Monday, December 26, 2011

Top 10 Bollywood Movies of 2011

As we are almost in 2012 and past 2011, I will list my top ten movies of Bollywood.

10. Rockstar

Rockstar is one of those movies that start with vibrant air around it but slowly and sadly fizzles into a self-indulgent drag. The movie begins with high adrenaline and then loses soul somewhere in the middle and drags the story for nothing in the end. Too much negativity in the movie for no justifiable
reason. I expected some rebellion from a movie where the lead character is supposed to be a Rockstar. Unfortunately there was no Che Guavera moment. Storyline is icy thin and highly predictable. Narrative fails to grip the audience & movie leans on some cheesy dialogue for grabbing attention. reason.
Imtiaz Ali understands the love stories to the core but this time he makes two mistakes: first he casts Nargis who need acting lessons and second he allows his indulgence to allow movie to go for extra half an hour. Don't start thinking, that you should avoid this movie. Imtiaz gives his golden touch to first half of the movie and plays the master stroke by casting Ranbir Kapoor as the central protagonist.
Coming to the acting department, Ranbir Kapoor shows us his versatility by portraying the role of Janardhan Jhakad (JJ) aka Jordan. His performance is commendable. He effortlessly pulls off the innocent and naïve Janardhan and the attitude man Jordan. The film deals with the transition of an aspiring artist who idolizes Jim Morrison into a famous rockstar. You might expect this movie to be a conventional love-story but this it is not. An artist's life reflects in his music and this has been captured efficiently in this movie. I was expecting the role to be explored from different angles like drugs,abuse etc but love was the only element used. A bit dejected but this element along with the catalyst Jordan rocked the movie. But above all, this movie belongs to Ranbir Kapoor who gives more than a riveting performance. As J.J he is lovable and as Jordan he is irresistible. He makes you feel the pain of being in love in every scene he is in. The image and persona of a rock star fit Ranbir perfectly and he pulled off the attitude and music in style. I hope he wins the Best Actor for his performance. Nargis had a horrific debut. Shammi Kapoor was ok. After Ranbir, it was Piyush Mishra who was amazing in his short role.
The saving grace of the movie is without a doubt is its Music. A.R. Rahman has done a commendable job and you are left with a number tunes stuck in your head. Mohit chauhan has done a great great job as voice of RK. Rahman's rocking music and Mohit's golden voice are the integral parts of the story and help the movie whenever direction and editing falters. The movie is packed with witty dialogues and soulful moments. Far from perfect piece of cinema, this is one of the most poignant piece of bollywood cinema. Go and experience the Rockstar from the hands of Imtiaz Ali who keeps on exploring the different dimensions of love. Conventional stereotypical movie-goers who prefer lovey-dovey stories will find this movie a bit unconventional. For the rest this movie is an
absolute treat.


9. Shor in the City

When the noise is deafening, can you really hear yourself? If you can't hear it, you're obviously dead.

'Shor in the City' is about a chaotic scenario that occurs during the Ganapathi Mahotsav in Mumbai. It's told in a multi linear narrative as there are mainly 3 stories happening the same time. But no attempt is made to forcefully intertwine the stories and that's one interesting and distinct aspect of the film. The film portrays Mumbai as a character in the film. One that is as jagged, enigmatic and hysterical as the living-breathing protagonists of the film. It has a content of rich dark humor. After the unforgettable comedy '99', directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK continue their great job with Shor. Also Ekta Kappor should be applauded for backing this kind of cinema ( previous year she backed the technically brilliant Dibakar Banerjee's Love Sex aur Dhoka).

