Tag Archives: Alia Bhatt

Best of Bollywood Thrillers 2017 and 2018 (10+1List)

Best of Bollywood Thrillers 2017 and 2018

written by Souranath Banerjee

Nowadays thrillers are back in demand. But then again there’s always an appetite for thrilling stories in Bollywood, the problem is on the supply end of it.

Let’s face it, well made Indian thrillers are rare to find but fortunately this year we have just enough of Bollywood thrillers to make an entertaining list!

Hope you have seen them all, if not then go ahead and have a thrilling life!

10. The Ghazi Attack (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn2qOnKuOoc

Inspired by true events from the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971.

The film reveals the true story behind the mysterious sinking of the US loaned Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi when it stealthy ventured the shore of Visakhapatnam to destroy Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.

Directed by Sankalp Reddy, superb plot, a tad overdramatic but then again an entertaining thriller and surely India’s first ever Submarine war movie.

9. Blackmail (2018)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDF1qdUtbzw

A man finds out that his wife is having an affair. But instead of the typical agitated confrontation, he secretly blackmails his wife’s lover for money!

Directed by Abhinay Deo, a comedy thriller pretty similar to the director’s earlier film Delhi Belly, the characters spiralling down through a vortex of chaos and mayhem. Irrfan Khan makes the film worth your time.

8. Raid (2018)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h4thS-Hcrk

The story of a fearless Income-tax officer who dared to raid the mansion of the most powerful man in Lucknow!

Directed by Raj Kumar Gupta, based on several real accounts of challenging tax-raids where influential people will go to any length to stop the officers from doing their work honestly.

Ajay Devgn and Saurabh Shukla at their best.

7. Mom (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hctApy_i-qg

Veteran actress Sridevi‘s last film as a protagonist, this is a perfect revenge thriller where a ‘mom’ when denied justice in the courtroom seeks vengeance over her daughter’s abusers in her own way.

Directed by Ravi Udyawar, often predictable but with fine performances from Akshaye Khanna and Nawazuddin Siddiqui the film stands out as a decent thriller.

6. Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran (2018)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN_9DnBh3hM

On 13 May 1998 Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee held a press conference to declare India as a nuclear state!

Directed by Abhishek Sharma, this film portrays the story of how Captain Ashwat Raina (played by John Abraham) plans and executes the mission of India’s second confidential nuclear test series at Pokhran.

Not only a thrilling story but a historic moment of triumph for our country portrayed in this film.

5. Monsoon Shootout (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdbAgeowew8

To shoot or not to shoot, that is the question! A rookie cop’s first assignment and he has to take a decision that will affect his life professionally and personally for ever.

Directed by Amit Kumar, good storytelling (structurally innovative), superb performances by  Vijay Varma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Neeraj Kabi and Tannishtha Chatterjee. A must watch thriller indeed.

4. Tigers (2018)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJxsiUvccuM

Coming from the Oscar winning director of No Man’s Land (2001) Danis Tanovic, this is the story of a pharmaceutical salesman in Pakistan (played by Emraan Hashmi) who challenges a multinational health care corporation realising that they are responsible for the death of hundreds of babies everyday!

Based upon a true tragic incident that took place in Pakistan in late 1990s and early 2000.

3. Ittefaq (2017)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvfvoCdPrII

Kind of a remake of B.R. Chopra‘s 1969 film Ittefaq, directed by B.R. Chopra’s grandson Abhay Chopra.

One crime scene, two suspects and their two contradicting versions of the same murder, it is time for the detective to decide which story to believe and who to arrest!

Starring Sidharth Malhotra, Sonakshi Sinha and Akshaye Khanna this is one thriller that keeps the suspense till the end.

2. Raazi (2018)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjMSttRJrhA

A brave Indian woman from Kashmir marries a Pakistani officer with a dangerous motive to spy on the Pakistani army.

Directed by Meghna Gulzar, superb acting by Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal and Rajit Kapoor.

An adaption of Harinder Sikka’s novel “Calling Sehmat” based of true events during 1971 Indo-Pak war. Surely the best spy movie of India till date.

1. Andhadhun (2018)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iVYI99VGaw

A blind pianist must report a crime which he never saw! But then he seems to be always in the wrong place in the wrong time to see what a blind man should never have seen!

Brilliantly crafted by my favourite director  Sriram Raghavan, super cool performances by Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu and Radhika Apte. Undoubtedly one of the best thriller of recent times!

and (The ‘+1’ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Pihu (2018)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhWLhuEhXm4

Here comes an out-of-the-box Bollywood concept – a cute two year old girl who finds her mom not waking up and Dad out at work, tries her best to make herself at home!

