There are so many books and movies, which we read or see and FORGET, but some of them leave a long-lasting mark in our mind and hearts. They somehow strike a familiar chord of emotion even if they are not star-studded, box office blockbusters or with a high literary rank.
For me, these are quite a few, probably because unknown faces and not-so-popular personalities do not mar the amazing effect of a movie plot or content of a book. They keep your expectations coming and you get something new and exciting out of it. You can say the experience is new and un-predictable.
I will list few such movies and books (among many others), which someone left a lingering thought in my mind and they are not probably masterpieces.
Delhi Belly- I found this 2011 flick quite interesting though it failed to impress the mass. Actually, the subtle transitions and sequences in the movie were quite engaging (somewhat like Tarantino flicks). The events happened in quick succession for example, when they held up Arup and Nitin at gunpoint, but the course of events went on to rescue them. The plot of enthralling on how three ordinary guys got entangled in a crime web; and how they made their way out of it. It was quite an uncanny plot with a great performance from these budding actors.
On similar lines, I loved the satire Phas Gaya Re Obama (2010) because of its quirky depiction and engaging plot.
Coming to romcoms, I enjoyed watching Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kate (1998), a modern light comedy from Hrishikesh Mukherjee. It is always a pleasure to watch his movies because of their sheer simplicity and happiness quotient. Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar (2001) from Priyadarshan also enjoyable as it brought out a naked truth, but in a comic wrapper. The characters in both are simple and down to earth, ones you can relate to.
I have always been a huge fan of horror and paranormal flicks; guess I have hardly missed any. I guess one of my very first encounters with horror movies was this 1965 classic, Dr. Terror’s House of Horror. It might not have a great plot or in the league of legends like The Omen, but somehow it still leaves that eerie feeling. It has five stories and a main storyline to connect them- it might be very simple and unimpressive one in modern times, but it surely made me cling to my mother when I had seen it in my childhood.
Another movie, which I liked among all the modern paranormal movies is The Rite (2011), featuring Anthony Hopkins. He is an actor, who can penetrate your soul with his eyes, I feel. Such powerful depiction of a priest and then personifying a demon was extraordinary. It doesn’t have ghosts flying in from here and there or people vomiting, but it has such a subtle way of growing fear in you. I loved the use of ‘the fear of the unknown’, which was shown in simple yet gripping plot.
Movies with succeeding challenges have always been close to my heart. They show life, it’s roadblocks and the zeal to move ahead. They simply INSPIRE me. I guess animations do it the best and for me every animation is a masterpiece. But, I would like to mention two movies (not animations), which truly justifies the statement, YOU CAN DO IT.
Race The Sun (1996) and School of Rock (2003), will always have that special place in my heart, which makes me want to do something in spite of failure. A bunch of teenagers in a small town from varied backgrounds, a school teacher and a coach come together to achieve their dream, fighting all odds and hurdles. Race The Sun had stars like James Belushi and Halle Berry, but I guess the others were the ‘true’ stars in his movie.
Jack Black, a talented actor, who can probably pull off anything (much like Jim Carrey- I just adore him) portayed a music enthusiast and was considered a failure. But, then found the kids, who not only made their way to the top, but fulfilled their dreams in every way. I just love this movie and of course the way Jack Black portrays this role in School of Rock.
Dirty Dancing series is quite a popular and favourite one. I particularly love the Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) because of its beats, rhymes and steps. I really liked the starting street dance sequence when Katty and Javier met for the first time.
In the war movie genre, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) is worth a watch, if you have liked Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998) or even the miniseries, Band of Brothers (2001). Tears of the Sun (2003) and Blood Diamond (2006) are also good.
The Kingdom (2007) has been one of my all-time favourites on terrorism, more than A Mighty Heart (2007), The Hurt Locker (2008) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012). Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) on 9/11 strikes and Black Friday (2004) on 1993 serial bomb blasts are pioneers in this genre. Loved both of them. However, The Kingdom is one of those movies, which I can watch over and over again, mostly because of its plot, suspense and gripping action sequences.
Guess, my list is getting a bit too long, so I will wind up with one more last movie, which I love every time I watch it. It makes me fall in love all over again with my all-time favourite Hollywood actress, Sharon Stone. What a lady and what a powerful performance in The Quick and The Dead (1995). Wild wild west be not one of my favourite genre, but this one took away my heart. It is all about guns and goons, revenge and love and everything a cowboy movie should have. But, I loved the female protagonist, which Stone played- her anger, her strength, her pain and her past. Her small stint of romance with Russell Crowe was sensual, but mostly it was her eyes that hunted Gene Hackman to his death. This movie also features Leonardo DiCaprio in a short role, one of his very first movies. Though, this movie had big names, but probably it wasn’t as successful.
I guess, this list is bigger than the earlier, but don’t worry, I will keep it very short.
Many of us grew up with Sidney Sheldon thrillers under our pillow or inside text books. His books had gripping plots, engaging storyline, powerpacked female protagonists and of course chilling suspenses and climax. I will mention any of his famous books, but rather a not-so-popular one called Catoplus Terror. You will hardly find this along with other Sidney Sheldon series or in stores, but this was an awesome read about a terrorist named Carlos and a continuous battle between the masterminds to catch him. The climax ends with the real identity of Carlos, which nobody had expected. Probably, not one of the finest from him, but surely an engaging one. I still have it with me.
Two more books, which can be never be masterpieces, but worth a read are In The Line of Fire- A Memoir (2006) by Pervez Musharraf, where he expresses his point of view of the Kargil war and Gorwing Up Bin Laden (2009), complied by Jean Sasson based on interviews with his wife (Najwa Bin Laden) and son (Omar Bin Laden), a true and ‘up, close and personal’ story of one of the most powerful man on earth.
I am a huge fan of Jean Sasson books and I just love the Princess series; such a true and honest depiction of women in ‘that’ part of the world. I guess, this is our best chance to actually know about them. The ones I read and like- The Princess Trilogy, Ester’s Child, Love in a Torn Land, Mayada – Daughter of Iraq. These are not fictions or fantasy- these are tales of real people, who actually lives a way, quite different from us. I love the way she brings out their story and narrates their pleasure and pain.
There is one more book on similar lines, which I liked is Tear of the Desert by Halima Bashir and Damien Lewis, a woman’s true story of surviving the horrors of Darfur. Reminded me of The Diary of Anne Frank. This is not as popular as I Am Malala, but a story worth reading.
Coming to an Indian context, Shame and Daughters of Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera also bring out a girl’s struggle and survival against honor killing and that too in a foreign land. I am not sure if these books are liked by many, but somehow I like reading them as they are true stories about women like me, but in different corners of the world and in ‘different’ circumstances.
I am not sure if these would have been masterpieces, but they surely have a special place in my memories.
Please do leave a comment if any of these are your favorites too.
Pic Courtesy: http://www.livescribe.com/blog/noteworthy2/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/books-movies.jpg
This is for the IndiSpire prompt this week- “Review a great book [if you review books] or a great movie [if you review movies] that failed to get the attention of mainstream audiences. Let’s help a masterpiece to also become popular through blogging #UnknownMasterpiece“