The threesome of Tusshar, Nikhil and Pitobash form the central core of the film. Nikhil Dwivedi and Pitobash Tripathi provide the edge while Tusshar pitches in the equipoise. His discovery of Paulo Coelho and his uplifting psy-co-low- gee, as he tries to read The Alchemist, dictionary in hand, is so very funny and funky. While he is also trying to discover the sensual charms of his newly-wedded wife, Radhika Apte, his friends are trying to distract him with their treasure of AK-47s and AK-56s.
All the characters are very well tailored. Undoubtedly this is Tusshar's best movie till date and its been a long journey for him from Bore to Shor.But the actor who dazzles here is Pitobash Tripathy as the eccentric small-time goon Mandook, who steals every scene he's in. He is the epicenter of most of the chaos and he gives a masterpiece performance. Senthil Ramamurthy's track is equally spicy too, specially his encounters with gangster Zakir Hussain.

The movie boasts of a powerful soundtrack with songs like 'Karma is a Bitch', 'Shor' and 'Saibo'. Watch out for the song 'Saibo' as it has been shot very beautifully. The script is crisp, tight and spattered with some smart, funny one-liners and is consistent till the end. There are many occasions to laugh out loudly especially the time bomb sequence. The movie also boasts a rivetingly smart climax. The restlessness has been portrayed with a sharp editing in the beginning going to and fro with each stories thus building the tension and that elevates to higher decibel till the climax happens. The sudden cuts coupled with edgy music and pedestrian language keeps the narrative tight. 'Shor in the City' is a unique movie and totally worth a watch.


8. Yeh Saali Zindagi

Yeh Saali Zindagi starts off straight away with a bloody sequence and within next half an hour, you really start feeling the thrill and excitement moving with its great pace and brilliantly edited sequences which are both complex and enjoyable at the same moment. The movie has a brilliant first half which starts making its impact slowly, keeps progressing at a brisk speed and then pulls the viewers completely in before the intermission. Entangled in more than one stories running simultaneously, YSZ is undoubtedly one of the most complex yet well written scripts presented before the audience in this particular genre. The major part of the film is in flashback, which very slowly and steadily takes the viewers into the life of its various characters and then returns to the reality with a well conceived climax.
Sudhir Mishra was too good in penning down the characters. The castings continued with the names splattered all over the screen, even a small side kick was introduced with an introduction. It was a good format adopted by Mishra. There is a story inside the story and flashback inside flashback. Gangster falling in love with a Bar-Singer, who is in love with an Ex rich tycoon, who is engaged to a minister's daughter, who should be kidnapped by a Mafia from Russia in lieu of getting his elder brother out of Tihar Jail, who knows the accounts number of several Swiss banks account, which he finally tells to his side kick, who wanted to leave the gang because he's a lovely kissable wife and a trustworthy corrupt cop, who cannot be trusted. The story couldn't be more real and complicated. But what I loved the most about YSZ is that it is a highly intense love story of a one side lover who even after knowing the fact that he is in love with a real bitch, still goes on to risk his everything for her unconditionally.
Talking about the great performances in the film, I immensely enjoyed watching Irfan Khan as the lonely lover who even has the guts to watch his girl romancing another rich boy right in front of him. And still he goes on to sacrifice everything. Irfan is truly a pride of Bollywood and I enjoyed his acting a lot after a long gap since "Maqbool". Chitrangda Singh is charming and a playgirl with a brain and suited to the character of rock star with her sultry looks. She was a delight in this male oriented movie and sizzled on the screen like fire and looked stunningly inviting. Arunoday Singh was wasted earlier in Aisha, Mirch and Sikander.  But this time around, he is great in the role of a lover and a henchman. Aditi Rao Hyadri, was a real treat, when it came to passionate love making scenes. She broke the record of Mallika Sherawat with 22 kisses in YSZ against 18 in Khwaish. The Delhi-6 bua has really come a long way. Sushant Singh,Yashpal Sharma and Prashant Narayanan put up a brilliant show together. Saurabh Shukla played the gangster with dirty philosophy with raw perfection. Among these veterans do also watch out for a scene in which a kid very innocently explains the spell of anger in his own amusing way.
If you like smart movies (Read Guy Ritchie movies), it would be a crime for you to miss this one. Sudhir Mishra is back with a bang.


