Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bollywood 2013 Roudtable

Last year we did our first roundtable, inspired by our favorite film critic Rajeev Masand. While I had Megha Kumar over at my blog as a guest author, this year she hosted the roundtable on her very own blog - Mk Livin & Lovin.

For the convenience of my blog readers as well as my interest in increasing my own blog hits :) here is a link to the roundtable that has views from a common man's point of view. None of us are technical or claim to know everything about movies, yet, as any movie goer, we have our opinions...this is what we bring to you!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Recap 2013 Movies - A Month-wise Reflection

And so the year is over...there will be lots of talks, lots of discussions and lots of awards for the rest of the year to recognize and criticize the movies that made it to the theaters in 2013. While 2014 looks like another promising year at the cinema, I would like to reflect, myself, upon the movies that I loved or hated this past year. 

In stead of taking the conventional route of picking one good, one bad...I have decided to take a walk down memory lane so that it would also help you catching up on what you may have missed or feel happy about having missed some.

Please note that this is not a complete listing of all releases, but just the ones that made it to my list of movies that I watched, or at least wanted to watch!

1) Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola was intended to deliver subtle humor and lots of satire, it did neither and turned out to be a bore. Apart from Pankaj Kapoor's brilliant performance, the script, the execution and characters of all other cast fell flat.
2) Race 2 had a lot of expectations around it - what with the first Race being the definition of Abbas-Mastan's twists and thrills - nothing less than 100% masala was expected. In stead, the movie turned out to be a collection of predictable twists, glamorous girls and zero intelligence plot. 

Not a good beginning.

The graph of satisfaction suddenly took a twist in Feb with 
1) Kai Po Che and 2) Special 26 being released. Both the movies demonstrated that Bollywood is capable of good cinema, mature execution and amazing performances. 
3) Listen well proved that smaller releases are capable of delivering brilliant cinema. A must watch. 
4) Murder 3, while it may not have been a great movie, it did take the Murder series to a higher notch in terms of storytelling. To its merit, this was probably the first movie in the Bhatt camp that actually credited the original movie and script off which it was based.
5) David, coming from the director of the amazing Shaitan this was a big disappointment and a pointless movie. 

Overall a satisfying month.

A terrible month. The only movies that are worth mentioning are also the ones that should be skipped. 
1) I, Me aur Mai is one of those movie at the end of which you wonder why did the makers make this movie? What was the point. A decent premise of a self-centered protagonist but extremely poor narrative. 
2) Attacks of 26/11, while a lot better product in comparison to what Ramu has been giving to his fans and audience it still lacked the maturity that a sensitive subject like 26/11 deserved. If just watching a documentary on how did the events unfold is your objective, then the movie does not disappoint, but then is that all that you are looking for?
3) Himmatwala was a movie yet again created only to prove that Sajid Khan should quit making movies and to reiterate the fact that Ajay Devgan, despite being a great actor, lacks the sensibilities of one. 
4) Jolly LLB and 5) Mere Dad Ki Maruti were the only bearable movies this month, however if you missed them, you haven't missed much.

A month worth forgetting.

1) Ek Thi Daayan, despite having an interesting concept and one which is not explored much in Bollywood  the movie was just a notch above average. A movie which can be watched once but also can be forgotten.
2) Ashiqui 2, Director Mohit Suri took on the feat of creating a sequel for one of Bollywood's biggest romantic hits Ashiqui. The movie came with very low expectations for me and yet delivered much much more. With newcomers as the protagonist and unconventional music directors, Mohit created a Romantic movie which has not been experienced for a long time and a magical soundtrack that will remain with us for many years.

A good month considering what March was.

This could be declared as the month with the most diverse releases. 
1) Shootout at Wadala, not a great action movie but it boasted of some good performances and is definitely watchable.
2) Go Goa Gone, the first Zom-Com from Bollywood and while it might not have been everyone's cup of tea, it does deserve a watch for its novelty and average humor.
3) Aurangzeb, an unexpectedly good movie. Although tainted with Bollywood's old problem of prolonging its movies, the movie had some good acting and a mature take on crime drama.
4) Bombay Talkies, although not a movie in conventional terms, but it was more of a creative expression from Hindi cinema's 4 storytellers. Comprising of 4 short films, it is worth a watch.
5) Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, a truly entertaining movie, Bollywood style! Some good dialogues, loads of humor, some lovable moments and Ranbir and Deepika's consistently good performance. Although predictable yet a must watch.

A very good month.

1) Ghanchakkar, an over the top movie with nothing to offer but some good names associated with it.
2) Raanjhana, an odd movie which falls neither in the good nor bad category. I would best describe it as "Not Bad". Watch it if you don't have anything better to do.
3) Yamla Pagla Deewana 2, avoid. The father and sons should feel horrible about doing such movies.
4) Ankur Arora Ka Murder Case, the only movie worth watching. Based on a true story, it is a filmy take on medical malpractice and a mother's fight to get justice.

