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My Bollywood’s Best of 2018

My yearly review season has arrived to inform the readers what Hindi-language Indian films do I find the best in different categories. This is my 5th annual review work on the Indian cinema and to read my previous works, kindly follow the links:

2014 2015 2016 2017

So how do I do all this? I select some three dozen potential films of the calendar year after watching the trailers and reading the minor narrations at the year-end. Then I spent a few months watching the films I selected. It takes me roughly 5-6 months to watch three dozen films because I have some other things to do in life. For the music department, I consider the selected films and explore further on the internet because the discovery of good music is vast and unlimited.

I am glad to see that watching and observing culture in India is changing. Year by year, some good stories are making rounds and getting recognition. Moving towards the new decade, this change may become a blessing. With so many production companies and heavy money involved, some very good talent is polished from any platform. Then the streaming service has developed and improved the viewing quality.

Following films grabbed my attention and I watched these in the past few months:

Andhadhun, Padman, Hichki, Sanju, Karwaan, Raid, Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz, Halkaa, Bioscopewala, Manmarziyaan, Mulk, Batti Gul Meter Chalu, Union Leader, Gold, Sui Dhaaga, Badhaai Ho, Beyond The Clouds, Raazi, Tikli And Laxmi Bomb, Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain, Manto, Mukkabaaz, October, Veere Di Wedding, Pari, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, Blackmail, Pihu, Helicopter Eela, Pataakha, Hope Aur Hum, Tumbbad, Lust Stories, Love Sonia, and Gali Guleiyan.

Besides the abovementioned 35 Hindi films, I was not able to watch the other selected films, Omerta and 3 Storeys due to lack of availability or availability in extremely low video/audio quality.

Now before I present my winners, let me tell you how this works. After watching the above mentioned 35 Hindi films, I will segregate the categories into three different sections i.e., musical (5), technical (10), and major section (6). In most of the categories, I will brief a small explanation where I find necessary. In most of the categories, I will also make some unranked honorable mentions under “Other Notable Works” which are the individuals or the films deserve to be counted among the best.

Now I present you my picks from Bollywood’s Best of 2018. The readers can share their opinions below the blog.


MUSICAL SECTION

BEST BACKGROUND SCORE

ANDREA GUERRA (SUI DHAAGA)

Andrea Guerra’s music matches nowhere to Sui Dhaaga’s screenplay but the best thing about it is that the applied score helps us build a fresh perception towards the film. The same thing happened with Darren Fung’s score on Union Leader but Guerra’s score was better. Let us assume if a stereotype Indian music was played in the background on these screenplays, these films may not have built in our observation.

Other Notable Works:

Shashwat Srivastava (Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz)

Sandesh Shandilya (Bioscopewala)

Amit Trivedi (Manmarziyaan)

A. R. Rahman (Beyond The Clouds)

Darren Fung (Union Leader)

BEST MALE PLAYBACK SINGER

ARIJIT SINGH (BINTE DIL – PADMAAVAT)

There is no way anyone can sing better than Arijit Singh nowadays and Binte Dil is an example. The score of this track is middle-eastern and Arijit has worked on his vocal cords as per the style of the track demanded. This was not the same ‘Tum Hi Ho’ voice we listened to. Listen to him when he sings Aatish Kada Adaoon Se until the drop at deeda-e-tar ka hijaab, brilliant. Because the lyrics are not easy, the singer has sung pretty vibrant and unfamiliar Urdu and on a few occasions sang in one breath.

Other Notable Work:

Shahid Mallya (Daryaa – Manmarziyaan)

BEST FEMALE PLAYBACK SINGER

DEVESHI SEHGAL (DARYAA UNPLUGGED – MANMARZIYAAN)

Daryaa is a heart-wrenching track speaking about one’s love being distanced from the others with beautiful Punjabi lyrics and Deveshi’s voice offers a blend of urbanized rural melancholy and agony especially when she shouts Beh Gaya Hanjuaan Da Dariya. What we listen here is a raw voice and is used in the film at some critical junctures. A wonderful vocal rendition here.

Other Notable Works:

Neeti Mohan (Nainowale Ne – Padmaavat)

Sunidhi Chauhan (Manwaa – October)

BEST SONG & LYRICS

KADAM (PRATEEK KUHAD – KARWAAN)

Thumbs up to Prateek for both the lyrics and the music, very deep words and honest translation of human path of miseries and agitation.

Other Notable Works:

Daryaa (Ammy Virk, Shahid Mallya, Shellee, Amit Trivedi)

Qasam Kha Li (Papon, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Amit Trivedi)

Binte Dil (Arijit Singh, A. M. Turaz, Sanjay Leela Bhansali)

Tune Kaha (Prateek Kuhad – Lust Stories)

BEST MUSIC

AMIT TRIVEDI (MANMARZIYAAN)

It is hard to believe that Amit is yet to win the Best Music award from Filmfare. This could be his year but I have to admit that the competition with Bhansali for Padmaavat was really strong despite average reviews. For me, Manmarziyaan will be remembered one of Amit’s finest works to date. The compositions of all his soundtracks were magnificent. Daryaa was indeed the best track.

Other Notable Works:

Prateek Kuhad, Anurag Saikia, SlowCheetah and Shwetang Shankar & Imaad Shah (Karwaan)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Padmaavat)


TECHNICAL SECTION

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

SHEETAL IQBAL SHARMA (MANTO)

Other Notable Works:

Eka Lakhani (Sanju)

Aparna Shah (Bioscopewala)

Payal Saluja (Gold)

Karishma Sharma (Pataakha)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

NITIN ZIHANI CHOUDHARY & RAKESH YADAV (TUMBBAD)

Other Notable Works:

Priya Suhass (Bioscopewala)

Satish Chauhan (Union Leader)

Mansi Dhruv Mehta (Beyond The Clouds)

Rita Ghosh (Manto)

 

BEST SOUND DESIGN

RESUL POOKUTTY & AMRIT PRITAM (BIOSCOPEWALA)

Other Notable Works:

Madhu Apsara (Andhadhun)

Arun Nambiar (Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz)

 

BEST EDITING

HASSAN HASSANDOOST (BEYOND THE CLOUDS)

Other Notable Works:

A. Sreekar Prasad (Manto)

Dipika Kalra (Bioscopewala)

Ajay Sharma (Karwaan)

Pooja Ladha Surti (Andhadhun)

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

KARTIK VIJAY (MANTO)

Other Notable Works:

Avinash Arun (Karwaan)

Rafey Mahmood (Bioscopewala)

Sylvester Fonseca (Manmarziyaan)

Ewan Mulligan (Mulk)

Anil Mehta (Beyond The Clouds)

Pankaj Kumar (Tumbbad) 

 

BEST ACTION

VYRIL RAFFAELLI, SEBASTIEN SEVEAU & VIKRAM DAHIYA (BHAVESH JOSHI SUPERHERO)

I think this is pretty agreeable to everyone that Bhavesh Joshi Superhero offers excellent action sequences to seek our attention. There are no silly nonsense out-of-the-world fights and ridiculous visual effects to give up between the film. Because the plot is built in the honesty of depicting the birth of a superhero and the reasons behind wearing the mask. Even in the most possible exaggeration of any sequence, the scenes are acceptable and enough to pass a compliment like Siku’s lengthy attempt of escaping on the bike towards the railway station.  

