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 Note that the list is slightly outdated as Jab Tak Hain Jaan and Son of Sardar have already crossed the 100 Crore Mark.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.
Kahaani

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.

Barfi!

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.


Agneepath

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. 



Image Sources: Google Images
Article Sources: Wikipedia

34 comments:

  1. My god Akshay. More than the content, I just loved your writing style. Such professional writing. Awesome man. Keep it going and please take up a career in writing :-)

    As for the movies, you've brought out the themes very well.I too liked English Vinglish and Barfi, the only movies I got to watch from the list~!

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    1. Wow! I am absolutely delighted to read your comment, Ash. Thank you very much for your kind words, great honor coming from a really thoughtful writer like yourself. :)

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  2. Seriously, 2012 was a great year for Bollywood, in terms of quality, variety and collections. Loved your composition, Akshay.. According to me: Best actor: Ranbir Kapoor, best actress: PC(for barfi)/Vidya! And the best movie was G0W( both parts) and definitely BARFI!! And keep titillating all of us with your wonderful posts! God bless...

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    1. Anwesha, thank you for always being supportive, really appreciate your lovely words. :) Yeah, Barfi is my favorite too, lets see who takes home all the awards as the competition is very tough this year. Thank you once again. :)

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  3. Great post, Akshay, and worthy of the wait you put us through. The year was truly good for meaningful cinema, and your list is a great one. I have not seen OMG, but after reading your views, I think I need to as soon as possible. With Agneepath, the problem is the original. It is difficult to view the film as an independent work, and it is to the credit of all three that they have gone on to deliver performances that are unique and try to ride a notch higher than the original.

    GOW is brilliant, and though I did not watch it at one go, I was knocked out by the style, the music, and the camerawork. I have always enjoyed Anurag Kashyap's work, but often found it "lagging" in execution. While Panch and Yellow Boots are black masterpieces, he executed better with Dev D. But with GOW he has truly broken through. I cannot wait to see how his next 12 endings movie turns out.

    Loved your list, and congrats on your 50K views!! Not a small accomplishment!

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    1. Thank you Babu Moshai for your confidence in me. :) I try to write as much as I can but I fail to come up with something substantial or concrete most of the times, so sorry for the long wait. :)

      You should definitely watch OMG, it is really good. As for Agneepath, I really like the 2012 version as compared to the original. Although no body can match Amitabh Bachchan's performance in Agneepath but as a whole the original wasn't that good. Anurag Kashyap always tries to go beyond the ordinary and comes up with something great. He did it with Dev D and No Smoking too. I am yet to watch The Girl in Yellow Boots, I will soon. I am looking forward to his newest venture as well. :)

      50,000 views, its a nice milestone to accomplish but I sort of lost interest in tracking the hits I get on my blog sometime ago. I do get some decent hits from Google everyday which is heartening to see, so its not all because of those SEO sites. :D Thanks once again Sirji. :)

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  4. U have chosen a such a topic for the post that I can go on and on for an hours together discussing it. Your list is apt but I have not watched Paan Singh Tomar and Gangs of Wasseypur from this list. I completely agree with the small review you have given to the movies in your list of best movies of the year.

    This year is been a real treat for the movie lovers. We had movies which have blown our mind and shocked us to the core like Kahaani and on the other hand we had movies like Student of the year which were made just to entertain without any single trace of story in it :-P
    I being atheist myself completely loved the concept of OMG but I found it boring to watch.
    The entire charm of English Vinglish is Sridevi. Her performance can melt anyone's heart and yes it is the greatest comeback by a female artist ever. :) So many different emotions so well expressed by her is remarkable and I believe if any other actress would have done her role in the movie then the movie would have been ruined.
    Vicky Donor is a kinda flick which is capable to change the mindset of our society on such sensitive issues and for Agneepath... WOW is the word. Every single actor has done such a fab job. I m usually not into Khoon-kharaaba type movies but I loved this one.
    And what to say about Barfi. I have already watched it 8 times and every time it leave me with the same impact. I think this explains everything about it :)
    Watched Jab tak hai Jaan and I think even the daily soaps on star plus are better compared to the movie. Those 3 hours I was bored to hell.

    Sorry for such a long comment but what to do you have chosen such a topic that I couldn't help;) I must say your writing style is brilliant. I could relive every movie of the year that I have watched:):):)

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    1. OMG! Sonia, where do I begin? Thank you so much for taking time out with such a detailed feedback, I really really appreciate it. Your comment made my day. :)

      I never knew you were an atheist, well there is one more thing common between us now. Hi 5! :D

      You know, Barfi is my favorite movie too, I know how much you loved Barfi as well, it has made such a big impact on my life. One of the most beautiful movies ever made. And Jab Tak Hain Jaan was an absolute bore, my friend being a huge SRK fan dragged me along to watch it even though I had no intention of watching it. I cursed him for inflicting such torture on me. I did get some nice sleep though while watching it, so at least something good happened. :D

      Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for such a lovely comment, don't worry about it being too long, the bigger the better. Loved it. :D

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  5. Nice to know you are a Bollywood fan just like me. I agree writing review for a film or even a book is tough, needs some training. However, the best are those that are written from heart, so do give it a shot some time~

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    1. Thank you so much, Ghazala. Yes, I am also a huge Bollywood fan but never really tried my hand at reviewing the movies I watched, hopefully this is a start. I will surely give it a shot in future. Thanks a lot for the encouragement. :)

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  6. Great take on the Bollywood movies. But masala was at sells.

