Celebrities and their favourite Indian films
As India celebrates 100 years of cinema, we asked celebrities to name their favourite Indian film. It was a tough choice. After all, there are tens of thousands of films to choose from. How could they select only one? In the end, all our respondents sent in several choices, unable to pinpoint the one Indian film they thought was the best.
Fashion designer Ritu Kumar was closest to the brief, naming just two personal favourites. Her choices: “Umrao Jaan” and “Mughal-E-Azam“. Both films were in her words “classical for music, costumes and ethos.”
For writer Amish Tripathi, “Mughal-E-Azam“, “Guide” and “Sholay” reigned supreme in Bollywood. Pressed to reveal his all-time favourite, the author of the Shiva trilogy reluctantly chose the Dev Anand film based on R.K. Narayan’s novel.
“If I have to, have to, have to pick, ideally it’s all three but if I am forced to pick, perhaps Guide would be a step ahead, a very small step ahead,” said Tripathi. “Of course, it’s a great story and it’s entertaining and it’s very well made but it has some nice philosophical messages as well, which I like … it’s such a brilliant mix of entertainment and philosophy.”
Former TV actress and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Smriti Irani sent in four favourites, including two films that starred Amitabh Bachchan.
For image management guru Dilip Cherian, Anurag Kashyap’s crime epic “Gangs of Wasseypur” is his choice from recent times.
“The story is riveting, the characters continually interesting and the execution is definitely world-class … I was also very impressed with the cast – none of them known actors. But they were brilliant in rather demanding roles,” he said.
“Lagaan” also featured in Biocon Chairman Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s shortlist for being “innovative and engaging – a belief in one’s self and team” and “Aamir (Khan) was great”.
Mazumdar-Shaw, who says she’s not the typical Bollywood movie buff, also chose nine other films as her favourites. “Guide” (for being offbeat and avant-garde and featuring Waheeda Rehman as the unconventional woman); “Anand” and “Safar” (two great stories around the brave fight against cancer beautifully portrayed and acted); “English Vinglish” (most thoughtful and sensitive film about women and their untapped potential); “Swades” (a great Shah Rukh Khan film on changing rural India with technology) and others such as “Sholay“, “Aradhana“, “Ankur” and “Sangam“.
“I think there is just something about tragic films – something strangely satisfying about them,” said Johar. “You know what they say, nothing like having a good cry during a film – that’s what it is.”
“For me Pyaasa is that film. Kabhie Kabhie is just what romance means to me – that for me will always be the ultimate romantic film,” he added.
What about you? Which Indian films would be your choice for the greatest film ever? If you need help, here’s a list of 100 films which we thought had a chance to win that honour. Don’t forget to comment.
(With input from Shashank Chouhan, Sankalp Phartiyal and Shilpa Jamkhandikar)