7. Singham

It doesn't matter if you are a high profiled gentlemen or a common man because once 'Singham' starts you are  automatically forced to whistle, clap and cheer. It is a film boasting of amazing raw action sequences and some whistle blowing dialogues and many cracking comic sequences. If you liked Salman's Dabangg then you can't miss Singham because this is a step ahead of Dabangg content wise.
It's interesting to look at the narrative as to how a lion got taken out of its den and put into unfamiliar surroundings, forcing it at times into a corner. But like all wild animals, this may result in the animal biting back with increased ferocity. The power of unity and leadership that is shown here. Bajirao Singham is the man of right deeds and whole village stands by him in case of any threat. He replicated the same at the new place he was sent to and hence in the hour of need, everyone stood by him.
Ajay Devgan impresses you with his beefed up angry, honest inspector role and plays the hero superbly. Kajal Aggarwal is decent in her debut. But then the film is only about Ajay Devgan and our very own villain from Wanted, Mr. Prakash Raj. He is the best villain in recent years. His impeccable comic timing and effortless acting makes you want to see and listen to him more and more. You won't hate 'Jaykant Shikre' in the entire movie. The chemistry between Singham & Jaykant Shikre is something to watch out for as it's after a long time in Bollywood that you have a movie where the hero & villian share too many scenes together and they excel in each & every scene. Ashok Saraf is first-rate. Sonali Kulkarni scores. Murli Sharma leaves a mark. Sachin Khedekar, Govind Namdeo & Sudhanshu Pandey lend able support. Ashok Samarth who plays Shiva Nayak, Jaikant’s right hand man, deserves a special mention.
One of the most audacious stunts involves a car flipping through the air while our hero reaches in through the car window and yanking the driver out with one hand, before the car smashes through the ground. Also there is another scene in which Ajay comes out of the car and then the Scorpio takes a 360 degree turn behind him as he gets into position to shoot. Take that, Hollywood (Read Bruce Willis starrer 'Red')
Overall, Singham is an action-packed masala movie and  is full of unadulterated raw desi flavour, sure to entertain everone. Go for it,if you love masala entertainers.


6. Bol

When I was considering whether to watch 'Bol', I wasn't expecting much. I had thought it would be another preachy, melodramatic and pretentious movie but I'm glad that I went ahead anyway and watched this poignant film. Shoaib Mansoor (of 'Khuda Ke Liya' fame) has created an absolute masterpiece. Bol is a good mix of our good old "Art Cinema" genre and modern filmmaking. The story line starts on a large amount of negativism but ends on a positive thought. The portrayal
of the bureaucratic apathy in Pakistan is subtly done. It deserves to be Pakistan's official entry for Oscar.
This movie literally sent chills down my spine because of how realistic it is. Unfortunately the story of this movie is shockingly true in so many households in Muslim countries.  Shoaib Mansoor did an amazing job on getting the perfect cast of every single character, from the beginning till the very last minute of the movie. It was a bone-chilling experience. I really think this movie can teach a big lesson to those narrow minded men in such countries.
Shoaib has dared to question taboos. A well-made movie adorned with Humaima Malick's breathtaking performance. The Atif Aslam track is a weak link (even though it is obvious that this was included to attract the younger audience). Otherwise the entire cast was spot on performance wise. The songs, though pleasant, are out of place  and is nowhere near in comparision to the soundtrack of 'Khuda Ke Liye'.
Some sensational and humorous moments make it a real enjoyable film, but  I don't recommended it for a whole family since the topic is bold and will be understood by grown-ups only. A must watch whether you are religious or not because it raises more basic issues about life and the people who are doomed to survive it. I recommend everyone to take a two hours break and watch Bol because it is one hell of a thought-provoking movie.
P.S. Please don't argue that this isn't a Bollywood movie because I can't imagine a list of Top 10 movies of Bollywood without 'Bol'.


