Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012: The Most Significant Year for Bollywood

Image Courtesy: Google Images
I usually do not write reviews of the movies I watch, mainly because my emotions tend to supersede the technical aspects of a movie, which hinders me to give a fair and unbiased review. Not that a movie needs to be judged on technical aspects alone but still I refrain from reviewing movies, apart from a tweet or two or a Facebook update occasionally. But I wanted to write something about the year gone by in Bollywood as it has turned out to be one of the most significant years in the history of Bollywood. Also the most successful, if you are crazy about numbers and are following the addition to the now not-so-exclusive 100 Crore Club. I said not-so-exclusive because there have been so many movies grossing over 100 Cr domestically this year that the once elite club has more or less become obsolete. As I write this, eight films have grossed over 100 Cr and three more are expected to join the club by the end of the year. Now, Trade Analysts are talking about raising the bar to 200 Crore to make the club much more exclusive. Only one movie so far has breached the 200 Cr mark back in 2009, which was 3 Idiots with an overall domestic net gross of 202 Cr. Ek Tha Tiger came very close to joining that club this year, grossing 199 Cr by the end of its theatrical run.

Although I personally feel that limiting the success of a film based only on numbers, (whether it is the 100 or 200 Crore Club) will only devalue the importance of a film. It will only end up limiting the creativity and quality of a film. But that is the trend going on since the past few years and that explains the huge dip in the quality of films being made today. Movies like Rowdy Rathore, Ek Tha Tiger, Bol Bachchan or a Housefull 2 were made only to milk the moolah at the Box Office. Obviously we don’t expect to remember such movies 10 years down the lane or for that matter even 5 years down the lane but the fact that people go and watch such movies in the Cinema Halls and make them huge Blockbusters is a testament to the tastes of movie goers of this era as well.

The list of movies that have grossed over 100 Crore domestically in 2012 can be found here. Note that the list is slightly outdated as Jab Tak Hain Jaan and Son of Sardar have already crossed the 100 Crore Mark. Three other movies, Aamir Khan starrer Talaash, Akshay Kumar starrer Khiladi 786 and Salman Khan starrer Dabangg 2, the sequel to the hugely successful Dabangg are expected to cross the 100 Crore mark by the end of the year.

But the amazing part of the movies released this year is, for every Rowdy Rathore there is a Paan Singh Tomar. For every Ek Tha Tiger there is Gangs of Wasseypur. For every Bol Bachchan there is a Barfi.

The range of issues on which movies were made this year was so diverse and the style of movie-making was pioneering and thought-provoking. A comedy/drama that satires certain religious beliefs in Oh My God!, The story of an Athlete who was forced to become a Bandit in Paan Singh Tomar, A movie which dealt with the concept of sperm donation and infertility in Vicky Donor, A story about a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband in KahaaniA two-part movie classic which centers around power struggles, politics and vengeance between three crime families in Gangs of Wasseypur, A story about a housewife who enrolls herself in a English language course to please her husband and family in English Vinglish, A story about a deaf and mute boy and his relationship with two girls, one of whom is autistic, in Barfi!. Just to name a few.

The movies mentioned below features my list of Best Movies of the year. I didn’t want to put a number next to them as all the movies are great in their own right. So the order may not be as important in this context. So here is my list of the Best Movies for the year 2012.

I was always eager to watch Kahaani as Vidya Balan is my favorite actress, but I couldn’t watch it at the time it was released back in March as I was battling through my health issues and had to under go a surgery during the same week of its release. So I happened to see Kahaani only recently. The movie explores the theme of feminism and motherhood in a male-dominated society. ‘Vidya Bagchi’ played by Balan comes to Kolkata from London in search of her missing husband, ‘Arnab Bagchi’. The movie portrays Kolkata as a city “brimming with warm and sympathetic inhabitants acquiring a whole new level of luminosity and ‘Shakti’ during the famed Durga Puja”. Balan’s character killing the villain is symbolic of Goddess Durga slaying the demon. All in all, a fantastic and gripping thriller which will keep you hooked till the very end and the twist ending is something to watch out for. Vidya Balan deserves the Best Actress award for another top-class performance in a woman oriented movie.

