Three Indian films make it to top 100 list

Last Updated: Tue, May 24, 2005 08:55 hrs

Frankly, Scarlett, Time magazine doesn't give a damn, either.

The magazine on Monday published its list of 100 all-time favorite movies ranging from Charlie Chaplin's City Lights (1931) to Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List (1993) and 2003 computer-animated hit Finding Nemo.

But critics Richard Schickel and Richard Corliss snubbed several classics such as 1939's Gone with the Wind in which hero Rhett Butler leaves Scarlett O'Hara with the memorable line, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."

"Neither of us really cared for that film," Schickel told Reuters, calling Gone With the Wind a "faux epic."

He said his first criteria was whether the film contained any "magic," meaning whether it wowed him. But he conceded that what one person liked wasn't always what another one fancied.

"In the end, all moviegoing is very subjective. You love things that you can't fully explain, and you despise things that you can't fully explain," he said.

Schickel and Corliss each picked 100 films, and 40 to 50 titles made both lists. The two debated other choices before determining the final list that includes many genres.

The pair then chose one favourite for each decade since Time first hit newsstands in 1923. German director Fritz Lang's futuristic Metropolis (1927) dominated the 1920s, while US titles Dodsworth and Citizen Kane ruled the 1930s and 1940s, respectively.

Satyajit Ray's Apu trilogy, Guru Dutt's classic Pyaasa, portraying the disillusionment of a poet with the material world, and Mani Ratnam's Nayakan, based on the life of a Mumbai gangster, are among the 100 films.

In modern times, director Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction led the 1990s, and Time picked 2002's Talk to Her from Spain's Pedro Almodovar as the best of the current crop.

Almost half of the films were made outside the United States. Some of those titles include 2002 Brazilian film City of God, Japanese legend Akira Kurosawa's 1952 movie, Ikiru, and Poland's Dekalog (1989) from director Krzysztof Kieslowski.

"If you cut off your moviegoing to only seeing contemporary and US movies, you're cutting yourself off from some really, really wonderful films," Schickel said.

US filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who has never won an Oscar as best director, made the list with three movies, more than any other director. Those were Goodfellas (1990), Raging Bull (1980) and Taxi Driver (1976).

Robert DeNiro, who starred in Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, had five of his films make the list, more than any other actor. But best performances went to Marlon Brando for On the Waterfront, James Cagney in White Heat, Cary Grant for Notorious, Faye Dunaway for Chinatown, and Barbara Stanwyck for "Double Indemnity.

The Indian movies that made it to the list of Time's All Time 100 movies are:

The Apu Trilogy (1955, 1956, 1959) directed by Satyajit Ray was also chosen apart from Pyaasa and Nayakan. The Apu Trology is the story of a child growing to manhood in modern India. His triumphs are small, his tragedies large, but Ray's filmmaking is direct in manner, simple in its means and profound in its impact. It is, as another great master, Akira Kurosawa, said, "the kind of cinema that flows with the serenity and nobility of a big river"–the river of life as it is ordinarily lived.

Pyaasa, which means thirst, is the most soulfully romantic of the lot. Vijay (Guru Dutt) is an unpublished poet, dismissed by family and office colleagues but befriended by a prostitute (Waheeda Rehman). In a twist out of Sullivan's Travels, Vijay is believed dead and his poetry "posthumously" lionized. The writer-producer-director-star paints a glamorous portrait of an artist's isolation through dappled imagery and the sensitive picturizing of S.D. Burman's famous songs. And Rehman, in her screen debut, is sultry, radiant–a woman to bring out the poet in any man, on screen or in the audience.

Nayakan, an early, defining work in Mani Ratnam's career, tells the Godfatherish tale of Velu, a boy who embraces a life of crime after his father is killed by the police. Velu (Kamal Hasan) has trouble juggling his family life with his life-and-death mob "family"; Ratnam has no such difficulty blending melodrama and music, violence and comedy, realism and delirium, into a two-and-a-half-hour demonstration that, when a gangster's miseries are mounting, the most natural solution is to go singin' in the rain.