5. Shaitan

Every mortal has an aspect of self delusion hidden within themselves which is reflected under the spell of specific situations.Every religion believes in the existence of Shaitan within us and we are just wearing mask for the peace of "cultured" society.The concept of God was thus created to give a positive direction to irrational mortals. Shaitan, the directorial debut of Bijoy Nambier talks about the existence of 'Shaitan' in each and everyone of us.

The story involves five youngsters from various backgrounds bonded through friendship. The friend circle comprises of Gulshan Devaiya playing the role of KC, a rich brat and a non-conformist living on the edge of reality. A parsi pervert Zubin played by Neil Bhopalam, Tanya, played by Kriti Kulhari, an upcoming film actress and a model. Amy superbly played by Kalkie Koechlin, a disturbed daughter of a rich NRI father (Played by Rajit Kapoor) who is yet to accept her mother's death. Strangely her mother was a psychic patient who in her self-destructive mode tried to kill young Amy. Amy in her psychotic dilemma loves her mother. The gang comes to full circle with Divyanshu Sahu aka Dash, debut by Shiv Pandit, who is a drug peddler and a coffee shop waiter. Pavan Malhotra deserved more screen time. Rajat Kapoor leaves an impact. Rukhsar was passable. But the standout actor in this movie was Gulshan Deviah who did a phenomenal job. He is growing a niche of his own (People who have seen The Girl In Yellow Boots will agree). Apart from him, Rajeev Khandelwal performed flawlessly in playing the role of a cop and I was immensely pleased to see Raj Kumar Yadav as a shady police officer.
Moving to the music and lyrics each of the songs are appropriately placed in the narrative with the wordings taking the story forward. Dialogues of the film are cleverly written. Without going overboard they are kept short,crisp thus having an impact. The sequence between the commissioner and the cop is well written where the commissioner explains the difference between "sach" and "sachai". Nambier should also be applauded for inducing dark humour in the otherwise disturbing story. The flashback within flashback with a cameo done by Rajat Barmecha (of Udaan fame) will bring the house down. Also some witty one liners like "what will you call a moving vibrator? Dil-do pagal hai" provides moments of laughter for the cine goers.
Whether it be the brilliant narration, the haunting Marathi background music, the claustrophobic chase scenes through the slums of Dharavi, the fun and zany lifestyle of the young and the rich, the amazingly realistic photography or the jaw clenching suspense. Its is all put together in a brilliantly packaged movie that's come after a long long time. The ending is reflective, the need for innocence to survive in the realm of tumultuous society. Bejoy Nambiar without a doubt hold the reigns quite well and needless to say his next outing will be quite an anticipated one. In the era so called entertaining cinema, this kind of cinema maintains balance in Hindi film industry.


4. Chillar Party

It was surprising to see that two amazing movies released within a span of a fortnight- Delhi Belly & Chillar Party. Among the hundreds of movies that
Bollywood throw at us every year, only a handful are worth our money and time and I can assure you that Chillar Party is one of them.
It will remind us of our own childhood and bring back fond memories. But, importantly, the aim of the movie is not to move us emotionally or make us nostalgic, but to tell us in a subtle way that honesty & simplicity are the most cherished qualities a human being can have. Those are qualities we all had back when we were at school, but now our adulthood and the society we live in, has changed our sense or perception. No pretensions, no melodrama, no gimmicks but just plain honest movie making. Fresh artists, relatively new filmmakers and a simple script. If all those 'big Bollywood movies' refrain from complicating their average story-lines, most of the films could actually become watchable. I am surprised Salman Khan production produced this kind of movie while we don't see this kind of stuff from him anytime.
Every kid in the film gives a winning performance- Jhangiya enacted by Naman, Shaolin Divij, Enclyclopedia Sanath, Silencer Vedant, Aflatoon Aarav, Panauti Chinmay, Toothpaste Sherya, Akram Rohan, Second Hand Visshesh and Fatka Irfan Khan. It would be unfair and unjust to single out just one of them. As a matter of fact, you just can't help but fall in love with each one of them. Ditto for the supporting actors, who enact the role of the parents and also the conniving politician. Mainstream actors who call themselves "professionals" and bomb on a regular basis should watch and learn from these kids. Comedy is top-notch and the screenplay fits the script impeccably.
The director duo Nitesh Tiwari and Vikas Bahl keep the flow of the film going and then they really excel in its second half. Getting such honest and impressive performance from a group of kids is not an easy job. So, they deserve full marks for their mutual effort which works really well. However I felt that the soundtrack and its placement could have been better as required by a children film.
'Chillar Party' is not just for kids, but for grownups as well. It is a story of grit and determination, it works not just as an entertainer, but also advocates a message rather strongly. It is a small film with a gigantic spirit. And the Government did a right thing making it a 'Tax-free' movie.


