So, another year of multiple Friday releases goes by. And I am sure, quantitatively, we are no way behind any other Film Industry across the world. Though, qualitatively, much leaves to be desired. Nevertheless, there have been doses of entertainment galore for Bollywood – with some nice movies, some nice scripts, some super performances, and like always, some great songs. At the same time, it has also seen the resurrection of women in their own ways. Kareena Kapoor equaled Hema Malini’s record of 4 back-to-back highest grossing movies (of their respective times) – with 3 Idiots, Golmaal 3, Bodyguard and Ra. One. The year’s dreaded Friday – 1st Friday of January – saw a hit movie releasing, that too with two women on helm (not a frequent occurrence). And of course, there’s one lady who snatched the limelight from the Chopras and Johars – ‘the’ Ekta Kapoor. With a diverse repertoire of films under her banner, she is soon attaining the most coveted producer tag.
With a brief recap done, let’s move on to my list of top 10 Hindi Feature Films of 2011. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get some of the highest grossing films of the previous year in my list. So, there’s no Singham, Ra One or Bodyguard. If you are still interested, read on!
10. Don 2 – The King Is Back
At number 10 is the SRK starrer slick action thriller ‘Don 2’. Much awaited, much anticipated, the sequel to the remake of superhit AB film – had a crucial question to answer. Can Farhan finally make a good thriller (Don was a remake and all his other thrillers have bombed – be it GAME or KCK)? Well, he surely isn’t as comfortable in thrillers as he is with youth films – DCH and Lakshya were class apart. But, he presents SRK in the mean avatar which is a treat to watch, uses great visuals and fairly engages you in most of the film. At least, he doesn’t have the hero standing perfectly firm when an entire block of water containers have fallen over him or the villain running all over a city with 100 cars unable to catch him. Only if the script were more sensible, Don 2 would have been higher on my list.
9. Mujhse Fraandship Karoge
It’s not a great film. Agreed. But, how many times have you entered a theatre with zero expectations and come out smiling? MFK does exactly that. It’s often said that ‘great surprises come in small packages’. And this shoe-string budget film, with all new faces and 90minutes running time, MFK proves the adage just right. The newcomers were a delight to watch, the college lingo was bang on, the humour was crisp and the songs time pass. Congrats to Y films for promoting youth-oriented films with fresh faces, and to Nupur Asthana for making a successfully entertaining flick that can live up to her reputation in TV. With it’s unique surprise element, MFK captures the 9th spot on my list.
8. Pyar Ka Punchnama
Kartikeya Tiwari’s 5 minute monologue ‘Dimaag ki Dahi’ is alone enough to give the movie a 2nd dekho. For long, men have been portrayed as the cunning, infidel, two-timers on the big and small screen. But Luv Ranjan’s debut, again with a host of newcomers, just rubbishes all those notions. Never before has the male agony been portrayed to such realism and humour in Indian cinema. Three hapless guys who move from happy singlehood to unhappy relations and back to happy singlehood – is a perfect film to watch with your friends. Here, I must mention, Divyendu Sharma’s ‘Liquid’ act – which according to me is a strong contender for Best Supporting Actor (Male) award, for its exquisite portrayal of the regular guy caught in the grind of boring job, best friend – boyfriend juggle and volatile temperament. PKP, despite being a non-perfect film, deserves its 8th spot purely for its iconoclasm and relatibility.
7. Delhi Belly
Humour may never be the same again on Indian celluloid. Potty jokes, dry humping, impudent sexual connotations – crude humour has finally found expression in Delhi Belly. And did people find it funny? They went ballistic laughing their guts out at the sequences played out in DB. Aamir Khan deserves applause for backing this wafer thin plot which could have backfired his much made image, and turning out such an entertaining caper at the right time (after supposedly editing it for 2 years). Imran Khan, Vir Das, Poorna Jagannathan and Vijay Raaz performed their roles with aplomb – just giving in their everything. But if one person deserves special mention, it has to be Kunal Roy Kapur as the man struggling with his loose motion and yet running from the goons who are after his throat. He might just bag the Best Comedian award this year (a tough rival for this award is mentioned later). Of course, with Delhi Belly, you cannot but mention the anthem that it brought along – god bless every guy whose name is D.K. Bose – he would never his initials again.
6. The Dirty Picture
‘Jab sharafat ke kapde utarte hai, tab sabse zyada maza shareefo ko hi aata hai…’ Rajat Arora has become a phenomenon with his dialogues – especially the one-liners – after OUATIM and The Dirty Picture. I am his fan. From a Male vs Male film in OUATIM, Milan Luthria and Ekta Kapoor are back again as a combo to deliver the woman centric loose biopic on yesteryear dancer cum starlet Silk Smitha. Great concept, excellent dialogues and some fab performances ensured a Dirty but not Vulgar portrayal of dancers from the South Indian Film Industry. You thought Vidya Balan looks great in full clad saris and anarkalis? Here, she bares all, gains the thunder thighs and bulging paunch, wears skimpy clothes, and plays the aspiring to arrogant journey with aplomb. The film started brilliantly but alas, some major inconsistencies in the 2nd half keep it from becoming a cult. ‘Ooh La La’ is my favourite dance number of this year. Along with Vidya who by all fairness should win the ‘Best Actress’ award this year for TDP, Shreya might just take an award for ‘Ooh La La’.
