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favorite movies: my fair lady, sunset boulevard, taxi driver, roman holiday, truman show, guess who's coming to dinner, das boot, love and death, zelig, one flew over the cuckoo's nest, the great dictator, talented mr. ripley, my cousin vinny, pather panchali, guide, jaane bhi do yaaron, anand, kalyug etc.
fav tv shows: seinfeld, frasier, wonder years, monty pythons, the office etc.
fav music: beatles, stones, who, bob dylan, zepplin, queen, ccr, greatful dead, van morrison, simon & garfunkel, muddy waters, clapton etc.
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
A classic in the league of Marx Brothers
It seems Ganguli brothers were a huge fan of Marx Brothers Movies and that's what their source of inspiration was when they made "Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi". But the inspiration is limited only to the idea of all three brothers acting in a musical and a comical thriller. The movie is a showcase of talents of ever talented brothers Ashok Kumar, Anup Kumar and specifically Kishore Kumar. Watch him singing melodious "Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi si", naughty "Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka", hilarious "Paanch Rupaiya Barah Aana" or mad cap "Hum The Woh Thi". If there ever was a true all rounder in Indian Cinema, it was the Singer, Composer, Writer, Director and Actor Kishore Kumar and arguably he is the only Genius that bollywood has ever produced. Almost 20 years now that he died of a heart attack but you can still see his style reverberating amongst the new generation of performers.
Teesri Kasam (1966)
Basu Bhattacharya's Best
When Basu Bhattacharya directed this movie he was a new comer whereas Raj Kapoor was already a successful and well established director. Waheeda Rehman, in one of her interviews, narrated how Raj Kapoor would fret and confide in Waheeda "what is this guy doing, he should do this scene in this way" etc. and Waheeda would tell him to forget it and let the director do it as per his vision. I wonder how the movie would have shaped if Basu had heard all of Raj Kapoor's suggestions. No idea, but this is my favorite Basu Bhattacharya and Raj Kapoor movie. It moves at a leisurely pace establishing the ambiance and characters very firmly. Although color was available in those days but the movie was made in black and white for the right effect. Raj Kapoor as a innocent and simple minded bullock cart driver and Waheeda as a village nautanki dancer are amazing at best and their relationship which was doomed from the beginning is the stuff that classics are made of. The movie was crowned with the president's award that year and remains one of the great classics of our times.
Dead Man Walking (1995)
A very powerful film with powerful performances
This movie really shook me and made me question my beliefs. No, it did not turn me from a pro-capital punishment to an anti-capital punishment or vice versa but it did present an alternate view point and very powerfully indeed. Although, I do not have any sympathy for the character played by Sean Penn but it surely did make me feel compassionate about another human being put to death no matter how terrible he was.
Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn really played there parts with utmost conviction and I was glued to TV set from the very beginning till the last credits rolled on the screen. And when I got up I knew that I was a different person, different from the person who had started watching the movie 2 hours ago.
My Cousin Vinny (1992)
As funny as it gets
If someone asked me to recommend something funny and enjoyable, probably this will be the first movie that i will recommend. I myself have watched it several times, sometimes from the beginning and sometimes just from any scene randomly but it never fails to amuse and entertain me and i always get up feeling good. I think a court room drama blended with humor works really great in this one. The dialogs are really funny and the situations at times are hilarious and last but not the least Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei's performance and the chemistry as a couple is amazing.
I am sure with so many repeats everyone must have seen it tens of times already but if you haven't you might want to check it out. Don't expect a great movie but this is a sure shot entertainer guaranteed to give you your evening's worth.
The Office (2001)
Been a while since I watched something as good as this
I thought sitcoms had reached their peak with Seinfeld and that I would never like anything else as much as I liked Seinfeld but this proved me wrong. OK, maybe not as good as Seinfeld but 'the office' has it's own style, it's own pace and it's own brilliance.
The show is hilarious but not without it's moments of uncomfortable or that uneasy feeling that makes you wonder if it is a comedy at all. You dislike David Brent as you should but then there are times that you do feel sympathetic towards him. Writing is excellent, characters are real and the mocumentary style works wonders for the show. Ricky Gervais the guy to watch out for.
Hyderabad Blues (1998)
charming is the word...
Every second person you meet these days wants to make a movie. If Nagesh Kukunoor can do it why can't you and I? And that is why Hyderabad Blues is such an important film. It proved that you do not need unlimited money and unaffordable stars to make a hit film. Sometimes all you need is some savings, a good script, supportive friends and a good amount of passion.
