Sriram Raghavan lists 11 of his favourite thrillers of all time — from Psycho, Shutter Island to Double Indemnity

Sriram Raghavan

Oct,05 2018 15:32:53 IST

(Editor's note: Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun has released today — Friday, 5 October — and the film starring Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu and Radhika Apte is an edge-of-the-seat thriller, a genre Raghavan is known for. Films like Ek Haseena Thi, Johnny Gaddar and Badlapur have helped the filmmaker develop a cult following over time. And since edge-of-the-seat thriller films remain his staple, we were curious to know the director's favourites, and films that have inspired his craft. Here, Sriram Raghavan writes about 11 of his favourite thrillers.)

Sriram Raghavan. Image from Facebook.

1. Wait Until Dark (1967) (Director: Terence Young)

Terrence Young directs this juicy claustrophobic thriller, and it tops my list of ‘blind protagonist’ thrillers. Watch it with the lights off!

2. Psycho (1960) (Director: Alfred Hitchcock)

Alfred Hitchcock directed the audience as much as he directed the film. It is this total involvement and identification with the protagonist that makes every viewer of Psycho shift from being Marion Crane to Norman Bates in the span of a single scene. You have all heard of this film but perhaps not watched it. Take my word, it’s the mother of all horror films post 1960.

3. The Fallen Idol (1948) (Director: Carol Reed)

A script by Graham Greene. Directed by Carol Reed. A riveting drama of murder by good intention. Would a corporate greenlight a story like this today? How would they market it? It’s in black-and-white so watch a good print.

4. Blood Simple (1984) (Director: Coen Brothers)

Directed by my favourite contemporary filmmakers. The Coen Brothers’ first film was an oxygen rush for me in the late '80s. Its title was inspired by Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest. “It’s an expression he used to describe what happens to somebody psychologically once they have committed murder” – Joel Coen had told Time Out magazine in an interview. ‘They go blood simple’ in slang sense means to go crazy. We have such a character in Andhadhun.

5. La Ceremonie (1995) (Director: Claude Chabrol)

Based on a novel by Ruth Rendell and directed by French cinema’s Hitchcock, Claude Chabrol, La Ceremonie is slow burn thriller that will tattoo itself on your mind with a chilling climax.

6. The Vanishing (1993)

Try watch the Dutch original Spoorloos first. The film was remade as The Vanishing by Hollywood in 1993 starring Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock. A simple story that co-opts the viewer and when it ends, you suffer as much as the protagonist.

7. Shutter Island (2010) (Director: Martin Scorsese)

Martin Scorsese, Dennis Lehane and Leonardo DiCaprio – Aur kya mangta (what else do you want)?

8. Elevator to the Gallows (1958) (Director: Louis Malle)

A terrific debut by Louis Malle, this film is an inspiration for all young writers. Andhadhun has an homage moment to this film. About this film Roger Ebert had said, "French noir films from 1950s abandon the formality of traditional crime films, the almost ritualistic obedience to formula, and show crazy stuff happening to people who seems to be making up their lives as they go along."

9. Diabolique (1955) (Director: Henri Georges Clouzot)

Another French classic, Diabolique was remade in Hindi as Kab Kyun Aur Kahan starring Dharmendra, Babita and Pran. The latter chilled and thrilled me as a kid and then I saw the original, which is pure cinema minus the songs.

10. Double Indemnity (1944) (Director: Billy Wilder)

Another black and white classic, scripted by Raymond Chandler and directed by 'the God' Billy Wilder. Terrifically thrilling and poignant, this film is pure noir.

11. Dressed to Kill (1980) (Director: Brian De Palma)

Directed by one of my top 3 filmmakers, Dressed to Kill is a pure cinematic experience. Brian De Palma is one of my Reservoir Gods.

(As told to Abhishek Shrivastava)

Updated Date: Oct 05, 2018 15:36 PM