Even though 2012 had its share of hero-worshiping, crores of money-spinning, clichéd Bollywood films, but there were a good mix of content-rich, completely ‘hatke’ films too which managed to rake in the moolah and leave a lasting impact.
Here are the 10 best Bollywood films of this year –
Gangs of Wasseypur 1 & 2: Anurag Kashyap’s Epic crime-thriller, the two-part series GOW may not have kept the cash registers ringing, but it definitely left an impact for few and I happen to be one among them. Based on part real and part fictional story of the crime families in Wasseypur, this film about the emergence of mafia in Bihar, was most certainly one of the best ‘hatke’ films of 2012. Backed by brilliant performances by Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Richa Chaddha and Zeishan Quadri, GOW is testimony to new wave of Indian cinema that has broken all clichés and boundaries.
Shanghai: Based on a French film and novel of the same name Z, Dibakar Banerjee’s “Shanghai” was an astute political thriller of Indian cinema that oscillates between mainstream and offbeat. It’s one of those films sans any superstars which succeeds in cranking up adrenaline effortlessly and made someone like Emraan Hashmi, known as serial kisser, to finally show us his acting skills. Deftly adapted for screen by Urmi Juvekar and Dibakar Banerjee, this film is a menacing scrutiny of political supremacy.
Vicky Donor: To even attempt to touch upon a sensitive subject such as sperm donation deserves a mention, but kudos to Shoojit Sircar, for not only encompassing a controversial theme in his film, but also for drawing a heartwarming message out of it. Even though the film courageously address the importance of sperm donation, but somewhere towards the end it shifts focus on adoption to strike an impressive parallel between the two topics discussed. Hats off to Juhi Chaturvedi for writing a script that’s funny yet highly emotional.
Paan Singh Tomar: This story of an unsung hero is truly a tribute to rare, gritty filmmaking and stellar performances. Having spent more than 10 years researching the film, its director Tigmanshu Dhulia, not only makes it a compelling watch, but proves how a simple event of history can be turned into an inspiring piece of cinema. Irrfan’s portrayal of Tomar was honest and without permeating into the skin of the character, he gives it real depth.
Kahaani: Sujoy Ghosh and Vidya Balan stamped all stereotypes and proved that with exceptionally good content and fitting performance a woman can strike gold at the box-office too. “Kahaani”, a mother of a story, is a clever thriller that makes you think about the plot from the minute go. Vidya with her performance almost stripped off the superstar title from SRK, while Nawazuddin Siddiqui reminded us all why he’s considered one of the best actors to look out for.
Oh My God!: A hard-hitting tale that literally questions the dogma surrounding the very existence and worshipping of God, “Oh My God!” is a thought provoking comedy that can be embraced with a warm smile. Loosely based on English comedy “The Man Who Sued God”, OMG came as a whiff of fresh air amidst several typical Bollywood masala entertainers with its ability to marry humor and reality without hurting the sentiments of anybody. Paresh Rawal breathed life into the film with his portrayal of Kanji Mehta.
Chittagong: It’s probably the most unsuccessful film of 2012, but that doesn’t make Bedabrata Pain, any lesser than several other filmmakers of Bollywood who are bereft of passion and purpose. Based on true events, the film chronicles the events that led to the great 1930 Chittagong uprising. Manoj’s yet another remarkable performance with Delzad Hiwale and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, makes “Chittagong” a path breaking and poignant action-drama despite its shortcomings.
Talaash: It may not be the best psychological thrillers of Indian cinema, but “Talaash” deserves a spot in this list solely for the reason that it managed to pique my interest in spite of an unconvincing climax, which disappointed many. It pushes one to the edge to look beyond what’s evident and what’s not. Aamir’s impeccable performance as a police officer with a troubled past and shaky present was a treat to watch, while Kagti’s direction is more or less a web of deception.
Jalpari: A heart wrenching tale revolving around female foeticide, “Jalpari” is an engaging watch for the fact that it neither exploits the characters nor the plot under the pretext of storytelling. Directed by Nila Madhab Panda, who earlier made “I am Kalam”, this film brings forth the sensitivity of an issue without breaking the momentum. The suspense in the film is childlike but never silly, and since most the story revolves around a child protagonist, Nila maintains some amount of logic and humour throughout.
English Vinglish: Don’t know if I can this Sridevi’s perfect comeback, but EV worked for me for a simple reason that it had a simple story to narrate which forces one to think as you walk out of the theatre. No doubt Sridevi nailed it but the real star of the film according to me is its plot and some highly entertaining performances.
Some notable mentions include “Barfi”, “Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana”, “Chakravyuh”, “Delhi Safari” and “Ferrari Ki Sawaari”.
This feature was first published in Movie Roundup and has been syndicated with appropriate permissions.