I have always been exposed to great movies, be it be in any language. I always liked vivid, realistic movies, artistic, carefully woven screenplays that never tagged movies to pure art, satisfying equally the artist, the connoisseurs and the common people. These are a lot of my favourite movies. Its quite difficult to choose some, when you are asked to. I'm a big fan of the 'realistic' ending i.e. not necessarily happy, 'everything is fine' ending. I appreciate an ending that ends in tragedy or keeps you guessing as to the 'final' outcome. That's just how I am.
Kerala is my Home land and Malayalam my mother tongue. Malayalam is the mother tongue of more than 3.5 crore people all over the world. Malayalam films hold a special place amongst Indian language films. They have a special place in my heart as well. I have always been exposed to great Malayalam Movies. From Padmarajan, Bharathan, Sethu Madhavan, K.G.George and Mohan and have great regard for all of them. They invented what is being called a Middle path cinema and what could be termed as the golden era in Indian film history. Commercial success of these movies were in fact the thrust needed for more such directors to make more such movies. Indeed they made great movies!! Dedicated to my teenage days are the works of the Directors like Padmarajan and Bharathan. They started the middle of the road movies, and to tell you all, words fall short to tell how awesome and wonderful their movies were.
Padmarajan was my favorite. His movies were sheer poetry and you could see magical realism in them. His clinical psychoanalysis of the human mind, traversing thru the darkest alleys of the mind, portraying the various shades of human nature would linger and ask uncomfortable questions long after the movies are over.
Being basically a novelist, Padmarajan displayed a phenomenal flair for characterization and he always wrote his own screenplays. Be it the old man of "Moonnam Pakkom" (The Third Day) or the compulsive-obsessive stepfather in "Namukku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal"(Vineyards For Us To Dwell), the characters he created could never be accused of being ordinary. The portrayal of the character of pimp named Clara in ("Thoovaana thumbigal" - Butterflies of the spraying rain - 1987) were neverthless brilliant. Clara from Thoovanathumbigal is one such. She is one, who takes to prostitution not by force, but as a willing self punishment to escape from the clutches of the society. His representation of the marginal people of the societies are in fact awesome.
Another thing I loved about his movies were their titles, unique names were given to each of the films - they were rather like the ones found for short stories, and always just so apt. Its rather difficult to pinpoint the best movies Padmarajan directed; he's done far too many different kinds of movies with more than a mere semblance of competence to make it that easy. But somehow there was some factor common underlying that seemed to me like a thread which used to connect his films together. Identifying his films from the main stream films were quite easy.
My fav movies from his Oeuvre:
"Aparan" (The Other - 1988) was a classic screen play. Would you hate yourself ? What if there is another person who looks like you and you are caught for all the wrong doings by the other look alike person. The screenplay never shows the other person, until the climax of the movie. The movie had one of the finest performance by Jayaram.
"Idavela"(Interval)-which is the story of 4 friends hanging out for 10 days. And the story develops with lots of funny moments in between them. Each Movie constitues lots of touching characters .
"Innale" (Yesterday - 1990) and "Koodevide" (Where is the nest-1981) were adaptations from the Tamil novel s."Namakku Paarkkaam Munthiri Thoppu" (Vineyards for us to dwell) , were inspired by the biblical romance of Solomon and his vineyard. It was truly romantic. Starts off like a simple love-story, but the characters take on a life all of their own after half an hour, and keep you engrossed until the very end.
Then there was "Deshadanakkili Karayarilla" (Birds That Migrate Don't Shed Tears). Narrating a tragic tale of how the meek, submissive partner of the duo tries to break away from the influence of her dominant & brash other half, the director never once resorts to the familiar filmi trappings (such as a flashback exonerating the perpetuator of everything); unpredictable twists and turns make this an amazing ride all the way through.
"Kariyilakattuole" (Like a Draft of Dry Leaves) adopts a story-telling technique totally diferent for his usual films.
Who could guess the climax of" Moonampaakkam" (On the third day). Like his screenplay with the sudden twist of happenings towards the end, his life also suddenly came to an abrupt end on one fine morning, His last movie was "Nyan Gandarvan"(I Gandharva), which displayed the relation between Gandarva(Angel) and a Woman. The master of Cinema died at the early age of 55(He did only few films) but each one different from one another. Still all remember him through his strong characters portrayed and personified in glory.
I was not exposed to a lot of Hindi movies during the school days, other than the weekly hindi movies which we used to see through the Television,(doordarshan). I still remember, my father, who was a strict disciplinarian, allowed us to watch them on certain conditions. Provided we finish our weekend studies dutifully. Somehow we managed to watch a few. Oldies were a fav in doordarshan, at that time. Still memories are ringing of movies seen at that time. Among them the favourite Romantic flicks were Awara, Bobby, Mera naam Joker, Aradhana, Kashmir Ki Kali, Mughal-e-Azam, Pakeezah, Love Story, Ek Duje ke Liye, Saath Saath, Arth, Abhimaan and so many others were my all time favourites.
Most of the Hindi movies were seen when i moved to Pune to do my graduation. At that time also Romantic movies remained a weakness. You have to blame the teenage hormones for that. Then the all time favourites were Qayamat se Qayamat Tak, Maine Pyar Kiya, Bombay, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, Baazigar, Darr, Roja and many and many favourites.
My intoruduction to the language English has to be dedicated to My dad, an English Professor. His language, portrayal of the characters, blending into the characters when he used to teach us, flair for the language and so many nuances which influenced me to have grip on the Language and thats what I am now. As any other child, I was also not too keen to understand the foreign language and its nuances. But my Dad took great pains in teaching the language and taking us to English movies, which used to visit our town very rarely.
I still remember the first movies I saw with him on the big screen, It was A Mad Mad Mad World. I was small, around 8 years of age. I still rememeber some scenes from them. The movie which my Dad took us and gave a lasting impression on me was "The Sound of Music", I still remember cloths made from curtains and Brown paper packages tied with string. I still remember Maria who gives the children a taste of a more fulfilling, joyous life than they have ever known, and they come to love her very dearly. A memorable movie.
The list of favourite movies in Hollywood industry is quite long. There are really heart warming, touching and extremely romantic ones which i like. A peek into some of them I like are Casablanca, Under the Tuscan Sun, Cliffhanger, Bond Series, Oceans Eleven, Jurassic Park, My Best Friends Wedding and many others......
There are alot of Tamil movies I watch and a lot of them which are my personal favs and even Bengali that I have recently started developing interest for.
What I cherish are the memories of the movie and the characters to live within us for quite some time. Movies are a good exercise for your brain as there are lots of elements to think off after the movie!