Time indeed flies. Where did the year go? 2011 is so history now. For me, it means that I need to submit my end-year review sheet to my manager describing all the good efforts that I have put in over the last 12 months. And that sort of gave me this idea to have an end year review of Bollywood in 2011. (Although I do work in the financial sector, please do not expect a Quarterly results post from me). And so in traditional award season fashion, we roll out the prelude to the OKS Bollywood Movie Awards. So without any further ado, let’s roll out ..
The top 7 Bollywood movies of 2011.
7. Chillar Party
Kids centric movies in Bollywood have always been produced in sparse quantities, and the ones that do see the light of the day turn out to be kids centric, with morals manipulatively woven into the script. Chillar Party checks all the boxes of the kids movie formula, and yet somehow stands out as a rebel of the genre. It was a pleasant surprise to see a movie with no known star cast, completely centred around a bunch of kids, and having a story with a golden heart. Yes, it is not bereft of the obligatory good vs evil theme, and the evil here is conveniently a local politician.
But the hero here is the bunch of kids, each one a brilliantly sketched out character on its own, and sporting colourful names such as Panauti, Janghya, Encyclopedia etc. Thrown in the mix is the cause of animal rights and how politicians today will not stop at making any opportunity turn in their favour. Even with its flaws, Chillar Party is warm, heartfelt and entertaining, and deserves the no.7 spot on our list.
6. The Dirty Picture:
Milan Luthria’s ode to the heaving seductress of South Indian cinema – Silk Smitha, could’ve gone wrong in many ways. It could’ve turned out to be a just a mere spoof of the era of cinema it was trying to recreate. It could’ve been just another movie which sold sex, with an excuse. It could’ve been an “another” jewel on Tushhar Kapoor’s failure crown. But amongst all those “could haves”, Luthria successfully managed to rake in a “should have” – Vidya Balan. She is the main reason why The Dirty Picture works so well. She is fierce, fearless and flamboyant, just as the onscreen Southern siren she’s impersonating. She embraces the oomph and the aura of Silk in every single frame. And even with its confused inconsistencies, you cannot smile and sometimes perv at her Ooh-La-La. Even Bappi da’s phantaa-seee song hits the jackpot.
The other strong reason why this made it to no.6 is – the promiscous ageing superstar Surya, played by Naseeruddin Shah. Shah’s uncompromising portrayal of the non-six pack, tight and shimmering shirted, yet arrogant filmstar, is a treat to watch. And together with Vidya, they share some awesome screen space. Quite shameful though, that the other two male characters – Tushhar and Emraan are left to either bite the dust, or mumble lyrical metaphors. But this is a one woman show, and for all its dirt, in the end, the picture was very Bumbaat!
5. No One Killed Jessica
” Someone with a pistol in his hand, power in his head, decided that a life was cheaper than a glass of drink “. That single line shook and stirred the whole nation for a decade, whilst the media circus thrived on it, making headlines with every combination of words possible. That man who made the shot with his 22 bore Italian Barretta still manages to roam around free. With 300 witnesses to the incident, mostly socialites of the elitest order including Bina and Malini Ramani, model Shayan Munshi (key suspect turned hostile), No One Killed Jessica is a hard-hitting story of the legal battle aftermath, that is shouldered by the victim’s sister Sabrina Lal (Vidya Balan).
The movie is a dramatised version of the case, and depicts how in a modern city like Delhi, the political capital of India, innocence can be easily bought, or can it be? It also shows the rise of the democracy and how a public uprising can stir governments. The dramatisation of the story with the involvement of a fictional reporter (played by Rani Mukherjee, looking desperate for a breakthrough role) doesn’t really come out as a ‘real’ performance and often looks contrived. But apart from that minor annoyance, No One Killed Jessica is a story that needs to be told time and again to remind us, that even in modern times like these, feudally aggressive and arrogant politicians can try to get away with almost anything, and it is not OK for us to accept this ‘name-dropping’ mindset. It is OK for us to realise that in a democracy, ‘Ye Public Sab Jaanti Hai’.
4. Dhobi Ghat
I have already written enough about my love for this movie in my review here. What strikes most about this movie, is that its director – Kiran Rao, through the eyes of its lead characters, give us a multi-dimensional insider ‘s look of Mumbai. You cannot help yourself falling in love with the city. The characters here are perfectly etched out, not even one overpowering the other. Prateik Babbar shines as the male lead, but it is débutante Kriti Malhotra, who makes a mark as the innocent outsider, new in the city girl. A must watch for people who love their cinema to leave them with a sweet after taste.
3. Tanu Weds Manu
A mix of clichéd storyline with unpredictable situations, director Anand Rai’s Tanu Weds Manu brings together a house of vernacular awesomeness set in the non-cosmopolitan environment of North India. And it is this setup of the middle class North Indian family and fond familiarity of characters and situations which makes Tanu Weds Manu not fall into yet another romantic comedy, but rise above in a league of its own.
Combined with a cracking soundtrack from Krsna, this movie has a lot working for it. Whilst Jimmy Shergill isn’t necessarily the strongest of villains, and neither are Madhavan and Kangna the most favourite hero n heroine to root for, it is the supporting characters which leave a lasting impression. Swara Bhaskar as Kangna’s Bihari friend Payal, and Pappi played by Deepak Dobriyal are absolute ace performances. If only for these, I wouldn’t mind watching this over and over again.
2. Stanley Ka Dabba
And at no.2 people, is Amole Gupte’s romantic ode to the tiffin box – Stanley Ka Dabba. A cracking directorial debut movie for Amole Gupte, this also marks the debut of his son – Partho Gupte as Stanley. A simple tale of a class of young boys, and their tiffin boxes, Stanley.. breaks every mould of any genre. This stand on its own, and has no bounds. There’s drama, comedy, romance, tragedy and even bromance. It is as epic as the imagination of these kids.
This movie was shot as an acting workshop for kids on Saturdays and during vacation time, with kids who haven’t had any experience in acting. Goes a lot to say how the end result is so natural and without a trace of artificiality. One of my favourite scenes of the year, is the one where the bunch of kids are on their feet, screaming their lungs out to sing Dhan Te Nan. Such is the freedom and innocence of being a child. And to have captured that very essence is an achievement.
And our no.1 movie of the year is..
1. Shor In The City
No surprises here. Whilst we loved Director duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K.’s debut feature 99, their second feature Shor in the City, had several aces up their sleeves. There’s Tushhar Kapoor who surprises with the performance of his career – as the pirate book publisher Tilak, struggling to read, and surprised to discover that his own wife is more educated than him. Senthil as the NRI struggling to set up his business and caught in the web of Underworld extortionist is set in contrast with the gang of Tilak.
But the stand-out performance of the year, goes to Pitobash for his insane, weird and brutally real portrayal of the dumb guy – Mandook. Please take a bow, as we take off our hats.
The complex plot of the characters intertwined with each other, all falling into its place, like a well designed jigsaw puzzle, assemble around the idea of “Karma is a bitch”. Needless to say, I love the soundtrack by Sachin-Jigar, which also features one of this year’s best songs – Saibo. (Shreya, please collect your award already). There’s a lot more about the movie which I have written in my review here.
So there we go, those were my 7 Best Bollywood movies of 2011. I could have done a Top 10, but that would mean I’d have to include some not so strong movies which had to be included just to fill the numbers. Please feel free to share your comments below, and also include your own list of Top 7 Bollywood Movies in 2011. Cheerio!