2014 passed pretty quickly…don’t we say that every single year?
Being a movie buff, I tend to look back every year to recap some of the movies that I saw, that stayed with me, that entertained me, and that I would like to see again. So here is my top 10 of the Indian movies that I saw in 2014.
Mind you, this list has movies that I saw in 2014, not necessarily released in 2014…
Anjali Menon does have a knack of showcasing bittersweet family relationships , and Bangalore Days continues this trend. Set in the growing metropolis of Bengaluru, the film traces the journey of three cousins and how their move to the big city changes their lives in different ways. The tale is simple, yet the message profound. Although it drags a bit towards the end (the movie could be at least 15 minutes shorter), Bangalore Days leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth. Not to mention a bit of nostalgia as well…
This movie introduced to me Vijay Sethupathi, who has created a niche of his own in Tamil cinema. I found it hard to believe that the movie was directed by a debutant (Nalan Kumarasamy), for its treatment was exceptional. The script surprises at every turn, and there are many twists and turns in this one. Was so enjoyable that I watched it twice in a row! Wonderful performances, watertight script and fresh direction, this movie is a must watch!
How can a movie have Nawazuddin Siddiqui and not be watchable? (Kick being the sole exception, but even there, Siddiqui was the only thing good about it!). Director Ashim Ahluwalia shows why he won a National award on debut in 2005. Based on the sleazy C-grade industry of the 1980s, it is tough to place this movie in a particular genre- is it noir, is it melodrama, or a mix of many elements that make the end product a genre in itself? I don’t know. Its sad that this movie, while being recognised in film festivals abroad, didn’t do very well in India. Can tell you this though – watch it and you will thank me.
Features another dependable combo – Rajkummar Rao and director Hansal Mehta (of Shahid fame). This time, well complemented by Patralekha, who makes a fantastic debut. Although this is a remake of Metro Manila, the director seamlessly transports the story into rural Rajasthan, and shows the travails of the young couple who is forced to leave their home and come to the big city. The desperation, the glimmer of hope, the compromises that have to be made..and the painful conclusion…its a pleasant wonder that this movie did well for its genre. Watch it for the lead couple.
Shahid Kapoor has been the unlucky one. His movies, barring a few, have not really been able to showcase his immense talent. Haider (based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet) is one of the few movies that gives him ample space, and Shahid does the best of it…and more. The subject is controversial, but the treatment is pure Vishal Bharadwaj. He selects the best of the lot (Kay Kay Menon, Irfan Khan) and then bowls a googly by casting Tabu as the central character of Ghazala Meer. She takes away the movie from everyone else, and leaves us wondering why she doesn’t do more roles! Backed by an awe-inspiring musical score, Haider is arguably the best movie Shahid Kapoor has done…and will do for years to come.
Director Rajat Kapoor tells a tale of a middle class family headed by Bauji (Sanjay Mishra in his meatiest role ever) and how an incident changes the way Bauji sees life, and how this incident affects his relationships with his daughter, his wife and his brother. Hilarious at times, the movie takes a view on interpersonal relationships in a common middle class family, that has not been seen in quite a while now. Every member of the cast performs exceptionally, and so the film belongs to not just Mishra but everyone who acts in it. Delightful!
Some may consider including a Satyajit Ray masterpiece in 4th place in a list of contemporary movies as blasphemy, well to them I say – I commit this crime again before the list ends. Having dealt with that, lets move on.
I watched this movie in 2014, and thats why its on the list. For lovers of Bengali cinema, this may not be the masters best work (considering the high benchmarks he set). For lovers of cinema in general, this movie just cannot be missed. Loved the way Ray takes a simple story and turns it into a philosophical journey, complete with interesting dialogues and thought provoking insights into how we perceive people. Its available with subtitles on You Tube so don’t wait.
Mohanlal is one of the world’s greatest living actors and he shows us why. The plot of this movie is similar to the Japanese movie Suspect X, although I have not seen the Japanese flick yet.Georgekutty ( Mohanlal’s character) is a self-made man who lives in a village in Kerala with his small family; his own little world. A crisis threatens everything that Georgekutty has worked so hard for, and how he overcomes it and protects his family forms the crux of this thriller. From the onset, we are quickly absorbed into the world of Georgekutty ( Mohanlal’s character) and the story holds our attention to the unexpected twist in the last two minutes. Don’t bother about the language, grab a DVD with subtitles and you will enjoy this movie.
Sacrilege again! Satyajit Ray makes his second appearance. Refer film No. 4. and lets get on with it.
Uttam Kumar is a legend of Bengali cinema and this movie sees him playing a movie star. Sharmila Tagore plays a small-time journalist, who happens to travel on the same train as Uttam Kumar, and seeks an interview with him. Through the interview, one comes to know many facets of his personality, the myths that surround celebrities and how Uttam Kumar deals with his inner demons while playing his ‘role’ as a movie star. Both leads bring so much maturity to their performances, it gets mesmerizing. I wonder if Bollywood has adapted this movie yet; even if they do, I wonder who could do justice to such a complex role. Again, on You Tube with subtitles. See it.
If there was one movie that defied expectations, surprised everybody and brought about a worthy successor to Vidya Balan, it was Queen. I have always been a fan of Kangna and consider her the best of this generation, and with this movie, she proved it. Oh every little thing she does in the movie, every single expression,is perfect. The soundtrack rocks, the dialogues (co-written by Kangna) hilarious and the story of a small town girl coming of age – excellent. Frankly, I hated the name of the movie when it came out, nor did the trailers really set the tv on fire, I didn’t even watch this movie first day first show, but the movie proved to be a pleasant surprise. My top Indian movie for 2014.
The scene that stayed with me? Kangana climbing onto the table in a disco, taking off her sweater, waving it about wildly, and just as we expect her to chuck it into the crowds…she stuffs it into her handbag. I fell off the chair laughing!