The Best of Bollywood In 2018

Listing the ten best films I have seen emerge from Bollywood last year could be a little deficient as I could not get around to watch a few generally acclaimed films like 3 Storeys and Love Sonia in time. Nevertheless, here’s my list of 10 best films that were made in Bollywood in the year gone by.

Honorable mention goes to Rajkumar Gupta’s Raid for an engaging account of a…raid and Hichki where Rani Mukherjee overcomes a clichéd script to deliver a watchable movie.

                                                                10. Kuch Bheege Alfaz
I am not a big fan of coincidences as a plot point, and the entire premise of KBA rests on coincidence. But if you are willing to look beyond that, this is a nice, gentle romance. Bollywood specializes in this genre, but rarely do you feel the romance yourself. A combination of good writing, direction and acting achieve this rare feat.
(Disclosure: The writer of this movie Abhishek Chatterjee also contributes to this website)

9. Stree
Horror and comedy often go together by in most cases, the end result is a spoof of the horror genre. Rarely do they complement each other. The horror in Stree follows the standard tropes expected in a film like this, but it’s the funny bits in between that make the movie. The film features good performances by everyone, including Shraddha Kapoor. A confident feature debut by director Amar Kaushik.

8. Raazi
The one flaw that I thought Raazi had was that the husband’s character wasn’t developed strongly enough. With a capable counterpart, Alia Bhatt’s spy would have seemed more credible. But this minor quibble apart, Raazi is a good watch with an apt balance of drama and thrills. Surely, Alia Bhatt can do not wrong from this point on in her career.

7. Sui Dhaaga
Having sort of honed his skills paying a small town bumpkin in the Dulhania duology, Varun Dhawan lends a humane touch and some maturity to his character here.  He is ably supported by Anushka Sharma. The story of the triumph of the underdog may have been done many times in the past, yet Sharat Katariya’s take on it makes for an interesting watch. If nothing else, I hope it puts Raghuvir Yadav back in the reckoning as a sought out actor.

6. Karwaan
While watching this movie, I was constantly reminded of Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying where three individuals carry a dead body across a road trip. The more showy role here is played with aplomb by Irfan Khan. Dulquer Salman, in his Hindi debut, is the under playing anchor of the ship and Mithila Palkar is the loose cannon who makes the age gap seem obvious. This is a nice feel-good black comedy. 

5. Veere Di Wedding
Four friends at different stages of matrimonial life is a premise for some witty writing. Add to that good performances by the four leading ladies (Swara Bhaskar steals most scenes) under Shashank Ghosh’s able direction and there isn’t a dull moment in this film.

4. Manmarziyan
The story of the woman settling for an arranged marriage despite a passionate affair is a template already covered by the Woh Saat Dins, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanams and Dhadkans of the world. Yet writer Kanika Dhillon and director Anurag Kashyap find ways of adding complications to the story. Not all of it made sense to me but then I don’t suppose it was meant to. Superb acting by Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal and Abhishek Bachchan; in fact this must be Bachchan’s best role in years. He is more suited to these ‘serious types’ than comedy.  

3. Badhaai Ho 
This is a perfect example of choosing the right actor for the right role. What an ensemble cast this is! A late and unexpected pregnancy puts everyone in the household in an embarrassing situation leading to much mirth. Is this the same Amit Sharma  who directed Tevar a few years ago? You don’t say!

2. Kaalakaandi
I laughed so much with this movie my sides hurt. Three stories run parallel over the span of one fateful night. It’s a no brainer that they will come together at some point. This union is completely forced but by the time it comes, you are beyond the point of caring. Akshat Verma, who wrote the no-holds barred Delhi Belly, makes his directorial debut with even an even more ribald comedy. Sad it barely got noticed at the time of its release.

1. Mukkabaaz
By now it may seem that I am an Anurag Kashyap fan boy. But really, what’s not to like about this story about a boxer who has to rise above caste politics to claim his right to fight. As always, the dialogues in Kashyap’s films are peerless. No one gets these North Indian landscapes right better than him. Vineet Kumar puts in a performance that should make all filmmakers sit up and take notice of his raw talent.


