THE 10 BEST FILMS OF 2015
Sonali Gosh Sen Delhi
A Marathi film centred in a court, but one that had no fiery speeches, no heroic lawyers, and certainly no courtroom histrionics. Yet, the case at its heart was so powerful, and so pragmatically presented in long static takes, it made you feel you were the victim, the lawyer, the juror and the witness to this unending maze of the justice system. It was a film that made you question, that made you debate, and that left you unsettled, long after you had left the movie hall.
Dum Laga ke Haisha
The tagline of the movie was ‘love comes in all sizes’ but here was a love story that did not follow the conventional Bollywood plot line. Sandhya did not just break the stereotype of Prem’s weighty ambition, she also broke the template of a Bollywood heroine. She took on fat shaming with uncharacteristic Bollywood confidence and won us over with her outspoken, mature outlook, rather than the coy flirtation of two songs and three romantic scenes.
Margarita with a Straw
Director Shonali Bose’s film gave us a strong female mind imprisoned in a not so strong body. It gave us unusual screen relationships, warts and all. It gave us a sense of disability without the self-pity and mawkishness that one associates with it. It gave us a sign of what Hindi cinema could grow up into.
Finally a ‘let’s catch the terrorists’ film that gave you the thrills, chills, and the ‘kahaani mein twist’ with élan. Jingoistic but with its cinematic heart in the right place, it scored on the clever plot, well-paced editing, and was a film that showed you what a good director like Neeraj Pandey can do with the spy genre.
“Tu kissi rail si guzarti hai, main kissi pul sa thar tharata hoon” went the song, and that’s how Masaan left us feeling too – shaken by the intensity of its emotions. Masaan’s trailer promised us “life, death….and everything in between” and it lived up to that promise, giving us a debut that found joy in the small moments, hope in the city of the dead, and celebrated life – gently, compassionately, sensitively.
Talvar could have taken the easy way out = of recreating the sensational hoopla that surrounded the Aarushi Talwar murder case and painting it as a Shakespearean tragedy. It, however, took the more difficult route of convincing the audience, through evidence and hard fact, of what could have happened that night. It is this seemingly detached look, and Rashomon-like narrative that has put Meghna Gulzar’s movie on the list.
Baahubali: The Beginning
Misogynistic, loud, melodramatic, yet director S.S. Rajamouli kept you hooked with the story of lost princes, kingdoms, and imprisoned queens. With no known star at its helm, it gripped the audience with what’s really important – content. Layer it up with spectacular special effects rarely seen in Hindi cinema, and it got my ‘guilty pleasure of the year’ movie award.
Angry Indian Goddesses
It was a film about women, their issues, their desires, their friendships, laid out with humour and sometimes searing honesty. The ensemble cast looked like they were born to the roles and it was a great Goa ride, for almost three-fourths of the movie until it derailed into a hysterical mess. But still a good step into going where no film has gone before – a film so dominated by women that you didn’t miss the men!
Tanu weds Manu Returns
Hard to like Tanu, yet even harder to not love the film. The mad duo with their North Indian colloquialisms, peculiar friends and mating rituals intact, made the sequel sparkle. Kangana Ranaut’s double act as Tanu and Datto was reason enough to see the movie, but the endearing and long line of their suitors would have my vote too.
Dil Dhadakne Do
Zoya Akhtar finally found her Bollywood groove. The Mehras’ 30th wedding anniversary turned into a parade of secrets, betrayals, love lost and found. All done with song, dance and all that jazz. It will be compared to its boy-bonding predecessor – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – forever and ever, but this one was way less pretentious and far more entertaining.