Every year the Hindi film industry churns out a mind boggling number of films many of which, to use a kind understatement, are mediocre. But with the cinematic gems that humble you, it’s all worth a go. Without much ado, here are the top 5 films of 2012 in no particular order:
If you’ve heard of/seen Most Fruitful Yuki, Kahaani would not seem so much of a surprise. But Sujoy Ghosh made us stop in our tracks and look at his protagonist – a heavily pregnant Vidya Bagchi played perfectly by Vidya Balan – as she searches for her lost hubby in Kolkatta. The writers Sujoy, Advaita Kala, Suresh Nair, Ritesh Shah and Nikhil Vyas may have looked westward for the climax, but it had one of the things that Indian cinema lacks these days: nuances. Be it Satyaki’s name, the hotel-manager addressing Rana, Bob Biswas or “running water”, the movie underlined that you need not repeat lines to make an impact. It was also the first movie of the year to give us a glimpse into the brilliance of Nawazuddin Siddiqui (who played the brash IB cop Khan) whom we would look forward to in the coming year.
No more love in the disguise of trembling flowers or a glowing campfire: Vicky Donor is love in a bottle. Somewhat. Who would have thought that a movie on sperm donation would be so funny and lovable at the same time! It looks like director Shoojit Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi decided to go all out and put a virile sperm donating hero, a mother and grandmother who love their drink and a fertility doctor who does a Daler-Mehendi-style-ta-ra-ra-ra move to signify sperms in one film. While the second half may have been a yawn-some deal, the rest of the movie more than made up for it!
Shanghai and Talaash were films that were simply so unlike the other. Shanghai was an ironic take on the system that exposed and pointed out the rots in it ruthlessly while Talaash crept inside the mind of a cope on the edge: the difference was in the portrayal. Both movies thrived in mesmerizing writing but were languished by disappointing and seemingly hurried endings. Namrata Rao’s editing was spot-on for Shanghai while K U Mohanan’s cinematography lent the magic to Talaash. If Talaash had Ram Sampath’s haunting music, Shanghai jerked us back to reality with a cut to a starlet’s item dance just after the professor’s murder. Both movies had excellent actors who gave their best shots: Nawazuddin, Rani Mukerji, Kareena Kapoor and even Emraan Hashmi without his usual smooch-and-let’s-get-done-with-it role (a paunch, stained teeth, lecherous grin: unbelievable transformation).
Gangs Of Wasseypur
Come to think of it Gangs Of Wasseypur was like Hindi cinema’s Kill Bill for me. The first part of both films left me speechless while the sequel gave me an expression similar to Ramadhir Singh in his “Tum se na…” dialogue in GoW2. That was the level of disappointment! With GoW, Anurag Kashyap turned things upside down: the hero (Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin) isn’t really a good guy, a scene of Sardar Khan stabbing a wrestler looks like a game, his pregnant wife (Richa Chadda) barges into a brothel wielding a knife and chases him, the heroine (Huma Qureshi) is a firecracker, the seductress (Reema Sen) has no qualms… Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography keeps you wide-eyed, Sneha Khanwalkar’s music takes a different high (O Womaniya, Keh Ke Lunga, Bihar Ke Lala, Hunter… what sorceress is she?!). As well written it was by Zeishan Quadri, Akhilesh, Sachin Ladia and Anurag, putting together three generations of gang wars between 2-3 gangs was its Achilles’ heel.
Both movies were more flawed than perfect. One of them should have had the disclaimer “Inspired-adapted” and the other with a “WTF!” warning. But both movies were so lovable, there’s no way they can’t be on this list. Barfi! reinstated Ranbir Kapoor as one of the few “blue-blooded” actors who can actually act and made you go “aww” throughout. It had good music but it also seemed to have driven Anurag Basu to blatantly rip off scenes from different movies. Aiyyaa was the movie that no one understood and was just a little more than a visual orgasm. Colours merged, shimmered and seemed to have a story of their own while the script and story snoozed in a corner. If it had unnecessary scenes like the garbage truck, it also had the incredibly mischevious one with Prithviraj filling petrol in Rani Mukerji’s bike (a different “aww” here).
Notable Mentions: English Vinglish: Though Sridevi’s weepy demeanour makes me cringe, she showed us what a comeback really is. And when you have people like Karan Johar taking women back to the Stone Age with Student Of The Year, you also have real heroes like Gauri Shinde showing you where you should be going. OMG Oh My God! was another favourite for not being extremely preachy take on a touchy issue. Though the grinning Krishna-Akshay Kumar gave me the creeps, for Paresh Rawal, all is forgiven.
Contributed by Roshini Devi who reviews movies on koimoi.com