Offside

Jafar Panahi

A heart-rending tale of passion and resilience, this is the story of girls who, disguised as boys, try to sneak into a football stadium to watch a match in which their country is playing (girls were not allowed inside football stadiums in Iran), and how their adventurous plan pans out eventually. The movie offers a glimpse into the lives of the characters, breaking all stereotypes and preconceived notions about the country and its people, and at the same time, brilliantly capturing the essence of a community tied together by a single factor — their love for the game.

Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino

A masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino, this movie has all that is expected of a typical QT flick: unforgettable dialogues, non-chronological roller coaster ride, eclectic mix of songs scattered throughout, and gory violence made to look good. Riding on the strength of some great performances by Samuel Jackson, John Travolta and Bruce Willis, this movie has become a cult since its release, and continues to surprise and captivate every time it weaves its magic.

Swades

Ashutosh Gowariker

Arguably the most memorable performance by Shah Rukh Khan, in Swades, Gowariker manages to portray nationalism and patriotism in a whole new perspective, different from most of his contemporaries, complemented by some great music from A.R. Rehman and brilliant acting all around. Shah Rukh Khan plays Mohan, an NRI from the U.S., who finds himself in a typical Indian village on his return home, with the same old dogmas and prejudices ingrained in the lives of the villagers, and rather than accepting the situation as it is, takes it head-on in his fight against these barriers.

Dr. Strangelove

Stanley Kubrick

“Gentlemen! You can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!” Full of funny and satirical dialogues like this, the movie is a humorous take on an American nuclear scare against Russia gone wrong. Peter Sellers plays three different characters; the U.S. President Muffley, Captain Mandrake, and the wheel-chair bound, devilishly funny Nazi scientist Dr. Strangelove. One of Stanley Kubrick’s most acclaimed movies; this is a complex mixture of ingenuity and sarcasm, being at the same time outright hilarious.

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

Mark Herman

A tale of friendship, loyalty and brutality, this Mark Herman movie is one of the best Holocaust dramas ever, depicting the horrors of Nazi concentration camps through two eight-year-old boys who befriend each other in the face of all oddities and the lengths they go to secure their friendship. It is also a study in contrast, depicting two completely different worlds as seen by each of them, and a deeply affecting climax that keeps resonating even after the film has ended. Some great performances by child artists Jack Scanlon, who plays Schmuel, the Jewish inmate, and Asa Butterfield, who plays Bruno, the son of a Nazi commander, makes this movie a must watch for everybody.

Those that almost made it:

Taxi Driver: Martin Scorcese

Requiem For A Dream: Darren Aronofsky

Good Will Hunting: Gus Van Sant

Trainspotting: Danny Boyle

In Bruges: Martin McDonagh

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara: Zoya Akhtar

Million Dollar Baby: Clint Eastwood

Dead Poets Society: Peter Weir

Sourav Agarwal, a resident of Noida, is an undergraduate from IIT (BHU), Varanasi, and is currently employed with National Highways Authority of India.