Here are our MJ's Top 5 films for 2012
One of those very rare films which has the unique credit of being called as a genuine noir thriller, Aamir Khan's Talaash was an exceptionally well-executed suspense drama with hauntingly beautiful performances.
Barfi isn't a film. It is a surreal experience worth two trips, or maybe more. The real beauty of the film are not the breathtaking visuals or the love-drenched songs, it is the innocence of its characters, and their simplicity that sets this picture miles apart from much that you've seen.
A heartfelt tribute to the multiple role-playing woman, English Vinglish superbly captured the essence of a middle-class household and it's central character's innocent desire to learn English. Original and witty, well-acted and smoothly executed, English Vinglish deserves a thumping applause.
Trust Vidya Balan to get better with each film. And trust an under-recognized director to shock you with a story that doesn't discard your intelligence, but rather rewards it with a sinister twist.
A terrific revenge film, Agneepath had all the core ingredients of a vendetta-themed film, and it put them to very good use. Rauf Lala and Kaancha Cheena rocked the show with their villainous acts, and so did our brooding hero with his maniacal intensity. The noir-like treatment metaphorically represented the gloominess of Agneepath's world making the film an immersive experience.
My top 5 Hindi films of the year
5.Gangs of Wasseypur 1 & 2 – this film is the masala entertainer of the year. It is pure cinematic orgasm. Also, it has the best climax I’ve seen this year.
4.Shanghai – loved it for the craft, the mood and the therav. I said it then I say it now it is Dibakar Banerjee’s best film yet.
3.Paan Singh Tomar – generally I tend to go for a repeat viewing of films that I love but strangely even though the film still lingers in my head I have not been able to watch it for a second time. Strange!!!
2.Supermen of Malegaon – if you have not seen this film you should stop calling yourself a movie buff. Period.
1.Makkhi – though it’s a dubbed film it is the freshest film of the year. One fly that beat the entire Khan’s, Kapoor’s and Kumar’s put together.
1. Kahaani- for the sheer fact that a pregnant lady as the heroine backed by a strong non - woman centric script broke through stereotypes and made audiences rush to the nearest silver screen.
2. Barfi- despite contentious originality issues, this one film made me warm with hope each time i saw it. Love, longing, was never this beautifully innocent in recent times on screen
3.Aiyya- We experimented and HOW! the absurdity of it all, the guts Rani had to portray the role, the wonderful music by Amit Trivedi, despite the box office result, this remains my personal favorite
4. English Vinglish- 15 years since she last graced the arclights she managed to get a standing ovation from the entire packed theatre! Now thats a performance. Give me more of SriDevi any day
5. GOW 1&2 - Edgy, indulgent, riveting, sharp, slick, quirky, the adjectives fall short. GOW was an experience I don't think would be repeated soon.
My top 5 Hindi films for the year:
1. Kahaani: for a thrilling story and keeping the suspense
2. Paan Singh Tomar: Beautiful story, superb performance by Irrfan Khan
3. Barfi: Notwithstanding the huge amount of plagiarism, an enjoyable watch
4. Vicky Donor: Unusual theme, well treated
5. English Vinglish: For its very nuanced depiction of the patronising attitude Indian men show to their wives. A must see for all Indian couples.
As the year draws to a close, it’s customary to put down the 5 films that made people stand up & take notice. Some path-breaking, some eye-opening & some that touched a chord. In no particular order, here’s the movies that must be watched:
1. Gangs of Wasseypur (1 & 2):
My favourite film of 2012, this 2-part epic saga is unmissable for its shining performances, brilliant music & riveting storyline.
Brutal, quirky, funny & so much fun, Anurag Kashyap weaved a classic of Indian cinema, one which I could go as far as calling our Godfather.
The sleeper hit of this year, O my God was an eye-opener for this religion crazed country. An engaging, well-written fare, OMG could be spared its dull moments & tacky production values because it was strongly driven by the content.
One of the best thrillers in recent times, Kahaani was one which took the country by surprise. With a female in the lead, director Sujoy Ghosh’s creation made for a compelling watch that was dark, intriguing & path-breaking to say the least.
