#PicksOfYear2014Bollywood #FilmCriticJohnsonThomas (All in the range between 2 ½ * and 3 ½ * Rating- Not listed in order of Merit)
There really hasn’t been any great film this year. What we have therefore is a list of pleasurable films, some of solid technique, some with strong riveting themes and some with stand-out performances.
#AshimAhluwalia’s ‘#MissLovely’ starring an ensemble cast and boasting of an internationally renowned #NawazuddinSiddiqui, scored a hit on the festival circuit but the lay critics and audience found it wanting. Nevertheless this was one of the better efforts of the year!
The #NFDC produced #KamalSwaroop’s ‘#OmDarBaDar’ never could find a release date in the what-seems-like decades after it’s making. Unapologetic about it’s hallucinatory(read experimental) realm, this film was different from the run-of-the-mill and therefore interesting.
#NilaMadhabPanda’s ‘#BablooHappyHai’ tried hard to make HIV/Aids awareness acceptable to the masses but the surreptitious story-telling format was a little too stretched out to be completely engaging. Nevertheless this film had a strong enough take away.
#VinilMathew’s ‘#HaseeTohPhasee’ from the #KaranJohar stable was funny enough and had sparkling chemistry between the lead pair #SiddharthMalhotra and #ParineetiChopra to add some excitement to the mad-cap dramatics.
Nishta Jain’s documentary ‘Gulabi Gang’ pre-empted the Madhuri-Juhi starrer on the same subject and also managed to make a better mark at the BO. Certainly worthy of a #Best Tag!
#VikasBahl’s ‘#Queen’ warmed the cockles of our hearts with it’s subjective, earnest appeal,feel-good songs and #KanganaRanaut added to the magic with a heart-felt performance! The film also managed to spark a minor frenzy at the BO!
#RajatKapoor’s dark comedy ‘#AnkhonDekhi’ was quite surprisingly fluid and engaging with #SanjayMishra giving a gem of a performance as the angst ridden protagonist.
#NageshKukunoor’s ‘#Lakshmi’ was a raw and hurtful take on female trafficking. It wasn’t a pleasant experience even though a notable one!
#Girish Malick’s ‘#Jal’ set in a desert was cinematographically poignant even though the telling of the tale wasn’t smooth, dramatic or exciting enough.
#FerozAbbasKhan’s Political satire ‘#DekhTamashaDekh’ was verbally pungent and quite well knitted.
#AmoleGupte’s children’s fantasy ‘ #Hawaa Hawaai’ tried to give non-traditional sports (Skating) a broader band-width in the mainstream and managed to do that quite successfully.
#SandeepVerma’s thriller ‘#Manjunath’ based on true life incidents( about whistle-blowers risking their lives to expose wrongdoing in the public sector) was quite a triumph in terms of tension and affect.
#MrutyunjayDevvrat’s ‘#ChildrenOfWar’ dared to focus on the tortured and the damned during the Bangladesh uprising. Though small-budget it still managed to pack a sucker punch.
#HansalMehta’s ‘#Citylights’ focused on the struggle for survival of a flop-businessman turned security personnel in a big city. A quickie from the Bhatt camp, it did not match up to Mehta’s much celebrated effort ‘#Shahid’ even though it had note-worthy performances from #RajKumarRao, #Patralekha and especially- #ManavKaul.
#NitinKakkar’s maiden directorial effort ‘#Filmistan’ was unarguably the best effort of the entire list –in terms of technique and content. Wonderful moments, striking performances and supremely confident treatment make it an unforgettable experience.
#SamarShaikh’s #VidyaBalan Starrer ‘#BobbyJasoos’ was surprisingly engaging. Though hackneyed and convoluted towards the end it did have some really solid moments of entertainment. #AliFazal and #ArjanBajwa spice up the entertainment.
#AjayMehra’s ‘#Bazaar-E-Husn,’ a period drama may be a little old-fashioned and outdated but nevertheless it had some succinctly engaging moments and some reasonably good performances from #ReshmiGhosh and #YashpalSharma
#ShashankKhaitan’s attitude spewing #VarunDhawan, #AliaBhatt starrer #HumptySharmaKiDulhaniya may have gone over-the-top over a designer ghagra-choli but it couldn’t really dent #VarunDhawan’s easy histrionics or personable charm.
#HomiAdajania’s ‘#FindingFanny ‘ was quirky and intermittently engaging.
#OomungKumar’s sports-bio ‘#MaryKom’ was not as accomplished as ‘#PaanSinghTomar’ or as engaging as ‘#BhaagMilkhaBhaag’ but some true-grit moments help it make the cut.
#HabibFaisal’s ‘#Daawat-E-Ishq’ had some interesting ingredients but the overall concoction wasn’t as rich as the milieu it was set in.
#VishalBharadwaj’s visually rich ‘#Haider’ had some interestingly structured moments of conflict. But the overall effect was not all encompassing.
#RavindraGautam’s political satire ‘#EkkeesToponKiSalaami’ had terrific performances from #AnupamKher and #UttaraBaokar to lend it solidity.
#HarryBaweja’s animated historical ‘#ChaarSahibzaade’ about #GuruGovindSinghji and his four sons was a pleasant surprise. The audio performances were audience pleasing and the animation was certainly worthy of praise!
#RangRasiya –#KetanMehta’s much delayed biopic on celebrated painter #RajaRaviVerma’s colorful life was sexually well-endowed but the overall effect was well short of exciting.
#SarovarBanka’s #ShabanaAzmi starrer ‘#ADecentArrangement’ and #RaviKumar’s ‘#BhopalAPrayerForRain’ are decent enough Indian-origin efforts from the International arena.
#RajNidimoru and #KrishnaDK’s ‘#HappyEnding’Was a fun outing thanks to #Govinda’s stellar turn as an ageing superstar on a career down-turn
#AmitVats’ ‘#TitooMBA’ had a fresh storyline, some engaging performances from #NishantDahiya #PragyaJaiswal and #AbhishekKumar and also some peppy music to match!
#ChandraprakashDwivedi’s ‘#ZedPlus’ was entertaining mainly because of some intriguing moments and able performances from #AdilHussain #MonaSingh and #MukeshTiwari
#AmitMasurkar’s debut directorial effort ‘#SulemaniKeeda’ was a sincere and earnest effort portraying Bollywood as a creatively challenged set of wonderboys!
#AnuragKashyap’s #Ugly is chillingly cold in it’s assay of demented reasoning.It’s different!
#RajKumarHirani doesn’t bother to cater his films to any particular set- instead he creates experiences that are hard to put aside even though they may be less than aesthetically inclined. The currently(needlessly) controversial #PK is typical of his oeuvre- simplistic and imminently logical. You just can’t beat that!