Clearly these films might not have set the cash registers ablaze like a Chennai Express or a Krrish 3 or a Dhoom 3. It might not have boasted of a heavy weight star shouldering it or an ensemble cast that speaks for the film! But nevertheless, this year saw a flurry of films that took the otherwise bland stereotype Bollywood norms by a total storm. And boy-oh-boy did they succeed!
While filmmaking for some directors is not just about the box office numbers and shattering numerous records, there were certainly few films all throughout the year that encapsulated sheer brilliance more than the glitter and the pomp. This time, as Koimoi takes an initiative to set an example and move ahead, we bring you possibly the best made films of 2013 that (I repeat!) might not have crossed the 100 or the 200 crore mark but they touched our hearts like no other blockbuster!
Here, we honour the brave storytelling and the content more than the commercial numbers involved. Have a look at our nominations for the Best Film on the basis of its script and storytelling!
From an actor who has always done commercially viable nonsensical entertainers with gibberish dialogues that somehow have no meaning at all, it was a surprise to have a gift in the form of Special 26. Akki had risked his image last year taking up a film as novel as OMG Oh My God and this year right at the onset, he did trigger the same effect again. A film that conspicuously dealt with the backdrop of scams that plague the Indian society at large today, Special 26 stood out for its brevity and presentation. After commendable performances by each of its actors be it the lead Akshay Kumar or Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpai and the others, Special 26 needs a special mention as well.
Kai Po Che:
Surprisingly, this was the best adaptation of any Chetan Bhagat film on screen (sorry Raju, Kai Po Che was better than 3 Idiots!). Abhishek rock On Kapoor’s second outing had all of us in tears. An ode to brotherhood and true friendship, Kai Po Che tugged at the heart given its marvelous story, brilliant performances and the entire modeling! If 2012 was the year of Vicky Donor setting in the trend, 2013 had Kai Po Che setting new benchmarks in the small-budgeted-yet-well-made-films!
This film had its heart at the right place. And it also helped us find ours to be at the right place as well! Taking us through the emotional wringer can always be tricky but when Anand Rai did the same with his Raanjhanaa, it was a brave endeavor of sorts! Extracting the best from an actress as bland as Sonam Kapoor was a revelation while Dhanush sparkled with his usual charm and maneuvers. More than the performances, it was the heartfelt story that touched all of us in some way or the other!
Breaking across the jinx and pushing the borders towards a new horizon, we had Subhash Kapoor trying out a genre so unconventionally new in the industry that it always came across with a baggage of sinking. But did it? No, it didn’t! This Arshad Warsi-Boman Irani-Saurabh Shukla satirical comedy brought about the nitty gritties of the Indian judicial system, its flak through subtexts of comical influences! Witty writing and brilliantly conceptualized story came out as the triumphant winner and with Jolly LLB’s superhit run at the box office as well, it was the opening of a new wave of cinema where directors won’t risk to make their films anymore!
A soothing tapestry of burnished hues followed up the lives of a zamindar’s daughter madly in love with a con man and what followed was a brilliant execution of O Henry’s ‘The Last Leaf’. A period film, set in the 1950s Motwane’s Lootera might not have catered to the masses and failed to collect huge moolah but it left an ever lasting impression on the people. Despite minor flaws here and there, the seaming silences worked magic as they spoke a million words on screen. And what came as the biggest surprise was an outstanding performance by Sonashi Sinha (yes, the same girl who only dances and mouths one catchy one liner in all her films!) coupled with a pleasantly subtle romantic chemistry between the lead. Lootera had wowed me twice over and this might just be the third time now.
Making a political thriller was never an easy task to get away with but when you had Shoojit Sircar helming up the challenge, it was never too difficult as well. A film, that carefully dealt with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination and the Sri Lankan civil war scenario, Madras Café was grueling, intriguing and possibly one of the best films ever made in the history of Indian cinema. Even here, surprisingly the director coerced the best from two actors, who have always been criticized for their flak in acting skills and expressing. With a noble intention and a brilliantly executed well written plot, shot keeping all aesthetics in mind, Madras Café emerged as a towering symbol of strength and hammered upon the fact that if a Chennai Express can work, the industry has scope and space for a Madras Cafe as well.
Another action packed high octane spy thriller of sorts, D Day encapsulated the brilliant package of the allure, the story, the spellbinding performances and the astounding climax! D-Day somehow had the perfect ingredients to be a really delicious affair of sorts and it did. Embellished by supremely invigorating performances and slick presentation, D-Day was captivating and inspiring!
Shuddh Desi Romance:
Presenting the modern age status of Indian relationships, one that’s mostly kept under the sheets, was brought out with wonderful furore through this coming of age romantic drama. Dealing with everything that’s taboo in the Indian society: smoking, boozing, live-in relationships and pre-marital sex, Shuddh Desi Romance painted an otherwise realistic picture of the real scenario today! A young, Gen-Y film, SDR can be considered as a brave testimony to the indomitable spirit of modern age love! We agree.
Talking of romance and you have this brilliantly made romantic saga that not only tugged our hearts but made us run for our hankies as well. Gone are the days of those mushy romances when the regular Bollywood hero wins over the heroine after a small fist fight with the goons, the villains or the principled father! With The Lunchbox hammering ‘Vogue is in’, we salute Ritesh Batra and the entire team of The Lunchbox for making this film available for all of us to watch. Capturing love between two strangers and their purity in the truest sense, The Lunchbox stamped that All Love Stories do not have a Happy Ending. Yet that’s what Love is all about! With the subtle romance brewing between the lead cast over a Lunchbox, Nimrat Kaur and Irrfan Khan with their monumental screen presence gripped us throughout the film and there was a feeling of emptiness that can never be matched upon by any of the DDLJs or the Dil Toh Pagal Hais!
Hard hitting and fetching, it is undoubtedly Rajkumar Rao’s most fitting performance till date. And no matter how much you deny it, this guy has got immense talent koot-kootke bharofied in him. A biopic of sorts, the film deals with the life of lawyer Shahid Azmi and is a brutal story of dilemma, angst and pathos! The brave portrayal of the politics of isolation initiated by most political parties set with a negative agenda deserved an applause and above all, the crisp writing, the picturization and the fearless execution was notably worthy of it! Such a bravura of a show.