It’s nostalgia time for 2017 and for viewing some of its top entertainers.
As a die-hard Bollywood fan, every year I come out with my select picks which are a reflection of an ordinary viewer’s choice than that of a channel or a film magazine who reward their favorites or the ones with the right connections. My list as always would be a mix of what entertained or what made the viewer notice a different point of view.
Barring the top three movies, the year 2017 was a year of mediocre films and performances and honestly did not live up to the high expectations generated by the preceding year. That led to a lowering of audience sensibilities so much so that in the last quarter they accepted and appreciated movies like Golmaal Again or Tiger Zinda Hai. Selecting a few good movies out of the hundreds which Bollywood churned out was fairly easy this year.
Before we move to the top ten, I would like to mention a few which were a good one time watch. These include Kaabil (Hrithik Roshan, need I say more), OK Jaanu (good direction and music), Tumhari Sulu (Vidya Balan at her best), Simran (Kangana Rannaut good as usual), Badrinath ki Dulhaniya (the chemistry between Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhat) and Newton (Rajkumar Rao v/s Pankaj Trivedi). I wish I could have watched Kadvii Hawa (Sanjay Mishra) but alas I could not and hence cannot add that to any list. Next year I guess! So here is the list of the top movies of 2017 ranked in ascending order-
Ten: Naam Shabana– Director-Shivam Nair. Lead- Taapsee Pannu, Manoj Bajpaee, Akshay Kumar – A prequel to Baby and a great one at that. Taapsee had shown immense promise in Baby as well as Pink last year and more than lived up to it as Shabana here. A thriller with able acting performances and a slick direction. Let’s hope that the franchise continues to do wonders in times to come!
Nine: Jolly LLB 2– Director- Subhash Kapoor. Lead- Akshay Kumar, Saurabh Shukla, Annu Kapoor with Huma to provide the glamour quotient. Another franchise which not only succeeded commercially but also provided great entertainment. Different story and a different lawyer but interestingly the same judge. Saurabh Dada another case please!
Eight: Bareilly Ki Barfi– Director- Ashwini Iyer Tiwari- Lead-Ayushmann Khurana, Kriti Sannon, Rajkumar Rao- Ashwini Iyer had raised great expectations with Nil Battey Sannata last year and she more than lived up to them with this highly entertaining venture. A nice story ably performed by the lead. Great story Nitesh Tiwari and with Dangal, Bhootnath and Bareilly behind you, the bar is raised higher for my fellow IIT Bombay Alumni!
Seven: Raees– Director-Rahul Dholakia. Lead- Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan, M.Zeeshan Ayub. Vintage Shah Rukh and how! A treat not just for SRK fans but also a nice watch with taut story line backed by slick direction and above all memorable dialogues. The one liners from Nawazuddin Siddiqui would be remembered for years to come. And yes, ‘Ammi jaan kehti hai, this movie will be watched umpteen times by SRK fans for decades to come!
Six: Begum Jaan-Director-Srijit Mukherjee. Lead- Vidya Balan and the gang. The gang because there were so many great performers that to single out one would be unjust for others. The story was great, performances top class and direction apt. But this was Vidya Balan’s show all the way. The pathos in her eyes touched the soul deep inside. Keep going Vidya. Don’t stop. Ever!
Five: Qaidi Band– Director- Habib Faisal. Lead-Aadar Jain, Anya Singh and a multitude of talented fresh actors. What can I say for a movie which perhaps became the biggest flop of the year and yet was one of the best musicals that I have seen in years. Great music, energetic dancing, excellent performances from all especially Anya Singh and her band of fellow prisoners. If only Aadar Jain would have been replaced by his more successful cousin Ranbir Kapoor, then this could have been the blockbuster of the year! That is star power and charisma! Or the lack of it!
Four: Tube light– Director- Kabir Khan. Lead-Salman Khan, Sohail Khan. A movie with a story line immensely important for the times especially to curb the undue hate and isolation faced by minorities due to no fault of their. Perhaps that is why it failed as in today’ highly polarized atmosphere, reasonable thinking fails to warm human hearts. Coming back to the movie, Salman Khan was as good as his act in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and it is great to see him try such roles. And yet audience prefers him more as a Tiger than an ordinary human! Allah!
Three: Secret Superstar– Director-Advait Chandan. Lead-Zaira Wasim, Meher Vij, Raj Arun, Aamir Khan. Great music, great direction, great acting. Period. No further words required. Oh no, but I do need to add a note for Aamir Khan. Another versatile performance and another feather to his cap! Aamir well and truly is the God of Indian cinema and in my eyes now sits at the highest pedestal in Hindi cinema, higher than Dileep Kumar, Prithviraj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachhan or any other stalwart. Take a bow, Aamir and keep performing!
Two: Mukti Bhawan– Director- Shubhashish Bhutiani. Lead- Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, Navnindra Behl. If cinema is poetry in motion than this is its swan song! A movie which touches your heart and soul and makes you realize the beauty of life. And death! And waiting for death when no desires exist. In total peace with yourself and your surroundings! Mesmerizing performances by the cast especially Lalit Behl made you believe that you were actually a part of their family. I could not take my eye off even a single frame. Watch it. It is chicken soup for your soul!
Numero Uno: Lipstick under my Burkha– Director-Alankrita Shrivastva. Lead- Konkana Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah. It is only in countries like India that such a powerful masterpiece and a game changer almost just did not reach the audience! But for the activism of a section of Indian cinema led by certain powerful names including Ekta Kapoor! The final poster of the movie not just showed the middle finger to the sick mentality of a large section of the masses but also to the doyens of Indian cinema who still live in medieval ages and decide on morality of the nation. This was not just a lipstick celebrating womanhood under the Burkha but signs of a revolution reflecting their understanding of their inner feelings and a desire to express and enjoy them in the new world. No longer they wish to remain nestled in the four walls of their room or chained by the rigid norms of a crushing society. But they are free! As free as a bird with unlimited horizon! Ratna your Rosy believing in your fantasies even after suffering immense humiliation in the end would remain etched in viewers memory for time immortal. For the second year in succession, a women oriented film is my top pick (Pink last year) and why not? Take a bow Ekta and Alankrita. You rock! The shine of this lipstick breaks the limits of the Burkha and lights the world!
Off course before we go, let us also rate a few individual memorable performances-
Best Director- Alankrita Shrivastava (Lipstick under my Burkha)- Hands down!
Best Actor- Akshay Kumar (Jolly LLB 2 and yes his performance in Toilet Ek Prem Katha was also commendable). It is interesting to watch the growth of Akshay from a superstar to an actor!
Best Actress: Vidya Balan (Begum Jaan and also Tumhari Sulu).No competition I guess!
Best Villian- Raj Arun (Secret Superstar). Oh those speaking piercing eyes! Mummeeeee….!
Best Actor in a comic role: Varun Dhawan (Judwaa 2). Our own modern Govinda, Akshay and Salman all rolled into one! Special mention- Shreyas Talpade (Golmaal Again)
Best supporting actor Male: A tie between Aamir Khan (Secret Superstar) and Deepak Dobhriyal (Hindi Medium)
Best supporting actor female: Ratna Pathak Shah (Lipstick under my Burkha)
Best music: Amit Trivedi (Secret Superstar)
So buy a DVD or go online and subscribe to your easiest streaming channel and enjoy!
Here’s looking forward to an entertaining 2018!
Posted in Times of India on 1st January 2018. Link below-