Other Notable Work:

Vikram Dahiya & Sunil Rodrigues (Mukkabaaz)

 

BEST STORY

SRIRAM RAGHAVAN, ARIJIT BISWAS, POOJA LADHA SURTI, YOGESH CHANDEKAR & HEMANTH RAO (ANDHADHUN)

Andhadhun offers the freshness in presenting a crime thriller in dark humor. Two different stories connect to each other when the man pretending to be blind witnesses the dead body at an apartment and trying to give justice to the dead becomes a huge regret. The continuity is crazy and unpredictable. A story like Andhadhun is some kind of accomplishment and hope that some great stories can be told in the Hindi-language cinema.

Other Notable Works:

Bejoy Nambiar (Karwaan)

Nitin Dixit & Nila Madhab Panda (Halkaa)

Anubhav Sinha (Mulk)

Sanjay Patel (Union Leader)

 

BEST SCREENPLAY

MAJID MAJIDI & MEHRAN KASHANI (BEYOND THE CLOUDS)

I believe Beyond The Clouds had the most powerful screenwriting than any other films of 2018. The biggest reason lies in the happening of the plot. The intros of the leading characters and that cat-and-mouse run of Amir from the police. Then his emotional attachment with Tara and the given agonized circumstances between them in the plot is all splendid writing. Plus the development of mental growth of both Amir and Tara after her imprisonment carries the film. Amir’s changes in attitude with the relatives of Akshi (Tara’s husband) and Tara’s fondness towards the child are some impressive aspects of the writing. Due to the fact that this screenplay was written by the foreigners, they set the new standards of screenwriting in the Indian cinema.

Other Notable Works:

Nandita Das (Manto)

Anubhav Sinha (Mulk)

R. Balki & Swanand Kirkire (Padman)

Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar, Hemanth Rao (Andhadhun)

 

BEST DIALOGUES

ABHISHEK CHATTERJEE (KUCHH BHEEGE ALFAAZ)

What is important about dialogues-writing for me? It must fit the screenplay and the entire plotline. A light-heart musical like Onir’s Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz is a feel-good romantic whistler and the main reason is dialogues. So natural that it grows on you. There is decency, there is literature, the conversation between Alfaaz and Archana has a polite affection. Another factor doubling the significance of dialogues is Zain Khan Durrani‘s voice. When he speaks, you just close your eyes and listen to what he speaks. Summing in short, Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz has the most real and natural piece of dialogues-writing in the film.

Other Notable Works:

Hussain Dalal (Karwaan)

Kanika Dhillon (Manmarziyaan)

Anubhav Sinha (Mulk)

Sharat Katariya (Sui Dhaaga)

Nandita Das (Manto)

 

BEST SCENE

CRIME SCENE (ANDHADHUN)

Sold. Diabolical and sold. I was losing my interest in the film and wasn’t believing how Sriram Raghavan can disappoint me after waiting for his next project for years until those blind eyes spotted a dead body in an apartment. His fingers were bought by that dead man to play his wife the piano on their wedding ceremony, the woman who killed her husband with the help of her boyfriend,  masterpiece!

This was just the beginning. The best part was the continuity when both the deceased’s wife and her boyfriend silently try to clean the crime scene on the blind’s piano notes in one take. It was like I was watching good old silent-comedy stunt of the golden age. This is the beauty of the director’s artistic mind dropping the significance of presenting simple scenes in extraordinary ways.

I wish this particular scene is not a copy of any. I am not able to share the video because unfortunately, this is not available on YouTube.

Other Notable Scenes:

Murad Ali’s response to prove if he is a Muslim or not (Mulk)

Shravan lecturing his father about his boxing passion (Mukkabaaz)

Amir escaping from police-chase (Beyond The Clouds)


MAJOR SECTION

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

IRRFAN KHAN (KARWAAN)

The best aspect of Irrfan’s acting is his absorbing the given role. He executes so well that he is no more Irrfan in the film, he is the character watched by millions of viewers. In Karwaan, we didn’t see Irrfan acting, we saw Shaukat helping his friend find his father’s dead body. Irrfan brings a tremendous balance between the two new faces in the film, Dulquer and Mithila, and beautifully completes the trinity of three extremely different characters. His supporting role was well supported by the dialogues and Shaukat’s innocence throughout the journey.

Other Notable Works:

Manav Vij (Andhadhun)

Vicky Kaushal (Manmarziyaan)

Manoj Pahwa (Mulk)

Arunoday Singh (Blackmail)

Raghubir Yadav (Sui Dhaaga)

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

SUREKHA SIKRI (BADHAAI HO)

Thank God, Filmfare didn’t make the mistake of handing Best Supporting Actress to any other actress than Surekha Sikri. Because if not this, then I wonder what further would take her to get the recognition. At her age, she justified her presence and the significance of her being the matriarch. Her series of scolding to his son and later in her daughter-in-law’s defense is magnificently hilarious.

Other Notable Works:

Tabu (Andhadhun)

Shikha Talsania (Veere Di Wedding)

Swara Bhaskar (Veere Di Wedding)

Freida Pinto (Love Sonia)

 

BEST ACTOR

ISHAAN KHATTER (BEYOND THE CLOUDS)

This is one stunning performance I am lost at and cannot believe that a 23yo can bring such maturity and versatility in his given role. A fresh start as an actor, Ishaan is Amir, a drug dealer whose sister is imprisoned in an attempt of killing her husband. Desperate brother is stuck of ill-fate with her husband to care in the hospital but the responsibility doubles when the husband’s relatives arrive and there is no other way than refuge them at home until the admitted patient is fit to stand on his feet.

Amir’s attitude changes from rudeness to friendliness when he is more involved with his relatives. And during all this period, Amir grows Ishaan grows, in his acting on our nerves. The director plays a significant part in growing his character but Ishaan’s mental timing and body language are pretty flawless everywhere. His bursting out of anger and voice pitch control is excellent. That rage in the pigeon room was the summary of Ishaan’s hard work of Amir’s ridiculous tolerance giving up on seeing his sister mad. Between this sequence, it was so natural to make an unnatural response towards the relatives and speak in English in agony. This Ishaan Khatter is pure promise if he moves his acting career in the future in the right direction.