I am a Ranbir fan. And I think he is one of the most versatile actors we have currently. He gave some really nice performances, but sadly he has always fallen short of the ‘Best Actor’ award. Imtiaz Ali may just end Ranbir’s dry run. Rockstar is an all-out hero’s film and Ranbir grinds his teeth in a role that demanded him to go out of his skin and deliver a fabulous performance. And he delivers. Add to that, some fabulous locales, pretty heroine (who sadly doesn’t act) and a different love story. Well yes, whether Ranbir wins or not is left to be seen, but a man who might surely win an award for Rockstar – is the maestro A. R. Rahman. Thankfully, he is back in form after a long time and what an album does he deliver. With 14 amazing tracks, Rockstar’s music is surely something every Indian has enjoyed. What could have been better with the film is the casting of heroine and consistency of script (penned by the Director Imtiaz Ali himself). With inconsistencies in the 2nd half and a dragging culmination, Rockstar falls short of expectations, yet good enough to outshine many others released this year.
4. Shor In The City
Director duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K., who earlier failed to taste success with their film 99, came back with this year, reprising their own short film ‘Shor’ to direct ‘Shor in the City’ under Ekta Kapoor’s ALT Entertainment. With the backdrop of Ganesh puja, the caper presents hyperlink stories, loosely connected to each other, yet thematically linked to money and crime, Shor presents Mumbai in a similar yet different way. What makes the film memorable is its humour – slick, unintended, dark. Remember the scene where the 3 friends run after the child carrying the bomb? Everyone in the theatre started laughing when actually the consequence is fatal. Or Tusshar Kapoor crying after he presumes the child has lost a leg – only to miss the child standing up after he leaves? Shor was dark humour, cinemafied. ‘Saibo’ remains my favourite romantic track of the year. And yes, the tough rival I mentioned for the Comedian Award is Pitobash – who plays Mandook in the film. The only actor repeated from the short film, Pitobash was magical in his performance. ‘Chal, English mein SORRY bol!’
3. Dhobi Ghat
Well, Aamir Khan did produce ‘Delhi Belly’ – the absolutely unartistic, crude humour flick, which had the audience in splits. And just a few months before that, he produced Dhobi Ghat (though I am not sure why the film was named so). Helmed by his wifey Kiran Rao, who proves that she not only looks intelligent but also is one, Dhobi Ghat is a poignant tale of 4 characters and their journey of unsatiated love. It takes a lot of courage to cast new faces in roles as important as a superstar – but Kiran Rao does it with aplomb. Could we ever imagine that one of the principal character’s role in the film will only be talking to a handycam? But Kriti Malhotra in her petite, vulnerable frame brings such authenticity to her part that you feel as engaged in her life as the man who has a voyeuristic peep into her life – Aamir Khan. Prateik, for once, was a delight to watch. What sets the movie apart is the pace with which it moves – never taking upon itself to match commercial mindset or expectations – and the enticing background score of Academy Award winner Gustavo Sanatolella. Kiran Rao, take a bow!
2. No One Killed Jessica
As I mentioned earlier, it’s not a safe bet to release your film on the first Friday of the year. It’s also not safe to have a heroine-centric film, with only 2 heroines and no hero at all. Yet, Rajkumar Gupta (who made an impactful debut film), sidelined those false beliefs and delivered a hit with the opening weekend of 2011. A sensational story that made the headlines for a long time – an unjust trial leading to media intervention, unprecedented public support and ultimate resurrection of truth. The murder of Jessica Lall, struggles by her sister Sabrina and support by top notch reporter Meera (modeled on NDTV’s Barkha Dutt) – was penned and presented ably by the 2nd time director and brought out the thrill that people expected it to. Vidya Balan as the calm yet determined Sabrina Lall who loses her entire family as an aftermath to the murder is brilliant. Rajesh Sharma as the inspector failing to get justice, Neil Bhoopalam as the conscience stricken yet hostile witness Vikram (modeled on Shayan Munshi) and Myra as the charming Jessica do absolute justice to their characters. But it’s Rani Mukherjee, finally doing a film outside the Yashraj and Dharma banner, who steals the show as the foul mouthed, chain smoker, eccentric, sly reporter who puts things back on track after the guilty gets free. It’s time we have more films on gritty real stories that balances fact and fiction as deftly as this film.
1. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
What can I say about this film? Kaafi time baad, ek film dekhke, dil garden garden ho gaya tha. The camaraderie between the friends, the crises in their personal lives, the beautiful locales of Spain, the effervescent chemistry between Hrithik and Katrina, the songs, the poetry, the cinematography – everything was bang on and top notch. In this almost 3 hour film, there was not one dull moment. That’s a feat in itself. Zoya Akhtar who made an impressive debut with Luck By Chance, brings back friendship and self discovery with three mature, working men as protagonists. Three amazing sports – each being a source of revelation for the one who fears it most – are surely the highlights of the film. The outstanding sky-diving sequence with little music that leaves you with goosebumps, culminates into the foot-tapping ‘Senorita’ song. There are many more winning transitions. Must mention that Kalki in her brief role as the rich, bratty, control freak fiancée is too good. However, if there’s anyone among the actors who has a fair chance of winning an award is Farhan in his fabulous portrayal of the Supporting Role. Yes, ZNMD is purely for the metros, and its characters have aspirational lifestyles – but nothing about it is really unreal. I can watch ZNMD over and over again, without getting bored. In fact, most friends of mine have seen the movie for 3 times and more. One more aspect which the film reinstated, that you don’t make a mindless massy flick to cross the 100 crore mark. By all fairness, based on its content and commercial value, ZNMD is my number one movie of the year.
Lets hope, the year to come can brings in plenty more good films. Right now, I am looking forward to Agneepath, Dhoom 3 and Talaash.
Wish everyone reading this post a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!