This year has been pretty exciting for the cine-goers. Where on the one had we saw some smashing commercial hits we also managed to watch some brilliant pieces that took our hearts away. Her we list out the best five that completely were a refreshing surprise.
We hope to see more of experimental cinema to make impressive entries in the theaters in 2016.
This is a masterpiece of a movie directed by Neeraj Pandey. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and its gripping script. The narrative is quick paced and manages to engage the audience from start to finish. It’s rare that spy thrillers like these make it to the beeline but with a screenplay that was nail biting and actors playing their parts to the hilt, this one made for a superb watch for those who enjoy a bit of adrenalin rush.
Based on the story of Dshrath Manjhi who carved a road out of a mountain came to knowledge of the general public, thanks to this directed by Ketan Mehta. We can hardly call this movie a masterpiece or in any way a movie that would leave a long lasting impression but the earnestness portrayed by the main protagonist is extremely appreciable. Nawazuddin played his part with complete honesty making us believe in the story spanning a few decades. Radhika Apte was like a fresh breath made this slow paced movie a bit more interesting. Had the technical aspects (like make up, editing, lighting) been looked at in totality, the movie would have shone more than it did. Nevertheless, the movie stays as a landmark for Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
This was one of the most adorable stories that we have watched in a long time on the silver screen. Sharat Katariya’s directorial venture makes for a nostalgic walk down memory lane where the world as we know is looking for a makeover. Prem and Sandhya’s love story warms your heart as they walk from different sides of the bridge to create their togetherness. Stirring multiple layers of emotions throughout the length of the movie, this one makes you look beyond the characters’ shortcomings. The story is excellent- it is simple yet complex and makes you want more. Not the “record-tod” blockbuster but definitely a “dumdaar” movie this year.
Kanu Behl’s Titli grabs you by your gut at most parts, especially the first few scenes. This is a story of a dysfunctional family in Delhi’s dark underbelly and the youngest son, Titli, who is torn between his present and the hopeful future that he secretly nurtures. The story sucks you into its dark alleys, brings you closer to the harsh realities of the strata of the society that the public largely refuses to acknowledge. It is like a wake up call, for all to take notice of the society and the way that it is growing. No, it is not a docu-drama on how one need to project oneself, but a hard-hitting reality check. Shashank Arora is a superb find who holds the character carefully and delivers an awesome debut performance (though he has performed as supporting cast before). This one is possibly the best “complete” film this year.
Neeraj Ghaywan in this Indo-French collaboration managed to get accolades in the Cannes this year, however the movie could find its audience in multiplexes only. That definitely does not take away from its excellence. The characters stand out completely in this social drama and the parts played by the actors bring complete justice to what is required of them. Focusing primarily on the evils that the society nurtures even in this century makes us relook at the way we perceive the world around us to evolve. Richa Chadha as Devi has played a part quite in contrast to how she comes across in her other outings and justifiably impresses. Sanjai Maishra is a hidden gem. This one is a must watch for its cinematic brilliance.
We’re almost done with the year and what an eventful year it has been. Where some of the movies have done exceptionally well, some others could not make it as expected. And then there were some that were well made but could only make their presence felt in the International Film Festivals. However, considering our love for popular cinema we have chosen the top ten according to us that impressed us this year. We line them up her in no particular order.
Cast: Anushka Sharma, Neil Boopalam, Darhsan Kumar
Set in the Haryanvi patriarchal backdrop, this one comes as close as it can get to the social evil of honour killing. Anushka’s first production made a swift entry and left a mark of its own. The movie has a gripping plot and stupendous acting from the main protagonist. You want to feel the rage as it seethes through and the edge of the seat drama makes for an engaging watch. We hope to see more of such tightly knit scripts in the coming year as well.
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Shriya Saran, Rajat Kapoor
This thriller by Nishikant Kamat borrowed from the Malayalam movie of the same name made for quite an interesting watch. The narrative was engaging and the story instantly grabbed your attention. The muder mystry was unlike any, where an (almost) uneducated protagonist manages to confuse an intelligent police officer and never gives up. Not just that the principal character’s affection for his family made bylines in your heart and you begin empathizing with him all the more. One of the best thrillers we have witnessed in the recent times.
The story of a dysfunctional family aboard a cruise ship along with friends, relatives and frenemies brings along the bitter truths of life as the family struggles to brush everything ugly truth under the carpet. Narrated by the wisest of all dog, Pluto, the narrative discloses the various faces of human behavior- happy, sad, insecure, successful, vulnerable, in love or breaking down. Some of the dialogues and scenes are amazingly weaved in the screenplay. Not for a moment does the story of this family seem forced however their pretentious behavior comes through and unravels the societal norms that we bind ourselves in and hence destroy our relationship/s with the ones closest to us. This one’s a winner simply for the chemistry of each of the main characters in the movie.
Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, R Madhavan, Jimmy Shergil, Deepak Dobriyal, Eijaz Khan, and Swara Bhaskar
A sequel to the previous film seemed quite exciting. Considering that the main characters were pretty interesting and quirky, we definitely expected some fireworks from this one and it definitely did not disappoint. The brilliance of this particular movie was its dialogues by Himanshu Sharma – perfectly times and pretty hilarious. The topsy-turvy screenplay made for an appealing watch as well. The script was tight and the actors did perfect justice to their characters. What we loved most about the movie was the intricate study that went behind the background of the characters whether they were from Kanpur of Jhajjar. A perfectly entertaining movie, this one can be watched more than once.
This Sriram Raghavan revenge saga was one of the most surprising offerings this year. Varun Dhawan playing a character spanning his 24 screen years to 40 and what a varied character that is! From a loving family man to a Dexter-like slayer he manages to still walk away with the viewer’s sympathy. The script was crisp and focused, the performances excellent in every way, direction perfectly drafted and the narrative…well, nail-biting. The chemistry between the protagonist and the antagonist was so vivid one could feel the tension on the screen, and then by the time they switch places in the narrative one finds it more real that reality.
This story of a father-daughter duo was the cutest that we heard all year. It’s a story of families and their quirks and accepting them nevertheless. On one end it makes one weep at the nostalgia and on the other guffaw at the immense wit of the characters. Written beautifully, this one intricately weaves the relationships whether it is family or not. To add to the fun there is a road trip that brings out their best and their worst selves. Reaching their destiny is not just a final stop over but also a realization of sorts, a reminiscing layover to time and memories. This one not only stands out but demands attention.
Cast: Salman Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kareena Kapoor, Harshali Malhotra
This year we saw Salman Khan being showcased in a rather emotional and coherent story. He was not seen unnecessarily bashing up goons saving irrelevant heroines and cracking low IQ jokes. This year, we saw an emotional, god-fearing character that quite courageously manages to cross the border to bring a little girl back home. Essentially a story about love, friendship and brotherhood, this one was a tear-jerker at most parts. Salman Khan stood out as the large-hearted Pavan as Kabir Khan made sure his image is not compromised. The fans got ample doses of the Salman magic that made this movie one of the biggest grossers of the year.
Boasted as India’s Biggest Motion Picture, this one stood out not just for its crazily built hunks, but for its splash of visuals, amazingly done CGI and brave leaps of production value. The larger than life sets, loud spoken dialogues and outrageous romance made this a complete entertainer. Rajamouli’s brave and forward thinking opus left the audience wanting for more. In spite of being a script that has been beaten to death in the 80s, this one made us stand up and take notice for the sheer hard work that has been done in every detail, whether it is the costumes, the art or the characters. With brilliant graphics, the movie managed to create a make-believe empire for us that stays etched with us till we see its sequel the next year. Of course, we all were left lusting for a bigger blow as we all wanted to know why Katappa killed Bahubali.
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone
Being a Imtiaz Ali fan, it was not difficult for us to cherish this complex drama that set the tone beautifully on the intricacies of human nature. This one is definitely his most challenging and intriguing outing so far. A brilliant attempt at exploring love and life, this one delves deeper into the psychological bent of the society at large. The way the main character bends into and gives in to the mundane life as chalked out by the society for him, makes for a deep cut in anyone who has ever felt a similar pain. Thought the subject has been explored before in Taare Zameen Par and 3 idiots, but this time its love at stake. Tara and Ved are caught up between what ought to be and what is and fight hard to discover what should really have been. This one makes for our favorite this year.
Deemed to be the Magnum Opus of the year, this one definitely stays as a repeat watch for us. Not only are the characters real and contemporary in their thought but also the subject of polygamy has been dealt with utmost sensitivity. Set in the 18th century, the story talks about love, valour, vulnerabilities, sacrifice and submission. It also talks about how love is a religion in itself and far above the societal definition of faith. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has yet again managed to create a larger than life motion picture with beautiful costumes, elaborate sets, appeasing animation and characters that seem real. Deemed as his dream project, the movie falls a bit short as it does not grow large enough to tower over the movies made in the same genre previously. However, the chemistry of Ranveer-Deepika has yet again been put to test. Priyanka does a convincing job of portraying the one who is deceived, unlike her real life persona.
The ten above round up the year’s best for Movie Massala. Surely, you would want to add a few more to the list, so please feel free to share yours in the comments.