Other Notable Works:

Ayushmann Khurana (Andhadhun)

Danny Denzongpa (Bioscopewala)

Rishi Kapoor (Mulk)

Rahul Bhat (Union Leader)

Varun Dhawan (Sui Dhaaga)

Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Manto)

Vineet Kumar Singh (Mukkabaaz)

 

BEST ACTRESS

TAAPSEE PANNU (MANMARZIYAAN)

I thought a lot about this. Even while deciding to pick this, I reconsidered. But I have made my mind to say that this was Taapsee’s year. And it is utter shame to see her not even getting nominated for Manmarziyaan, forget about winning a Filmfare. Many may not agree with me on Taapsee as far as the choice of film is concerned, why Manmarziyaan? Why not Mulk?

See, despite a spectacular performance in Mulk, her body language is limited to the screenplay. Half of the film is a courtroom drama and her role, her facial and mental performance is one dimensional. Manmarziyaan? She is a complete woman. Emotion-wise, Taapsee has pulled all the strings. There is so much emotional fluctuation in her given character.

Then her chemistry with Vicky plays a significant part because her scenes with Vicky are where she stands to her episodic collapses from pride, emotion, and respect throughout the film repeatedly giving a gem of performances.

Other Notable Works:

Rani Mukherji (Hichki)

Malavika Mohanan (Beyond The Clouds)

Anushka Sharma (Pari)

Mrunal Thakur (Love Sonia)

Sanya Malhotra (Pataakha)

Radhika Madan (Pataakha)

 

BEST DIRECTOR

NANDITA DAS (MANTO)

I must not be taken aback to a slingshot theory that the professional actors cannot become the directors of the quality they were enriched with. The brains behind the camera, a cinematic vision thought on the director’s chair needs the required artistry to craft a story and the camera techniques for shooting which waits for the approval of the applause and compliments. Nandita Das is one exceptional name making me stop thinking about the Bollywood stereotypes for once and watch her Manto work with scrutiny.

Thanks to Das, Manto disconnects you. You are in a different timeline and parallel. You are in an undivided India sitting with your friends in a tea shop describing your work, speaking poetries, narrating a woman’s beauty and criticizing the government and the workers involved in it. You are a rebel to this world which is collapsing near you. You are drinking, you are smoking, you are watching some lights turned on in some flats at midnight. It is time to sleep but some streets aren’t and the lights are on for the women to work and sell their body. It is red, dark and hammer on your head.

The point is that the direction of the film is such a force that you become Manto and your world falls apart. The excellence of Nandita’s direction also lies in balancing so many things about Manto within two hours. Even the Lahore days of Manto were shot well and broke the stereotypical Pakistani portrayal in Hindi cinema.

I never felt I was watching a 2018 film. It was like the excellent golden age of the 50s back or if Guru Dutt’s directional artistry was temporarily inherited by Nandita.

Other Notable Works:

Sriram Raghavan (Andhadhun)

R. Balki (Padman)

Akarsh Khurana (Karwaan)

Onir (Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz)

Anubhav Sinha (Mulk)

Sanjay Patel (Union Leader)

Majid Majidi (Beyond The Clouds)

 

BEST FILM

MULK

The most important category to conclude this blog needs very careful judgment. What needs a film to be the best of the year? A lot of things count. First the story and the message, the brains behind the continuity of the screenplay. The screen time if it justifies the story. The whole body of the film most importantly the final few minutes which need some technical conclusion to convince the viewers. The selection of actors is not an issue because I always believe it is a performance which sells the plot. And that is why I believe that Mulk is 2018’s best film of the year.

Because Mulk opens a very sensitive subject which compels the audience to think about the future of the country. The social portrayal and acceptance towards the minorities in India have not been focused in the Indian cinema because this doesn’t profit the cinemas and the film producers, and there is every certainty that the majority of viewers may not like the idea.

Because most of the films focus on how the terrorism was committed or what role did the police or anti-terror squad play in defending the country or stopping/fighting against the event. But I don’t remember right now if any director tried to focus on the families whose member goes on to become a terrorist and made them regret.

Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk offers such a story about a diverse Muslim family who has been living in the same mohalla for decades. Advocate Murad Ali (Rishi Kapoor) says this is his home and he keeps no grudge with the people of any faith. Hindus and Muslims come together and sit with him, share happiness with him and his family until he nephew Shahid (Prateik Babbar) commits a terror attack.

Anubhav Sinha gives the viewers an intense feeling about such family being surrendered/surrounded by the religious insecurity and social tightness in the society. The behavioral attitude and breaking some ties further makes the family seek an antidote.

Mulk is a very sensitive drama touching a very sensitive subject of the protection and importance of the communities. Half of the film is the intense courtroom drama where Murad’s Hindu daughter-in-law Aarti tries to defend the case against the public prosecutor Santosh Anand (Ashutosh Rana) who tries to convince the court that the Muslim community orchestrates the terrorism.

Anubhav’s powerful writing and direction heavily focuses on the fact that people can be either good or bad whether they are of any faith. There is every chance that the follower of God and evil may be living in the same house under the same roof. The insecurity of being a Muslim is also highlighted well.

Technical aspects have done the talking. Dialogues, screenplay, story, cinematography, and direction are magnificent. These aspects are well supported by the splendid performances of Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, Manoj Pahwa and Ashutosh Rana.

Mulk is an agonized cry for love and peace in the cynical times of crossing guns over other shoulders among the communities and even the neighboring countries. It is one of the most important films produced in India with a cinematic masterpiece.

Other Notable Films:

Andhadhun

Padman

Bioscopewala

Union Leader

Beyond The Clouds

Manto

Pihu


Thank you for reading my annual picks and will write next year about Hindi films which are produced in 2019. Share your opinion below.

Movie Review: Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)

Dil-Dhadakne-Do-Posters1

Dil Dhadakne Do​ is aquatic soap-opera comedy movie and compressed version of the high-society based tv serials hugely focusing on doubts, gossips, raising eyebrows, open-mouths, bedroom phenomenons, legalities of relationships…

Plot? Unmarried husband/wife Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor) and Neelam Mehra (Shefali Shetty) plan their 30th wedding anniversary on cruise trip. Host Kamal Mehra is a businessman of a bankruptcy-knocking company and is planning to bond their son Kabir Mehra (Ranveer Singh) with daughter of his fellow business colleague to boost business and personal relationships but the next generation family friends have their say as few among them have complicated relations. Very interesting plot innit? *standing ovation*

PLUSSES:

 

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1) Performances are first-rate. Mehra quadrangular family is amazing. All the four members of Mehras; Anil, Shifali, Priyanka and Ranvir have produced scintillating performances. It is hard to pick one or two of the best among them.

