Sunday, January 12, 2014

Top 5 Off-Beat Bollywood Movies

This week has been a historical one for Bollywood with Dhoom 3 joining the likes of Mother India, Mughal - E – Azam, Sholay and Hum Aapke Hai Kaun in the list of All-Time Blockbusters and earning Rs 500 crores plus in a span of just 3 weeks. While 2013 saw Chennai Express overtaking 3 Idiots, Krrish 3 overtaking Chennai Express and now Dhoom 3 overtaking every Bollywood movie in terms of gross collections. No doubt, this is a new era in Bollywood with movies re-writing history every quarter but there has been another subtle development. Filmmakers have become bolder and have started experimenting with off-beat movies. Guaranteed that most of the movies in the 100 crore club are remakes of the South movies but there exists a group of filmmakers who want to be known for their quality work rather than the box-office records of their movies.

Over the years, we have seen critically acclaimed movies have a dismal showing in the box-office but they attain cult status when released on DVD or show on television. I’m going to mention my top favorite 5 off-beat movies which blew my mind away.

5. Mumbai Matinee

Mumbai Matinee (2003) is a romantic comedy in which Rahul Bose (Debu Chatterjee) stars as a 32 year old virgin.  Having kept all women at a respectable distance all along, he finds himself in his thirties and still a virgin. Not able to tolerate such a barren existence anymore he decides to take help from Baba Hindustani (Vijay Raaz), with hilarious consequences. Despite being a virgin, he ends becoming a porn star and a repeated sex offender. When Rahul Bose hits rock bottom, he gets rescued by Perizaad Zorabian and romance blooms between the two. Despite the comical absurdity maintained throughout the movie and the movie being a bit of a drag, it does make a point about how taboo an issue sex is in the Indian society.

4. No Smoking

No Smoking (2007) is abstract art at its best. Anurag Kashyap (probably the best Indian director after the great Satyajit Ray) has always made movies in his own different way. This movie is no different. The protagonist K (portrayed by John Abraham) is a narcissist chain smoker who joins an institution after his wife (portrayed by Ayesha Takia) threatens to leave him. Little did K know that joining the Prayog Shala, a tyrannical institution, to get rid of his addiction would change his life forever. While John Abraham pulled off a commendable performance, it was Paresh Rawal who steals the show away. This movie is an eye-opener and has a clear message. People would definitely think 10 times before lighting the next cigarette. ‘No Smoking’ is an unbelievably dark classy cult movie which deserves to be watched and appreciated by the masses.

3. B.A. Pass

B.A. Pass (2012) is a bold movie on Lies, Sex and Deception which starts off with a bang and by the time it ends, you keep asking for more. The rawness, sheer brilliance, audacity and unrealistically realistic treatment creates magic on screen. You won’t be satisfied watching it just once. There are many scenes in the movie that subtly hits hard. The film's take on poverty struggles, empty marriages, lusty liaisons and escort system is commendable and give a fresh much needed perspective on them. While Shadab Kamal looked innocent enough for his role, Shilpa Shukla was mesmerizing as the seductress and the lady pimp. .B.A. Pass should be viewed beyond its sensuous nature and Ajay Behl (a cinematographer) should be applauded for his debut directorial venture.

2. Love, Sex Aur Dhokha

LSD (2010) is a dark and disturbing movie where you need some time to settle into the movie. Once you feel the movie, you will start appreciating it. Three carefully interwoven stories (the love story of two film making students; centered on a couple of supermarket employees; revolving around a sting journalist, a wannabe model and a pop-star) contain all the elements of its title love, sex and dhokha (deceit). The way the first story ends sets the tone of the entire movie. You realize that you will be treated to an ugly side of life and you are not disappointed. The way the entire movie progresses is really outstanding. Dibakar Banerjee is a genius and one of India's most promising filmakers. All actors are newcomers and have tried their level best. LSD will go down in Bollywood history as one of the gutsiest film ever made. 'Love, Sex Aur Dhokha' is a future cult classic, hands down.


1. Udaan

Udaan (2010) stands out from all other movies because of its story and the way it was presented. In 2008, 3 idiots had a similar storyline and the masses could easily connect to it. But Udaaan did something more. It shows the pain a person undergoes when he is forced to do stuff beyond his ability. It is realistic, simple, emotional, inspiring and deeply moving story about a boy in a small town, living with his disciplinarian father. The way the entire movie is depicted is brutally honest and disturbing at times. Udaan perfectly captures the adolescent days of a young teenager, his dreams and his perception of life. Each one of us has felt teenage angst and known the feeling that we are not understood by the people who should know us the best. We feel as if this movie has been shot with a camera, capturing the lives of a real family. Every scene is brilliantly shot.

Ronit Roy tries to bring up his son as per the ideals that he has developed. He works tirelessly, spends time and energy in earning money to finance the study of his children in the best colleges. He represents every middle-aged Indian who believes his money represents his love for his child. He is a tyrant and also a defeated man, whom you feel sorry for as much as you hate him. He's acted so well, that you can feel it when he is drunk, you even get scared when he is angry, he is that good is his screen presence.

Rajat Barmecha has done a very good job in portraying the role of the teenager, who has lived his life in one of the best boarding schools of India and is now stuck in a small town. He sneaks out at night for drinks and smokes, borrows his father’s car at night and still manages to join his dad on time in the morning for his daily run.

Music from Amit Trivedi has a fresh feel. Not to mention the opening and closing tracks and the beautiful poetry which only enhance the spirit of the film. Hats off to the director Vikramaditya Motwane for directing a movie will remain a benchmark for all the off-beat movies in Bollywood.

Honourable Mentions :

Raghu Romeo



This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda.

Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014.

You can check the trailer of the film.


Aayesha Hakim said...

Nicely compiled :)

Rafaa Dalvi said...

Thanks Aysh :)

vaisakhi said...

I like the list...:D Firaaq and Udaan would be part of my list also..:)

Rafaa Dalvi said...

Vaisakhi, I absolutely love them. They're brilliant.

i NumeroUnity said...

Very beautiful compilations and yes, I too loved all tose films much more than some of the normal commercial masala pot boilers. Some of them were path breaking like Mumbai matinee, LSD and Udaan. All The best Rafa!

Arvind Passey said...

Well, it is difficult to limit one's choice of good off-beat movies to just 5... but you choice is commendable. 'BA Pass' and 'No Smoking' are movies that I haven't watched yet and after reading your review and reasons for inclusion, would love to see them now.

Arvind Passey

Rafaa Dalvi said...

Thank you Ekta. You have no idea how much I love these movies. I've already planned to watch Miss Lovely this Friday. I make it a point to watch them all on the big screen :)

Rafaa Dalvi said...

Mr Passey,

You should watch them ASAP. 'No Smoking' is very intriguing while 'B.A. Pass' shows the dark side of Paharganj. Both are brilliant in their own unique ways and every movie lover should watch them.

i NumeroUnity said...

Same here..I love watching all films on big screen..let me see if I too can watch some movie this weekend. Quite a long time Rafa.

Deeptiman Chatterjee said...

Yes, its a very interesting list! My personal favorites would be No Smoking and Udaan. There are many such off-beat movies in Bengali which I feel should get a wider viewership too. But perhaps they'll only get lost in translation..

Post a Comment