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5 Most Underrated  Films Of Epic Directors to Watch During Lockdown

These  films flopped when they were released. But they have great recall value. See them now and you’ll know why.

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  1. Raj Kapoor’s Satyam  Shivum Sunderam:  The  Indian film that had one of  the  biggest openings eventually turned  out a  flop.  Audiences  couldn’t connect with the theme of a scarred  woman with a beautiful voice seducing Shashi Kapoor without showing  him her face. But watch  the  film now  for its  exceptional  look and  music. Laxmikant-Pyarelal songs  in Lata  Mangeshkar’s  voice will haunt  you forever. This film is  more a homage to  the Mangeshkarian magic than  to Zeenat Aman’s vital statics which were unnecessarily  flaunted all across the  film. RK’s fixation on a  certain part of a woman’s anatomy is  worthy of  being analyzed  by  the world’s best shrinks.
  2. Ramesh Sippy’s Shakti:  After  Sholay  Sippy  couldn’t get  anything right. Or so, the audience made  him believe. Shaan  which followed Sholay was a thundering flop, and that’ s understandable.  But why did  Shakti flop? It  featured Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan as a  warring father-son pair. The  powerful dialogues,  the  brilliant confrontations…they still have the  power to give you goosebumps. Watch the  film. It’s superior  to Sholay.
  3. Mehboob  Khan’s Aan: We  are  so fixated  on Mother India  that we’ve over the  years refused to look at any of  Mheboob Khan’s other works.Aan is  a  superior dazzling swashbuckling reworking   of  Shakespeare’s The Taming Of   The Shrew with Nadira cast as the arrogant  princess whom the  commoner-hero Dilip Kumar tames. The film is lavishly mounted(it was  the  first technicolour Indian film) and executed with  a splendid skill that justifies  the epic skill. And  really, the Thespian Dilip Kumar  is  so much fun in  the Errol Flynn mould.
  4. Kamal Amrohi’s Daaera: We just can’t get over  Kamal Amrohi’s  Pakeezah, can we? Having seen  savoured and  imbibed  the  timeless exquisiteness  of  the tawaif’s  yearnings,  you may want to turn to this earlier fable of the wife’s unexpressed  sexual desire. Meena  Kumari , looking more beautiful and vulnerable than  she ever  did in her entire career, plays the very young wife of a man old enough to  her father. This is India’s first film to address the issue  of a woman’s sexuality. And we are talking in 1952. Wow.
  5. Sanjay Leela  Bhansali’s Saawariya:  If you turn to Saawariya without prejudice you’ll see influences and impressions from cinema across the world, mainly from Hindi cinema. While the songs show a heavy influence of Raj Kapoor, not too many have noticed that the closing scenes where the heroine chooses to go with her much older beloved rather than start afresh with her lover, is a gentle homage to Bimal Roy’s Bandini. Has anyone commented on Ranbir Kapoor’s rapport with Zohra Sehgal which harks straight back to Raj Kapoor and Lalita Pawar in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anari? Or that amazingly tragic song Pari where Ranbir offers hope to the decadent prostitutes… that’s tribute to Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa. Or Rani’s hooker’s act? From Waheeda Rehman in Pyaasa to Aroona Irani in Bobby.Has anyone commented on the European feel of the sets which echo the sensuous stirrings of first love as seen through the eyes of a boy-man who recognizes only love, purity and elegance in the world around him?Saawariya is not a time-pass sab-chalta hai film. Did we really give it a fair chance? Did anyone see how the male protagonist’s relationship with three generations of women (Zohra Sehgal, Rani Mukherjee and Sonam Kapoor) qualified and accentuated the separate and yet synthesised components in a man’s growth from sexual innocence to romantic disillusionment? No? Try watching it again.  It may surprise  you in   more ways than one.

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