The Man Who Knew Too Much
A dying man tells the hero (James Stewart), vacationing in Marrakesh, of a plot to assassinate a foreign dignitary in London. Taking the film across continents, the suspense is woven beautifully. James and Doris Day and their son are on the run, the boy is kidnapped and the climax is at Royal Albert Hall where the assassination of a Russian dignitary is to happen. The movie is well known for its edge of the seat ending and the famous song ‘Que Sera Sera’ that reunites the family.
Do Ankhen Barah Haath
Based on the true experience of an open prison the doyen of Indian cinema V. Shantaram made this movie, one of the best of Indian cinema. Jailor Adinath (Shantaram) promises to reform six hardcore criminals and takes them to a land as barren as their minds. They resist, he persists. His love and faith succeed. Known for — even after 56 years — poignant performances, haunting music (‘Ai Malik tere bande hum’... Vasant Desai) the film won several national and international awards.
Kagaz Ke Phool
None can deny the fact that Guru Dutt was atleast decades ahead of his times. True to life lighting, crisp camera angles, melancholic lyrics and music all made this first Indian cinemascope film a memorable one. It is the story of a famous director who makes a star out of a rustic girl (Waheeda). The star ascends and the director descends. The director (Guru Dutt) who has lost fame and family goes back to his studio and dies on the director’s chair. Fame is but a paper flower with no fragrance. Watch it for its immortal songs such as ‘Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam’!
Reincarnation has been the favourite theme of film makers. Mahal, Mehbooba, Karz, — all belong to this genre; of course Madhumathi is one of the best. On a stormy, rainy night when his car breaks down, Anand takes shelter in a dilapidated palace. Memories come flooding to him about his previous birth and his unfulfilled love with Madhu. The film ends on a happy note when Anand’s wife in the current birth is none other than Madhu reborn. Madhumathi is remembered for Salil Choudhry’s lilting music (‘Dil Tadap’, Toote Hue Khwabo Ne’) and the gripping screenplay and direction of Bimal Roy.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
This rare gem of an anti-racist film has stellar performances by Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn Katherine Houghton and Sidney Poitier. The film deals with the whirlwind romance between Joanne (Houghton) and Dr. Prentice (Poitier), an African-American physician. It has very hilarious and at the same time very serious scenes.
Those that almost made it
Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani: V. Shantaram
Pyaasaa: Guru Dutt
Bandini: Bimal Roy
Saboteur: Alfred Hitchcock
The War Horse: Steven Spielberg
N. Gopalakrishnan is a retired public sector executive and a teacher. He enjoys films and music.