Movie watching isn’t about any Ardh Satya talking about Gangoobai or Massey Sahib recreating a Qissa with a lot of Mirch Masala. Nor is it just about The Good Road to Dharavi that Mammo decides to take. Nor are they forever focused on Ek Doctor ki Maut or asking anyone to follow Gandhi. They do not necessarily tell any viewer: Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro. It isn’t as if Pestonjee plans to board the 27 Down carrying Uski Roti and making everyone watch Salaam Bombay on his smartphone. However, all the movies from Bollywood that I have listed in this paragraph are about the charm of creative interpretations that the world of films gives us once in a while.

Not all movies can be classified as all-time-greats and this list isn’t the most comprehensive anyway. There are tens of other movies that I’d say are worth watching more than just once… but there are hundreds that are simply forgettable. I was going through the movie-listing that Zee Classic has decided to telecast from the 16th of July at 10 PM every Saturday and, believe me, this is one piece of information that is noted in my diary.

Indian cinema has a knack of going from the best to the worst and vice versa but the fact remains that it does manage to pull out its creative impulses and show us what it can do for a few times almost every year. And with each passing year Indian cinema has watched what the best film-makers have done and made laudable efforts to reinvent itself… and the number of socially relevant films that they have now goes way beyond just a cursory depiction of child marriage, dowry, female feticide, and re-marriage. What I love in Hindi cinema is that the film makers have begun making such classics with a real-time creative flourish!

While I am at it, let me also mention that Zee Classic boasts of an outstanding library of Indian cinematic classics and it has recently associated with National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC). Thus Saturday nights from 10 PM onwards, for me, are booked with this channel. Who wouldn’t love to watch or watch again these movies that, in a way, mark the debut of icons like Irrfan Khan, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah and many more. Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., Chief Business Officer, Sunil Buch has gone on record, saying, ‘We have associated with NFDC to create this property and today, with new age films setting new benchmarks in parallel cinema, the films that are a part of ‘India’s Finest Films’ represent the semantics of Indian culture over the years and have carved the way for realism in films.’

The time to take time out to watch critically acclaimed independent and award winning films that are treasures of Indian cinema is now. In fact, Zee Hindi Movies Cluster, Business Head, Ruchir Tiwari says, ‘With the success of properties like ‘The Bimal Roy Festival with Boman Irani’ and ‘The Golden Years with Javed Akhtar’, we are constantly innovating with content on Zee Classic to entertain its audiences.  We have acquired 49 path breaking titles produced by NFDC and some of them will be showcased for the very first time on television. The sheer brilliance and uniqueness of these films is that they have no shelf life as they are timeless genius masterpieces!’ Television in India is probably warming up towards the way it has treated creativity in films and we are certainly seeing an upsurge in the telecast of films that are socially relevant and also have brilliance in film-making as a part of it.

It isn’t that these movies are for the serious-minded only or that they have an attraction for any particular age-group or gender… these are films that have the power to convert a humdrum moment into one that is full of meaningful interpretation of society. Today as we are in the midst of turmoil of every kind, it becomes necessary to sit and watch classics that have the potential to turn our thoughts towards actions that will make us all better citizen. Talking about India’s Finest Films and Zee Classic, Mr. Shyam Benegal said, ‘Rabindranath Tagore once said that every art seeks to find its own independent manner of expression within the world it creates, and no creative genius has yet arrived to deliver it from its bondage. Having said that, television has always been a very effective medium, particularly for films that may or may not have the opportunity to do well in cinema houses. This is because televisions reaches homes and you do not pay individually for movies.’

It is time, therefore, for viewers to spare some time to watch movies that had managed to move audiences when they were released.

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Note:

‘India’s Finest Films – A Parallel Journey’, an exclusive special feature is available on the Zee Classic YouTube channel. Starting 16th July at 10 PM, tune-in to Zee Classic for ‘Salaam Bombay’ from ‘India’s Finest Films’.

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India's finest films on Zee Classic

India’s finest films on Zee Classic

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Arvind Passey
21 July 2016