From Milind Dhaimade, who gave us the delightful Tu Hai Mera Sunday (one of this year’s best films) to Alankrita Srivastava who helmed the critically-acclaimed Lipstick Under My Burkha, we bring you six more directors who open up about the films and filmmakers that inspired them.
7. Monsoon Wedding (2001) | Directors: Alankrita Shrivastava, Sudhanshu Saria
“I feel that it is a very complete film emotionally. It is layered and complex, yet simple. It has so much local colour and flavour, and yet is so universal. I think the film has been made with empathy and gentleness. Every time I watch it, I feel like I too am part of the wedding family. I love that it is so unexpected, yet in the end it feels like how things played out was inevitable.
The characters are so real, their conflicts so relatable and genuine. And it all feels so effortless. The film just flows. The casting is superb. Every character is perfect for his/her part. What I love about the film is the tone. It just feels so natural and right. The way the camera has been, the performances, the use of colour, the use of songs. There is so much texture.
But if there is one defining quality that shines through in the film, it is that there is a truth in the film, a deep emotional honesty. And the film is special because the honesty just comes through. I think it’s a beautiful portrait of a dysfunctional family that finds love and hope. Before starting any new film I go back and watch the film. It is perhaps, in a strange way, my film bible.“ – Alankrita Shrivastava (Director: Lipstick Under my Burkha)
Recommended: Don’t miss these 9 Indian indie films from 2017
“From Mr. India and Lamhe to The Godfather, Kieślowski‘s Three Colours Trilogy and Y Tu Mamá También, there have been so many films that have shaped my understanding of what cinema is and what it can do. While each of these films have inspired me, it’s Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding that I would hold responsible for turning me from an audience member into a filmmaker.
The grounded, honest, natural language of the film, free of all artifice, completely shocked me. I saw my family, my reality and my relatives in its world. Despite being so focused on such a specific microcosm, it became universal. I must have seen the film a hundred times since my first viewing, often in the company of new friends and acquaintances I’ve hosted for movie-night and each time I’m amazed at how people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences find themselves in it.” – Sudhanshu Saria (Director: Loev)
8. I, Daniel Blake (2017) | Director: Milind Dhaimade
“Amongst all the filmmakers and movies that I love, three distinctly stand out for me. The Coen brothers, Mike Leigh and Satyajit Ray. I don’t think I need to tell anyone why they’re great but from my perspective, all three of them really etch out amazing characters, have a unique outlook towards humanity and over time, have displayed a fierce integrity in their narrative.
By the way, one rarely ever talked about the film of Ray, which blew me away. Aranyer Din Ratri (1970). Watch it. It’s surprisingly contemporary. Like you could recreate it frame by frame and it would still be relevant.
One movie that has had a great impact on me in the last few years is I, Daniel Blake (2017). I saw it in a flight. And immediately after, I saw it all over again with my wife. I can’t remember the last time a movie had me so effing pissed off, shaken up and in tears. Again, for me, subjects about everyday people hold a great deal of attraction. It takes incredible courage to take on stories that are about struggles of ordinary people and yet crafted in an extraordinary engaging manner.
For me, it’s one of the most underrated films of its times. But movies about common folks mostly always are. The mainstream finds them arduous and the intellectuals cannot see anything exotic in them.” – Milind Dhaimade (Director: Tu Hai Mera Sunday)
9. Forrest Gump (1994) | Director: Shashant Shah
“It’s very tough to pick one but Forrest Gump tops my list of films that inspired me to become a better person and try and become a better filmmaker. The passion behind making a film like Forrest Gump is visible in each and every frame which breathes life and love. It’s a beautiful piece of storytelling with amazing performances, an uplifting background score, breathtaking cinematography, a very interesting screenplay and great dialogues.” – Shashant Shah (Director: Chalo Dilli, Dasvidaniya)
Recommended: Tom Hanks’ 15 Best Performances of All Time
10. Kabhi Haan Kabhi (1994) | Director: Sudhish Kamath
“I’m a nineties guy. It was when I fell in love for the first time. And listened to Pehla Nasha over and over again. It was also the time when I learnt to ride a bicycle. Nineties was the time when Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander made every kid in school feel cool, like a hero who owned the world. The nineties were also when I first had my heart broken. Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa made me sign up for music classes. Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Andaz Apna Apna and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai were my most favourite films from that time. But if I must pick just one, I’d go with Kundan Shah’s delightfully entertaining Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, one of Shah Rukh‘s most endearing performances ever.
It wasn’t the most original story. So it was all the more fascinating how Kundan Shah managed to make it so fresh and straight from the heart.
The influence continued so much that when I wrote my first film almost 15 years ago (I was 22 then), I named the character based on me Sunil in my debut film That Four Letter Word. It was a terrible film I ended up making, twice over seven years by the way. But it was all part of growing up.“ – Sudhish Kamath (Director: Good Night Good Morning)
Recommended: Tête-à-tête: ‘Side A Side B’ Director Sudhish Kamath
11. The Lobster (2015) | Director: Hemant Gaba
“I have a thing for films that create a new world that I can relate to. And one of the last few films that really fascinated me was The Lobster (2015). It depicts a new world with its own rules and boundaries but those represented us as wel. It was like a reflection of us. And it was all done wildly but with a wierdist humor.” – Hemant Gaba (Director: Dilliwood (web series), Japan In Nagaland (documentary), Shuttlecock Boys)