oggsmoggs: I'm currently building my collection of Indian cinema, and I'd like to get some recommendations from you guys. What are the must-see's of Indian cinema. Also, let's discuss everything and anything Bollywood here. So far, I've only seen two, and I immensely enjoyed both...
I'll throw names of filmmakers at you: Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Bimal Roy, Mehboob. Of recent filmmakers I'd say Mani Ratnam.
But Indian cinema goes beyond just musicals. Satiyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, Adoor Gopalakrishna, and Shyam Benegal are the many others you need to check out...
oggsmoggs: could you tell me the recommended titles from these filmmakers?
Everything and anything by Dutt, Kapoor, Ray and Ghatak. Roy I'd recommend Bandini and Do Bigha Zamin; Mehboob I'd recommend Mother Earth. Adoor I recommend his The Servile, Shyam I recommend Kalyug, Mani--well, haven't liked what I've seen, but he's the best of recent musical filmmakers (it's gone downhill since the '50s I think).
Klaus Weasley: What do you think of Mira Nair, Noel?
Don't much like Mira Nair. Her Salaam Bombay is rehashed Bimal Roy, she gets her details wrong (a child running on the streets? With a taxi behind him? He'd be run over in a second!). Kama Sutra was softcore porn, and pretty lame porn at that, Mississippi Masala--well, the casting was nice, but it didn't leave much of an impression. Monsoon Wedding was a weak-tea musical with a toothless incest subplot.
Roy's Bandini, incidentally, is comparable to Bulaklak ng City Jail (Flowers from the City Jail), tho I prefer O'Hara's film (I have reasons, other than the obvious ones).
oggsmoggs: Noel, have you seen Ramesh Sippy's Sholay. It was voted as the best Indian film by some groups in India. Check this list and see if it's a good one, thanks...
Sholay's fun, and I know a New York cineaste who thinks it's the greatest Bollywood musical ever made. But I thought it was secondhand Leone with a third-class villain; the only interesting setpiece--a dance over broken glass--was probably borrowed from the far superior, far more beautiful Pakeezah.
The list is interesting; Mughal E Azam is stupendous to look at. But why is Lagaan so high? Over Mother India and Pyaasa? No way! And what is Dil Chahta Hai doing there? That's a terrible movie.