Each year America churns out at least ten Oscar-worthy films, and we fail to do even half of that. I’m not saying a film will be good only if selected by the Academy, but my point here is the severe (and surprising) dearth of good solid cinema, even by good actors. One of the major problems with the Hindi Film Industry is the ridiculously large number of slapstick comedies they tend to make, most of them starring the one and only Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia.
Here’s a list of films which you may have passed off as worthless (probably because of the title); but I found these to be genuinely good and would definitely watch them again (and again). While not over-the-top like many films in the recent past, these go for subtlety and not extravaganza. Do read, watch and tell me how you liked them (in the comments section).
#5: Do Dooni Chaar (2010)
I’ll be frank: I wasn’t too excited about Do Dooni Chaar. It was produced by that long-haired management guru and was distributed by the geniuses behind Hannah Montana. Even the trailer looked like it was going to be a cheap comedy. But when my aunt (who’s an avid Alfred Hitchcock fan) recommended this to me, I was initially surprised. And when the movie was shown on Star One, it erased any doubts about the film’s credentials. Do Dooni Chaar accurately portrays an average middle-class household who wants to buy a car, but can’t afford it on a teacher’s salary. What follows is a rush to collect money for buying a car. One of the film’s greatest achievements is the great attention paid to the tiniest details in the backgrounds. The family’s house doesn’t look like a set at all. It looks… lived in for years. Despite the slightly disappointing ending, it’s one of the greatest films you’ll ever see.
#4: Kaminey (2009)
I don’t know how to put it, so I’ll just come out and say it. Kaminey is the best Hindi film in the past decade. It stands out for its fantastic originality and bold premise. The reason it’s not in the top three in the list is because some people actually went to watch it, although it was overshadowed by the much-less deserving 3 Idiots. Vishal Bhardwaj brings a Quentin Tarantino-esque madness into the film and even (somehow) molds Shahid Kapur into delivering a splendid performance, essaying a double role. He plays both: Charlie, a gangster, and Guddu, the st- st- stammering guy whose lives entwine as a result of wacky situations. Packed with many surprises, Kaminey elevates your soul to a new level, taking you to where you never thought was possible with Hindi cinema. Add to that an addictive soundtrack, and that just sweetens the deal. (Note to self: must find Kaminey Blu-Ray). My only grouse with Kaminey is some of the songs which I thought were dulling the film’s pace.
#3: Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006)
Jaideep Sahni’s epic script combined with Anupam Kher’s and Boman Irani’s superb acting skills turn this black comedy into a laugh riot for even for those with little knowledge about realty (read, me). Anupam Kher plays Mr. Khosla, whose land has been taken over by Khurana, and the film’s premise revolves around getting it back playing a well-engineered con. Khosla’s USA-bound son helps him to achieve this. This films marks the directorial début of Dibakar Banerjee who would later go on to make gems such as Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Love Sex Aur Dhokha. While it did do marginally well at the box office, it has since enjoyed many television reruns, and I make it a point to catch it when it’s on.
#2: Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009)
I know, I know. It is a Ranbir Kapoor film and oh boy is it good. In his best (yet most understated) performance yet, Rocket Singh stands out as one of the most sincere films in Hindi cinema. Another gem by Jaideep Sahni and director Shimit Amin sees wonderful characters developing enough to make you actually care for them. Never quite exploiting the ‘sardar’ angle (and thankfully so), Rocket Singh delivers thanks to compelling performances by an ensemble cast. Once again, the details here are too hard to ignore. Office parties with booze flowing in plastic cups and music playing from computer speakers are just few of them.
#1: Mithya (2008)
Surprised? Then Mithya has already succeeded in doing what it does best even before you’ve watched it. I’m willing to bet you haven’t heard of it. I wouldn’t have been lucky enough to witness this gem of a film if it wasn’t for good ol’ Jet Airways. Mithya was the only film I hadn’t watched from their in-flight movie collections, and boy was it awesome. Ranvir Shorey plays a struggling actor who bears and unfortunate (and uncanny) resemblance to a don, whose character he has to essay in real life. Packed with lots of little turns and twists and punctuated by stupendous performances from all the actors, Mithya delivers much more than it promises. Speaking more about it would be doing injustice to the entire movie-watching experience.
P.S: Welcome To Sajjanpur was left out because of too many songs.
P.P.S: Don’t expect this to be the first of a long series of posts. My blogging will remain as ‘frequent’ as it was in the last year. Sorry to disappoint!
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