The last year has been an interesting one for Indian cinema. There were some out and out commercial blockbusters, some hackneyed, unpalatable movies, and some brilliant films that helped keep the faith alive. Here's my list of movies that stood out, for various reasons, good and bad, from the crowd of 2015 films.
Angry Indian Goddesses: Mould-Breaking Film Of The Year
This film represents a kind of coming of age for women in Indian cinema. From the outside, it has all the trappings of a "female buddy pic" that its makers billed it as, an Indian version of Thelma & Louise meets Sex and the City. However, it goes much beyond the story of the characters' lives and actually touches upon various issues faced by women across different social strata.
Angry Indian Goddesses represents a kind of coming of age for women in Indian cinema.
There are moments of fun, desire, bonding and conflict as the women in the story embark on their reunion in Goa. Each comes with her own story, her own baggage, and each must find her own solution too. The twist in the end almost delivers a sickening punch to your gut and forces you to leave the theatre with more questions than answers.
Baankey Ki Crazy Baraat: Hidden Gem of the Year
This one almost flew in under the radar. The only reason I got to know about it and watch it was because of its promotion by JustDial. Downloading the app got my wife two free tickets, so like the true movie lovers we are, we did not miss the opportunity! And what we watched far exceeded our expectations. It is a quirky comedy with some fine actors like Vijay Raaz, Rajpal Yadav and the redoubtable Sanjay Mishra. Set in a small town in the hills, it is neither larger than life, nor over the top. What you get are lovable characters, hilarious dialogues and pure, unadulterated comedy. It's a funny, simple and well-made movie that easily achieves the objective of entertaining the audience.
Baji Rao Mastani: Magnum Opus of the Year
A beautifully crafted film about love, passion, and valour. The sets are magnificent, the costumes spectacular, and the actors vibrant and dynamic. It has historical context, but the story itself is timeless and it surely finds resonance even today. While there are bits that are stretched or a tad fanciful, and the historical accuracy has been sacrificed to an extent, I found it to be very gripping overall. Ranveer and Deepika were brilliant and ably supported by the rest of the cast. Milind Soman was a pleasant surprise. A must watch that I would strongly endorse!
NH10 is a taut roller coaster ride that perfectly captures the contrast between India's progressive and orthodox realities.
NH10: Road Trip Movie of the Year
The film is a taut roller coaster ride that perfectly captures the contrast between India's progressive and orthodox realities. These two worlds have a quiet if uneasy co-existence, almost ignoring the other's presence. What happens when these two worlds and their vastly different value systems collide is what NH10 brings to life. The performances are excellent. Anushka Sharma played her part to perfection and leaves you rooting for her throughout the movie. Her battle with the antagonists, with all their misogyny and patriarchy, unfolds at a steady clip as she summons all her strength and resourcefulness to turn the hunter into the hunted. The stark portrayal of rural Haryana, just at the fringes of urbane Gurgaon, is menacing. All in all, it's one heck of a road trip and will leave you holding onto the edge of your seats!
Tamasha: Free Spirit of the Year
A lot is expected when Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor come together -- they are after all a beautiful pair with history and chemistry. Tamasha banks on this dynamic and exploits it very effectively. The first segment, set in Corsica, is visually delightful and breezy, infused with the sunny cheer of the Mediterranean. As the story moves from their carefree escapades in an exotic locale to the protagonists' lives back in India, the film's energy also shifts and takes on a different intensity. The story itself is not new or revolutionary, and there have been many movies about finding oneself and one's true interests, but the treatment of the narrative is rather creative and unique. The process of catharsis the character goes through is the distinguishing factor and makes Tamasha interesting.
The process of catharsis the character goes through is the distinguishing factor and makes Tamasha interesting.
Katti Batti: Disappointment of the Year
This movie makes it to this list not because it was good, but because it failed to live up to its promise. With Kangana Ranaut and Imran Khan at the helm, one expected a lot. Unfortunately it was a very amateurish effort that simply lacked any kind of cinematic redemption. A hackneyed college romance, mediocre acting, outlandish situations, all conspire to induce yawns and restlessness in the audience.
Movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Baahubali, Baby, Badlapur, Dil Dhadakne Do, Maanjhi the Mountain Man, and Piku were other memorable films and made for very entertaining and fulfilling viewing. They also deserve to be included in any list of the top Bollywood movies of 2015. If any of your favourites have not made it to this list, please do mention them in your comments.