3. The Dirty Picture

Most people watch a movie for its elegance, good acting and high production values. Others watch movies for their sleaziness, skin display and controversy. How often do you get both the sides leaving the theater satisfied thinking that they got a great value for money? Milan Luthria presents The Dirty Picture. In the words of Silk Smitha, a film works for three reasons: Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment. And 'The Dirty Picture' delivers.
The movie is set against the colourful and entertaining setting of the South film industry of the 80s. It revolves around a girl's journey from a makeup artiste to a sex goddess. She battles fame, fortune and alcohol. The Dirty Picture does not focus on the sleaze, but the tragic story of the sex siren, who provided titillation to thousands of viewers, but died a lonely and tragic death.
As an ageing South Indian superstar, Naseeruddin Shah reminds us of the 1980s stars and his acts surely provoke claps, laughs and whistles among the viewers. He was fantastic as a rude, selfish and villain-ish person. Tusshar Kapoor stars as his screen writing brother Ramukant who takes over the romantic male lead midway when he romances Silk, and Emraan Hashmi's uncompromising art-house director Abraham assumes the role of the enemy of the heroine inevitably turned friend and eventual lover, whose story arc resonates the constant struggle between a director's vision, to that of the producer's in wanting to guarantee box office returns. Rajesh Sharma deserves some points. Others like Anju Mahendrum, Mangal Kenkre and Shivani Tanskale are fine
And last but not the least is Vidya Balan. What a powerhouse performance. She started the year with NOKJ and has ended it with The Dirty Picture. Totally contrasting roles. In one she was a nerdy homegrown nonentity and in the other she is the sex symbol of the industry calling herself Entertainment and boy, how she excels in both the roles. Not only is she able to boldly re-enact the cheesy, campy item songs, the seductive bedroom shots, and the scanty, cleavage-spilling costumes, but she is able to illustrate her passion for films and fame, disgust with society's hypocrite nature, starry-eyed dreams, heartbreaks, disillusionment of her recognition and reputation in the industry, and the devastation of rejection by her family, lovers, directors, co-stars and the entire nation as a whole. Her award ceremony speech, her early scenes with Naseer, her horny expressions, dialogues (that can shut anyone up) and the climax made Vidya Balan the show-stopper. Easily the best female lead performance in 2011. Vidya deserves a National Award for her performance.
The Dirty Picture hardly has a dull moment. It does get a bit slow when it goes to the soft side of Vidya and Emran, however, that too remains an integral part of the storyline. If you skip "The Dirty Picture", it will be one of the biggest mistakes you've ever made.


