By Shreyas Bhide
Taking forward the legacy, Shreyas Bhide shares 3 lesser-known Bollywood classics you might have missed.
- Tahaan (2008)
Director: Santosh Sivan
Santosh By is not just a gifted director, but a maverick cinematographer. And Tahaan offers him full potential to explore the best of both crafts. At the outset, watching Tahaan feels like being in a Ruskin Bond story. Sivan begins peeling layers at a leisurely pace until the narrative’s tranquility makes way for franticness. Sivan keeps the focus on Tahaan, his pet donkey and the donkey’s new owners, (Subhan and Zafar) Anupam Kher and Rahul Bose, respectively. The bond that seems to be developing between the trio is subtly crafted. Without getting blatantly in your face about the valley’s tumult, Sivan paints subtle portrayals of how the unrest in the valley has ruined lives, spirits, childhoods, families, bonds and traditions. At its core, Tahaan is like a fable from a children’s storybook. From a wider perspective, its a study of lost innocence.
Tahaan is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
- Aamir (2008)
Director: Rajkumar Gupta
The ‘inspiration’ it draws from Cavite aside, Aamir is a daring attempt. For a first-time director to cast a TV soap actor in his first film and take the camera down to the underbelly – from the shady lodges to the nastiest gutters – of Mumbai and make a film so technically sophisticated, is an achievement in itself. Aamir gains a lot from its talented technical crew – the guerilla camerawork, the raw locations, the gritty writing, the jarring background music – it all creates an atmosphere of tension and urgency throughout the film’s runtime. Watch out for Rajeev Khandelwal’s performance as Aamir. How he keeps Aamir optimistically brave on the surface, despite appearing fearful and helpless inside is a lesson in acting by itself!
3 Deewarein is available to watch on YouTube.
- Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008)
Director: Shyam Benegal
You can trust Shyam Benegal to keep his films rooted in reality. Even with Welcome to Sajjanpur (WTS), a satire set in a fictional village called Sajjanpur and which comes with its own fairy tale like elements, Benegal never crosses into make-believe gimmicks. Satires breathe on great writing, and WTS is ample proof of that. The witty one-liners, subtle shade-throwing at the social and political issues that plague India, and well-etched out characters make WTS worth your time. Even otherwise, Benegal has crafted a frothy entertainer with a smooth narrative and endearing characters. It is also to Benegal’s credit that despite having so many subplots, the film never feels tiresome or contrived. All in all, WTS is a clean, feel-good, family film, with loads of funny lines and situations and great performances.
Welcome to Sajjanpur is available for paid viewing on YouTube.
Read the other articles of Shreyas here