Top Bollywood Directors Reveal their Favorite Classic Movies & Why it Inspired them the Most

Top Bollywood Directors tell us about their favorite classic movies, what they love about those movies and how it inspired them.

Bollywood Directors Talk About their Favorite Classic Movies

Every artist has an inspiration, a muse. Some creative pursuits begin with that single inspiration that goes on to make famous artists out of people. Bollywood similarly has seen a lot of good work lately. But not all directors are born with the need to make a movie. Some were stung or inspired to make movies. Let us look at the movies that inspired our breed of Bollywood directors to make such brilliant movies themselves.

When it Comes to Bollywood Classic Movies, Everybody is an Expert

Films, like cricket, is one topic on which everybody has a view (sort of a critique).

We all have our favorite old classic movies that we watch once in a while on television, or makes us nostalgic when we bump into one of those classic scenes online.

These Directors were Wannabes at One Time

But remember, even these directors were at one time, just fans of movies, dreaming that they will make a movie some day. Like us, they all like the popular classic comedy movies (made by Bengali directors) which you could watch with your family (those classic family movies made by Hrishikesh Mukherjee & Basu Chatterjee).

Some of these directors are also big fans of classic western movies (our own Feroz Khan was inspired by many of those). Then there are those classic horror movies (Hollywood ones of-course) which these directors like, though they will admit that they don’t have the gall to watch those movies alone.

Life Changing Classic Movies

However, here these directors reveal some of their favorite classic movies, which inspired them to be better filmmakers and to better their craft.

  1. There’s no big director than Raju Hirani today. And one of the finest classics made in Indian cinema is the movie ‘Anand’. Even today, the movie has many fans swooning over its quality of film-making. One fan among the many is director Raju Hirani for whom the movie was a great influence. Infact, so deep is the impact of the movie on Raju Hirani that he keeps going back to the screenplay book of Anand every now and then. This screenplay book was gifted to Raju Hirani by the director of Anand, Shri. Hrishikesh Mukherjee himself.

    Watch: Kahin Door Jab’ song from the evergreen classic movie ‘Anand’

  2. Director Farah Khan is the only successful female director in Bollywood (as of now), who gets to work with the likes of SRK. She was inspired by Rahul Rawail’s movie, Arjun (among Sunny Deol’s finest films). She in fact offered to assist Rahul Rawail after watching the movie to learn about film-making.
  3. There probably is no bigger movie than Sholay in Indian cinema and director Rohit Shetty credits it for changing his life and perspective about cinema. He is of the opinion that its edit techniques and screenplay are still the best and way ahead of its time.

    Watch: Jay’s (Amitabh Bachchan) funny marriage proposal to Mausi in the classic Sholay

  4. Another powerful Producer & Director Karan Johar loves to make movies that are all about celebrations and traditions, so it comes as no wonder that he finds ‘Hum Apke Hai Kaun’ to be very inspiring.
  5. Almost everyone will agree that director Anurag Kashyap’s movies are different; its interesting to know that the movie Anurag loves is ‘Bicycle Thieves’ by Vittorio De Sica. In his own words, the movie motivated him to believe in his kind of cinema.
  6. Talented director Imtiaz Ali credits Shyam Benagal movie Junoon to be his inspiration. Imtiaz believes that Junoon is a movie which truly depicted the true Muslim culture in a way that has never been shown before. The movie also has famous qwwalis from Amir Khushro which along with the beautiful language used in the movie, has moved Imtiaz and left a lasting impression on him.
  7. Director Zoya Akhtar watched Salaam Bombay when she was 15 and it apparently opened her mind to cinema and inspired her to move towards directing movies. According to her what appealed most was the balance between a documentary style of narration and drama in the movie which she thought was brilliant.

    Watch: Salaam Mumbai Trailer

  8. The movie, ‘About the battle of Algiers’ moved critically acclaimed director Mira Nair to such an extent that she wished she had directed it herself. The struggles of characters in the movie is what inspired Mira Nair in a huge way.
  9. Rakesh Roshan is a legend in himself but which movie inspires him, you ask? It is none other than a movie by another legend, Raj Kapoor’s Shri 420. Rakesh Roshan often watches the movie for some inspiration. He calls it a masterpiece and thinks it is technically superior to many of the movies made today.
  10. Madhur Bhandarkar was struck by the movie ‘Guide’. The technical aspects of the movie, the lighting, camera, performances moved him to such an extent that it changed his perception about cinema.

    Watch: Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai song from the old classic movie ‘Guide’

  11. According to director Soojit Sicar, if you have not seen Ray’s films, you haven’t seen the moon. He was deeply influenced by Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali and the Apu Tirology which he apparently has seen innumerable times.
  12. Director Sanjay Gupta loves the movie Nayakan, starring Kamal Hassan. He watches the movie often and feels it is still fresh and new till date.
  13. Movie Casablanca, a love story in the backdrop of world war is a movie that inspired director Anurag Basu to turn to direction as a career.
  14. For director Amol Gupte, the movie Meghe Dhaka Tara was a revelation. He finds the movie beautiful and it moves him to tears every time he watches it.
  15. For filmmaker, Dibakar Banerjee, Martin Scorsese movie, Raging Bull was a game changer. According to Dibakar, the movie was kind of a lesson for the likes of him who have no formal education in filmmaking.
  16. For director Vikramaditya Motwane, the one movie that deeply influenced him was the war film, Underground. What deeply struck Motwane was that despite being a gripping war movie, it was also filled with comedy and laughter moments.
  17. Director Shriram Raghavan’s Badlapur may probably be the only director to have unabashedly admitted to have watched The Shawshank Redemption buying a pirated cd. According to the director, he found a spiritual connect with the movie and it gave him strength and hope to pursue his dream of directing.
  18. Tigmanshu Dhulia is famous for both his direction and acting. The raw and rustic appeal in his movies has been widely appreciated by the audiences. However, his inspiration comes from yet another rustic movie, i.e. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. The movie apparently gave him the sense of freedom. He also claims to have fallen in love with the outlaws with this movie and keeps revisiting it for its craft.
  19. Dil Chahta Hai was a break away movie and found many especially the youth relating to it. Director Ayaan Mukherji too is one amongst the many who found this film inspiring giving him hope for modern writing.

    Watch: Dil Chahta Hai title song

  20. Another Satyajit Ray fan is director Sujoy Ghosh. Satyajit Ray’s Aparojito is Sujoy Ghosh’s inspiration and he feels it surprises him every time he watches it.