Directed by Kapri Vinod, beautifully performed by child-actor Pihu Myra Vishwakarma. Shot in one location, one character – a thrilling 1st half that goes a bit repetitive in the 2nd. A very different kind of thriller; according to me such innovative ideas should be encouraged more often!

A few other thrillers though not on the list but still worth your time are BaazaarLove Sonia, In the Shadows AjjiGurgaon, and Long Live Brij Mohan.

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of 2015

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood thrillers of 2016

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of recent times

Similar Interest: Best Psychological Thrillers

Similar InterestBest Spanish Thrillers of Recent Times

Similar Interest: Best South Korean Thrillers of recent times

Similar Interest: Best French Thrillers of Recent Times

 Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

Best of Bollywood 2014.

Best of Bollywood 2014.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

It’s time to ride the flashback roller coaster in search of some meaningful cinema in Bollywood that released in the year 2014.

The phase ‘meaningful cinema’ itself is debatable since everyone interprets cinema in their own way. For me a film that successfully walks the thin line between quality content and entertainment always wins the race.

So, let the race begin.

1. Queen

queen-posterMost entertaining film of the year and an award-winning performance by Kangana Ranaut.

(Click for the film review)

Girl power punched with fun and friendship.

Awesome music by Amit Trivedi, Vikas Vahl’s superb direction – a great story of a girl who learns to live her life Queen style!

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGC6vl3lzf0

2. Highway

highway-posterBrilliant performance by Alia Bhatt – so natural and spontaneous that she has even managed to eclipse a much senior actor like Randeep Hooda.

(click for the film review)

The film takes you in a tour of the whole North India; the combination of Imtiaz Ali’s direction and A.R.Rahman’s soulful music – a treat for film lovers.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o66nNnGZ5Rg

3. Haider

Haider-poster

Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider is a film that doesn’t shy off from it’s attempt to show the real Kashmir (set around 1995), the daily agony of the locales and their struggle to survive the police, the military and the numerous violent groups inflicting terror.

(click for the film review)

A combination of Hamlet and Kashmir that is definitely worth your time.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xakmvJ0WPa4

4. Ankhon Dekhi

ankhon-dekhi-posterThis film deserves a lot more appreciation, a beautiful story of a man with a strange conviction – he wants to believe only what he sees with his own eyes!

Rajat Kapoor skillfully directs this family drama and Sanjay Mishra gives the best performance of his life.

A rare gem – entertaining and thoughtful cinema.

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3yKUHI2mE4

5. City Lights

Citylights-posterAfter the National Award winning film Shahid, (director) Hansal Mehta and (actor) Rajkummar Rao comes together with yet another promising film.

(Click for the film review)

A remake of the British film Metro Manila, uncomfortably real and raw, the film forces us to look at poverty and despair from disturbing proximity.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyO8OFK9yw

6. Ugly

Ugly-poster

Anurag Kashyap‘s Ugly is a thriller that revolves around the kidnapping of a little girl and the rigorous search that follows. A nasty tale of mayhem, greed and corruption that doesn’t spare anybody – no one comes out clean and innocent.

(Click for the film review)

Probably the most dark film recently made in Bollywood.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyO8OFK9yw

7. PK

pk-poster

The much awaited film PK is the latest Aamir Khan flick directed by none other than Rajkumar Hirani; a blockbuster that seems to have broken all the records in box-office collection.

(Click for the controversial film related article)

A light-hearted comedy with an important social message! A film surely worth a watch.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyO8OFK9yw

8. Miss Lovely

Miss-lovely-posterThe underground sleazy film industry of the 1980’s is never been explored before in such gritty details.

Ashim Ahluwalia (the director) has captured the dark underbelly of the C grade industry with brilliant realism.

Anil GeorgeNawazuddin Siddiqui and Niharika Singh have all given superb performances.

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzoAOoHdACk

9. Filmistaan 

filmistaan-posterA fresh take on the popularity of Bollywood and also the India-Pakistan tension.

(Click to see the film review)

Filmistaan deals with pretty sensitive issues but always with a divine comic touch.

Great acting performances overall; especially the dynamic and hilarious Sharib Hashmi.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-0LWnz8Ut0

10. Children of War

Children-of-War-posterHistory often gets blurred with time but such courageous films revive them and voices the truth.

(Click to see the film review)

The film successfully recreates the horrific crimes orchestrated by Pakistan over the Bangladeshi (Bengali) people in the pre-independence era of Bangladesh in 1971. Great effort by director Mrityunjay Devvrat.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzIa0wYfUwU

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most crazy one. A must watch)

+1. Mary Kom

Mary-kom-poster

Mary Kom, the biographical film on a farmer’s daughter from Manipur, who become a boxer and creates history by being the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships.

