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Giffing the Obscure in World cinema. Travel. Urdu poetry.

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Recommendation: 10 Hindi films from the 70’s and 80’s for the old-fashioned viewer

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I’ve talked with more than a few classy folks on Tumblr who prefer the charm and reserve of the 50’s and 60’s Hindi cinema … as well as the quieter fashions and thoughtful music… to the later years of slapstick, dishooms, and disco. However, it would be a shame to miss out on the 70’s and 80’s completely. 

Here are a few recs from the 70’s and 80’s that:

  • Contain more subdued visuals and fashions—less likely to offend sensitive eyes/ears :) 
  • Tend to be more measured, sensible, and old-fashioned in songs and storytelling

1. Amar Prem (1971) 

Sharmila and Rajesh Khanna in a Bengali story about motherhood, prostitution, and creating families of choice, not blood. 

2. Chupke Chupke (1975)

Hilarious, cheerful, romantic … Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore starring as newlyweds caught up in an elaborate prank on the crotchety brother-in-law (Om Prakash).

3. Mili (1975)

Mili (Jaya Bhaduri) has terminal cancer and yet is happier than her wealthy neighbour (Amitabh Bachchan). Irony and broody romance ensues. For lovers of Meena Kumari tearjerkers. 

4. Anamika (1973) 

A Hindi film for Hitchcock enthusiasts. Sanjeev Kumar finds a woman (Jaya Bhaduri) in the street who wakes up claiming to be his wife (and claiming her *ahem* wifely rights). Helen shows up as a nightclub dancer who may hold the key to the mysterious woman’s past. 

5. Kalyug (1981) 

It’s the Mahabharat, bitches. Don’t expect to understand the plot if you aren’t desi or an Indo-literature scholar. But we can appreciate, yes we can. (Especially if you like thoughtful, gray-templed Shashi Kapoor.)

6. Pasand Apni Apni (1983) 

Rati Aghnihotri tells one little lie—that’s she’s dating a wealthy industrialist (Mithun Chakraborty)—in order to keep her job. When the lie goes public, Mithun’s character is intrigued, rather than angry. He decides to go under-cover to investigate the woman who has the cahones to tell such a whopper about him. 

7. Masoom (1983) 

A middle-class everyman (Naseeruddin Shaw) is forced to take in the son he never knew about from a long-ago affair. His wife (Shabana Azmi) ain’t too happy about it. The kid doesn’t know that he’s staying with his real father, OR why auntie seems to hate him so much. 

Warning: Heart-wrenching family situations.  

8. Prem Kahani (1975) 

A newlywed (Mumtaz) is caught between her husband (Shashi Kapoor) and her one-time lover and now revolutionary (Rajesh Khanna), in a drama set during the Indian resistance movement. 

9. Ittefaq (1969—close enough) 

Rajesh Khanna plays an unhinged prisoner claiming to be innocent. After escaping from his criminal ward, he hides out in a local home and takes its owner (Nanda) hostage until the police search has died down. A long night of suspense and wit-matching begins. 

10. Jaag Utha Insaan (1984) 

A achingly beautiful musing on the love between a Brahmin girl (Sridevi) engaged to the local priest-in-training (Rakesh Roshan) and a Dalit shepherd boy (Mithun Chakraborty); and the village determined to come in between them. Directed by the brilliant K. Viswanath—as a remake of his Telegu fillm, Saptapadi. [Not available with subtitles, but trust me, you won’t need them.]

Another version of this list will appear on Filmi-Contrast

Filed under Recommended 1970's Bollywood 1980s Bollywood

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Second part of a 1990’s interview of Satyajit Ray by one of his first protégés, Sharmila Tagore. Intercut with clips from films, opinions by other Bengali stars (like Aparna Sen), and footage of Ray filming, recording, discussing scripts. 

Some highlights

Ray considered his best work Charulata. Looking back, he felt it was the least flawed of all his films—and if he were to remake it, he would hardly change a thing. [Perhaps this is why Charulata works so well as a Ray introduction film—each scene flows into the next with intention, and by the end of the film, you can’t really say you were ever bored or restless, unlike the film’s heroine.]

One of his least favorites [in hindsight]? Chiryakhana, a detective story not of his own creation, and a film he didn’t have much of a choice in making. Apparently the filming process was quite enjoyable, however. [Check out the behind the scenes footage of Uttam Kumar as the detective with his pet snake @5:28.]

Filed under Satyajit Ray Satyajit Ray interview with Sharmila Tagore Uttam Kumar Soumitra Chatterjee Aparna Sen