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2018's Top 10 Hindi Movies

January 03, 2019 10:15 IST

Sukanya Verma lists the 2018 films that impressed her.

The power of good cinema is that it makes you look at the glass half-full.

As I put together my list of all the wonderful Hindi movies I watched this year, the memory of the horrid ones I whined about is fast fading.

My mind is now filled with a marvellous montage of images.

Ayushmann Khurrana waking up from the worst coffee hangover of his life.

Alia Bhatt singing Aye watan for India in Pakistan.

Vineet Kumar Singh's smile after the knockout.

Rajkummar Rao readying himself for matrimonial sacrifice.

Taapsee Pannu's suppressed lump-in-the-throat all through her impassioned closing courtroom speech.

Varun Dhawan waving his hand above Banita's face to check if she can sense his presence.

That eerie atmosphere enveloping every single frame of Tumbbad.

The happy tears rolling on everyone's face -- actors and audience -- after the baby arrives in Badhaai Ho.

Wow!

In 2018, filmmakers displayed a determination to make movies that come from a place of desire, ingenuity and conviction.

The outcome wasn't as important as the need to push the envelope and this refreshing attitude reflected in the intelligent stories and complex emotions across the brightest, darkest and quirkiest scripts.

As much as I enjoyed Sui Dhaaga's optimism, Pari's subversions, Kaalakaandi's lunacy, Pataakha's mischief, Zero's whimsy and Sanju playing to the gallery, I am obliged to limit the number to 10.

So here goes, my top 10 favourite Hindi films of 2018.

 

Andhadhun

It feels like a personal victory when a low-key genius like Sriram Raghvan is FINALLY all everybody wants to talk about since Andhadhun's release.

And why not?

There are so many wicked layers and delicious ambiguities to this wonderfully enacted edge-of-the-seat thriller; the more you dig, the more murk you'll discover.

It's the highest rating I've ever given to a Bollywood movie.

 

October

There's so much uncertainty and spitefulness around us, it's made us suspicious of sympathy.

Along comes a movie like Shoojit Sircar's October and one's a believer all over again.

His characters are real and pure even in the most ordinary, everyday surroundings, while fighting against cynicism and for unconditional love.

October touched me to my core.

 

Badhaai Ho

It makes you laugh and cry and it's all those wonderful things we go to cinemas for.

But there's more to the point Badhaai Ho makes.

Amit Sharma's middle-age pregnancy premise shows how good we are at the ridiculing game -- quick to pass judgement and confine personal choices within a time frame and social structure that is driven by ageism and insensitivity.

And by giving Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao centrestage, Sharma makes his point even more pertinent.

 

Tumbbad

Tumbbad's atmospheric quality isn't for style's sake.

The cursed, creepy air, the demonic imagery and the haunting voices are formidable characters of Rahi Anil Barve's dark morality tale.

These captivating visuals suck you in as intensely as the decline of its ruthless central protagonist, consumed by his insatiable aspirations.

 

Stree

Raj and DK's novel inspiration, Sumit Arora's witty writing and Amar Kaushik's balanced direction comes together to bring the house down in this fun, fleshed-out horror-comedy that mixes supernatural myths and gender issues.

As I wrote in my review, 'Stree's allegorical approach doesn't interfere with its need to endear and entertain.

'Important ideas of empowerment and item songs as well as chills and chuckle coexist to fulfill its objective of thoda hasao, thoda darao.'

 

Manto

Nandita Das's thought-provoking cinema is as alive as it is artistic.

In Manto, she weaves the Indo-Pakistanti writer and his acclaimed stories so seamlessly, we get intimate insights into his mind and personality, his frustrations and stimulations as well as the freedom he seeks from constantly having to defend his work to a hypocritical society.

 

Raazi

Patriotism and humanity coexist in Meghna Gulzar's Raazi.

She successfully conveys a spy's moral dilemma by allowing her victims to be as decent and duty-bound she is, without poking or pointing fingers.

Aside from the grace in her storytelling, Raazi's taut, nail-biting drama keeps you hooked from start to finish.

 

Manmarziyaan

'Manmarziyaan is a meaty slice of Tinder-day relationships where love is a libidinous explosion that is unafraid of consequences and flies in the face of discretion,' I wrote in my review.

Anurag Kashyap's raw, throbbing treatment of a familiar love triangle is a feverish tribute to fyaar and other unchecked impulses.

He brings out the volatility, cunning and foolishness of headstrong romantics with suitable abandon.

 

Mulk

There's more heart than technique in Mulk.

But there's lot of sense too, even if director Anubhav Sinha has to pretty much scream it aloud to his audience.

Its hard-hitting 'hum' versus 'tum' argument about deep-rooted prejudices and communal disharmony is solid and the need of the hour.

Well-said and well-made, Mulk is a genuine instance of meaningful cinema.

 

Mukkabaaz

Master of milieu and caustic commentary, Anurag Kashyap delivers sly punches and power politics in Mukkabaaz.

Whether you see the movie as a love story fitted inside a boxing drama or an underdog's dream crushed by a casteist bigot whose feathers he irreversibly ruffled, there is no way you will come out unimpressed by its tenacious hero and his arduous journey (a first-rate Vineet Kumar Singh) to knockout.

Sukanya Verma