2015 had its own share of additions to the 100 crore club. But, were they really the best films of the year?
I list down my favorites of the year and share the reason these clicked while others did not :
- Shamitabh : Though it is the least witty movie of R. Balki yet, the film worked because of the unique concept that Balki weaved it around. He got half the job done when he paired Dhanush with Amitabh Bachchan. The film was an apt tribute to Bachchan’s baritone and his intense gaze, made popular in Shehenshah and Agneepath. The music by Illayaraja lends a larger than life intriguing touch to the narrative. The highlight of the movie was the climax, which like every Balki movie, is a tragic exclamation point to a fairly pleasant story. (Read : “main khatam toh teri aawaz khatam”)
2. Dum Laga Ke Haisha : The very fact that this off-beat romantic comedy was made by Yash Raj Films is a salute to the banner. Ayushmann Khurana pulled off another unconventional role after Vicky Donor. Bhumi Pednekar made an impressive debut in the shoes of a confident highly educated overweight wife who is unapologetic about her weight and not hesitant of being the “man of the house”. Sharat Katariya portrayed the conflict between her and Khurana’s characters engagingly and the film captured the Haridwar of 1995 extremely well, given the use of terms like “Harrison ka taala”.
3. NH10 : The film proved to be very sumptuous when it came to my sadistic pleasures. Anushka Sharma not only donned the producer’s hat but also took charge in the film. Losing her boyfriend (Neil Bhoopalam) to murder, her character transformed from a silent sufferer to a revenge-seeking woman who thrashed the murderers with a metal rod and that too, with unsettling effortlessness. The film also brought to notice the need of urban citizens to focus their attention on the betterment of their counterparts in the countryside, who are still facing the issue of honour killings.
4. Margarita With A Straw : Kalki Koechlin suffered from cerebral palsy in the film. But the film is not about her ailment. Instead, it revolved around multiple struggles like discovering her sexual orientation, adjusting in a foreign land for higher education and losing her mother to terminal illness. Her character lived a normal life and overcame odds, without victimizing herself for even an instance.
5. Piku : The film did not have a story. By the interval, it had three stubborn characters, played by three talent powerhouses, refusing to sit in the car putting a halt to their road trip. The film was exactly that – a trip. A journey full of ego clashes, sacrifices and typical heated Bengali conversations over every meal. Juxtapose those with soft Sitar music in the background and the soothing cinematography, and you got a film that I loved, purely for its moments.
6. Dil Dhadakne Do : The film was a fine blend of Zoya Akhtar’s narrative styles in her previous two ventures. While it had the direct preachy style of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara in Aamir Khan’s voiceover, it also had those subtle underlying messages of Luck By Chance in some of the exchanges between the four family members. Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah and Ranvir Singh delivered powerful performances, especially Shah who sailed through the entire film with the deadly combo of moist eyes and cosmetic smiles. Equally refreshing to the message of the movie was the energy that livewires Ranvir and Anushka Sharma brought to the screen together, after such a long time.
7. Masaan : Set in Uttar Pradesh, the film was exactly how the setting is – poetic. Two parallel narratives flowed like poetry in motion coinciding only in the climax. That too, at Sangam in Allahabad. Again, poetic justice for you, guys!
8. Drishyam : The film celebrated the medium. The power of visuals was explained innovatively through a gruelling-yet-gripping suspense thriller. Ajay Devgn was a perfect fit with his intense eyes and cold demeanour. Tabu stole the show as her expressions spoke volumes about the emotional turmoil inside her. The movie also emphasized on the power of an uneducated common man who can shake the system not through violence, but through the aam aadmi’s greatest asset – patience. Also, kudos to Nishikant Kamat for the nail-biting climax!
9. Talvar : The narrative of the movie was certainly skewed towards one side but the recreation of both versions of the crime did reopen the case for public debate. Even with Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma in the same frame, Neeraj Kabi (who plays the girl’s father) managed to make his presence felt. Though the film wasn’t as gratifying as No One Killed Jessica, it did serve its purpose of arising curiosity.
10. Jazbaa : Yes, the cinematography was disturbing. The slow motion scenes and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s screams got on my nerves. But, I loved the story. It took the “to be, or not to be” equation to an entirely different tangent. It was interesting to notice gray shades in the characters of mainstream actors Aishwarya, Shabana Azmi and Jackie Shroff while Irrfan Khan provided the comic relief as the quintessential sidekick and unrequited lover. The story echoed very well Shabana Azmi’s words in the movie, “muqammal jahan kisey milta hai.”
11. Pyar Ka Punchnama 2 : I haven’t seen the prequel. But, I could relate to the characters in this one. Luv Ranajan’s film reflects a man’s side of the story so well that it is a fresh change from all the female-oriented movies like Queen and English Vinglish which portrayed the lead men in negative light and the female protagonists as victims.
12. Tamasha : Imtiaz Ali celebrates the art of storytelling through this theatrical narrative that boasts of one of the best screenplays of the year. Both Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone screamed conviction, either while prepping up for Matargashti or at their vulnerable best in Tum Saath Ho.
Honourable Mention : Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani.
Did Not See : Badlapur, Angry Indian Goddesses, Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo.
Manjhi : The Mountain ManTitli
2015 was an assortment of various genres. While some formula films minted all the money, some broke the stereotypes and pushed the envelope. Looking forward to a more entertaining 2016. See you at the movies!