2) 30-year dry marital veterans, Mr. and Mrs. Mehra are the best on-screen chemistry to watch. Amazing timing of conversations between them.

3) Ranvir-Priyanka bro-sis dual is very natural and ideal bond to watch. Both offer very fantastic emotional support to each other, and the strength of their bond during complicated situations is the best thing to watch.

4) Dialogues are naturally flexible and approves that Farhan Akhtar is inherited with powerful writing from his father. Let me prove my point with two entirely different situations. One is the funniest vomiting scene which will LYFAO and the other is highly intense family ice-breaking conversation in medical center. Both are dramatically insane in mode of situations and timing of emotions but the dialogues in both the scenes will make you feel.

5) Dog as narrator is a very catchy innovation. Aamir Khan as Pluto the dog is a wonderful narrator and thought-provoking dialogues are written by Javed AKhtar.

MINUSSES:

1) Running time of this movie is 2 hours and 50 minutes. I repeat, 170 minutes. Exactly!!

2) Unnatural choreographed and very uninspiring songs.

3) Over-exaggeration of family relationships. Too lengthy Priyanka/Rahul Bose moments. So many parivar conferences.

4) Unusually one of the most ridiculous Final-Ten-Minute conclusion of any BIG movie.

5) Too many family sagas and none of them well-defined. Alright Mehra family is the central figure but the supporting connections all sank with absolute collapse e.g., the characters Noorie, Rana, Amrish uncle (Farhan’s dad) and even a promising character of Manoj Pahwa‘s Vinod was cut too short.

6) Farhan Akhtar’s potential role turn out to be a special-appearance jukebox. A richly deserving plot-pacing device enters the screen extremely late and instead of bring close to conclusion, expands the melodrama with his affair with Priyanka and exaggerates.

There are two highly speaking points from the fictionally existing plot which indirectly focuses on very serious issues:

pluto

1) Dog’s autobiography: Pluto the dog is loyal pet of Mehra family. The dog is the narrator of movie where it watches the events happening in its surroundings and delivers/confesses the moral, emotional and social differences between a mute animal and a social animal.

One of the best writers in Bollywood, Javed Akhtar has penned dialogues for Pluto the dog and from Amir Khan’s voice, not only his remarkable dialogues are social satire but multi-dimensional in all walks. Pluto is a philosopher who separates his identity and differ with opinions he revolves around. That is the most impressive element of the movie.

2) Clash of Ideologies among the Generations: A tussle is hustled among the ranks not only in Mehras, but all the invitees of cruise trips where the chemistry of two generation ages to an extent. Oldies are backbiters and gossipers, high-society conservatives and admins of relationship conundrums. Contrary, their children i.e., the new generation or the new breed of friends and cousins have a different taste of humor and better understanding of complicated relationships among them.

The parental control among the Mehra pair is limited to the extend where financial benefits of business is involved. A folked up 30-year married life has a huge but bad impact on both brother and sister which mentally blocks their wish list towards the reality. Like I mentioned above, the highly intense scene in medical center between the Mehras is an ice-breaking emotional breakdown of the whole movie where all four desperately fall on heated argument.

Zoya Akhtar is a highly talented director from a richly talented family of acting and literature. But this movie is below par as compared to her previous two movies. DDD is no match with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. The Mehras, dialogues and pluto’s narration makes the movie attractive but the plot do not justifies or appeals the movie length of almost three hours. Could have done better.

Ratings: 7/10

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My Bollywood’s Best of 2014

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Since I became a blogger writing sporadic pieces, I have given my opinion for most of the movies I have watched. There was a time when I used to watch Hindi movies with utter passion but now I hang my glasses. With calendar year passing by, my rate of watching Hindi-language movies have fallen drastically low now. Reasons are many but majorly what is lacking in nowadays Hindi-movies is a material which make you invest your time quality.

Bollywood still in its second decade of the century majorly lacks stories on which a perfect screenplay can be implemented and put to work. Quality of acting is not sublime and no matter how good the music sounds, the worse are the lyrics. Every beginning of the year, Bollywood and its pundits, moviegoers and viewers are focused on the most prestigious movies award, FILMFARE. Unfortunately, Filmfare also do not justify most of the awards and have richly fallen under the good-pockets and well-known showbiz families.

In last five years, I have noticed a slight change in movie production companies introducing new faces or encouraging some deserving talents and publicizing their image and promoting their movies on high-scale. In 2014, contrary to my expectations, I have watched some good movies. I chose almost 25 movies from the list of Hindi-language movies of last year from Wikipedia, which helped me increase my options of deciding to pick a promising movie. Some were disappointing but some were exciting.

Today in this blog, I present you my Bollywood’s best of 2014 from most of the categories I have scrutinized. This is the first time I am blogging for Bollywood and will also publish for Hollywood in near future. I will discuss most of the categories if not all and mention some noteworthy names related to that category. The categories are under three different sections.  So here I go;

MUSICAL SECTION

BEST BACKGROUND SCORE

A.R.RAHMAN (HIGHWAY)

imtiaz-ali-alia-bhatt-and-a-r-rahman-at-a-song-recording-for-highway1

Other Notable Works: Vishal Bharadwaj (Dedh Ishqiya), Amit Trivedi (Queen) & Mathias Duplessy (Finding Fanny)

 

BEST PLAYBACK SINGERS

MIR MUKHTIYAR ALI (FANNY RE – FINDING FANNY)

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REKHA BHARDWAJ (JAGAAVE SAARI RAINA – DEDH ISHQIYA)

madhuri-dixit-1

BEST SONG & LYRICS

PATAKHA GUDDI (NOORAN SISTERS/IRSHAD KAMIL/A.R.RAHMAN – HIGHWAY)

Highway-Heera

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HDTS80dlr4

Other Notable Works: Bismil (Sukhwinder Singh/Gulzar/Vishal Bhardwaj – Haider)

 

BEST MUSIC

MATHIAS DUPLESSY (FINDING FANNY)

Mathias

Other Notable Works: Amit Trivedi (Queen) & Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (2 States)


 

TECHNICAL SECTION

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

SUDESH ADANA (BISMIL – HAIDER)

Haider-Shahid-Kapoor-Wallpapers

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

PAYAL SALUJA (DEDH ISHQIYA)

Dedh-Ishqiya-Hot-Madhuri-Wallpaper

There are two prominent features in Dedh Ishqiya which gives you detailed texture – dialogues and costumes. Most of the shooting was done in Mahmudabad Palace near Barabanki. As per the script, ancient Urdu era was revitalized with royalty. So this adds major concern with two aforementioned features. Payal Saluja (Raanjhanaa, Ishqiya, Maqbool) has done fantastic work with costume designing and her first marks will raise your eyebrows when the attendees will gather in royal party in Begum Para’s Haveli. Excellent dress-work on Naseeruddin Shah and Huma Qureshi and most impressively on Madhuri Dixit.