2. Delhi Belly

There are two kinds of 'Humour' when it comes to Bollywood. Movies like Hera Pheri, Andaaz Apna Apna, Munnabhai Series etc. are universal comedies which will make even dead bodies laugh. And you have movies like Bheja Fry, Mithya, The President Is Coming etc. which are urban-smart comedies with a cult following. 'Delhi Belly' is one such movie which manages to please everyone and falls in both the categories.
It leaves you with one laugh riot after another and does not give you a chance to fully recover from the previous one before sending you through another piece of joviality. Before you know it you're thrown into the classic mixup involving mistaken identities, misplaced items, little side gags and plots that get thrown around thick, fast and furious (my favourite involves orange juice), a landlord who got blackmailed, romance, and gangsters.
Delhi Belly depicts almost all the urban realities, i.e, sexual, emotional, physical, financial, marital and professional. The film is funny because beneath all the crudities and cuss words lies the recognition of ourselves in our day to day life, its frustrations  and our desperate attempts to keep our sanity in a completely insane world. What works in favor of the film is its dialogues and wonderful acting even though the story does not have ground breaking stuff to offer.
On the actors front, Vir Das portrays his pitiable character perfectly. Imran is in a dream role and this could be his best act ever if he continues to do movies like the ones he did before Delhi Belly. Kunal Roy Kapoor's problems with gastric motions (after which the movie is named) brings down the house more than once. But it's Vijay Raaz to whom most of the misfortune happens and he, therefore reacts like a truly enraged gangster would and gives us a lesson or two on how swear words are meant to be really pronounced. Not even a single character goes overboard in humor. And it worked for Delhi Belly not coming off as trying too hard to please.
Everything just about gelled perfectly here, with gorgeous art direction and sets to highlight some of the most disgusting living conditions in the city, and flowing cinematography that puts this right into the scheme of things with snappy editing and well crafted, natural dialogues coupled with excellent makeup. Abhinav Deo has focused on technical side more to make sure that the editing is crisp and background score goes in line with the action despite no songs. 'Jaa Chudail' might be the ultimate anthem for all the heartbroken souls and the manner in which this song is choreographed needs to be applauded.
Delhi Belly is ahead of its time and will make people uncomfortable because of its cult nature. I salute Aamir and his team for this piece of great film making.


1. Stanley Ka Dabba

'Stanley Ka Dabba' is a well-scripted, well-characterized brilliantly directed movie that leaves you with an immediate freshness that rarely many movies can do. It is a soulful journey into the small world of the little children, their honest friendships, their innocent planning and their lovable concern for each other.
The movie never loses its flavour, displaying with beauty the innocence of the kids and the rhythmic monotony of everyday school that we've all been part of. Special praises to Partho who has done such amazing work as Stanley, and Divya Dutta who just by her sheer screen presence brings in positivity to the frame. Amol Gupte is building a league of his own when it comes to the acting.
This movie is all about the magical moments held together by threads of simplicity and honesty. The movie just floats in a good pace giving enough depth for the characters to evolve and get identified by the audience. Amole Gupte sets up the proceedings so brilliantly that the viewer can't really help but feel like he is in the same class as Stanley's. Where the first half is very evenly paced taking you into the psyche of a struggling child, the second one goes a little slow but leads to a more solid thought provoking climax, which strikes you real hard.
Amole Gupte is truly a supremely talented personality. 'Taare Zameen Par', was a fabulous film, but 'Stanley Ka Dabba' is a nearly flawless cinema. Apart from its slow-pace in the beginning of the second half, I found everything, in terms of writing, direction, acting, cinematography as well as the editing, to be phenomenal. And the poems in the film are intelligently human that reminded me of the marvellous poem in another masterpiece film Udaan. I sincerely hope Stanley too, like Udaan, wins lots of awards in film festivals and awards. And it deserves to be India's official entry for Oscars.
I would like to humbly request everyone to must watch STANLEY KA DABBA.


Honourable Mentions:

I Am Kalam

Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

That Girl In Yellow Boots

Pyaar Ka Punchnama


Azhar said...

Perfect!! Stan was amazing!!

Anonymous said...

no sallu bhai in top 10 .. :(..........ouchh... it hurts.....(FANBOY)...

well written.... infact very intresting... i cant believe i read all the top 10 reviews...... awsomee review.....(PATEL)

Debaditya Roy said...

Bahut time hai tere paas !!! Maan gaye !!!

Rafaa Dalvi aka Mr.Charismatic said...

It was amazing.

Rafaa Dalvi aka Mr.Charismatic said...

Sallu Bhai is interested in earning money, not giving quality movies.

Rafaa Dalvi aka Mr.Charismatic said...

Yeh sirf paanch din ki mehnat hai :P

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