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My five… Vijay Shekhar

Anand

The film tells the story of a terminally-ill hero who is determined to make the most of the remaining months of his life. In one of his early roles, Amitabh Bachchan played a Bengali doctor who develops a deep emotional connect with the dying man played brilliantly by the then reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna. Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the director added deft touches to the narrative through cameos played by comedian Johnny Walker and wrestler-turned-actor Dara Singh to drive home the central message of the film, i.e. life should be big in terms of impact rather than in terms of mere length.

Sholay

A hugely successful adventure flick that drew upon conventions of the Western to deliver a pure Bollywood movie experience that remains unmatched to this day. There was nothing original in the plot or the narrative style, but for its time, Sholay was a huge step forward for popular Hindi cinema, with its top-of-the-line action sequences, its classy cinematography and a clutch of brilliant performances. Directed by Ramesh Sippy.

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro

Directed by Kundan Shah, the film is a dark and cocky satire about amoral politicians and avaricious businessmen. It narrates a zany story about two struggling photographers who, while working on an assignment for an editor hunting for sleaze in high places, stumble upon a builder-politician nexus and a high-profile murder that is being sought to be swept under the carpet. Shady deals, cover-ups and political shenanigans stumble out of the woodwork in this crazy cat-and-mouse game that leaves everybody open to manipulation. The no-holds-barred climax, which unfolds during the Draupadi disrobing scene in a performance of the  Mahabharata, is the film’s high point, a perfect summation of the spirit that propelled it.

Nayakan

Mani Ratnam made this film, by far, one of the greatest underworld dramas ever made in India. The film was a riveting, if controversial, fictionalisation of the life and times of real-life Bombay mafia don Varadarajan Mudaliar. Kamal Haasan plays the man who runs away to Bombay after his father is brutally murdered by the police and quickly works his way up the underworld hierarchy. His daughter detests him and leaves him to marry a police officer. The don is eventually killed by a mentally deranged man he gave shelter to as a boy.

Mughal-E-Azam

Directed by K. Asif, Mughal-E-Azam is a perfect blend of style, panache and substance. This historical romance tells the apocryphal love story of Prince Salim (Dilip Kumar) and commoner Anarkali (Madhubala). They face opposition from all quarters, including Emperor Akbar (Prithviraj Kapoor), and Anarkali dies to save the prince. Mughal-E-Azam is remembered to this day for a variety of reasons, one of which is the sheesh mahal (palace of mirrors) song sequence shot in colour in an otherwise black and white film.

Those that almost made it  

Mouna Ragam : Mani Ratnam

Guide : Vijay Anand

Mother India : Mehboob Khan

Pyaasa : Guru Dutt

Chithram : Priyadarshan

Vijay Shekhar is a Communications professional from Chennai. He loves films where the storytelling and the presentation are unique.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 11:52:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/my-five-vijay-shekhar/article6360485.ece

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