Other Notable Works: Dolly Ahluwalia (Haider) & Tabasheer Zutshi (Miss Lovely)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

TABASHEER ZUTSHI (MISS LOVELY)

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Ashim Ahluwalia offers a close look on the C-grade pulp Hindi-cinema of the eighties which used to make cheap horror-porn movies. It is a bold movie with independent theme where the director exposes backstage dealings behind the curtains and problems in shooting such movies in the past. With such script on the floor, all what matters to make the movie so special is costume and production designing. If this movie proved its worth on global cinematic village, then full marks to aforementioned designing works, both projected by Tabasheer Zutshi.

Other Notable Works: Subrata/Amit (Haider & Dedh Ishqiya)

BEST SOUND DESIGN

RESUL POOKUTTY (HIGHWAY)

resul-1

One of few impressive factors from Imtiaz Ali‘s road-movie is Alia Bhatt, ARR’s background score, attractive locations and sound designing. Rahman-Resul musical duo has proved winner most of the times and also have unforgettable achievement of bagging Academy Awards for Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. Although A.R.Rahman was off-color with average tracks but the sound designer was in full form.

Other Notable Works: Sanjay/Allwin (Queen) & Anilkumar/Prabal (Mardaani)

BEST SCENE

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BEST EDITING

AARTI BAJAJ (UGLY)

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Aarti Bajaj was the first spouse of Anurag Keshyup and is regular movie editor for Anurag Kashyup and Imtiaz Ali movies. She is very responsible their successful movies. The beauty of moviemaking lies in editing and my pick is Ugly. Ugly has a lot of turns, script will fold you and different characters will puzzle you. Body smashing in traffic accident in same frame was pretty unnatural but the next scene of interrogation in police station is very realistic. For me that was one of the best scenes of 2014, the reason is it was almost a 7-minute interrogation scene. Normally such scenes bore you but the editing is so marvelous that the scene grows and boils in your nerves. The way the Indian police takes the case so light is fantastically shot and well acted. Besides, scenes of driving, phone calls, searching and beatings and many more brings a true color of translating a fiction into reality. Wonderful editing!

Other Notable Works: Aarti Bajaj (Highway) & Sanjib Datta (Mardaani)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

PANKAJ KUMAR (HAIDER)

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Photography! Brilliant work by Pankaj on Haider. I cannot go with details about this but among many movies, I found cinematography of Haider the best one.

Other Notable Works: Anil Mehta (Finding Fanny & Highway)

BEST ACTION

SHAM KAUSHAL (UGLY)

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Sorry if anyone feel this pick offensive. I don’t have that level of enthusiasm for supernatural, unrealistic and larger-than-life action movies of Indian movie industry.  A lot of rage and fury, tortures and scorcher, gunshots and beatings. Ugly gives you a powerful display of action.

Other Notable Works: Manohar Verma (Mardaani)

BEST SCREENPLAY

RAJKUMAR HIRANI & ABHIJAT JOSHI (PK)

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It was tough for me to pick the movie with the most outstanding screenplay. Yes PK deserves this credit. This pair Hirani/Joshi is enjoying the booming period of scripting one of the best movies viewers have witnessed since the last decade. Under Vinod Chopra Films, they have scripted Munnabhai series, then 3 Idiots and now PK. Every aforementioned movie has a message, a rising voice towards the system transforming to roar over changing the system. Being comical in nature, their scripts marvelously have touched almost every viewer’s heart to fully accept the nature of movie. Every time their movies successfully inspires us with their trend-setting catchy dialogues. PK is no less than a revolution.

Both writers introduce an alien in the country of religions, hundreds of languages and cultures. He misses a gadget and in quest loses his edge and adapts the local language. Meanwhile he suffers a colossal hindrance towards different religious ways of breathing life. With the flow of script pulling the strings, the screenplay brilliantly develop characters to assist the alien to meet an end. Just another golden egg in their basket! Take a bow guys!

Other Notable Works: Rajat Kapoor (Ankhon Dekhi) & Homi/Kersi (Finding Fanny)

BEST DIALOGUES

ANURAG KASHYUP (UGLY)

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Natural!!!! very very lively and natural. No matter if that is a sick Shalini, tortured Chaitanya, opportunist Siddhant or furious Shoumik; dialogues are not on paper but well expressed on lips. Viewer/listener will never feel an inch of unoriginality of conversation. As more there is intense, the more the dialogues burn you. Best examples are the 7-minute interrogation scene as mentioned before and where Shoumik send Rahul to the prison where Chaitaniya is imprisoned and eating food. Wonderful job Keshyup sir!

Other Notable Works: Vishal Bharadwaj (Dedh Ishqiya) & Rajat Kapoor (Ankhon Dekhi)

 

BEST STORY

JANAKI VISHWANATHAN (YEH HAI BAKRAPUR)

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Ok the readers perhaps or surely will raise their eyebrows over this selection hehe but I am free to pick what I find more deserving. Many of you haven’t seen this movie and I promise you that the movie itself is below-average. But what attracts me the most is its story which is quite thought-provoking

Yeh Hai Bakrapur is a low-budget social satire based on rural part of India who blindly follow their faith. One small kid loves his goat and he doesn’t want it to get sold but his poor family has no solution to repay the debt. One young man who loves the kid’s sister, comes with a brilliant plan with the goat by painting the name ‘Allah’ on goat’s skin which makes the entire gaoonwalay fell in ultimate impression and belief that the goat is an angel and will be a sin to sell or sacrifice it. This rural blind faith following sketch is the bitter truth and a daring dilemma which speaks a lot of depth about the deception and extreme trust over something. Unfortunately the direction was painful which bombed a very scintillating subject.

 Other Notable Works: Amole Gupte (Hawaa Hawaai) & Hirani/Joshi (PK)


MAJOR SECTION

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

DIMPLE KAPADIA (FINDING FANNY)

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She is my automatic pick. One of the finest actresses in Hindi-cinema always adapt the skin of the character. She has played many different roles and in Finding Fanny, she maintains her rythm. Dimple is Mrs. Rosalina “Rosie” Eucharistica, the self-appointed ‘Lady’ of Pocolim and mother-in-law of Deepika’s character Angie. She is over-proudy for nothing and her nose touches the clouds. Some terrific screenplays eases acting gurus to add another highlight in their CV. Brilliant display of acting.

