Today when I woke up this morning, I decided let’s start the day by watching some world class movie. So I started browsing imdb for some cool Hollywood movie. Suddenly while googling for some old and popular classic, I found the list of Top 100 movies of the world by Time magazine. I surprised to see five Indian movies there. The Indian movies in the list were The Apu Trilogy [Pather Panchali (Song Of The Little Road), Aparajito (The Unvanquished) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)], Nayakan and Pyaasa. All the five movies are some of the masterpieces of Indian cinema.
The Apu Trilogy
The Apu trilogy is a series of three films directed by Satyajit Ray between 1955 and 1960. All the three movie were based on the novel of famous Bengali author Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. This trilogy is considered as the greatest achievement of Indian Cinema. Pather Panchali won 12 international prizes, followed by a Golden Lion in Venice for Aparajito and many other awards for Apur Sansar.
Pather Panchali is the story of a poor family living in a small village of West Bengal. In the movie you will see a priest Harihar, his wife Sarbajaya, his two children Apu and Durga, and his aged cousin Indir Thakrun, struggle to make both end meet during the period of Indian Independence when there was huge poverty in Indian villages. Harihar is frequently away from home on work. The wife is raising her mischievous daughter Durga and caring for elderly cousin Indir. Apu is born. Soon, Durga and Apu build a bond as they explore the world around the village. On a stormy day, following a joyous dance in the monsoon rains, Durga dies. On Harihar’s return, the family leaves their village in search of a new life in Benaras. The film closes with an image of Harihar, wife and son – Apu, moving way in an ox cart to Benaras. The sequences of Durga and Apu in Mango garden are the most cinematic moments in this movie.
Aparajito — In the city of Benaras Harihar dies after an illness. After the death of her husband Sarbajaya decides to return with Apu to the village where they struggle for existence. The mother wants her son to become a priest like his father, but the son, Apu persuades her to send him to school. She makes every possible sacrifices to make it possible for Apu to study. Apu wins a scholarship and leaves for the city, Calcutta. Sarbajaya, the mother, falls ill. Delayed by his exams, Apu arrives too late. She finally died and Apu again leaves for Calcutta.
Apur Sansar is the story of Apu the man. Apu gave up studies and look for work. But he didn’t find the job, so he started writing a novel based on his life. In the meantime Apu gets married to a village girl (played by Sharmila Tagore). His wife finds herself disoriented in the new city life but finally they develop a companionship and fall in love. Then she becomes pregnant and leaves to be with her family for childbirth. She dies while giving birth to her son. Apu blames the infant for its mother’s death and refuses to see his face. At last after series of incidents and drama, he gives up his novel and goes to meet his son. After the reunion, both father and son leave for Calcutta.
Discovery of train by Apu and Durga, the candy seller scene, Durga giving mango to Indir, Indir Thakrun’s death, Durga’s death and Harihar’s realization of Durga’s death in Pather Panchali; The family leaving the village, Harihar’s death, Sarbajaya’s (Apu’s mother) death on a night sparkling with fire flies and Apu’s encounter with the empty house in the village in Aparajito; and Apu’s marriage, developing of bond with wife and the first encounter with his son in Apur Sansar. If there is any text book for Indian Cinema, all these scenes will be part of its lessons.
Some critics feel that this trilogy is influenced by the works of Jean Renoir and Italian neorealism. If you have seen the Italian movie Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thieves) directed by Vittorio De Sica then you will find many similarities between Apu Trilogy and the famous Italian movie. Even Satyajit Ray quoted the film as the seminal influence on his choice of film-making as a career.
Director Ray reveals an order of poetic insight and a gift of visual anecdote that combine to produce some astonishing effects — Time Magazine
Pyasa — Thank God, there is one Hindi movie in this list. Pyasa was directed by Guru Dutt and he himself played the main role in the movie after getting rejection from Dilip Kumar. Guru Dutt is considered as the most brilliant filmmakers of India. He is mainly famous for his three movies, Pyasa, Sahib, Biwi aur Ghulam and Kaagaz Ke Phool. The film Pyasa is the story of struggling poet, Vijay who is trying to make his works known in post-independence India. Gulabo is a prostitute helps him get his poems published. Guru Dutt did the lead role of a suffering poet and Waheeda Rehman his admirer and a prostitute. S. D. Burman music and lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi is brilliant and mind blowing in this movie. Songs like “Jaane woh kaise log the”, “Jinhe naaz hai Hind par who kahan hain” and the heartrending ” Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai ” are true classics of Hindi music.
Nayakan — It was inspired from the famous “The Godfather” trilogy. Nayakan is a tamil move written and directed by Mani Ratnam. The movie revolves around the life of a real-life underworld don called Varada or Varadarajan Mudaliar. It sympathetically depicts the struggle of South Indians living in Mumbai. Kamal Hassan played the main character of Varda, the underworld don. Nayakan’s music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja. This movie helped Kamal Haasan secure National Award for best actor. No doubt, Nayagan was nominated by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1987.
So with the help of torrents, now I have got all these five movies in my hard disk. Now believe me, I am confused which movie to watch first.