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 the 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 the 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 a 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 to 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;
BEST BACKGROUND SCORE
Other Notable Works: Vishal Bharadwaj (Dedh Ishqiya), Amit Trivedi (Queen) & Mathias Duplessy (Finding Fanny)
BEST PLAYBACK SINGERS
MIR MUKHTIYAR ALI (FANNY RE – FINDING FANNY)
REKHA BHARDWAJ (JAGAAVE SAARI RAINA – DEDH ISHQIYA)
BEST SONG & LYRICS
PATAKHA GUDDI (NOORAN SISTERS/IRSHAD KAMIL/A.R.RAHMAN – HIGHWAY)
MATHIAS DUPLESSY (FINDING FANNY)
SUDESH ADANA (BISMIL – HAIDER)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
PAYAL SALUJA (DEDH ISHQIYA)
There are two prominent features in Dedh Ishqiya which give you detailed texture – dialogues and costumes. Most of the shooting was done in Mahmudabad Palace near Barabanki. As per the script, the ancient Urdu era was revitalized with royalty. So this adds major concern with the 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 at the royal party in Begum Para’s Haveli. Excellent dress-work on Naseeruddin Shah and Huma Qureshi and most impressively on Madhuri Dixit.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
TABASHEER ZUTSHI (MISS LOVELY)
Ashim Ahluwalia offers a close look at the C-grade pulp Hindi cinema of the eighties which used to make cheap horror-porn movies. It is a bold movie with an independent theme where the director exposes backstage dealings behind the curtains and problems in shooting such movies in the past. With such a script on the floor, all that matters to make the movie so special is costume and production design. If this movie proved its worth on global cinematic village, then full marks to aforementioned designing work, both projected by Tabasheer Zutshi.
BEST SOUND DESIGN
RESUL POOKUTTY (HIGHWAY)
One of few impressive factors from Imtiaz Ali‘s road movie is Alia Bhatt, ARR’s background score, attractive locations, and sound design. The Rahman-Resul musical duo has proved the winner most of the time and also has an 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.
AARTI BAJAJ (UGLY)
Aarti Bajaj was the first spouse of Anurag Kashyap and is a regular movie editor for Anurag Kashyap and Imtiaz Ali movies. She is very responsible for their successful movies. The beauty of moviemaking lies in editing and my pick is Ugly. Ugly has a lot of turns, the script will fold you and different characters will puzzle you. Body smashing in a traffic accident in the same frame was pretty unnatural but the next scene of interrogation in the 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 take 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 fiction into reality. Wonderful editing!
Other Notable Works: Aarti Bajaj (Highway) & Sanjib Datta (Mardaani)
PANKAJ KUMAR (HAIDER)
Photography! Brilliant work by Pankaj on Haider. I cannot go with details about this but among many movies, I found the cinematography of Haider the best one.
Other Notable Works: Anil Mehta (Finding Fanny & Highway)
SHAM KAUSHAL (UGLY)
Sorry if anyone feels this pick is offensive. I don’t have that level of enthusiasm for supernatural, unrealistic, and larger-than-life action movies of the 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)
RAJKUMAR HIRANI & ABHIJAT JOSHI (PK)
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 the 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 the movie. Every time their movies successfully inspire 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 to the local language. Meanwhile, he suffers a colossal hindrance towards different religious ways of breathing life. With the flow of the script pulling the strings, the screenplay brilliantly develops characters to assist the alien to meet an end. Just another golden egg in their basket! Take a bow, guys!
ANURAG KASHYAP (UGLY)
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. The viewer/listener will never feel an inch of unoriginality of conversation. As more there is intense, the more the dialogues burn you. The best examples are the 7-minute interrogation scene as mentioned before and where Shoumik sends 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)
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 the rural parts 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 the 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 that speaks a lot of depth about the deception and extreme trust over something. Unfortunately, the direction was painful which bombed a very scintillating subject.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
DIMPLE KAPADIA (FINDING FANNY)
She is my automatic pick. One of the finest actresses in Hindi cinema always adapts the skin of the character. She has played many different roles and in Finding Fanny, she maintains her rhythm. Dimple is Mrs. Rosalina “Rosie” Eucharistica, the self-appointed ‘Lady’ of Pocolim and mother-in-law of Deepika’s character Angie. She is over-proud for nothing and her nose touches the clouds. Some terrific screenplays ease acting gurus to add another highlight in their CV. A brilliant display of acting.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
VIJAY RAAZ (DEDH ISHQIYA)
Tough one but this one is the best. It is not 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 for approval from Begum Para. This Vijay Raaz deserves one prestigious award in his lifetime before the lifetime achievement award.
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 the 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 the story looks unnatural most of the time 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 her normal behavior towards the 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.
SANJAY MISHRA (ANKHON DEKHI)
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 doesn’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 separate from home, his philosophical thoughts bring many close neighbors to 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 surrounding. 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!!
HOMI ADAJANIA (FINDING FANNY)
Is Finding Fanny an Indian movie? I doubt, I really doubt. It will take the whole duration of the movie to find out that it is an Indian movie because of its extremely rich portrayal of realistic sketching of realism and the technicality of movie-making. When you watch this, you will feel like watching a Western European movie. Homi Adajania directed Being Cyrus and Cocktail before this.
From comedy to suspense, it is an absolute entertainer. The characters are defined in the beginning, the story is developed and sprinted without any nonsense. Screenplay and editing of the movie have 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/learned its culture and local Goan Catholics. Superb direction!!
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 in his head, he decides to accept only those things as a reality that 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 a new home with his family sick of him. Bauji has everything to lose.
Ankhon Dekhi has everything to impress you. The impressive story, brilliant screenplay, social satire, natural dialogues, simple costumes, one of the best performances by an 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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