Other Notable Works: Amrita Singh (2 States) & Lillete Dubey (One by Two)

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

VIJAY RAAZ (DEDH ISHQIYA)

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Tough one but this one is the best. It is no surprising for me that this man is one of the most underrated actors in Hindi cinema. His quality is that he makes the viewers observe him. He made his name from Rajat Kapoor’s Raghu Romeo. If small B’s not well-known movie ‘Run’ was a 50-50, then this ‘Kawwa Biryani’ actor was highly praised for his comedy. Amir Khan’s Delhi Belly was centered on three partners in crime but Vijay was again a specific name in talks. Now in Dedh Ishqiya, he plays another villainous role of Jaan Mohammad who is MLA-gangster of Mahmudabad. He doubles his poetry skills word-to-word copying from another poet to win Begum Paara’s heart, marry her and become the Nawab of Mahmudabad. The fury is hidden in his role as the greediness of the character gashes with the wait of approval from Begum Para. This Vijay Raaz deserves one prestigious award in his lifetime before lifetime achievement award.

Other Notable Works: Tahir Raj Bhasin (Mardaani), Manav Kaul (Citylights), Pankaj Kapur (Finding Fanny), Rajat Kapoor (Ankhon Dekhi) & Vineet Kumar Singh (Ugly)

 

BEST ACTRESS

KANGANA RANAUT (QUEEN)

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Although there have been many ladies in 2014 with majestic performances but none reach the clouds where Kangana was heavily raining. Kangana’s role of Rani Mehra in Queen is unanimous. She plays the role of a middle-class girl who wishes to spend her honeymoon with her soon-to-be husband in Paris. At the last moment, the man unties the knot and with all soreness of life knocking at a wrong time with tickets in hand, she decides to visit Paris by herself and breathe the life. There begins east-meet-west and sweet simple Delhi girl experience an unforgettable journey and befriends with people from different nationalities.

The flow of story looks unnatural at most of the times but let’s focus on Kangana. Since her debut, she looked promising and finally a feast is served as she displays her best performance ever. Her facial expressions are soooo natural and normal behavior towards unexpected Parisian lifestyle is fantastic. She will make you feel when her fiancé will inform her breakup in the beginning. She will make you stare when she will struggle to dance in the bar. You can’t ask for more than that. Queen is very Kangana-show.

Other Notable Works: Monali Thakur (Lakshmi), Seema Pahwa (Ankhon Dekhi), Alia Bhatt (Highway) & Tabu (Haider)

 

BEST ACTOR

SANJAY MISHRA (ANKHON DEKHI)

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Yeah it was a healthy competition between the three. Two were the most popular and the one was ignored at many functions (most probably because he don’t carry the personality which may give him stardom). I pick the latter because I believe Sanjay Mishra ran the character in fact the whole script on his strings with a perfect note.  As compared to the competitors, the movie wasn’t popular to the house of commons like PK and Haider but he was solely responsible to bring the movie to fame.

Sanjay plays Bauji from Dilli’s gharib-khana who has compromised with his ego to accept only those things as reality in life which he has witnessed by himself. Impact? He loses his job, his brother & family separates home, his philosophical thoughts bring many close neighbors his devotees. It is not only about the definition of his character but the aura he brought into it. Sanjay is a thespian and Bauji is melodramatic.

The character of Bauji will make you realize how comfortable how meaningful and how relief is the life you choose in the loud noisy world in your surroundings. People will laugh at you, make fun of you, of your wit and philosophy but you will remain calm. As the movie grows on you, you begin to judge him more, you begin to find him realistic more, you see yourself in him. As a father and a brother, you see the same Bauji in two different dimensions. He is an ass, a clown without makeup and a simple man who has everything to lose. Story of a terrible man with irreparable fate. Truly the best performance of the year!!

Other Notable Works: Shahid Kapoor (Haider) & Aamir Khan (PK)

 

BEST DIRECTOR

HOMI ADAJANIA (FINDING FANNY)

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Is Finding Fanny an Indian movie? I doubt, I really doubt. It will take the whole duration of movie to find out that it is an Indian movie because of its extremely rich portray of realistic sketching of realism and technicality of movie making. When you watch this, you will feel watching a Western European movie. Homi Adajania directed Being Cyrus and Cocktail before this.

From comedy to suspense, it is absolute entertainer. The characters are defined in the beginning, the story is developed and sprinted without any nonsense. Screenplay and editing of the movie has also played a major part to praise the director’s efforts to make such an incredible movie.

Why direction is so effective? Why this movie looks different from the others? Because of Pocolim? To some degree, I agree but Homi’s homework paid off. To make the movie look creative, natural and very realistic, Homi spent a month in village Salvador do Mundo of Goa and researched/learnt its culture and local Goan Catholics. Superb direction!!

Other Notable Works: Hansal Mehta (CityLights), Anurag Kashyup (Ugly) & Rajat Kapoor (Ankhon Dekhi)

 

BEST MOVIE

ANKHON DEKHI

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The last and most important category of my picking. Mithiya Talkies produced thought-provoking Ankhon Dekhi directed by Rajat Kapoor. Some movies are clobber dimensional and some are socially inspirational. Ankhon Dekhi is Rajat Kapoor’s miss call to those who have lost the battle of survival in life, who have gone hopeless to see the change and who have borrowed some time to ease and overcome their agony.

In old Dilli gharana lives the patriarch, Bauji. He lives in a small house with his family combined with his brother’s family. Has a job on which he just survives. Has a daughter who has an affair with a vagabond. Has a wife who is no less than a heater. After a lot of problems circulating on his head, he decides to accept only those things as reality which he has witnessed himself. This philosophy gives Bauji some disciples, but in off state he loses his job applying this philosophy, his brother shifts to new home with his family sick of him. Bauji has everything to lose.

Ankhon Dekhi has everything to impress you. Impressive story, brilliant screenplay, social satire, natural dialogues, simple costumes, one of best performances by any ensemble cast of 2014. It had tough competition in this category but I found Ankhon Dekhi reclusive. A wonderful movie!!

Other Notable Works: Ugly, Kya Dilli Kya Lahore, Citylights, PK & Finding Fanny

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Movie Review: Rang Rasiya (2014)

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Once upon a time there was a painter from Travancore and a very attractive woman. They were destined to meet in their lifetime. One day it happened to be the moment when the painter’s eyes caught the attention of that lady worshiping in the temple. Her beauty inspired the painter to paint God and Goddesses as human beings. He began sketching her in different shade of moods and gifted her a major surprise by meeting her outside the temple. After she saw the sketches, she got attracted to him.

