Rediff's film critic Sukanya Verma lists her top Hindi movies of 2014.
It was a rather blah year from Bollywood.
Until the first quarter, 2014 appeared to progress at a rollicking pace, quite a few of my favourite films came out in this period. Sadly, it never got around to realising its initial promise in the grand manner I envisioned.
And even though I am hardly spoilt for choice, it’s not all demoralizing. The ones that did impress did so with magical fervour.
So here it is, my pick of 2014’s BEST Hindi movies in no particular order.
Vikas Bahl’s Queen won my instant affection for not treating heartbreak as the end of the world and charting the course of its adorable heroine’s path in a refreshingly breezy direction sans the token ‘...and they lived happily ever after’ narrative.
Played with gentle gusto and disarming humour by Kangna Ranaut, Queen’s heartening success proves women-oriented subjects are just as welcome.
The difference between a good adaptation and a great one is that one stays true to the spirit of its source, the other adds bold new dimensions to it.
Moody, melancholic and meditating, Haider’s triumph lies in Vishal Bhardwaj’s chutzpah to reshape Shakespeare’s Hamlet until it finds a perfect fit in and as Kashmir.
The duality of his script is a masterstroke and further testimony of his fine filmmaking bolstered by Tabu’s staggering depth and Shahid Kapoor’s astonishing transformation.
Brilliant from start to finish, it’s hard to keep one’s eyes off Rajat Kapoor’s Ankhon Dekhi, which revolves around a middle-aged man’s sudden resolve to reject what is universally acknowledged and believe only what he sees.
It’s a tangible world but with a mind far too cultivated and curious to access or understand, and a space our movies seldom touch upon. It's memorably conveyed here through Sanjay Mishra’s awe-inducing performance in the central role.
Its lesbian undertones, a rather demure hat-tip to Ismat Chughtai’s Lihaaf, attracted a lot of attention but Dedh Ishqiya had me at the hilarious ‘Humko mann ki shakti dena’ scene, a nightlong standoff amid a gun-totting cluster.
Like its predecessor, the snazzy sequel revolving around Khalujaan and Babban’s misadventures is a sly, stylish and witty affair but discards its rustic setting to play out against a cultured backdrop of poetry and romance.
And the payoff of this odd combination -- rough meets refined -- is unbelievably rewarding.
Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly is a tense, ruthless thriller that sucks you in its murky world with flawless intensity and a single-minded intention to expose the grotesque facets of human nature.
But here’s the best part, the extremity is what renders Ugly a high-strung energy that culminates into an unforgettable final scene.
Marked by excellent dialogue, acting and camerawork, this is easily among Kashyap’s most accomplished works.
A handful of actors, different as chalk and cheese, come together to play characters, different as chalk and cheese, in Homi Adjania’s road trip that celebrates life and its many pursuits in a manner so wicked yet soulful, it’s hard not to come out impressed.
Like I wrote in my review, what I loved most about Finding Fanny, apart from the delightful Dimple Kapadia and Co., is how ‘its free-flowing narrative isn’t a slave to structure, synopsis or introspection but a whimsical expedition where pretty much everything is allegorical or comical and dialogues brim with wry humour.’
Hasee Toh Phasee
Two people falling in love can be a matter of serious limitations. Especially in the genre of romance comedies. The only key to make this eventuality look novel is -- writing.
Vinil Mathew’s directorial debut does pretty well with its ‘do half mein ek full se zyada milta hai’ fundas.
What’s endearing is how Hasee Toh Phasee is in no rush to shove down the romance down our throat, the chemistry between a superlative Parineeti Chopra and subdued Siddharth Malhotra unravels at its own sweet pace allowing us to know them (and their super cute families) enough to care.