Never thought I’d be linking to a Rediff.com article, but here’s an interesting slideshow with director Sriram Raghavan discussing the films that he cites as influences for his latest, Johnny Gaddaar. There’s already been some speculation that Johnny Gaddaar is “inspired” by Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (or by Sanjay Gupta’s Kaante, which in turn was “inspired” by the Tarantino) - but this slideshow suggests that Raghavan’s influences are much more wide-ranging. They include Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing, John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle, the Coen Brothers’ superb Blood Simple, Vijay Anand’s Johnny Mera Naam (which he describes as “a movie that gives me multiple orgasms” - take another bow, Devsaab) and a few solid French films. (I love that he refers to Jean Gabin as “the Dharmendra of France”!) He doesn’t mention Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar, but his film’s title sounds like a nod at the cult Western.
From what I know of Raghavan, he's another of the young lot of Hindi film directors (Vishal Bhardwaj and Farhan Akhtar being among the others) who know their cinema very well, have an enormous collection of DVDs of films from around the world, and who are genuinely catholic in their tastes. None of this will automatically make Johnny Gaddaar a good film - for all I know, it could turn out to be a confused mess - but it’s a welcome sign that a young director can unselfconsciously discuss Huston and Vijay Anand, or Teesri Manzil and Bob Le Flambeur in the same breath, instead of being restricted by a specific cinematic idiom.
(I’m watching Johnny Gaddaar this evening. More on it later.)