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  7. Call me a hypocrite, call me vain or you can even call me an ass#0!@, but I am not fond of the Bollywood today. Not that they are not capable of doing well as some of the movies from your A list amply prove. Some of the movies that touched me of late were Dor, Khosla ka Ghosala, Welcome to Sajjanpur and Phans Gaye Re Obama. Movies like these stop me from totally trashing away the industry.

    Beautiful vignettes those, especially those of Pan Singh Tomar, Barafi and Gangs of W'pur. You should really do more of these, Akshay! :)

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    1. Hahaha! No Sir, I wont call you that, completely understand where you are coming from. Bollywood does come up with some great movies but why it is lagging so much behind Hollywood is the fact that it is very inconsistent. We make great movies and equally pathetic ones too. Bollywood just follows a trend and sticks with it until it gets too old and boring. These days the formula is pick a complete masala South Indian movie, Bollywoodize it (meaning add lots of Punjabi flavor, make cars and people fly everywhere, add some sleaze and a non-existent story) and there you go, we have a recipe for a 100 Crore movie. Yeah as I mentioned in my list there were some really good and meaningful movies too. The movie-makers need to get more creative, especially the writers. But the writers are a poor lot, they don't have a say in the quality of the movies being made, most of them are just puppets, the corporate houses and the big production houses decide the kind of movies to be made. More than good cinema, they just concentrate on making money and that's the sad part. We need to give our writers more importance to make better movies, else no way we can get to Hollywood standards. Hollywood makes mediocre movies too, but we beat them easily in that department. :D

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  8. Brilliant! I read this last night, but decided to read it once more before posting my comment. It is such a treat to read you always, Akshay!:))

    Well, the feat is worth mentioning in the history of Bollywood cinema. Interestingly, this was also the year when all the 3 Khans – Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir – made their presence felt on the box-office. And then, there were films like Kahaani, English Vinglish, Gangs of Waaypur, Barfi, Oh My God! and Ishaqzaade...Indeed, the year has been phenomenal!!
    Thanks for this fantastic review!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ma'am for reading my post twice. :)

      Oh yes, the three big Khans did make their presence felt at the box office this year, none more than Sallu miah of course. :D Infact, this is probably the only year where all the biggies, Akshay, Hrithik, Ajay and the 3 Khans had at least one big blockbuster movie which grossed over 100 crore. :)

      Thank you for your kind words once again. :)

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  9. Thank you Akshaye for reminding me about which movies to watch--i have missed almost ALL !

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    1. Oh my pleasure, Induji. :) You should definitely watch them, we had some real good movies released this year. :) Thank you for your nice words. :)

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  10. I agree with what you wrote about being emotional while reviewing a movie, book or a product. This year Bollywood gave many memorable and good movies. I haven't seen GOW 2 and Agneepath. Honestly, I can't watch a remake.

    My pick for the best movie would be Barfi. There are many questions about its originality but still it is something it inspires you to be happy and hence delivers the message in the most effective and entertaining way. Best actor would be Ranbir, I think he is one of the best in Bollywood. And best actress would be Vidya, she does justice to whatever she does.

    And in the end, it was an entertaining read and I couldn't stop nodding at many points. Seems like we have similar taste in movies.

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    1. This was for the first time I did anything close to a review on my blog and I am so glad you liked it, Saru. :)

      Agneepath is a good movie, maybe even better than the original in some sense. But yes, I get your point about not watching remakes, the originals have a charm of their own which the remakes can't match. Barfi is my favorite movie this year as well, about the movie being accused of plagiarism, I see them as a homage to all those classic movies of the silent era rather than just a plain copy. It is still a great movie which as you said inspires us to be happy no matter what the situation is. :)

      Thank you so much Saru for reading and liking it, as always. :)

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  11. Brilliant review, Akshay! Your detailed review reminds me of how many good movies I missed out on! I personally am very choosy when it comes to movie selection but Barfi was one film I really wanted to watch on the big screen. Unfortunately, missed out on it. Kahaani was the only one I happened to see this year but did not like it as much as it was hyped. However, the performance by Vidya was superb as always and did manage to impress.

    Among the other movies that you mention, if I had to pick up one, I’d go for English Vinglish. I love the storyline, it’s different and unusual and also served as the comeback vehicle for Sridevi, one of my favorite actresses. I completely agree with you when you say that a films success should never be restricted on numbers alone. It’s the overall quality and the impressions that a film leaves on a viewer that are the best judging aspects for a success of a film. Let’s hope 2013 brings in both and keeps us entertained throughout.

