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India's Best Films

June 29, 2005 15:07 IST
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Recently, Time magazine announced its list of the 100 greatest films of all time, and the eclectic selection included five Indian films.

While none would question the brilliance of the selected Indian classics like Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy, Guru Dutt's Pyaasa and Mani Ratnam's Nayakan, decided to ask Indian filmmakers, artistes, technicians and critics what they felt were the best Indian films of all time.

Today, we feature writer Sujatha.

His real name is Rangarajan but nobody knows him by that name. One of the most prolific writers, he has written more than 80 novels, 150 short stories, 10 science books, 10 plays, numerous poems and articles, stories, screenplays and dialogues for Tamil films, dramas, serials on television.

He has written dialogues for filmmakers like Bharatiraja, Shankar (Boys and the recent Anniyan), Kamal Haasan. He is the dialogue writer of most of the Mani Ratnam films from Roja to Aayutha Ezhuthu.

Here is Sujatha's list of his ten best Indian films.

Check out what our top moviemakers say about India's Best Films

Mother India

I choose this film for Nargis' superlative performance. She excelled in the saga of the Indian woman.

Director: Mehboob Khan


The quintessential Indian movie -- cricket, songs and the triumph of the underdog; all in four hours.

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker

Salaam Bombay

I see the combination of Hollywood skills and Mumbai background in this realistic, commercially successful movie. You also see the union of the best of international talent like Mira Nair and L Subramaniam (violin virtuoso, who composed the music for the film) creating magic.

Director: Mira Nair


A beautiful Malayalam/ Tamil bilingual movie with great performances by Bharat Gopi and Smita Patil.

Director: Aravindan

Muthal Mariyathai

I consider this Bharathi Rajaa's best film effort. He managed to make Sivaji Ganesan under-act!

Director: Bharathi Rajaa

Pather Panchali

Of course, because it is Pather Panchali!

Director: Satyajit Ray


A deftly handled episode-style of narration with a great performance by Kamal Haasan.

Director: Mani Ratnam

Mullum Malarum

Mahendran's triumph was making superstar Rajnikanth act naturally.

Director: J Mahendran

36, Chowringhee Lane

A sensitive portrayal of an old Anglo-Indian lady's identity crisis. The film also launched Aparna Sen as an important director.

Director: Aparna Sen


One of his (Mrinal Sen's) best. It is the story of the guilt felt by an urban middle-class couple when their servant dies accidentally. It has a stunning ending.

Director: Mrinal Sen


As told to Shobha Warrier

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