Paan Singh Tomar

Irrfan Khan’s stunning portrayal of an Athlete and an employee of the Indian Army, who was a National Steeple Chase Champion for 7 years in a row, forced to become a Baaghi (A Rebel), a Bandit who terrorizes the Chambal Valley and finally gets encountered by the Police in a shootout. It’s a tragic yet real-life story of Paan Singh Tomar and the events that led to him becoming a Bandit from a National Champion. Irrfan is outstanding; his compelling and intense portrayal leaves you gasping for more. Brilliant movie, great performance by Irrfan, a must watch movie. He is my pick for this years Best Actor award category.

OMG: Oh My God!

The movie which is based on a play is one of the most thought provoking movies made in recent times. In my view, it is one of the best movies made in the past decade or so. It deals with sensitive issues such as commercialization of religion, the authenticity of so called ‘God Men’ and our beliefs in religion and God. It brings out a very valid message in the end and that’s what makes OMG a great movie. As Lord Krishna played by Akshay Kumar says to Kanji Bhai played by Paresh Rawal, “If you make people lose faith in their own religion then they will make you their religion”. OMG is my pick for all the Best Movie awards this year. 

English Vinglish

The legendary Sridevi makes her comeback to Bollywood after 14 long years and what an amazing comeback it was. The movie deals with the emotional trauma a mother goes through, meted out by her own family for not being able to communicate properly in the English language. As a mother, Sridevi endures all the humiliation her teenaged daughter and husband puts her through (sometimes unknowingly). So she decides to take up an English language course to please her family and gain respect in their eyes. As Sri puts it in a very emotional scene in the movie, “I don’t need love; all I need is a little respect”. Sridevi comes up with an amazing performance, probably the greatest comeback by a female artist, ever. Her emotional speech in the end, in English, in front of her family will bring tears to your eyes. English Vinglish is my pick for Best Movie as well as Best Actress award for Sridevi, she deserves it a tad more than Vidya Balan, to be honest. Priya Anand could well be a candidate for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category.

Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 1 and 2

One of the best cinematic experiences you could ever experience is by watching 5 hours of Gangs of Wasseypur, both parts simultaneously. It’s nothing like we have ever seen before on the Indian screen. It is unconventional, ruthless, brutal, extremely violent, dark, relentlessly terrifying and quirky. The diabolical twists and turns, the sexual innuendos are an absolute treat to watch. Stunning performances, unconventional story and story-telling compels you watch the whole five hours without taking a break. It will remind you of probably the greatest movie-franchise in history which also dealt with Crime/Mafia families, The Godfather Trilogy. GOW is a landmark movie which will be talked about after many years when the best movies of the last 25 years are analyzed.


Without a shadow of a doubt, Barfi is my favorite movie of the year. Ranbir Kapoor charms his way into one of the most loveable performances of the year, without uttering a single dialogue in the movie, except when he tries to pronounce his name. Priyanka Chopra as an autistic girl delivers a stunning performance. Ileana D’Cruz also shines in her debut in Bollywood. Every time I watch Barfi or listen to its songs, it makes me feel good about myself, life seems beautiful all-over again. Even though there is stiff competition this year, there is a good chance Ranbir might take home the Best Actor award for the second year in a row. 

Honorable Mentions:

Vicky Donor
Vicky Donor is a simple yet ground-breaking movie which deals with the concept of sperm donation and infertility. If at all there was a time to talk about such sensitive issues in our movies that time was now. It’s a very enjoyable and entertaining fare. Annu Kapoor deserves an award in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category for his sensitive and hilarious portrayal, as Dr. Chaddha.


I was absolutely blown away after watching Agneepath, a brilliant and fitting remake of the 1990 original. Outstanding movie and award-winning performances by the main cast, leaves you spell-bound. Sanjay Dutt as the menacing, unscrupulous man, Kancha Cheena will romp home with all the awards in the Best Actor in a Negative Role category.

Please Note: This may not be the most comprehensive list of the Best Movies of the year as I have not watched all the movies and would have surely missed out on a few good ones as well. So this list can be treated as the Best Films I have watched this year.

So which is your Favorite Movie this year? Who is your pick for the Best Actor and Actress respectively? Please mention in the comments below. 

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