Movies that made me believe,
“Life is Beautiful”
I can’t forget the day when I saw movie “Lagaan”. It was probably the best movie I had ever seen. Everything was so good about it.Lagaan actually changed the trend of Indian Cinema. It proved that, love story, rivalary, comedy are not the only criteria to make good movies. It’s also not necessary that , only established stars can give successful movies. A good story with an excellent script & then supported by “ made for the character ” acting can give commercially &critically successful movie. Lagaan changed thinking of film makers in many ways. One of them is, some filmmakers realized that songs are not made just to give relaxing brake to audience. Songs can be an inseparable part of the story which helps in taking the story ahead. A R Rahman’s music in this film was awesome. It was a perfect application of Indian Classical Music. Lagaan’s theme had a struggle, love story, thrill etc.But none of these things were pasted just to increase the length of the film.Every aspect came as an integral part of story.Maybe this was the reason that audience happily enjoyed a 3Hrs. 30 min long story. And this became the speciality of all Ashutosh Gowarikar’s movies. Ashutosh’s every character speaks with the audience. Lagaan brought back the concept of “Director’s movie” which was lost somewhere after 1970’s movies.
This was just the beginning. The first decade of 21st century was flooded with good movies. Shortly after Lagaan, Dil Chahta Hain was released. A Story of 3 friends, finding ways of their life. Till today, this movie has great impact not only on me, but on my entire generation. You can ask any guy of my generation, one of his favorite movies has to be Dil Chahta Hain ! People do appreciate an average story if it is told in an interesting way. This was the high point of “DCH”. Just about same time, a wave of Bhagat Sing movies thundered on Box Office. Approx 5 movies on Bhagat Sing released on same day. One of them was The Legend of Bhagat Singh! I think this was the only movie which actually focused on Ideology of a Great man called Bhagat Sing. All other Bhagat Sing movies including old ones always portrayed only a loud character of Bhagat Sing. This movie showed that, all the freedom fighting activities done by Bhagat Sing & his friends were not just the deeds out of anger. His deeds were supported by a justified thought process. Bhagat Sing was not a guy who just got carried away by freedom fighting movements. He had a vision for his country. He not only lived for his vision, but happily died for it. All these above points were distinctly pointed out in that movie. Off course it wouldn’t have been possible without unbelievable screen presence of Ajay Devgan & all his costars.
Then came a movie which was a milestone in real sense. Sanjay Leela Bhansali introduced the term “Darkness” in a way which no one ever imagined. One of the film critics rightly said that ‘Black’ is a cinematic Gem which should be seen at least twice to understand its emotional depth. Maybe in addition to its theme it was the performances given by Rani Mukherji & Amitabh Bacchhan which added more gravity in those emotions. But those emotions were really painful. So it can’t be said that it was a treat to watch Black, which was the biggest achievement of this movie. But yes, it was truly a masterpiece from Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
After Lagaan, everyone was asking Ashutosh Gowarikar , What Next ? Ashutosh came with a movie which can be called as his best work till date. The movie was “ Swades”. I feel, whenever a discussion regarding best hindi movies ever is going on , some movies like Pyasa, Anand ,Black or Swades should be kept in a different bracket.. And then we can rate the other movies.Swades portrayed journey of a man from urban life to rural or the real life. A Nasa scientist comes to India to meet his childhood caretaker.During his stay in India, he realizes the importance of motherland. He gets disturbedby unethical traditions & level of poverty in the country. He also observes the brighter side of his country which lies in its strong relationship values. He finally decides to come back to India leaving his comfortable life in US. Every scene in the movie was expressing something. As a Writer & Director of the movie, Ashutosh rightly commented on many aspects of Indian culture.Also after the likes of Kuchh kuchh hota hain, Kal Ho naa ho & Main hoo nnaa & what not, film industry had got a Superstar Shah Rukh Khan but audiences had lost an actor Shah Rukh Khan. But Ashutosh found that actor. Shah Rukh actually lived the character of Mohan Bhargav. As a SRK fan, I can distinctly point out this as a career defining role of SRK.
I remember Munnabhai MBBS movie as the first movie I saw with my new college friends in first year. This movie not only introduced a new version of Sanjay Dutt but also gave birth to a “common man” Director Raju Hirani. He has a distinct ability to comment on everything in common man’s language. He found a potential comedian in Arshad Warsi. And truly Munnabhai is incomplete without Circuit! Though based on a comic theme, this movie succeeded to highlight some neglected but important aspects of human life. It highlighted the importance of Love & care in human life.Munnabhai in his unique style speaks on the “once upon a time” nobel profession of medical science which unfortunately has now become an emotionless or more importantly a passionless profession. Yes, there were funny dialogues & instances but everytime there were some messages given to the society.Munnabhai was a trendsetter movie in terms of situational comedy. Second film in the series was “Lage Raho Munnabhai”. This time Raju Hirani gently took out Mahatma Gandhi from his every photo frame in the country and placed him directly into the heart of audience. No one has ever looked at Gandhian Philosophy in such a way. This movie made us believe that Gandhian Philosophy is timeless! This movie lived to the expectations or even exceeded them.
