No, it wasn’t a great year for the Hindi film industry; it has undoubtedly seen better. Unlike 2013, which gave us gems like Kai Po Che!, The Lunchbox, Shahid, Lootera and Ram Leela, this year there was only so much to look back at and marvel. After starting on an optimistic note — young guns making their presence felt and setting the box office coffers ringing — the Bollywood juggernaut took a disappointing turn in 2014’s second half, shocking cinegoers, trade analysts and the industry itself. But of the 200-odd releases, there was a smattering of brilliant films that salvaged the BO’s annual report card. hitlist picks some of the best and worst films of this year...
One of the finest road movies to come out of Bollywood, Imtiaz Ali sensitively takes us through the story of a sexually-abused child girl belonging to the ‘high society’ teaming up with a man of the street, a ‘criminal’ truck driver. Even while telling us the heart rending story of a girl seeking escape from her own family, Ali attempts to break the stereotypical image that we have of the people belonging to certain sections of the society.
An absolutely delightful coming-of-age film, Queen works at many levels. A confident take on the journey of an under-confident woman who blossoms to recognise the strength of her own personality, when she is exposed to a world outside her town. Kangna Ranaut’s flawless performance added to the joy of watching this beautiful film.
A powerful take on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Vishal Bharadwaj also made this a breathtaking visual experience. Teamed with superlative performances by a bunch of talented actors like Shahid Kapoor, Tabu and Irrfan and this film catapulted itself into the memorable league.
A small film but hugely effective one. Considering that Filmistan had no star to boast of, not even a conventionally good looking lead cast but still managed to win the hearts of its audience, through its simple storytelling technique and of course, a great script. Filmistaan showed us yet again that a good film need not come with star accessory.
Stellar casting, a keen eye to detailing and a beautifully simple story about a nondescript man and his family residing in one of the bylanes of Dilli makes this one a winner. Undoubtedly Rajat Kapoor’s finest piece of work.
A high-powered, brave film that takes on one of the most sensitive topics of the country, religion and godmen. Rajkumar Hirani chooses to strip the godmen and their ilk off their robes with the help of a ‘clueless’ alien fantastically played by Aamir Khan.
This is a brave film talking about the stark truth behind the semi porn and horror film industry that thrived in the 80s.
A still from Miss Lovely, which was among the best films of the year
What’s commendable is that the director Ashim Ahluwalia doesn’t take the easy sleazy route but instead decides to take us along as he dives into the murky real world of exploitation and betrayal behind what glitters on the screen. A rare film that comes uncomfortably close to the makings of the ‘sleaze’ industry, without glossing over any details.
Rani Mukerji plays the role of a lifetime as the upright, firebrand cop, Shivani Bhonsle dealing with child trafficking, and she does a fantastic job of it too. Pradeep Sarkar should get all the credit for making this film a compelling watch from start to finish, while touching upon a major malaise in the country today.
While films like Humshakals and Action Jackson have taken enough beating for their quality, content and execution, there are a few more which we think are particularly in need of a little more chastising than it received…
Menu Ek Ladki Chaahiye
A lot of nonsense gets made in the name of small, independent films these days and this one was a classic example. It’s offensive that someone had the idea to cast Raghuveer Yadav as a sort of love guru, make him contort his faces and make insensitive references to rape by ‘subtly’ comparing it to the act of getting a thread inside a needle. The censor board seriously needs to be questioned about letting this one pass.
In what perhaps can be called the hunted becoming the hunter, Laxmi begins as a gritty and realistic film sympathising with a young girl being pushed into flesh trade. But this crudely made film ends up becoming a suspect as it seems to vicariously get titillated in the whole process. And yes, having to watch Satish Kaushik topless added insult to the injury.
A hilarious, unbelievable film about a grandmother turning into a supermodel overnight, it was more like some old woman’s fantasy than an actual script. But then that is not what got this film into this list.
Rekha in Super Nani, which proved to be a box office dud for its parochial treatment of live-in relationship and hard-to-digest, overnight transformation of a traditional granny to ravishing supermodel
The fact that the film went on and on about how live-in relationships are the worst thing to have happened to humankind was simply intolerable. While the world is looking ahead, this Indra Kumar-branded gem tried to drag us back at least by a century by its inane and senseless logic about the subject.
This film made it to the esteemed list because it was a pure embarrassment. No, we are not talking about Bipasha Basu gloating about being the ‘horror queen’ of the Hindi film industry, well, that too, but this is more about the abominable creature called Creature, which ended up being more a laughable piece of trash than a fear invoking monster.