4. Paan Singh Tomar:
What can be said about this silent winner? Without making much noise, Paan Singh & Irrfan Khan made an indeible mark on this year’s must-watch list. A biopic on the life of a steeplechase champion turned dacoit, this story of an unsung hero turned villain might not have set the cash registers ringing, but was beautifully made.
5. Supermen of Malegaon:
The most unusual entry on my top 5 Hindi films this year is a short documentary called Supermen of Malegaon. This is a heart-warming tale of a village who worship their cinema.
If ever you felt something was impossible, go watch this film. Moving, inspiring & entertaining, this is a little gem that will be lost in the sands of time.
1. English Vinglish
Sridevi makes a magnificent comeback with a role that few could have pulled off with such conviction. The movie truly makes even the smallest of victories such sweet spectacles of achievement.
2. Supermen of Malegaon
An equally educative, funny and evocative film that kept me invested in the efforts of the characters in bring their own unique version of the man of steel.
3. Paan Singh Tomar
If Irrfan Khan was memorable so were other elements of the movie right from the supporting actors to the brilliant background score to the stark locations and the authentic dialect.
4. Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1
There was something simply intoxicating about the narrative and atmosphere of the first part that went overboard in the second part. This one actually had characters you’d be interested in rather than cool line spouting versions of human beings in the second part.
5. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu
I know this is an odd choice for this list but after a long time, I saw a Bollywood rom-com that was charming, goofy and yet heart-warming at the end of it all. Plus after perhaps ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’ one of the best endings I’ve seen in a romantic Hindi film.
1. Gangs of Wasseypur 1 & 2 - Realized Nawazuddin is the man. Check out this interview:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZFdVFApoh8
2. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu - And Amit Trivedi
3. Kahaani - Whattey story!
4. Vicky Donor - Gave me (metaphorically speaking) and the rest of India a boner (also metaphorically speaking)!
5. Love Wrinkle Free - Feel-good movie of the year
2. Gangs of Wasseypur 2
5. English Vinglish
(If I could extend it to a top 10)
6. Arjun: The Warrior Prince
7. Ferrari Ki Sawaari
8. Vicky Donor
10. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu
One film to rule them all: EEGA (Since it wasn't a Hindi film, it didn't feature on the top 10)
Honorable mentions: Chittagong, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, Paan Singh Tomar and Supermen of Malegaon
I still can’t believe the backlash Barfi! received in the guise of of insipid plagiarism charges. I honestly don’t care. All I remember is the first time I saw this film (or the second or the third), I was under its spell like no other film this year. It made my heart soar. Ranbir’s performance and the music alone lift it out of the cinematic purgatory it seemed to tread. Talaash and Kahaani were top-notch thrillers. I liked the former more just because when I saw the films again I found that Kahaani cheats while Talaash plays. Both do it well, of course. Vidya Balan gave the best female performance of the year, only rivaled by Sridevi in English Vinglish. I don’t remember the last time I came out of a film and felt it was made for my mother. It’s no surprise that many of us shared this thought about English Vinglish. A film any mother would hate would be Gangs of Wasseypur. The first film was bloody good but it was Part 2 that went the distance and was bloodier and better. The revenge was served cold and slow. He told us and took it, all right. A film equally blazing and violent, which also happens to be my only commercial Bollywood selection, is Agneepath. The granddaddy of all masala films, Eega (Makkhi, if you may), showed us why Hindi cinema is constantly looking for refuge in Tollywood’s bosom and why it should stop trying.
I couldn’t find enough reasons to include Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Ishaqzaade on my list but they deserve mentions regardless. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu was the romantic comedy of the year with an ending, which hits the sweet spot. A heart-wrenching father-son story charmed me in Ferrari Ki Sawaari. Two period films, Chittagong and Paan Singh Tomar, had their pluses and minuses, but also boasted rousing revolutionary hearts. Two comedies that defied clichés were Vicky Donor and Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana. I’d like to round this up by mentioning an animated film that went largely unseen- Arjun: The Warrior Prince and a documentary- Supermen of Malegaon. Both in their own way, remind us of our golden treasure of stories hiding in plain sight that we have failed to acknowledge over the years. 2012 was most definitely a terrific year for Indian movies.