 

This was the time when Hindustan or British India was stuck with the infinite political crisis of seeking independence from British Raj and leaving the colonial prestige. Painting was seen as a token of appreciation towards the painter for his enormous talent of depicting his skills in art of drawing a particular substance. In the painter’s case, he was too broad to be accepted among the conservatives, orthodox and traditional people who believe in more social and moral code over their culture and religion.

Where the printed images of his collections made the common man worship the Gods in their houses, shops and community gatherings, few of them didn’t accept. His paintings of human beings as Hindu Gods or Goddesses enraged a particular community of fundamentalists and the case went to the local court. Till that time, his popularity had reached America and Europe. The painter was India’s finest revolutionary painter, Raja Ravi Verma and the inspirational lady was Sugandha Bai.

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This story is from a biographical novel ‘Raja Ravi Verma’ written by Ranjit Desai. The movie on which this novel is based is ‘Rang Rasiya‘. It is a Hindi-Sanskrit language movie with some doses of English dialogues directed by National Award winning director Ketan Mehta (Mirch Masala, Sardar, Mangal Panday). Randeep Hooda is Raja and Nandana Sen is Sugandha. This movie took 6 years to release due to the certain objection of the Censor Board’s objection with certain bold scenes that involved paint and nudity. The movie shows how the freedom of art conflicts with man-made laws, how religious bigotry disturbs the social momentum.

Selection of Nandana Sen for Sugandha was very fitting as she incidentally was Raja’s fan. When Ketan approached her for the role, he found two of Raja’s paintings at her residence which made this deal more convincing and easy. Nandana will seduce the viewer to a level. Randeep’s selection was a tough one considering the fact that Randeep had to play a 20-year-old and then a sexagenarian.

Despite the fact the direction and dialogues were pretty weak and outdated, what worked for the movie’s complements was above-average performances and terrific background score. Raja-Sugandha chemistry was worth watching, it melt your emotions with paintbrush. Randeep-Nandana have done marvelous job. Costume and art designing was superb and will give you breathing in periodic environment. 

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Overall, Rang Rasiya is a Randeep Hooda show who portrays an exceptional character from the original and gives a feeling of nearness with him when he is riding his journey from highs and lows towards the legendary art. A journey which starts from marrying a princess and ends with why-should-I-tell-you, will make you leave the enthrallment of cruelty and boundary, motivate you to live with your passion and fulfill your burning desire. Being one of the best movie of the year is very debatable but calling Rang Rasiya one of the best art-centric biopic in recent years won’t be bad.  

Rating: 7/10

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Movie Review: Om Dar-B-Dar (1988)

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Tadpole | Cycle | Diamond | Typewriter | Dream | Ajmer

Brain-nailing keywords right? Yes you exactly are reading my new blog categorized as ‘Movie Review’. You are not in a humble mistake or any point at stake, this is how strange tags for a movie wonders you make. Will you allow me to add few more plot keywords? LOL Let me try to open your jaw;

Horoscope, Radio, Caste, Sleeveless Blouse, Nitrogen, Googly, Counterfeited Coins, Tourists, Promise Toothpaste, Yuri Gagarin, Potassium Cyanide and list goes on…

After the plot keywords or tags, what if I tell you that this Hindi-movie ‘Om Dar-B-Dar‘ was produced in 1988 and commercially released in 26 years!!! Yes it is very unknown to the moviegoers because majority of viewers are more familiar with popular cinema as compared to parallel and mainstream cinema.

But the movie has its critical prominence and has gained a ‘CULT’ status on the badge. This movie won ‘Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie‘ in 1989 and even reached Berlin Film Festival. I heard a lot about it and after watching it, I found it one of the most complicated movie Bollywood has ever produced. 

There are 5 characters existing in Ajmer:

1. Om (Aditya Lakhia) is a carefree kid, a daydreamer. He loves tadpoles and has ability to hold his breath for a long. He is slipped from the edge of bitterness and is mentally a normal person who do not want to accept normality.

2. Om’s father (Lakhsminarayan Shahstri) was a government servant. Now he is an astrologer.

3. Gayatri (Gopi Desai) is Om’s sister bound within her limits. She is liberal by nature who wants to ride a cycle and climb Mount Everest.

4. Jagadish (Lalit Tiwari) is from Jhumri Telaiya. Fell in love with Gayatri and teaches her and her father cycling.

5. Phoolkumari (Anita Kanwar) is dark and mitty character who joins Om’s family. She write sex stories and has no money. Looking for work, she type letters for Om’s father.

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ODBD is an experimental movie where 5 characters are connected but prostrate towards the fantasies of life. The sketch-frame is so complex that you will not accept the happenings at once but will flow on you. It is rebellious towards the nature, an absolute outcry.

ODBD is a directional masterclass where the movie-making is very advance from its time, you may call it a post-modern movie. Although the background score is pretty intrusive but the usage of camera technique is remarkable. It is a unique presentation of the world where a hatchling runs over the class attendance sheet and tadpoles become terrorists. 

Another impressive aspect of the movie is very powerful and thought provoking dialogues. With all the silence speaking out loud, the scenes are well translated by the dialogues where the director opens his heart and speaks very deep emotions and illusions.

Two of the dialogues which hit hard on brain is when Om speaks his heart out “Mere pass hone ke liye zaruri hai ki mera sapna fail ho jaye” trans. “It is important to fail my dream in order to succeed”. I have to repeat the scene to understand Om’s character which defines a lot.

The other dialogue is where Om’s father is annoyed of the term ‘googly’ and tells Phoolkumari to type a letter to prime minister “please ban googly in cricket and life in general”!!!! Just vow!! Googly and life has a very deep relation if you calculate the nature of both the terms philosophically. Literally it is just a dialogue but practically, it hits very hard.

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Songs are way absurd but two of the tracks are of cult nature. ‘Babloo Babylon Se’ and ‘Meri Jaan’ are isolated songs with a natural caricature. By cast, all actors have done above average job but Aditya Lakhiya as ‘Om’ is the winner.

ODBD is a nonlinear-narrative and extraordinary movie produced by National Film Development Corporation on a budget of RS. 10 lakh and directed by National-award winner Kamal Swaroop. His CV includes writing dialogues for Mira Nair’s ‘Salaam Bombay’ and assisting Richard Attenborough in ‘Gandhi’. While watching, his direction will remind you works by Satyajit Ray and Stanley Kubrick. 

This movie is recommended only to whose who are more interested in watching parallel or mainstream movies, well actually ODBD is way passive from that cinema too. Even it is hard for me to come with a better review of ODBD due to the weight of absurdity, confusion and utopian creativity. But one thing is for sure that unarguably it is Indian cinema’s one of the greatest Cult Classic ever made.

