructions, so as to be on ... See full summary »
79. Sparsh (1980)
145 min | Drama, Romance
Anirudh Parmar is blind, but he does not let this impairment bind him down. He runs a school for the blind as a Principal. He meets with social worker, Kavita. Kavita is attracted to him, ... See full summary »
80. Chashme Buddoor (1981)
145 min | Comedy, Family, Romance
Two womanizing slackers, Omi and Jai (Rakesh Bedi and Ravi Baswani respectively) attempt to woo the new girl in the neighbourhood, and fail - miserably. Their third room-mate, shy, and a ... See full summary »
82. Umrao Jaan (1981)
145 min | Drama, Musical
In Faizabad, British India, Daroga Dilawar is sentenced to several years in prison after Amiran's dad testifies against him. After his discharge around 1840, he extracts his vengeance by ... See full summary »
84. 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981)
122 min | Drama, Romance
After the marriage of her niece, Rosemary, Anglo-Indian school-teacher Violet Stoneham lives a lonely life in her single room flat located at 36 Chowringhee Lane in Calcutta, with only a ... See full summary »
85. Chakra (1981)
Amma lives in Bijapur with her husband and son, Benwa. When a man attempts to sexually molest her, he is killed by her husband, the trio flee, but the husband is shot dead by the police. ... See full summary »
89. Gandhi (1982)
PG | 191 min | Biography, Drama, History
Gandhi's character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed.
Votes: 189,543 | Gross: $52.77M
90. Shakti (1982)
166 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A scrupulously honest cop refuses kidnappers' demands at grave risk to the life of his son. The son is rescued but lives forever scarred by his father's willingness to sacrifice his own son... See full summary »
92. Nadiya Ke Paar (1982)
143 min | Drama, Family
Chandan (Sachin) lives with his elder brother and uncle. One day while going across the river to get some medications for his uncle, he meets with Gunja (Sadhana Singh), and both eventually... See full summary »
93. Bemisal (1982)
142 min | Drama, Family
When two twin brothers Sudhir and Adhir get orphaned upon the death of their father, Magistrate Chaturvedi adopts them and brings them up like his own children. Though Adhir goes insane ... See full summary »
95. Bazaar (1982)
120 min | Drama, Family
Najma and Salim are in love, but their's is a platonic relationship, as Salim is a deep thinker and prefers that women like Najma be financially independent, and not be dependent on men. On... See full summary »
96. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)
Not Rated | 132 min | Comedy, Drama
Two friends, attempting to start-up their own photo studio, come across shady dealings, corruption and murder, and must fight to bring the guilty to light.
100. Katha (1983)
141 min | Comedy, Drama
Rajaram P. Joshi (Naseeruddin Shah) is a middle-class Clerk living in a chawl in Bombay. He is secretly in love with his neighbor, Sandhya Karnik (Deepti Naval) but is unable to disclose ... See full summary »