Let me start the post with the disclaimer that I haven’t seen some of the acclaimed films of 2015. The most prominent ones among them are Titli, Manjhi, Drishyam,Maragarita with a Straw and Court (though I am told that the last one is mostly in Marathi). On the other hand, I have purposefully kept BAAHUBALI away from this list because the Hindi version is primarily a dubbed one. So, my post may suffer from the problem of exclusion. At the same time, it’s a highly personal choice and in no way reflects the true merit of any film.
We have a dearth of sharp political thrillers in India. So, if we keep the climactic similarities with Argo aside, BABY is a welcome change, which keeps its proceedings quite taut throughout. Akshay Kumar has definitely found his Scorsese in Neeraj Pandey.
I haven’t watched Phantom but I have never disliked a Kabir Khan film. And Bajrangi presents the most popular star of India in an avatar we haven’t seen for a long time.Yes, the film is overly sweet and melodramatic at places, but it has a very big heart and touches the right chords quite often.
08. BAJIRAO MASTANI
A film by Sanjay Leela Bhansali is unique because he is at the helm of affairs and presents everything in his own inimitable style. In this film, he presents us with forbidden love, warfare and politics, beautifully crafted scenes and an ensemble of actors at the peak of their forms.
Tamasha is the proof to the auteur theory – you see Imtiaz Ali’s treatment more than anything else. Of course, it shows us what Ranbir is capable of and that Deepika now deserves someone of Woody Allen’s quirkiness and skill. But, above all, it deals with a pertinent conflict with rare ingenuity.
The first half is too slow and the second half too fast. The villain is evident in the beginning and the overdose of details is at times cumbersome. But DBB has an aftertaste that lingers – the walls, the smoke, the colours, the femme fatale, the curious to crafty protagonist – DBB transports us like few have.
05. NH 10
The conflict, though pertinent, crops up rather conveniently, and almost inanely.However, once you get past that stumbling block, NH10 is a riveting thriller which pumps your adrenaline and curls your toes in the right measure. A shout out to Anushka for supporting the film in the way she did.
Masaan is a surprise package in the truest sense of the term. A less-known but talented ensemble cast (special mention: Vicky Kaushal), a poignant tale of grief and morality, the lilting poetry and a promising new director – Masaan has everything going for it except the rather convenient climax.
I remember sitting shocked (when the film got over) and asking myself – ‘So, who’s the bad guy?’ Such astute is its making that even if it doesn’t surpass the director’s past works, it is terrific as a noir thriller that does such a volte face in its last reel that it leaves you numb! Radhika Apte and Nawaazuddin reinforce how talented they are,and under Sriram’s guidance, Varun nudges past his contemporaries, just a little bit.
Talvar is a writer’s film, and it comes as no surprise that the man wielding the pen is none but Vishal Bharadwaj. The film is sensational but enticing, clearly biased but works delightfully due to its Rashomon quality, and Irrfan – Konkona – Neeraj Kabi bring every fold of the story to life with rare finesse. Let’s just say that it’s one of the finest ‘inspired by true events’ film Hindi cinema has ever produced.
When I watched Piku, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. But I couldn’t predict that the film will stay with me the way it has. If Shoojit Sircar and Juhi Chaturvedi introduced us to their quirky ideas with Vicky Donor, they took it to a new high with Piku. The crazy and witty repartee, the nuanced idiosyncrasy of each character, the sublime music and the evolution of every person within the span of the story – Piku is a delight of an eccentric kind.