'Black' - filmmakers' favourite in 2005 ...

By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

imageMumbai, Jan 1 (IANS) Sanjay Leela Bhansali's critically acclaimed "Black" is the top choice of most Bollywood filmmakers and actors among the films of 2005 with Ram Gopal Varma's "Sarkar" a close second.

Filmmaker Karan Johar's favourite films are:

1. "Black": If I had to list my favourite films from 1 to 20, the list would just have 'Black' on it. "Black" is the best film I have seen in a long time. It proves what a master Sanjay Leela Bhansali is. I am haunted by "Black" even now months after seeing it.

2. "Sarkar": Dark, stylish gangster epic with performances to die for by Amit uncle (Amitabh Bachchan) and Abhishek (Abhishek Bachchan). Ramu's (Ram Gopal Varma) best work.

3. "Salaam Namaste": Yash Raj Films is my home territory. Of all their films this year, I really loved this feel-good but seriously underlined love story. Great chemistry between Saif (Saif Ali Khan) and Preity (Preity Zinta).

Director Madhur Bhandarkar:

1. "Sarkar": Ramuji's best since "Company". I loved the way the film told a real-life story with "The Godfather" as a reference point. Amit ji and Abhishek were in full form. Really gripping stuff.

2. "Iqbal": Simple but heartfelt film with endearing performances. I like the way the film moves ahead without creating unnecessary drama. Very honest and direct.

3. "Kalyug": (Mahesh) Bhatt saab's film was about blue films. But it didn't have anything sleazy about it. Very powerful plot and good performances by Amrita Singh and Kunal Khemu.

Director Nikhil Advani:

1. "Black": Because it makes you believe there's hope for Indian cinema.... Because it's Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

2. "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi": Great story, terrific performances... Tackling an era in history that's seldom spoken about, let alone filmed... A period piece without horses, carriage, costumes or patent periodicity.

3. "Bunty Aur Babli": It successfully handles a difficult subject. Perhaps mainstream Hindi cinema's first successfully made road movie. Great fun. Super music. And the two Bachchans (Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan) and Aishwarya Rai together in "Kajra re".

Director Vipul Shah:

1. "Waqt: Race Against time": It dealt with the father-son relationship in a way no film has done... the film blended emotions and humour.

2. "Black": It had amazing performances by Bachchan and Rani Mukerji and some really beautiful scenes.

3. "Page 3": So many characters and they all had their own story to tell. They all came together in a cohesive whole without taking away from the main plot.

Bollywood's self-proclaimed showman Subhash Ghai refused to comment upon other filmmakers work saying: "Sorry, I am no one to judge other people's works. Popular awards are doing the needful."

On the other hand, director Anubhav Sinha's first reaction was, "Do I have to exclude my own film?". His favourites are:

1. "Apaharan": Terrific performances, cohesive narration and consistency in dramatic elements... look at Ajay Devgan's walk after his confrontation with his father.

2. "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi": For overall narrative quality, performances and innovative subject matter regardless of market value and formulas.

3. "Garam Masala": Sheer entertainment! And we got to see a new Akshay Kumar who was so comfortable with the camera and Priyadarshan (director) was in good comic form.

Actor-cum-director Ananth Mahadevan:

1. "Parineeta": It attempted a classic, recreated in glorious splendour a bygone era evoking genuine romance.

2. "Yahaan": It treated the Kashmir issue sensitively and attempted to show a forbidden romance amidst turmoil.

3. "Paheli": It attempted a story that was rooted in our culture. I also liked "Black" and "Main Meri Patni Aur Who".

Filmmaker Suneel Darshan:

1. "No Entry": It was a laugh riot.

2. "Black": A designer product.

3. "Dosti": It appeals to the common viewer's sensibility.

Producer and director Ekta Kapoor:

1. "Black": Brilliant visually and content-wise.

2. "Sarkar": Fabulous characters and performances.

3. "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi": Realistic ambience and an unpredictable screenplay.

Director Sujoy Ghosh:

1. "Black": It was inspiring on every level-life or art.

2."My Brother Nikhil": It's more a cause than a film. Again, very inspiring.

3. "Waqt", "Salaam Namaste" and "Bluffmaster": In the first, filmmaker Vipul Shah served up old wine in a new bottle. The other two (Yash Raj Films and Rohan Sippy respectively) for the newness they brought to Indian cinema. Like it or not, we need change.

Actor Anupam Kher:

1. "Iqbal": It was unusual and spirited.

2. "Salaam Namaste": Terrific treatment and frothy.

3. "Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara": Unusual gutsy, it revived Gandhism to an extent.

Film producer Pritish Nandy, who picked up "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi", "Parineeta" and "Iqbal", says: "They represent the very best of Bollywood cinema which has matured well beyond its clichés."

Director Apoorva Lakhia:

1. "Sarkar": The silences spoke louder than words. Both Amit ji and AB Jr. (Abhishek Bachchan) left their star status behind to get into character completely.

2. "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi": Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan proved they're stars. Paisa vasool.

3. "Black": Rani (Rani Mukerji) ruled with Amit ji and showed us what acting is all about. Ravi Chandran's camera lit up the frames.

Director David Dhawan:

1. "Black": Sheer brilliance and what performances by Amit ji, Rani and the child (Ayesha Kapoor).

2. "Iqbal": A simple story well told.

3. "Page 3": Madhur Bhandarkar is a talented director. I could identify with all the characters in his film.

Actor Anil Kapoor:

1. "No Entry": A perfect example of a mainstream commercial film... clean family entertainer with no double-meaning lines or obscene visuals.

2. "My Wife's Murder": Brilliantly acted (Anil Kapoor played the lead) and directed... Minimum budget but technically still brilliant."

3. "Black": Brilliant in all departments.

Director Sanjay Gupta:

1. "Sarkar": For Amit Roy's superlative photography.

2. "Parineeta": For Vidya Balan's superlative debut.

3. "Black": For Rasool Pookutty's incredible sound design.

Filmmaker Rakeysh Mehra

1. "Iqbal": It was simple and original.

2. "Sarkar": The performances were outstanding.

3. "No Entry"

Actress Shabana Azmi:

1. "Paheli": Quintessentially Indian and very charming.

2. "Black": Beautifully mounted and superbly enacted. Important landmark in mainstream cinema.

3. "Iqbal": Heartwarming and exhilarating.

For actor R. Madhavan its only "Black", he says: "I can't think beyond this film."

Where as director Ram Gopal Varma says: "'James', 'Neal 'N' Nikki', and 'Home Delivery' are my three favourite films of the year because they're intellectually stimulating, rich in subtext and very, very thought enhancing."