Saturday, April 10, 2010

REVIEW: 50 Indian Film Classics


50 Indian Film Classics
MK Raghavendra
Rs 350
Pp 323

An eclectic collection of essays by the winner of the National Award Swarna Kamal for Best Film Critic 1997 With more than a thousand films produced annually in over fifteen languages India is acknowledged as the largest producer of motion pictures in the world.50 Indian Film Classics provides detailed critical accounts of the most important Indian films beginning with Prem Sanyas (1925) to Rang De Basanti (2006) in languages ranging from Bengali and Hindi to Manipuri and Malayalam and representing a whole gamut of themes: from the 1930s mythological Sant Tukaram to the politically radical Calcutta '71, from art-house favourites like Uski Roti and Mukhamukham to blockbusters like Sholay and Lagaan. These perceptive essays introduce the reader to the many moods that inform Indian cinema, the austerity of Pather Panchali, the lavishness of Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!, the solemnity of Samskara and the fun and frolic of Amar Akbar Anthony.Illustrated with rare posters and stills this is an invaluable guide to the most significant cinema India has ever produced.


Interpreting Indian classics Deccan Herald
One may or may not agree with Raghavendra’s academically-inclined theses, but they always make for interesting reading and the much-needed fresh breath in the mostly-stale air of Indian

Top 100 or Top 50 lists in any subject always elicits keen interest in the media as well as people. Such lists not only give a peek into the thought process of their creators but also provide a ready reckoner on many things. But ‘top’ lists also provide the basis for arguments, as each such list is the creation of a single mind that has a particular view of things, and thus always remains debatable.

Film scholar M K Raghavendra avoids any such immediate cause for debate by intelligently calling his book 50 Indian Film Classics. Going for this title, he has ensured that nobody can argue with him about why he did not include a certain film in the list, since nobody can argue that the 50 films listed in the book are not classics — either in the artistic term or in the mainstream term.

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