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    1. Thank you so much, Arti for your constant support. :) Yes, lots of good movies this year on really diverse subjects and such movies were successful enough to find an audience as well. That's what made me analyze the year gone by in Bollywood. I loved Kahaani, I know the opinions are very polarized when it comes to its climax but I loved it. Vidya Balan is an asset to the Film Industry, deserves another National Award for this movie. English Vinglish was another movie apart from Kahaani which is very special, Sridevi's performance was one of the high points of the year for me. So glad women oriented movies are doing so well. :) Yes, lets hope 2013 will be an even better year for Bollywood. :)

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  12. Nyc post this year really grt fr bolloywood and there lover bt only masala movie lyk by people.
    I still cant understand what was in SOS JTHJ Rowdy Rathore BOL BAChan bt thease r blokbasters. For technically best movies
    BARFI pan singh tomaar nd ishqjaade for entertain Ek tha tiger agneepath
    bt this year movies r good bt nt on ecpectation JTHj tallash Khiladi 786
    lrts hope fr Dabbang2 chulbul back

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    1. Hey thanks a lot Ajnabi for coming back. Yes, its been a great year for Bollywood and lets hope we get to see more of the same next year as well. :)

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  13. Hi,
    I just happened to go by and man I so loved ur writing... absolutely fab and ur reviews are awesome... so much like me. Way to go.

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    1. Hey G, thanks a lot for stopping by. Do visit again. :)

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  14. And finally! :) You are back and sure with a bang. A lovely lovely post, an expert analysis that would easily beat most of the reviews and movie analyzes that are out there by its sheer content, depth and quality.

    As you have said perfectly, this year has been a landmark one for Hindi cinema. I don't know though, whether it is for the good or bad. As you have pointed out correctly, there have been several quality movies that have touched and thrilled us by their originality and quality. I have watched most of the films in your wonderful list and I couldnt agree more about your thoughts on them. You have brilliantly written about each of them. I love the way you brought out the greatness in each movie in so few words. Hats off to that!

    Now to the sad part about Hindi cinema.. is the fact that there were so many 100 crore (read successful) movies this year and so few from this list were somewhere close to those movies. I havent watched most of the 100 crore movies but it would be safe to give a B- to most of them. It is indeed sad that people watch and support such movies (so much). That raises a question in my mind: "Will such mindless movies ever flop? Will the big names (khans et all) ever deliver flops?

    Anyways.. that aside.. this was a wonderful post I thoroughly enjoyed reading. And I need not remind you that you should write more often! ;)

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    1. Raj, what can I say, your comments are so emphatic, I sometimes wonder do I really deserve such great praise. Coming from you its a huge compliment, I am very grateful. :)

      About the 100 Crore Club, yeah I feel the same way. Bollywood has become a "No-loss" industry where all the money is made in the first weekend or the first week. We hardly see movies running in the theaters for more than 4 to 5 weeks, forget about 50 day or a 100 day run like it used to be in the olden days. It is more about making profits rather than making good movies and that's the reason why we would most probably forget movies like Rowdy Rathore, Ek Tha Tiger and most of the movies the the '100 Crore Club' within a few years, which is a real pity.

      Thank you once again for such a great comment, made my day. :)

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  15. Barfi is yet to be watched by me...but I completely agree with your list... :)
    they added some exceptional movies to the indian cinema but unfortunately didn't get the credit they deserved...
    BTW if you come to know then do tell me that from where movies like Khiladi 786, jab tak hai jaan and other similar ones earned so much... :P

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    1. Sarab, thanks you so much bro. You should definitely watch Barfi, you will love it. Unlike previous years, we did get to see movies being made on diverse subjects and they did get an audience as well. In that aspect, it has been a great year for Bollywood.

      Haha! As I said in a comment above, big budget movies with big stars will always get a great opening, (irrespective of whether it turns out to be a mediocre movie, in most cases it does turn out to be) and that's what these movies and their makers are banking on. No wonder they make such huge bucks at the box office.

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  16. Nicely put together and nicely written too, Akshay. I've seen a few of the ones mentioned here. I never got down to watching Vicky Donor, although I have a copy of it. Now that it finds mention in your list, that will be done too. Oh, there's Talaash too waiting to be watched. :)
    I'll be coming back to this post to look up the other titles. :)
    Long live Bollywood.
    And you have a fabulous 2013, ok. Take care.

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    1. Thanks a lot, Divya. :) I am very glad you liked my list. Vicky Donor is indeed a good movie, especially the second half which catapults the film into a cult category. Talaash, well I am a huge fan of Aamir but I didn't really like the movie as much as I should have. I felt like Talaash was just a poor man's The Sixth Sense. I hadn't watched it though when I wrote this post. :)

      Thank you for your wishes and I wish you have a wonderful 2013 as well. Take Care. :)

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  17. Barring English Vinglish, I watched and yes all were good movies. OMG was exceptional, Kahani kept the viewers glued till the end, Pan Singh Tomar was unique, Vicky Donor got positive attention from every individual because of the subtle humor, Hrithik n Rishi Kapoor grabbed eyeballs in Agneepath, No words for Bafree n GOW.. Kudos!!

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    1. Thank you, Shilpi. You have summed up the movies very aptly. It was indeed a great year for Bollywood. Lets hope for more of the same, this year.

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