The best unknown movies.

Aug 2007.

There are two passions in my life. Literature and movies. While i've given up on the former, the latter still holds its sway on me. So in this post i'll list some of my favorite movies. But there is a difference. I won’t be writing bout movies which we all know and love. Deewar, Anand, Godfather... u get the drift. Famous stuff which are bound to be favorites. But rather i'll kinda restrict it to movies which may not have created a rage but are really beautiful. U probably may not have even heard of some, but if u can, do see them. Believe me u wont regret. And if u've seen and liked any of these, drop in a line. Here it goes:

Bagh Bahadur - 1989: Directed by Buddhadev Dasgupta, this movie won the National award for the best movie in 1990. The lead character was played by Pawan Malhotra (a power actor in the same league as Raghubir Yadav, Ashish Vidyarthi types). It tells the story of Ghunuram who makes a living by playing a tiger in the annual village fair and nurses the dream of getting the local village beauty after earning enough money. But his life is torn apart by an outsider who gets a real tiger in the village to display and in the process manages to impress the villagers and the damsel of Ghunuram. In frustration and as a last ditch effort to salvage his pride, Ghunuram decides to take on the tiger in front of the whole village. One of the best i've seen.

Target - 1985: Originally written by Satyajit Ray and directed by his son Sandip, this tells the story of Rambharosa (Om Puri) who plays a servant to a zamindar (Mohan Agashe - bikta hai sona mitti ke mol - Trimurti alongwith SRK). Rambharosa never misses a target on hunting trips with the zamindar. One day the zamindar chances upon the voluptuous wife of Rambharosa and molests her. When Rambharosa protests, the zamindar slices of his shooting hand. Rambharosa starts practising shooting with one hand and when the time comes makes the zamindar his target. It’s a pity that a person of Om Puri's caliber has to play a regular cop in movies like Don which don do any justice to his abilities just coz he has a family to feed.

Aur ek prem kahani - 1996: A Hindi movie which starred the top south indian actors of that time - Heera Rajgopal, Ramesh Arvind and Revathy(Amitabh's wife in Nishabd). Although this movie had a slightly adult theme, I remember watching it as teenager and even managing to comprehend and appreciate it in spite of a very complex emotional theme. Heera is a doctor and also a budding singer with a promising career who lives in erstwhile Madras (now Chennai) along with her parents, a tenant (Ramesh) and her servant (Revathy). In due course of time Heera and Ramesh fall in love and decide to marry once Heera returns from a singing assignment. While Heera is out of station, Ramesh, in a moment of weakness has a one night stand with Revathy. Revathy presumes that it was an act of love but feels really used (thinking just becoz she is a servant) and begins to cry when Ramesh insists her to take contraceptive pills (it's after watching this scene that you'll realize why this movie won her the National award for best actress that year). When Heera returns, she finds both Revathy and Ramesh missing. Years later all three meet but with a beautiful twist in the tale which is best left to you guys to watch. I can say that this is one of the best movies I have ever seen. This is a brilliant depiction of human emotions, weaknesses, loyalty, pain compromise etc. I would say that true to its name, I have never seen a better love story or read one like this. I guess I need not say more.

Aadmi aur aurat - 1984: The second movie produced by Doordarshan after the critically acclaimed Sadgati (another great movie as per mom which was made in 1981 and Directed by the great Satyajit Ray which won him a National award. Try out this too and if possible, save a copy for me as I have yet to see this). This entire movie has just 2 characters who call each other aadmi (Amol Palekar) and Aurat (don’t know who). It so happens that aurat is a pregnant lady who suddenly starts getting labor pains while she is crossing over to the next village or something and in a totally desolate area with not a soul in sight except for aadmi who eventually comes to her rescue and takes her all the way to the distant clinic in a long journey without taking any advantage of her desperation. While the story in itself is quite simple, the notable thing is how aadmi keeps the aurat awake throughout the journey by encouraging her to take all the pain keeping in view the prize ahead. Almost 90% of the movie is bout this journey through this desolate land. After seeing this I really appreciated both Amol and the lady for brilliant acting. A must watch. I just wonder what has happened to Doordarshan !!!

Saudagar - 1973: A movie with an Urdu look and feel but written and directed by Bengalis (there was a time when they ruled Bollywood), this was one of Amitabh Bachchan's best movies and incidentally, made before Zanjeer catapulted him to superstardom in the same year. I reckon the budget of this movie wouldn’t have exceeded even 1 lac in those times. This tells the story of a Mohammedan named Moti (Amitabh) who climbs palm trees to extract the juice and sells jaggery made out of it by his new wife (Nutan) who puts her heart and soul into the job to make Moti succeed. But that is all he has married Nutan for. To make a pile of money on her effort and then marry the local village beauty thus deserting Nutan once he has made enough money to pay the new girl’s (Padma Khanna) father. In due course Nutan remarries. Moti 's new wife turns out to be a good for nothing and ruins Moti 's business. When in poverty Moti goes to Nutan and begs her to teach his new wife her skill so that he can live. In spite of the brutal treatment meted out to her, her goodness of heart prevails and out of humanity she teaches her the job.

Pushpak - 1988: Although not a much unknown movie, i'll take the liberty to mention it here. Being a silent movie there isn't much of a plot (well there is but not a serious one). I reckon the movie is about emotions depicted without words. Kamal Hassan and Amla weave a magical tapestry to make the movie speak for itself. In the end there is an underlying theme of both sorrow and happiness that I'll leave to the viewer to discern.

Thoda Sa Roomani Ho Jaayen - 1990: One of the reasons i recommend this movie is because the whole story and dialogue delivery has been done via poetic and rhyming language which assume is very tough as i haven't seen it in any other movie. Directed by Amol Palekar, this movie has a girl called Binni (don't know who but seemingly a trained actor - and a good one at that) who considers herself  a small town average Jane, and hence very low on confidence. To add to this, the drought in her town doesn't help her spirits any further. Enter 'Dhrushtadyumna Padmanabha Prajapati Neelkantha Dhumketu Barish Kar' (Nana Patekar) a man who offers to bring rain in the village for 5000 rupees.While Binni's family and all others initially view him with skepticism, they eventually decide to take a chance even though Binni isn't convinced. The question is , can the man bring back rain.....and along with it Binni's lost confidence. This movie exemplifies the art of simple storytelling and takes it to a new level altogether. A must watch.

Katha - 1983: A movie which is very close to my heart. Actually shot on location by Sai Paranjpe in a Mumbai chawl with the real chawl people playing the residents, Katha tells the story of 'Rajaram Purshottam Joshi' (It was after seeing this movie that I admired Nasiruddin Shah) a honest simple hardworking man who believes in walking straight and turning right. Rajaram also nurses in his heart the hope of marrying Sandhya (Deepti Naval) who is the chawl's damsel. However Rajaram meets his nemesis in Bashu (Farookh Sheikh) a suave man who knows all the tricks of the trade and manages to woo Sandhya with his style thus leaving Rajaram heartbroken. In a world where nice guys finish last, what happens to Rajaram ?