There are several things that made ‘Lakshya’, a distinguished movie. Not many times we see introduction of a hero as a loser. And a kind of loser who doesn’t even know that he is lost. Lakshya portrayed a journey of a aimless boy Karan towards a matured person. And Hrithik Roshan’s astonishing performance underlined the difference between the two phases of Karan’s life. As a Director, Farhan Akhtar impeccably showed his touch. Boman Irani played a father who never really believed his son’s ability. But when his son calls him from warfront, father breaks into tears. This scene showed perfect father-son relationship which exists in every Indian family.
Though the theme was focused on Karan’s life, and his journey in Indian army was just used as platform, Farhan used that platform to show life of soldiers in army. Some action scenes during the war were really brilliantly filmed. It showed a true story of a breathtaking war operation done by Indian soldiers during Kargil war.
Om Puri speaks about a soldier’s thinking about war,
“ sab log hum faujiyo se kehte hain ki jung bahut buri hoti hai…main kehta hu ke ye baat ek fauji se badhakar kaun samaz sakta hain…..par kya kare….Uparwale ne to ek hi dharti banayi thi. Magar insaan ke laalach ne uspe lakeere kheech di. Ye tera…ye mera…Main to shukar karta hoon ke chand aasman me hain…warna insaan uske bhi tukde kar deta”
Filmmakers were really attempting different subjects now. A movie like’ Rang de Basanti’ is a classic example of this. This movie directly connected current Indian youth to the youth before independence. Movie speaks about mentality of today’s youth. It warned the society that if this youth is not given its due Rights ,it can turn into violence. The movie in a way didn’t support any violence but it rightly showed the glimpses of it. The movie pointed out the exponentially increasing gap between Politicians & youth. This movie created an everlasting impact on Indian youth.
Aamir Khan’s first Directorial venture “Taare Zameen Par” released as a much awaited movie. I will term this movie not as a milestone but as a Landmark of matured Hindi cinema. This film was a need of a time. “Every child is special” is not just a thought, it’s actually a learning for the society. The film commented on how we are killing every child’s childhood by pushing him into the unnecessary competition. The character “Ishan” in the film resembled with every child in our society. As a writer, Amol Gupte spoke about children psychology in a different way. Ishan is a innocent dreamy boy who couldn’t cope up with this materialistic world. Slowly he transforms into a confident boy who may not cope with the world but at least can stand distinctly in this world. If we talk about performances in the movie it was again “made for the character” acting by everyone. I am really short of words to describe Aamir’s acting in this movie. I can say, a point where all actors stop acting, Aamir started his acting from that point & reached to the level of sky. Maybe a Marathi word can describe it , “Sarvang Sunder Abhinay”!!
Hindi movies never really concentrated on sports as a subject. But in late 2007’ Chak De India’ released . Though a theme was about hockey, movie succeeded to highlight the lacunas of entire sports culture of India. It also showed the way to improve this sports culture. Movie was a perfect example of team building. I heard, many corporate companies in India, arranged the special shows of this movie for their employees. The reason was, movie showcased a perfect display of the term “Teamwork”.
The movie was filmed exceptionally well in every aspect. Maybe it was the strength of Yashraj Banner that could create a Hockey World Cup event in its real sense. Apart from all this, movie knowingly or unknowinglly commented on unreasonable expectations of all of us from our so called Idols. We all are extremely impatient when it comes to a failure of our Idols. Sometimes we love hating our own heroes for their momentary failure. We as a society should also learn sportsmanship spirit. This movie was a great learning & watching experience. Off course, once again SRK proved his metal as an actor.
While writing this article, I mainly focused on movies between 2001 to 2008. There were lot of other movies which also made this era very special. India’s first ever science fiction movie Koi Mil Gaya followed by Superhero Krishh were really entertaining movies.Ram Gopal Verma showed his class by Sarkar & Sarkar Raj. Sanjay Leela Bhasali’s adaptation of Devdas was a good attempt, though not of Bhansali’s class. Some nice love stories from Yashraj like Veer-Zara, Hum-Tum kept love alive within us.
After Legend of Bhagat Sing, Raj Kumar Santoshi returned with “Khaki” which was a unique thriller movie. Madhur Bhandarkar showed his unbelievable sense about off the track subjects through Page 3 & Fashion. Nagesh Kuknoor’s “Iqbal” was a touching experience. Mani Ratnam’s Guru was a his best work till date.
I know that there are “n” numbers of movies before & after this period which were brilliant in their own ways. But these are some movies which impressed me & helped me in changing the way of looking towards life. I thank each one who was involved in making of these films.