Nagesh, it seems left his job in US, came back to Hyderabad and made this small budget movie. Not expecting any great returns, he sold this film to DD which showed it in three parts on DD3 and that is when I caught it the first time. I didn't even know that it was a movie and I just started watching it. It was as if someone like me was trying to say something and on his own terms. Found it very charming and made sure that I watched the next 2 parts as well. I think the feedback must have been encouraging so it was released in theater's on a small scale so watched it again and liked it again. Word of mouth spread and it caught on so watched again with some friends and liked it again. Have seen it quite a few times now and I never get bored.
Yes, it is like a home video and the editing is crude and all that but that is the whole point. It opened a new avenue of small budget movies and showed that there are innumerable possibilities.
Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)
story of our lives
Yeah yeah, I know that it is overtly sentimental and the kind of film that you feel embarrassed to admit that you liked but what the heck? I think sometimes it's good to drop your guards, just be yourself and enjoy whatever it is even if it means wetting a couple of tissues. But having said this, I think the sentiments shown in the movie are quite genuine and at least I didn't feel that I was watching a mush.
I have always felt that true teachers, the ones that really inspire you, could be counted on your fingers of your left hand. Richard Dreyfuss plays one such music teacher who would not hesitate to play rock n roll in a class of classical music, if it helps his students to understand and appreciate music better. Richard Dreyfuss is absolutely convincing in this role of Mr. Holland that spans 30 years of his career.
Actually Mr. Holland is a composer who has taken up teaching just to pay his bills. He wants to be rich and famous and has been working on a symphony that would help him achieve that but that's not how it turns out to be. He is not rich and not famous, certainly not outside his small community. Is he a failure? The story of our lives (at least most of us).
The Great Dictator (1940)
Any resemblance between Dictator Hynkel and Jewish Barber is coincidental
As a kid I thought Charlie Chaplin could be very funny but now I know that he could be very sad as well and at the same time. All his films although funny on surface have melancholic undercurrents and that's what probably makes him one of the most influential filmmakers of our times.
When this movie came out, some felt that it was badly done and some felt that it was in bad taste but over the years it has acquired the status of a great classic and a great satire. It seems Hitler, who sported Chaplin mustache in his efforts to be loved and admired like Chaplin, watched this movie twice and Chaplin later admitted "I would give anything to find out what he thought about the movie". We can only guess and wouldn't be very wrong in thinking he must have hated it and would have thrown Chaplin in one of his concentration camps if only he could lay his hands on him somehow.
Hynkel with that globe balloon is hilarious and the last speech by the Jewish Barber brings tears.
North by Northwest (1959)
A roller-coaster ride
What I like best about Hitchcock movies is that his hero was never a super spy or a super cop. He was an ordinary man who would get into trouble either due to a case of mistaken identity or something like that but he would come out of this trouble by courage and intelligence that he never even knew it existed and just by plain luck. As far as this concept is concerned, this movie is no different from other Hitchcock's but what I like about this film is that it is also very funny which makes it an excellent 'comedy thriller'. Hitchcock had a very good sense of humor as well, which is very apparent in this film.
Of course that crop duster sequence is marvelously shot and I loved that scene in the auction house and who can forget that famous climax at the Mt. Rushmore. One of my favorite Hitchcocks.
Garm Hava (1974)
Good movie about real issues.
The partition not only affected those who were displaced but also those who decided to stay back. And the minorities who decided to stay back amongst the majorities found themselves in a strange situation; suddenly they were outsiders in their own country and people viewed them with suspicion. 'Garam Hawa' deals with such issues with great sensitivity and perhaps is one of the best movies ever made on post partition.
Salim Mirza, brilliantly played by Balraj Sahney, is one such Muslim who stays back in India. India is a new democracy and has its problems of poverty and unemployment and Salim Mirza and his family has to fight to find its identity and respect in the country they chose not to leave. Sikandar, played by Farooq Shaikh, is Salim Mirza's unemployed son who is often told on his face that he might have a better chance in Pakistan but like his father he is determined. The family suffers a great deal for its decision but doesn't give up. I am sure everyone who was present during those days can identify with something in this story.
The grandmother wanting to die in her ancestral home and her whole life flashing before her eyes before she dies is an unforgettable scene.