The results of poll #1, on the most influential Desi musician of the 2000s, are pretty clear — with about 200 votes cast, A.R. Rahman wins by a significant margin, with M.I.A. as the second most influential Desi musician of the 2000s.
The topic of the next poll was strongly suggested by the comments following the first one — sports. I tried to use what the commenters were suggesting to guide my choices.
While I am at it, however, I am also doing a poll for the best Desi film of the 2000s. Here, it seemed wrong to put artsy “diaspora” films up against commercial South Asian cinema (Bollywood, Tollywood, etc.), so I created a poll #3 — for commercial cinema — and a poll #3A — for specifically South Asian diaspora cinema.
Choosing the films for the commercial cinema category was challenging, and I kept finding that certain films had a natural pairing (for instance, Lagaan, by Ashutosh Gowariker, goes with Swades). I also realized that some of the most influential commercial films were known not for their directors, but for writers and producers; Vidhu Vinod Chopra, whose name was associated with both Munnabhai films, only wrote the first one. Similarly, Karan Johar’s name is associated with several important films he produced rather than directed. And the directors for many Yash Raj Films are unknowns, but the films have a certain “stamp” to them. So I used the idea of the “filmmaker,” which could be the writer, director, or producer.
I’m sure my approach will seem a little unusual to some folks, but hopefully it’s coherent enough, and you see something there you want to vote for. (At the very least, my approach solved the problem of how to pick just 10 commercial films from over the entire decade.) Finally, people who really know regional cinema might want to create your own “Best Of 2000s” lists in the comments — I simply haven’t seen very much Telugu cinema, for example, so I don’t have any Telugu filmmakers listed here.
All three polls after the fold. Continue reading →