Bollywood’s Report Card: Here Are the Best & Worst Movies of 2017
As 2018 is fast approaching, it’s a good time to go back into flashback mode and rate the filmy year that was. There were some very distinct seasons, and the effects of global warming were visible to all, with even the smallest of sparks becoming an all engulfing forest fire in no time.
Pahlaj Nihalani also dominated all major conversations about films. Lipstick Under My Burkha was denied a release for it being too “lady oriented”. He was also found vouching for Julie 2 as a family film! Mr Nihalani can be credited for giving us many “eye-roll” moments.
Forget the “F” word, it’s the “N” word that is giving Bollywood sleepless nights. Nepotism, uttered by Ms Ranaut on Koffee with Karan, led to many tremors. Further, Karan Johar mocked Kangana at an award show, Saif Ali Khan introduced the janta to “eugenics”, and many foot in the mouth cases were reported.
Finally, the most discussed film was one that no one has seen – Padmavati! Irony died a thousand deaths and some serious threats were issued to actress Deepika Padukone and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and the film’s release date was pushed. We can hope to see the film in the coming year, if no state elections disrupt the fun.
No yearly report of Bollywood is possible if we Khan’t talk about the Khans. Shah Rukh Khan has had two releases. The kinda not bad Raees and kinda bad Jab Harry Met Sejal. Salman’s Tubelight flickered, although with Tiger Zinda Hai he returned to form. But Aamir was the Khantastic of them all with Secret Superstar. A sensitive portrayal of a young girl’s dream of becoming a singer, Zaira Wasim, after Dangal, gave another fabulous performance.
The Baahubali Category has only Baahubali 2 competing with itself because we don’t make grand films like this every Friday. For giving us Prabhas, and a new range of imitation jewellery designs, thank you SS Rajmouli!
The Year of Rajkummar Rao
Second to no one is Pankaj Tripathi. His brilliance ensures that he is goddam difficult to look away from. He too has had five releases, and for the sake of the fantastic actor that he is, we shall pretend he wasn’t in Julie 2. His films in 2017 include – Anaarkali of Aarah, Gurgaon, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Newton, Fukrey Returns.
Also praiseworthy is how genuinely “hatke” themes were tackled in Bollywood films this year and to great effect. There was Hindi Medium that spoke about a socially relevant issue and made it mainstream. Directed by Saket Chaudhary, the performances of Irrfan Khan and Pakistani actress Saba Qamar (protesters thankfully forgot to shout slogans against her) were the best things about the film. It made some very relevant points about our obsession with English and the commercialisation of education.
Director Shlok Sharma gets full points for surprising viewers with a masterful telling of a grim story. Haraamkhor chronicles the relationship of a 14-year-old girl and her adult teacher. The wise folks at the CBFC dismissed this as being an “unacceptable” theme, but it is precisely this that makes the film so relevant.
The Women of Bollywood
Wo(W)men of Bollywood have had our back. While Mr Nihalani discriminated against films for being too “lady-oriented” – Bollywood ki izzat ki raksha has been done by women this year. Be it some very memorable female characters that will stay with us for a long time to female directors who have raised the bar.
Anushka Sharma produced Phillauri, a fantasy film that was hugely entertaining. Anaarkali of Aarah, where Swara Bhaskar made it Anarkali of waah. Konkona Sen made her directorial debut with A Death in the Gunj, and now we can't decide if we like the actor Konkona more or the director. Vidya Balan in Tumhari Sulu impressed us with her simplicity and her husky radio voice.
Not to forget, Lipstick Under My Burkha by Alankrita Srivastava fought against all odds to see the light of day, and then impressed us with its storytelling. Rakhee Sandilya’s take on modern day relationships with Ribbon was another big win. Tanuja Chandra’s Qarib Qarib Singlle, where Irrfan Khan and Parvathy share a crackling chemistry as an unusual couple, is a mature and sensitive meditation on life and love. Controversies aside, Kangana Ranaut brightened up the screen in Hansal Mehta’s Simran. Her vociferous commitment to her character made us all root for her.
The Poop Segment
How bad can bad be? Bollywood has outdone itself this year with the trash it came up with. While watching Jab Harry met Sejal, the audiences were miserable. Half Girlfriend was unbearable, and so was Shradha Kapoor’s other release Haseena Parkar. Salman was a cheap version of Forrest Gump in Tubelight. Then there were Raabta, Julie 2, Jia Aur Jia and Tera Intezaar, which can be used for third degree torture on criminals and get them to confess quite easily.
And finally my favorite release of 2017 is that of Mr Nihalani’s exit from the office as censor board chief. Here’s hoping the coming year is kind to us film buffs.
Producer: Vatsala Singh
Camera: Abhay Sharma
Video Editor: Ashish Maccune