BBC Asian Network's 50 must-have films

Lists always get people talking. BBC Asian Network has put up a list of 50 films any Indian movie collection should include. What do you think? At first glance and only one cup of coffee so far this morning:
  • it's a little 2000s-heavy
  • I'd like to know more about why Baazigar is on it
  • replace Munnabhai MBBS with Lage Raho Munnabhai
  • No Benegal but three Bhansalis? No way. Swap out Black for Kalyug.
  • Silsila? Really?
  • hurrah for encouraging things like Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
  • totally agree with Monsoon Wedding, Dil Chahta Hai, Don, and Taare Zameen Par and applaud the diversity of their greatness.

Thanks to twitterer _nilanjana_ for the link!


Such lists are personal opinions so they don't bother me much otherwise what the hell is Baazigar doing there + no Hrishikesh Mukhejee, No Nasir Hussain who gave us hits like Teesri Manzil & Hum Kissise kum Naheen. Arrest my case, one man's food is another man's poison
Ellie said…
We are just about to watch Veer-Zara tonight! Of the movies I've seen on that list, I fervently agree with DDLJ, Sholay, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Lagaan, and Om Shanti Om (who likes masala fun-fests? Me!). Baffled by Maine Pyaar Kiya. I cannot stress "baffled" highly enough. Some picks there I know are "good" but I can't stand them-- "Devdas" comes to mind. I feel bad that I don't like Mira Nair, but there's something about her movies that makes me feel they're made with a sort of Western gaze in mind, and that detracts for me. It's a Bhansali and Nair-heavy list, na? Also, I know this is sacrilege, but I wouldn't want to own Mother India. I find it excruciating-- the fifties Serious Films are really hard for me. It seems clear from the list that, like the Oscars, "serious" is what gets you the recognition; ah well (See above re: masala fun-fests. I admit to being frivolous). Personally I think Bunty aur Babli is missing. It's at least as good as KKHH and SO MUCH BETTER than MPKiya.
Anonymous said…
Let's see. Not bad, but I'd swap Yuva for Dil Se, Awara for Shree 420, and Amar Akbar Anthony for Nazeeb. Let's remove Guru and add another oldie... maybe Chalti Ka Naam Gadi. And yes, Lage Raho Munnabhai instead of Munnabhai MBBS...
Temple said…
Good morning Beth!
This list does cover a lot of things I either loved (Don) or watched because I felt I had to watch.(Mother India) but of course I would make changes. Black would have to go, and I would have to make room in the list for Jalsaghar. I don't understand Taal and Hum Aapke Hain Koun as really both have great songs and not much else going for them. Very happy to see Page 3 and Mister India get a mention though. Agree with the suggestion to swap Yuva out and replace with Dil Se too.
What would be your 50 Essential Indian Movies list Beth?
Anonymous said…
Not bad. I agree, the diversity is nice, also unusual, lists like this usually same-same. I like seeing Metro on it.

Seems as if the objective was to provide movies important in Hindi cinema history -- HAHK was the original sugary joint family film (or "wedding video"),
Maine Pyaar Kiya launched Salman Khan. So - I can accept their inclusion in an educational list.

I'd definitely swap in Shree 420 for Awaara, as I like it better/think it better.

Then - no Guru Dutt seems like a big mistake.

-- one or two other Devdases, anything but SLB's - I'd go for both Bimal Roy's and Anurag Kashyup's. Then get Kaagaz Ke Phool onto the list, the class can discuss the Devdas theme and learn to recognize Waqt Ne Kiya.

--and just one SLB is plenty - HDDCS, then maybe drop another Aishwarya movie.

-- Is the 60s thing represented? I miss Jewel Thief.

-- and finally - I guess this is a minority view but I love Silsila. Its moods, its clothes, Amit-uncle's sensitive young man avatar, and Sanjeev Kumar's performance.

dunkdaft said…
Only two b/w films?
No Guru Dutt?
:O faint...

Aamir heavy list! Yay!

Life in a metro and Mr&Mrs Iyer !! Wah Wah!!
(but the pic 4 mr.mrs.iyer is wrong)
Unknown said…
Glad to see Life in a Metro on the list. Have you watched it Beth? Would like to read what you think about it. The movie made me feel many things at once.
Would easily swap Lamhe for Hum Aapke Hain Koun. But then HAHK was a very big hit!
bollywooddeewana - Oh, I agree. I'm not bothered, really, just intrigued. I don't know much about either of the authors involved in the list, so I don't have context for their choices - and I wish the list did include at least a paragraph talking about the general selection criteria. Even better, each entry could have a sentence about what makes it special.

Ellie - See, I hate DDLJ, but I know everyone else loves it. But more than that, I would need to think about DDLJ ask more than just a film - it, and all the others, are surely being considered for their effects on subsequent films, what they say as a snapshot of culture, etc. I much prefer Main Hoon Na to Om Shanti Om. As for Mira Nair, I've never felt that way about her movies but have heard that criticism from several sources.

Sigh. "Good" is subjective, that's all there is to it.

Anon - The oldies are missing, definitely.

Temple - Yes, I liked the range of this, even though I didn't agree with all the choices. And although it's almost all Hindi films, otherwise I like that they're not all "Bollywood" (nor is the list titled to be about Bollywood only).

As for doing a list - no, I couldn't possibly name 50 essential Indian films. I would enjoy trying to name 20 essential Hindi films, maybe. But I don't know anything about the other language cinemas and film cultures and very little even about parallel cinema that's in Hindi.

Virginia - Yes, I think the cinema history angle is in here, though I don't think it's the only angle, because otherwise too manyt hings are missing, as you say. I miss Jewel Thief too!

Darshit - Yep, scant on old :)

Vatsala - I havne't, but I would like to.
JJC said…
I def agree, such lists are of personal choice..and i think it depends on when they started watching the films and how old you are..becuase tastes chance
Soumyadip said…
Definitely not a must have list. Doesn't include Satya! It ushered in some sense in the mindless 1990s (though the 1990s was better than the 1980s)
eliza bennet said…
Am I the only one who likes Munnabhai MBBS better than Lago Rahe Munnabhai?

The list is a diverse one that's for sure but Amar Akbar Anthony should be in every Bollywood recommendation list.
"Swap out Black for Kalyug."What are you saying??????
JJC - That's a good point as well. I vaguely remember reading criticism of a big poll of favorite soundtracks (I think also by the BBC, but I could be wrong) that it was very light on older films, and someone proposed that people just didn't have some of those songs as present in their minds.

Soumyadip - Ah yes! That's another one I've been wanting to see.

eliza - You might be :) I agree re: AAA.

Crazy - No contest in my opinion. Benegal's Kalyug is one of the most impressive films I've seen from any cinema culture (and there are many other films on that list for which I would swap it - Black was an easy target because of the excess of Bhansali). Black...looked nice and had a good performance from Rani.
You must be crazy about Kaliyug.Anyway choice is yours.
Anonymous said…
A number of good movies are indeed missing from this list. However it is not a bad list either - quite good films.

Beth - fyi - I haven't seen 8 films listed here. So I have seen a good 42 of them!


Susania said…
I was pleased that I'd seen 24 of these... as to Baazigar's inclusion, I don't know that it should necessarily be on this list, but I can see why they'd include it. It's got a subtlety to SRK's anti-heroism... for me, it was a memorable and re-watchable film.

No "Main Khiladi Tu Anari"? Scandalous! Not "quality" filmmaking, but one of the most fun ones out there. But lists like this tend more towards the "medicinal" than the enjoyable.

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