As we look back, 2016 was a fantastic year for the Hindi film industry, despite the missus and low where hard-hitting, masala bonanza, and meaningful flicks triumphed. A year of cinema where film makers battled censorship and took to court sycophants to ensure artistic freedom prevailed. There were double standards yet cinema, in all its form, triumphed. There were stories that triumphed where women were told in a deep baritone that they have every right to party at night and no one has the right to touch or call them a slut. The coming of age cinema, the celebration of a cricket icon, a real life heroine that we forget and fell in love with again or celebrating women wrestlers. Or, another one who sashayed its way to redefine stardom and obsession with our stars. I call 2016 as the year where women triumphed in the courtroom and the film takes the pie as one of the top in the list. Think again! It’s an ex-ae quo for the best film as Pink meets Neerja Bhanot the real life heroine and a martyr who seeped in our lives again.
Top 10 Films of the Year
- Pink and Neerja (ex-ae quo )
It was the return of court drama on-screen after more than two decades when the brilliant Damini was made in the 1990s. Bachchan senior donned the black coat in PINK and became the voice of women in society. PINK became a game changer and a mass movement where women related with the characters played by Taapse, Kirtee, and Andrea. It’s a movie that every woman but also every man should watch for its hard-hitting dialogues that Amitabh Bachchan nails along with the three leading ladies. It’s time that we become the change in a disgusting patriarchal society. Pink is one movie that should and must make its way in the school curriculum.
It was Sonam Kapoor year where she played the real-life Neerja Bhanot who sacrificed her life in the late 80s to save the lives of many innocent children and passengers as head purser. It’s a human tragedy that the real Neerja was forgotten by us and credit should go to Ram Madhavan who brought her back in our memories to make her stay alive. Sonam delivers the best performance of her career in Neerja and deserves all awards and honor in the country. It’s one film that made me emotional and tears ran down on my cheek watching the movie that stayed for long. Certainly, along with PINK, Neerja makes the cut to the best film of the year
Aamir Khan is not called Mr. Perfectionist for no reason and Dangal super successful running at the box office proves why it’s one of the best-made biopic this year. A film about wrestling tracing the historical journey of Geeta and Babita’s win at the Olympics through the sacrifice of their father, played with elan by Amir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat. Aamir redefines acting and plays a mature character that will redefine acting, taking it to the next level that deserves admiration. The actor gained weight to play the tough and ruthless father in a film which showcases the poignant daughter-father relationship in a country where women have no right to dream. Aamir deserves every honor for believing in this project which taps obsession with the male child and goes to length to believe in women athletes. A film that honors India as a country and our small towns. The girls, Fatima and Sanya will certain fetch awards for being the year’s best debutants.
3. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MSD)
Cricket is a religion in India and MSD is one of the most loved icons in this country. MSD is a biopic that plays a fitting tribute to Dhoni where Sushant Singh Rajput does full justice to this role and shines through as one of the best performances of the year. The actor simply nailed it and was perfect as MSD. Director Neeraj Pandey narrates the tale of Dhoni, tracing his struggling days and the pinnacle of success, beautifully presenting the World Cup footage in the most aesthetic fashion.
4. Udta Punjab
The controversies and silly attempts to censor Udta Punjab are the only blot to the bigger picture but that didn’t deter the film from emerging as one of the most well made films of the year, touching the scourge of drugs that youth in the Northern part of India face. It’s such an honest attempt with Shahid Kapoor in top form, Alia Bhatt pushing the envelope further, Kareena Kapoor Khan’s lovable character and the new-found Diljith that makes this gritty tale one of the most brilliantly told stories.
Shah Rukh Khan deserves applause for experimenting with Fan in a sensational double role, playing himself Aryan Khanna and the star obsessed Gaurav in a clash where he was phenomenally terrific. An actor should always challenge its audience and King Khan does that in one of his best-remembered roles during the last few years. Fan is one film that stands out be it the clash between the superstar and his fan, obsession for film stars and the portrayal of the star obsessed Gaurav, played to perfection by SRK. Maneesh Sharma, as the director ups the game and pushes Shah Rukh Khan to the edge as an actor to play two diametrically opposed characters which makes Fan a winner.
6. Kapoor & Sons
A story about a dysfunctional family makes Kapoor & Sons one of the most sensitively portrayed films made this year. The film came as a breath of fresh air with its lead actors Siddharth, Fawad, Alia, Rajat Kapoor, Ratna Pathak and of course, Rishi Kapoor winning our hearts. The makeup of thespian actor Rishi Kapoor turning into a 90-year-old grandfather was the cherry on the cake and he was truly lovable.
The sports drama Sultan where Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma play wrestlers and mouthing in near perfect Haryanvi accent won our hearts. It’s a film about sports and how the human ego that can destroy the career and relationships, tracing Sultan’s the rise, fall and comeback of the wrestler against all odds. The film will be counted as one of Salman Khan’s top-notch performance in his career spanning more than 25 years.
8. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil/Befikre
Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil came as the surprise package of the year and cut off from his usual cliché and candy floss romance that he is so famous for. KJo’s latest offering of the past year was one of this most mature work on human relationship, beautiful depicting the analogy of love vs friendship where Ranbir Kapoor showed his mettle and proved why he is one of the most bankable talents in the film industry, living up to his illustrious lineage. Anushka Sharma stole our hearts as the flawless performer in this author backed role and was at her natural best. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was picture perfect and KJO presented her in the most elegant manner, her personality put to the forefront, making a huge fashion statement as India’s answer to Julia Roberts. Full marks KJO.
Another director who gave us DDLJ presented a fresh couple Ranveer Singh and Vani Kapoor in this film which is an ode to Gen X where the dialogues are such a perfect fit in depicting romance and relationships among the urban youth. A cocktail of love where songs Labon ka Karobar and Nashe si chad Gayi were the killer. A must watch films for the youth on the changing equation of love which proves why Aditya Chopra is still counted among the best storytellers the Hindi film industry has produced.
9. Dear Zindagi
This Gauri Shinde’s flick on human relationships and depression came as a lull of fresh air towards the year-end, showcasing Alia’s talent and proving why she is one of the most nurtured talent of her generation. Of course, Shah Rukh Khan can be quite a show-stealer and his chemistry with a much younger Alia remains the highlight of the film. Dear Zindagi has some very poignant scenes that make it find its way among the top movies of the year.
This Akshay Kumar-Nimrat Kaur story is based on the real-life incident where a business man, Ranjit Katyal rescued 170,000 of his Indian compatriots caught in the Iraq-Kuwait war situation. Akshay Kumar carries the role of the suave businessman on his shoulders and portrays the nuances of one of the most powerful man suddenly becoming helpless in such a powerful manner. Of course, Nimrat Kaur is one of the most natural actresses who matches Kumar in every frame and plays his better half so effortlessly. The film beautifully merges human pain, war affliction, and patriotism. Brilliant.
Love N Happy New Year