Ratings: 8.9/10

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Movie Review: CityLights (2014)

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What happens when a poor man from a village looks for a job in a city? What happens when he takes his family and settles down in metro-crowded-noisy city? One can never expect that anything will go absolutely right under his way. There goes a tremendous change in momentum of life and your initial steps are temporary hiccups to accept the changing circumstances over noisy and mad city. Making a movie on it may appeal some positive responses as the viewer takes the movie as something-about-to-happen experience. The movie-makers often make a comedy movie over rural-turn-urban life experience. But some become a socioeconomic subject for critical awareness to make you think how some of us taste such tragic encounters of life-changing gears. Migrated people always have that luck! 

That’s what happened couple of years ago when Sean Ellis made a British movie about a Filipino couples who had a land-migrating life-changing tragic experience from one part of Philippines to the other. The movie was ‘Metro Manila‘ that was Britain’s official entry for Best Foreign-Language Film at 86th Academy Awards last year. 

Metro Manila was an inspiration movie which reached to the doors of Indian movie industry. Citylights is produced under the banners of Vishesh Films and is official Indian remake of Metro Manila. Hansal Mehta was picked for the direction and the production of movie cost only 7 crore. Cast includes Rajkummar Rao (Love Sex aur Dhokha, Kai Po Che, Shahid), Manav Kaul and Rajkummar’s real-life girlfriend Patralekha. Set up is a poor young family of Rajasthan who migrates to Mumbai for money, better job and better future. Traveling all over from Rajasthan relying on one of close friend who never shows his face are all alone, homeless and self-dependent struggling to settle in crazy-life of Mumbai.

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Hansal-Rajkummar collaborates as director-actor for the second time after critical acclaimed movie Shahid. Director put all faith in viewers to promise yet another splendid movie with powerful performances by Rajkummar and Manav Kaul.  

Rajkummar Rao is one amazing Haryana-born acting talent who always mesmerizes you with any role he plays. His characters are challenging. Since 2013, he is in magnificent form and picking very selective movies to bring a lot of critical attention among the movie pundits, journalists and sensible moviegoers. Citylights is his 3rd critical acclaimed performance after Kai Po Che and Shahid. As compared to KPC and Shahid, this role is more tougher. This character is more broken and shattered, and his migration with young wife and little daughter becomes a curse. Lost in the citylights, he is compromised with the naked truth that poverty is a disease and and every honest man is to be stripped. There are many high points in the movie and truly the most powerful scene is when he is drunk and return to his wife.

Citylights is an absolute portray of betrayal and gear-shift morale-collapsing tragic life-story. It is an emotional roller-coaster and depiction of fake-expectation of something called ‘Ray of Hope’ where survival is not in your fate. You are supposed to fell down from your own roof. One of best movies of 2014. Thumbs up for Hansal-Rajkummar partnership!

Rating: 8.8/10

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Movie Review: Mary Kom (2014)

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Considering the fact, the boxing movies are always a great pleasure to watch like Rocky, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby and many more, same expectations are in other movie industries. In Bollywood, I remember Aamir Khan starrer Ghulam had some meat to offer although it was not really a boxing movie. Sohail Khan’s Aryan was Abhishek Kapoor’s first directional success before he went on to make Rock On and Kai Po Che. With a new trend in Bollywood of making biographic movies on sportsmen in India and with major box-office success in Paan Singh Tomar and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, we expect more from last year’s Priyanka Chopra starrer Mary Kom which despite a great box-office success, I found major disappointment.

Mary Kom is legendary figure in Indian sports and world of boxing. She holds breath taking CV with her being 4-times Asian Boxing Champion and 5-times World Amateur Boxing Champion!!! Phewww if that is not enough, then furthermore she is the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships and first Indian woman boxer to win Gold Medal in Asian Games history which happened in Incheon 3 months ago.  

As the human factor subjects prominence in many many legendary careers of greatest and finest names in sports, Mary Kom is no different as she can easily be labeled with the same line ‘an ordinary person with extraordinary story’. But for the sake of entertainment and gleaming box office success to ensure the producers earn a calculated turnover, a true story is minced and realism is denied. 

Being produced by big-pocket names Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Bhansali Productions, the director for such an important project is chosen a first timer!! :S Omung Kumar‘s CV is mostly of Art Direction and Production Designing. Name like legendary Mary Kom deserves a perfect bio epic movie with the most bullet details of her personal and professional life. Many chapters were ignored and many were framed into incorrect times and events. Her childhood part is ruthlessly ignored in minutes. Mary Kom as hardly 8-year-old child finds a glove in the beginning of movie and all of a sudden within a minute, 17-year-old Mary Kom is fighting in college :S How can one ignore the childhood part as she came from a very poor Manipur family whose bread and milk was by working slash-and-burn??

Despite a narrative sketch of brilliant husband-wife chemistry in the movie, one character the director failed to present was Mary Kom’s father-in-law, who was a very important figure in her biography. Her father-in-law was murdered by some gunmen back in 2006 and at that stage, Mary Kom blamed his death on herself and almost gave up her boxing career. Her husband had decided to join rebel group to take revenge of his father’s death. What an important phase of her life never screened!!!

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The final fight against her old rival is even a joke. No such incident happen such as shown in the movie as the movie sustained its root to recognize from a typical Bollywood movie. Even the event of final fight is confusing whether it was 2008 World Championship or later. If I assume it was 2008, the movie shows that her rival destroys her in first 2 or 3 rounds and then all of a sudden, the character returns in larger-than-life contest to beat her and take the title, whereas in reality Mary Kom owned her 7-1 in the final :S

Despite winning 5 world titles, the proudest moment in Mary Kom’s career was participation in 2012 London Olympics as for the first time in Olympics history, Women Boxing was included and Mary Kom was one of 36 participants among which she reached 3rd and won Bronze Medal. How in the world director never filmed this biggest moment???

If the movie is planned to watch, then there are only two reasons. One is to know Mary Kom’s life which I have reviewed above how it has been screwed. And other reason which actually is the only plus point of the movie is the soul itself – Priyanka Chopra as Mary Kom. If her mental strength was enough tested in Barfi, here she presented her physical element. Extremely tough physical exercises and her body and soul segmented between a life of boxer and wife equally raises the applauds. She surely makes you think of Million Dollar Baby’s Hillary Swank (I am not comparing ok!!). She is strong and fully ready to take on and suffer many punches in life.

In her character, the only aspect where she couldn’t catch Mary Kom probably was her Manipuri Hindi accent. That was missing. She tried her level best but that is the problem when such an important role to the artist is taught by a teacher/director but here actress has over a decade experience in her profession then the number of times Omung Kumar has sat on director’s seat while shooting.

Rating: 4.5/10

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