At the end of every year we become invariably reflective about the movies that we watched. So once again we at Cinecurry decided on coming up with a list of the Bollywood movies we loved this year. Here’s a list of ten of our personal favourites, in no particular order of preference, that re-instated our love for Hindi cinema:
Delhi Belly: India hadn't seen something like this before! Hard-ons, muff dives under the sheets, explicit language and human feces lay on the table. Aamir Khan's third production in two years, Delhi Belly, had many things working for it, including a quirky script, crazy, toilet humour and all round irreverence. Delhi Belly was one hell-of-a-ride.
Dhobi Ghat: The city of dreams was the heart of the story. Its underbelly became the soul. Kiran Rao’s debut venture was like no other. A festival film pierced commercial taste with vigour. Gustavo Santolalla’s soulful guitar tune is still fresh in our mind.
I Am: Independent filmmaker Onir and his producer/ actor friend Sanjay Suri made history with their 2005 film My Brother Nikhil. Their 2011 film I Am with four interconnected stories dealing identity issues was crowd funded via the Internet and that itself makes it a unique story. I Am Omar, with the first gay kiss in a Hindi film, is remarkable, honest and the right direction for Indian cinema.
No One Killed Jessica: The dramatisation of the Jessica Lall murder in 1999 and the tumultuous events that followed including the botched up court case, the verdict, which allowed prime accused Manu Sharma to walk free and the ensuing public outcry, which eventually forced a retrial and a sentence of life imprisonment. It gave us one of the best performances by an actress on film through Vidya Balan's Sabrina.
Rockstar: A.R. Rahman spent a lot of energy developing a unique Bollywood soundtrack from a boisterous qawalli, to a protest song and then several memorable love ballads. On screen, the songs came alive through Ranbir Kapoor's heartfelt performance. Yes, the film had its own flaws. But just like our lives, it was filled with imperfections. Rockstar was a reflection of love and longing. We don’t make love stories like these very often. Pity! We don’t embrace them when they’re made.
Shor In The City: Krishan DK's and Raj Nidimoru's third film Shor in the City is a delight -- where small time crooks, an NRI and a middle class man face crisis of character and morality. Exciting and fast-paced, the film didn’t have a single dull moment. The quirks worked big-time and the lesser known actors gave a great performance.
Stanley Ka Dabba: Stanley Ka Dabba is special not just because of how evocatively it captures a time we've each left behind, but because of the breathtaking confidence it has in its stellar young cast, letting them laugh the cynicism right out of us. It is their film and yet one we gladly take to and seek refuge in. Partho, Amol Gupte's son, has the sort of screen-presence our A-listers would be jealous of, and is bright and plucky and ingenuous.
That Girl In Yellow Boots: The film co-written by Anurag Kashyap and wife Kalki Koechlin, also essaying the 'Girl' in the title, is a compilation of abstract frames, which often stir from their surreal state to expose the ugly, upsetting corners of society. The narrative refuses, almost doggedly, to follow a conventional structure. Instead like fluttering pages of a disorderly diary, it is puzzling, self-indulgent, wandering and personal. There's a lot about Yellow Boots that insists you bank on assumption because it strives on build-up. When the moment of truth arrives, while never as staggering, it is rather disconcerting.
The Dirty Picture: The Dirty Picture was Vidya Balan's show. We have known for a while that she is a charming and talented actress, free from the flat, uninspired form of acting that Bollywood expects from its starlets. This time, Vidya went far beyond, throwing herself into the role of southern siren Silk Smitha with much oomph and joy. To add to that, Balan put on substantial weight for the role, letting her belly hang and then wear tight low cut blouses to reveal her cleavage.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara: ZNMD was a slice of life film, which looked beautiful and exquisite from the outside and possessed a strong, beating heart of gold at the core. A perfect combination. Javed Akhtar's poems via Farhan amidst Spain's beautiful locations was cinematic magic rarely expereinced in Hindi cinema.