What a year it has been for Bollywood! It saw some of the big and astronomic releases, one of which went really kaput and some which managed to laugh all the way to the bank. Here is a pick of five films released this year that had no larger-than-life stars, no hot-shot directors, no Yashraj-esque shoots, no starry Friday openings, nothing. Yet, they made a mark and went on to become sleeper hits courtesy their screenplay, performances, technical excellence, et al.
Tanu Weds Manu
Boy-meets-girl. Correction. NRI Boy meets Desi girl. NRI boy’s family meets Desi girl’s family. The journey towards an arranged marriage begins. Typical, eh?
Yes, very much typical it is. Yet this Madhavan starrer rom-com has explored the subject and realms of a typical North Indian arranged marriage like no other film had. The story- very basic, dialogues- subtle, performances- powerful and most importantly Kangana Ranaut- can act. When you watch this one, it’s really hard to imagine that your shy, Satteld in UK, born- brought up in Delhi waali groom is the same Maddy from RHTDM. He’s definitely the wine that just gets better with time. A peppy soundtrack and BGM coupled with perfectly woven emotional moments ensure that this an interesting one-time watch. Look out for Jimmy Shergill too. He’s awesome!
Pyaar ka Punchnama
We had to write about this film. One has to give it to Director Luv Ranjan who had the balls to take up a misogynist-in-denial story and make it into a film with practically no known stars and with a budget that couldn’t have been enough to finance a Puri Jagannadh film, given his choice of pulling down exotic girls from communist nations for the item numbers. Add to that, it had a release limited to A-Centres only. Despite the slow start and thanks to the word-of-mouth reviews and torrents, it went on to become a rage among the youth of the nation. What worked was the impressive performances by the actors and screenplay which was laced with slapstick humor, witty one-liners at the right places. What did not work is the storyline itself which got a bit predictable post interval. But on a whole Pyaar Ka Punchnaama is a nice watch when you have your Bros and beers for company.
Of course, we all want a sequel.
Shor In the City
‘Cause Karma is a bitch, we had literally slapped ourselves for not watching this film till a mutual friend made us see it over a lost game of poker. Nonetheless, this movie takes you on a roller-coaster ride. Its a tribute to the city of Mumbai, its chaos, madness and people. Mind you, not the Dhobi-Ghat types tribute, sorry.
Going by the way this film was made, the directors definitely did justice to a pacy and a demanding screenplay. This story of the film set between the 10 days of Ganesh Chaturthi which is a reverred festival in the city exudes a lot of energy and reminds you about the blues of surviving and sustaining in a new city through the eyes of a budding cricketer, a US-returned Indian entrepreneur and a book publisher pirate. Despite the usual budget concerns, this film features an ensemble cast of Tussshhhaaar Kapoor, Nikhil Dwivedi, Preeti Desai and Sendhil Ramamurthy. Sendhil is a LA based actor who had played a part in the TV series ‘Heroes’ and few other Hollywood ventures.
Gritty, gripping, in-the-face is what this movie is, in a nutshell. Four different stories, four different characters, four distinct fears and how the four different characters fight the four distinct fears is all that is woven as the crux of this film. This one by Onir (the man who has mastered the art of portraying heart wrenching stories on-screen) was made on money that was crowd sourced from various donors spread across the world via social networks like facebook and twitter. No seriously, as a matter of fact one can actually see a little more than 100 names rolling in the credits as the producers. A strong cast of Rahul Bose, Purab Kohli, Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla, Nandita Das, Anurag Kashyap and Abhimanyu Singh exudes a plethora of raw and original emotions that hits you hard.
With I Am, out-and-out indie film making has arrived and definitely is here to stay. The rom coms and other glossy chick flicks can comfortably take the back-seats.
Saheb Biwi aur Gangster
In what one could call a pseudo-tribute to the Guru Dutt opus, SBG is an erotic thriller of sorts. We won’t write much because Mahie Gill takes in this one gets you to be nothing less than speechless. Watch out for the Saheb too. The gangster could do a bit better though. That apart, this Tigmanshu Dhulia film is the perfect any-time watch.
This list could have got a little more exhaustive given that really good films like TGIYB and Shaitan wowed us as well. But, they have been already written about, a lot actually. Also, we couldn’t agree more to the praises and plaudits.
Everything else good, have a nice new year’s. 🙂