A bad month.

Another twist in the satisfaction levels. 
1) D Day, a classic example of how Hindi movies and script writers focus well until the interval and then just prolong a movie into the second half without any substance. Watch this movie half way and then move on.
2) Lootera, a brilliant movie with execution par excellence. Ranvir and Sonakshi establish themselves as actors and Vikramaditya proves his consistency after the magical Udaan.
3) Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, another awesome movie with Farhan entering into the league of best actors with certainty. Rakesh shows how well a biopic can be made and how research should be conducted. He however, does go a little overboard with the length of his movie.
4) Ship of Theseus, a movie which I have not seen, but with the amount of praise and critical acclaim this movie received, I am guessing that it is a must watch.

An awesome month.

A month that delivered highest on the entertainment quotient! 
1) Chennai Express, a complete Rohit Shetty masala flick sans logic. SRK and Deepika seemed to be on a mission to entertain the audience and that they delivered truly! 
2) Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara, as is the case with most sequels, this one too failed miserably in matching the expectations of the audience. Not only was the script very weak, the entire focus which made the first movie so engrossing was missing, i.e. underworld! Imran failed to diversify his portfolio.
3) Madras Cafe, undoubtedly one of the best movies of 2013, being out done only by the amazing Kai Po Che. John and Shoojit deliver on point and first time give Indian audience an espionage/political thriller worth remembering and praising.
4) Satyagrah, a typical Prakash Jha product. Mostly satisfying and powerful and yet very flawed in many aspects. Nevertheless, it keeps you engaged throughout. 

An entertainingly satisfying month.

I will completely skip talking about 1) John Day. It was horrible.
2) Phata Poster Nikla Hero, seemed like Rajkumar Santoshi is still in search of that script which will be able to match the humor and awesomeness of Andaz Apna Apna. He manages to pull off a hilarious first half, but the sudden change in second half makes it look like they are two different movies, one very funny and second horribly dramatic.
3) Shuddh Desi Romance, a movie which is mostly good and a very interesting take on relationships, especially in Bollywood  The movie is stretched due to which it ends up becoming a little boring towards the end.
4) The Lunchbox, hats off to the creators and actors of this unbelievably well-made movie. The dialogues, the performance and execution...full marks! A must watch.

A month saved by one amazing movie!

1) Besharam, eventhough I have not watched this movie, the amount of criticism out there for Abhinav and Ranbir really renders this movie as unwatchable. It is indeed sad to see that even consistent actors go wrong and veterans like Rishi and Neetu still affiliate themselves with such projects.
2) Boss, Akshay Kumar, its enough now. We want you to do more Special 26 and absolutely no more of these Boss type movies.
3) Shahid, Rajkumar Yadav makes his mark once again in this movie after Kai Po Che. Another brilliant biopic of 2013 based on the life of Shahid Azmi. A movie which should not be missed.

A below average month.

1) Krisshh 3, despite its box office records and its never-seen-before-VFX, I have no words to express my disappointment in Rakesh Roshan and Hrithik. If you have this kind of a budget, why would you not hire a decent writer to write you an original script in stead of taking X-Men and Spiderman and Batman DVDs and blending them to create this cocktail of a movie!
2) Bullet-Raja, Sad and disappointing  After giving us Pan Singh Tomaar last year, why would Tigmanshu have created this pathetic movie, it remains a mystery. Saif despite being such a great actor, why would you act as a Russian in one movie and a crappy gangster in another, I fail to understand.
3) Gori Tere Pyar Mein, a typical Imran Khan Rom-Com that does you no harm in watching. Kareena looks ravishing. The movie is definitely watchable. 
4) Ram-Leela, a movie which I have not watched but heard a lot of positive things about. Although I would still like Bhansali to stop making larger than life sets and colors brighter than bright, I will definitely watch the movie on DVD once it is released.  

As long as you get to see at least one good movie :) 

Not a great ending but nevertheless.
1) R...Rajkumar, coming from the now uncrowned King of Masala - Prabhudeva, this one turned out to be an over-the-top flick and was not appreciated by the audience. Maybe these are first signs that the audience are actually becoming selective about their masala!
2) Dhoom 3, Amir Khan, Katrina, Yash Raj and Pritam...all came together to create this massive box-office hit and disappointed all the Amir Khan fans. Sure I understand that Amir's performance was great in the movie, but is that all that an actor focuses on? I think with Aamir, people associate a good product and unfortunately with Dhoom, Aamir let down a lot of people!

A disappointing ending to the year! 

And so we come to an end of 2013. Here's wishing Bollywood all the best for 2014. Here's hoping our filmy lives are filled with more of Lunchboxes, Madras Cafes, Kai Po Ches, Shahids, Bhaag Mikhas, Looteras and even some Yeh Jawaanis and Aashiquis!