IFFK 2017: Mahesh Narayanan’s favourite films

Bicycle Thieves

I watched this film by Vittorio De Sica at a film festival long ago. Even now, the story of a father desperately searching for his stolen bicycle stays with me. I’m inspired by the sheer honesty of the film and the ground realities of Italy post World War II that the director recreated.

Citizen Kane

The mystery drama by Orson Welles is a classic because it meets all cinematic explanations and theories. A must watch for all students of cinema.


Padmarajan’s directorial debut and, in my opinion, his best work. I read the eponymous book first and I thought Padmarajan’s interpretation of his own words into film was even better. It’s a film that always makes me think and every time I watch it, I find new interpretations.

A Separation

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi is the new generation Ingmar Bergman. He has taken the kind of content seen in Bergman’s films and given it a new form. The film that focusses on a middle class Iranian couple at loggerheads won the foreign language Oscar. The movie gives me a lot of inspiration.

About Elly

Another film by Farhadi, this time about the mysterious disappearance of a young teacher. I love the director’s approach to form and how, with his background in theatre, he was able to draw out superlative performances from his actors. Watching it is like watching a real-life situation unfold.

Mahesh’s directorial debut Take Off won a silver peacock for the best actress and a special jury award at the 48th International Film Festival of India. It will be screened in the ‘Malayalam Cinema Today’ section of IFFK 2017.

As told to Nita Sathyendran

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