2017 was the year when authentic films with rich content and honest story-telling won the audience approval. The big movies failed and the niche cinema succeeded! Nepotism debate rocked Bollywood while MeToo rocked Hollywood!
Bollywood did not give the best movie of Indian cinema (Angamaly Diaries) nor did it give the biggest movie (Baahubali2). But it did give continuity to the rise of sensible and intelligent movies. 2017 proved that there is no middle ground – either you have big tentpole cinema (Tiger Zinda Hai) or a smart witty indie (Hindi Medium).
The star of the year was Rajkumar Rao with Newton, Trapped, Bareilly Ki Barfi – he joins the legion of Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in creating a trinity of strong performance driven acting institutions! Irrfan is magical but Nawaz and Rajkumar Rao are catching up!
Which movies did I find interesting in 2017? Here is my list:
1. A Death In The Gunj: A disturbing melancholic film about a shy introvert young man set in a small hilly town of the 70s. A rich ensemble cast, beautiful script, haunting background score and an impeccable direction by Konkona Sen Sharma. The films grows on you! A masterpiece, a beautiful painting – a must watch movie!
2. Jagga Jasoos: Jagga Jasoos is a brave attempt and poetry at work. Ranbir and Anurag Basu have created magic on the screen with beautiful writing, editing, songs and visuals. Pity it did not get the audience!
3. Mukti Bhawan: An amazing film about death, life and father-son relationship set in Varanasi raises many interesting questions.
4. Newton: Rajkumar Rao shines as a honest stubborn government official assigned to election duty in remote naxal-infected Chattisgarh forest. Watch-out of the beautiful screenplay, cinematography and strong cast including the brilliant Anjali Patil.
5. Bareilly Ki Barfi: The high-energy colorful comedy is a beautiful celebration of small town India. Kriti Sanon is on a song as a ciggarette smoking flamboyant tom-boy. Rajkumar Rao, Ayushmann, Seema Pahwa and Pankaj Tripathi strengthen the rock-solid script with amazing performances in a beautifully directed and detailed movie.
6. Lipstick Under My Burkha: Alankrita Shrivastava portrays the lives, desires, fantasies and personal struggles of four ordinary women in small town India and drives a larger message about empowerment in Indian patriarchial society. Extremely strong performances by all women protagonists make it real and relatable. Ratna Pathak Shah is a gem!
7. Anarkali Of Aarah: Swara Bhaskar delivers an extraordinary power-packed performance and raises the flag of consent for the women on the margins of society. Highly engaging and colorful movie with strong dialogues and observant direction.
8. Secret Superstar: Advait Chandan’s drama speaks two stories – a young girl who pursues her dream of becoming a singing sensation and a wife in a domestic abusive relationship.
9. Tumhari Sulu: A warm slice-of-life movie that touches one’s heart. A relationship drama that explores the lives of the family when the ambitious house wife gets a job as a late night chatshow RJ. An effortless impeccable performance by Vidaya Balan but Manav Kaul is a revealation.
10. Haraamkhor: What happens when a married teacher gets romantically involved with his young student? Nawaz and Shweta Tripathi shine in this controversial movie.
1. Hindi Medium: Impeccable Irrfan Khan shines in a slice-of-life film about our educational system and class divide caused by English language.
2. Trapped: A survival thriller about a man who gets locked in a high-rise apartment in Bombay and his attempts to escape the same. Rajkumar Rao shines in this Vikramaditya Motwane directed movie.
3. Raees: The ruthelss smart boot-legger SRK meets a tough cop Nawazuddin in this Gujarat Gangster movie.
4. Shubh Mangal Savdhaan: Right from the title to dialogues to song lyrics, sharp wit is evident in this vibrant movie. Great acting by everyone including Ayushmann who completes his image makeover from Vicky Aryan Donor to men’s problem guy – just breaking the macho image of the hero!
5. Kadvi Hawa
1. Salman’s Tubelight
2. Amitabh’s Sarkar 3
3. SRK’s Jab Harry Met Sejal
4. Ranbir’s Jagga Jasoos
5. Shahid – Kangana – Saif’s Rangoon
Baahubali 2 was the must watch Indian Extravaganza! After ages traffic jams, black tickets, huge intervals and movie-driven national conversations were back! Padmavati was discussed across the nation for all the wrong reasons!
Which one was your favorite?