Friday, January 06, 2012

Hindi Films of 2011: Part I

Hindi Films of 2011: A Short Guide: Part I

The other day the ‘Filmfare’ magazine printed an ad in ‘The Times of India,’ featuring a list of Hindi feature films released in 2011, and asking readers to cast their votes on the year’s best in different categories, from best film, best actor/actress to best song and music and so on. There are 100 odd films in the list, some of which I had never heard of before. Anyway, here is a shorter list of Hindi films that made sense in 2011. Some are “blockbusters”, some are “good films”, some may be neither, yet, they made sense in a year filled with inane entertainment.

7 Khoon Maaf: It could have been Priyanka Chopra’s year instead of Vidya Balan’s, if this film was a killer at the box office. Somehow, a murderous heroine was too much for the Indian audience. And, Ms Chopra was over-the-top. A fine performance by Vivaan Shah. The ‘Darling’ song. Truth is Vishal Bhardwaj cannot make a bad film, even if he tries.

Aaraskshan: The proof that controversy cannot help a film’s popularity. A film that lost its way in its own idealism, and it’s not ‘Rajneeti.’ We expected better things from Prakash Jha, especially after his last outing.

Bbuddha Hoga Terra Baap: The bad spelling in the title notwithstanding, the verdict was that we prefer Amitabh Bachchan as an old man, or a as child, but not as a peacock.

Bheja Fry 2: The secret to a good recipe is that you cannot repeat the same taste twice, especially when you insist on adding more spices to the proceeding because it tested so good last time; this time, it's yuck!

Bhindi Baazaar Inc.: A typical Mumbai-underworld flick, good, but, where’s that zing? We need the style, bhai!

Bodyguard: The second Salman Khan blockbuster of the year after ‘Ready’. This is the year when Salman Khan became the film itself. No, not in the sense that he’s the hero, in the sense that he’s the film itself. This film exists to look at Salman Khan, and nothing else.

Challo Dilli: While everybody is gaga over Vinay Pathak’s talent, they forget that Lara Dutta is such a good actor, if you give her a chance to do something other than just dress well.

Chargesheet: The last film Dev Anand will ever made. The film shows the respect Dev Anand commanded. Nobody may have gone to the theatre to see the film, but no one uttered a single word against it either, even the virulent of critics.

Chillar Party: A so called children’s film can also be a hit, if it’s well made, and well, if it has Salman Khan’s name attached to it.

Dam 999: Another example of how controversy cannot sell a film, if the product itself is half-constructed, or badly constructed. A washout!

Damadamm!: Guess, it’s time this guy, called Himesh Reshammiya, woke up from his dreams that he too is a hero, a romantic one at that. It’s like Baba Sehgal singing ‘Main Bhi Madonna.’

Delhi Belly: Controversy may not sell a film, but Aamir Khan does. A raunchy comedy directed at multiplex audiences. It worked. The swear words helped. And those who still talk about the importance of a script are vindicated.

Dhobi Ghat: But Aamir Khan doesn’t always sell, if the art film is really arty, even when he stars in it. Never mind that. Kiran Rao does a splendid job making a film she wanted to make without succumbing to the trapping that is Bollywood. A fine meditation on the city of dreams, from inside.

Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji: The so called serious slice-of-life filmmaker, Madhur Bhandarkar forays into comedy, a puerile attempt really. Somehow the film works. Shall we give the credits to Ajay Devgn, or is it because of Emraan Hashmi?

Dum Maaro Dum: Surprisingly, the film got more coverage before it’s release then after — controversy over the remix of the iconic song, Deepika Padukone in an item number, the Bipasha-John break-up, the Bipasha-Rana hook-up. The story of drug mafia in Goa was not all that bad. Neither was Abhishek Bachchan’s attempt at hip-hop.

F.A.L.T.U.: The film was really faltu (useless!). Poor Remo. He is a good choreographer. Everyone is not Farah Khan.

Force: This is the one film that divided the crop of critics this year. While some loved it (four stars), some absolutely hated it (one and half stars). How do you explain this? It depends on how do you react to a tattooed John Abraham lifting a motorbike with his two bare hands. That the film was released after ‘Dabangg’ and ‘Singham’ did not help the matter either. Question is, is Nishikant Kamat India’s answer to Nicolas Winding Refn?

I Am: Same is the case with this anthology film by Onir. Anthology films are not new in Bollywood (‘Das Kahaniya’), yet we have not really warmed up to it. All said, nobody can deny the power of the ‘Megha’ episode and Juhi Chawla’s heartbreaking performance.

I Am Kalam: Children’s films can be a hit too, but it needs marketing, which ‘Chillar Party’ had, and this film did not. This film about a child labourer in Rajasthan who finds hope and inspiration in former Indian President, needs to be seen. It’s not ‘Saalam Bombay’, neither is this ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. A sweet coming of age tale, told with heart.

Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl: There are heroes and there are heroes, and there are those who become the toast of the town in the first few films and then, without any reason, just disappear from the scene. Case in point, Chandrachur Singh. Remember him? If my hunch is right, the current heartthrob Ranveer Singh is heading towards that direction. Yash Raj alone cannot help your career. If it could, it would have helped Uday Chopra a long time ago. Is this the beginning of an end?

End Of Part I.

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