If you were asked to list out 10 of the finest films you ever watched, do you think you’d be able to do justice? In all probability,you’ll either miss a movie here or a movie there but you’ll certainly come up with a list. Now, what about those films you forgot? Worse still, what about those you didn’t even watch -- let alone remember?
This is where Avijit Ghosh enters the picture. The writer-journalist has penned a book titled 40 Retakes: Bollywood Classics You May Have Missed. And as the name suggests, it rounds up 40 films that were brilliant but somehow fail to enter popular discussions on Hindi cinema. It’s easier to pontificate them as those were overlooked by popular success as well as critical acclaim -- the two barometers in the world of cinema.
And as a historical repercussion, they are condemned to oblivion. However, there is still hope as not everything begins or ends at the ticket counter, claims the Delhi-based author. “The truth remains that good, even great movies falter at the box-office. Sometimes they also fail the critics test. Or vice-versa. Some movies dealt in my book were under fêted by critics and failed at the ticket counters when first released. Moreover, I’m attracted to lost causes and this is an attempt to bring the focus back on a bunch of movies, which I feel, didn’t get their due. They are like buried treasure patiently waiting to be unearthed, a lost city wanting to be discovered,” muses Avijit.
It took him nearly two years to complete the book. The idea was to find out why producers, directors, actors, even lyricists and technicians thought their films didn’t click in the first place. “Some felt their movies were much ahead of their time while others felt that poor publicity and absence of planning during the release killed their effort. To create my list, I consulted a film encyclopedia. I also scanned the names of all Hindi movies released since 1947,” adds the 50-year-old.
Some of the films he has drawn upon include Zia Sarhadi’s Footpath (1953), a Left-leaning film starring Dilip Kumar. Chandrashekhar’s Cha Cha Cha (1964) and Harmesh Malhotra’s Gaddar (1973) are also in. And so is the Amol Palekar-direvted Nana Patekar-starrer Thoda Sa Roomani Ho Jayen (1990). Among those releasing in the new millennium, underworld drama Sehar (2005) and the rustic Antardwand (2010) are included.