The Anti-Bollywood.
August 19, 2008 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Indian Movies Filter: Hive mind, put your Indian Movie caps on -- What NON-singing/dancing Indian movies would you recommend?

I'm looking for movies from India or by Indian directors that do NOT have singing/dancing as a major focus. The occasional song is okay, but I'm looking for non-bollywood, non-typical fare.

Already on the list:
-Anything by Satyajit Ray
-Anything by Guru Dutt

Who else is there? Who am I missing in terms of directors? (Or alternately, in terms of specific movies)?

posted by jak68 to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

Mirch Masala. Superb.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 3:21 PM on August 19, 2008

Water Sorry I'm not posting these all in one post. As soon as I think I'm done another one pops in my head.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:21 PM on August 19, 2008

The Terrorist
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 3:23 PM on August 19, 2008

The Mystic Masseur (not exactly Bollywood as it's set in Trinidad and Tobago, but it deals with Indian emigrants and it's directed by Ismail Merchant)
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:25 PM on August 19, 2008

Bandit Queen
(see apology above)
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2008

The Namesake (read the book first).
posted by nitsuj at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2008

Anything by Shyam Benegal

Almost anything by Govind Nihalani

Also look at films by Adoor Gopalakrishnan
posted by sk381 at 3:28 PM on August 19, 2008

Mira Nair's work, some of which is listed above.
posted by billtron at 3:35 PM on August 19, 2008

Seconding Black

Also I really enjoyed Chokher Bali, which is based on Tagore's novel of the same name. .. both movie and book are great.
posted by the druid at 3:41 PM on August 19, 2008

posted by Carol Anne at 4:12 PM on August 19, 2008

Salaam Bombay!, directed by the aforementioned Mira Nair.
posted by Bromius at 4:16 PM on August 19, 2008

Being Cyrus
Eklavya: The Royal Guard (just one song, very short, 'realistic' context)

Also, if you can stand a couple of songs and you like gangster films, I HIGHLY recommend Satya. The director resented having to insert songs, and as a result, they're very short and generally contextually appropriate. No formal dance numbers or anything.

If Satya floats your boat, also try Company, the follow-up film. Only one song in that, if I recall correctly.
posted by artemisia at 4:52 PM on August 19, 2008

Pather Panchali, and its two sequels that make up the Apu Trilogy.
posted by nushustu at 5:01 PM on August 19, 2008

oop. Didn't see you already mentioned Ray.
posted by nushustu at 5:01 PM on August 19, 2008

Although there are a few dances in the movie, Swades can be a good watch.
posted by bbyboi at 6:36 PM on August 19, 2008

The Warrior
posted by M Edward at 8:31 PM on August 19, 2008

Maqbool is a lyrical version of Macbeth set among Bombay's mafia.

Mr. and Mrs. Iyer is a sweet story of love amid sectarian violence.

Deepa Mehta's Elements Trilogy (Fire, Earth, and Water) are good movies that deal with serious social issues. Water, which deals with the lives of young widows, is my favorite of the three.

And I'll second Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay!, Monsoon Wedding, and The Namesake. Particularly Salaam Bombay!, which is darker and more cynical, but still beautiful and tender, piece of work.
posted by bookish at 8:31 PM on August 19, 2008

Rang De Basanti was a highly acclaimed Indian film that does not include your typical song and dance sequences.
posted by alligatorman at 9:48 PM on August 19, 2008

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi is one of the best stuff that I've seen.
I would also suggest Omkara, an adaptation of Othello and Maqbool, an adaptation of Macbeth. Both these movies are by Vishal Bharadwaj.
posted by swapspace at 11:14 PM on August 19, 2008

Response by poster: Excellent list, thank you everyone! :D On my way to netflix...
posted by jak68 at 3:25 AM on August 20, 2008

Response by poster: (Regarding the 'no songs' rule, I just mean not typical songs. Classy or artsy or intelligent or contextual songs are fine. )
posted by jak68 at 3:37 AM on August 20, 2008

Maya is wonderful, but definitely deals with really dark subject matter.
posted by CommonSense at 9:31 AM on August 22, 2008

I just watched Ardh Satya by the previously-mentioned Govind Nihalani. Very good cop drama, but unfortunately it doesn't appear to be on Netflix.
posted by ocha-no-mizu at 6:28 PM on August 24, 2008

Response by poster: netflix has a surprisingly large collection of indian movies, btw.
posted by jak68 at 10:49 AM on August 25, 2008

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