Bollywood in 2014: The Women Have it

What does the quintessential Bollywood heroine do? Other than wear skimpy clothes, dance to crazy songs with cheap lyrics and play the damsel in distress perpetually waiting for her knight in shining armor you mean? Pretty much nothing. This fact has not changed for the last 100 years of Hindi cinema’s existence.

Barring the stray “Mother India” or a Kahaani, women have very little to do in our films. They play the docile wife, the obedient daughter, the chirpy lover or the evil scheming vamp- all characters cut out in 2D with very little resemblance to anyone living or dead.Continue reading “Bollywood in 2014: The Women Have it”

The Best of Bollywood: 2012

Unmindful of their box office gains, I present a list of 10 films which I rate as the best churned out by Bollywood in 2012. A few obvious choices, a few dark horses. If you still haven’t seen any of them, consider this list as a recommendation.
But first, the consolation prizes. Continue reading “The Best of Bollywood: 2012”

Disappointing Films of 2012

As the year passes by, every film buff likes to look back on the films that gave him/her a sheer viewing pleasure and made for a memorable movie watching experience. And then, there are films which also cause nothing but sheer disappointment, heartbreak and anguish, mainly due to the expectations that were attached to these films.

In this post I look back at some of the films that I personally found to be disappointing this year. So in case if you find one of your favorite films to be in the list, kindly mujhe maaf karna 🙂Continue reading “Disappointing Films of 2012”

Talaash- The search that leads no where

Director: Reema Kagti
Rating: **
As part of its pre-release publicity, Aamir Khan appeared on C.I.D. on television. Now, having seen the movie, I can see what an apt platform it was to publicize it. Talaash is very much like an episode of C.I.D. – it starts off with a death, holds our interest briefly and then peters out as you realize the story isn’t going anywhere. Continue reading “Talaash- The search that leads no where”

Achi Suspense Picture ki “Talaash” – Film Review

In “Talaash” directed by Reema Kagti, Kareena Kapoor in one of the most uninspired scenes to explain the plight of someone who comes from the red light area, to one of the most regressively churned policeman played by Aamir Khan, she tries to tell the policeman that she has to tell him the law. This scene, is so amateurishly treated, that one can’t feel for anyone, neither the policeman, nor the call girl, because we’ve seen it, many times before.
Continue reading “Achi Suspense Picture ki “Talaash” – Film Review”

Talaash Hindi Film Review -The excellence lies within

Directed by Reema Kagti (Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd), written by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, dialogues by Farhan Akhtar and additional dialogues by Anurag Kashyap, the latest film of Aamir Khan can be classified as a crime drama. Talaash is a story of betrayal, loss of a loved one, deceit and greed set against the backdrop of the city, where only the fittest survive.

Reema sets the tone of the film in the credits, which shows the cross section of working society on a Mumbai night. The camera leisurely captures the road side dhabas, the prostitutes and pimps, the taxi drivers, the beggars who NEED to work through the night to survive. In this lonely night, a movie star crashes his car into the sea-face and drowns to his death. Enter Inspector Surjan Singh Shekawat, who starts to investigate the case. The case appears to be an open and shut accident case, but

Aamir Khan as Surjan Singh in Talaash
Aamir Khan as Surjan Singh in Talaash

Continue reading “Talaash Hindi Film Review -The excellence lies within”

Veer-Zaara: The Eternal Love Story of this Century

He is the King of Romance, the knight in shining armor who through his rose-tinted lens redefined the meaning of “Bollywood wala Ishq” and the man who gave Hindi films gloss, glamour and a free trip to Switzerland . Yash Chopra is not a person but the term used to define the Celebration of Love a la Bollywood style. Jab Tak Hain Jaan in many ways is anticipated to be the joyous end to that journey of eternal love that he made us believe , existed. However, for me the true culmination of that ethereal timeless “Yash Chopra” magic will always be his last release “Veer Zaara”.

Continue reading “Veer-Zaara: The Eternal Love Story of this Century”

Veer-Zaara: The Star-Crossed Lovers

The movie begins with these magical word, penned by Javed Akhtar and  narrated by the maverick director Mr. Yash Chopra himself and creates the mood that stays till the end of the film- lyrical & nostalgic.
Continue reading “Veer-Zaara: The Star-Crossed Lovers”