(Click to see the film review)

Directed by debutant Omung Kumar and produced by Snajay Leela Banshali – one of Priyanka Chopra‘s best performance till date.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzIa0wYfUwU

And some honorary mentions are Finding FannyMardaaniKya Dilli Kya Lahore2 StatesBhoothnath ReturnsDedh IshqiyaHolidayHawaa HawaaiLakshmi and of course Sulemani Keeda

Best of Bollywood in 2014

Best of Bollywood in 2014.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Time flies by and we are already halfway through this year. Here comes the list – the best of Bollywood in 2014 yet released (till June end).

I feel 2014 is turning out to be a great year for Bollywood and these movies are enough to prove it. A perfect balance of entertaining and meaningful cinema.

If by chance you have missed any of these awesome films please do the needful as soon as possible.

Ok then, sit back and let’s hit the rewind button.

10. 2 States (April 2014)

2 states

Adopted from Chetan Bhagat’s autobiographical bestseller novel (of the same name), probably one of the best entertaining commercial films of this year.

(Click to see the film review)

Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor not only have a brilliant chemistry but also a set of parents who are culturally poles apart. Good music and it’s fun to watch.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGyAaR2aWcA

9. Hawaa Hawaai (May 2014)

Hawaa Hawaai

Amole Gupte (director) and Partho Gupte (actor) – the father-son duo gave us this superb emotional drama.

(Click to see the film review)

A boy with limited financial means had the courage to dream and also the strength to achieve it.

Roller skating is taken to new heights, overall brilliant performances; this film is a celebration of innocence.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8WEqUvoJw4

8. Kya Dilli kya Lahore (May 2014)

Kya dilli kya lahore

Debutant director Vijay Raaz came up with a completely different take on India-Pakistan war films – a fresh outlook and an interesting script.

(Click to see the film review)

Fine performances by Vijay Raj himself and Manu Rishi Chadha and the brilliant poetic lyrics by Gulzar. A daring film to attempt i must say.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H91RXZ0nRv4

7. Filmistaan (July 2014)

filmistaan

A fresh take on the popularity of Bollywood and also the India-Pakistan tension.

(Click to see the film review)

Filmistaan deals with pretty sensitive issues but always with a divine comic touch.

Great acting performances overall; especially the dynamic and hilarious Sharib Hashmi.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-0LWnz8Ut0

6. Citylights (May 2014)

CityLights

After the National Award winning film Shahid, (director) Hansal Mehta and (actor) Rajkummar Rao comes together with yet another promising film.

(Click for the film review)

A remake of the British film Metro Manila, uncomfortably real and raw, the film forces us to look at poverty and despair from disturbing proximity.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fyO8OFK9yw

5. Highway (Feb 2014)

highway

Brilliant performance by Alia Bhatt – so natural and spontaneous that she has even managed to eclipse a much senior actor like Randeep Hooda.

(click for the film review)

The film takes you in a tour of the whole North India; the combination of Imtiaz Ali’s direction and A.R.Rahman’s soulful music – a treat for film lovers.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o66nNnGZ5Rg

4. Children of war (May 2014)

Children of War

History often gets blurred with time but such courageous films revive them and voices the truth.

(Click to see the film review)

The film successfully recreates the horrific crimes orchestrated by Pakistan over the Bangladeshi (Bengali) people in the pre-independence era of Bangladesh in 1971. Great effort by director Mrityunjay Devvrat.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzIa0wYfUwU

3. Miss Lovely (Jan 2014)

Miss Lovely

The underground sleazy film industry of the 1980’s is never been explored before in such gritty details.

Ashim Ahluwalia (the director) has captured the dark underbelly of the C grade industry with brilliant realism.

Anil GeorgeNawazuddin Siddiqui and Niharika Singh have all given superb performances.

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzoAOoHdACk

2. Queen (March 2014)

queen

Most entertaining film of the year and an award winning performance by Kangana Ranaut.

(Click for the film review)

Girl power punched with fun and friendship.

Awesome music by Amit Trivedi’s, Vikas Vahl’s superb direction – a great story of a girl who learns to live her life Queen style!

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGC6vl3lzf0

1. Ankhon Dekhi (March 2014)

Ankhon dekhi

This film deserves a lot more appreciation, a beautiful story of a man with a strange conviction – he wants to believe only what he sees with his own eyes!

Rajat Kapoor skillfully directs this family drama and Sanjay Mishra gives the best performance of his life.

A rare gem – entertaining and thoughtful cinema.

film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3yKUHI2mE4

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most crazy one. A must watch)

+1. Lakhsmi (March 2014)

lakshmiLakshmi – the young village girl who stood up alone in the court against a prostitution racket in Hyderabad.

A film that is both disturbing and real (based on a true story) and truly courageous.

Nagesh Kukunoor directs this dark film that shows us the horrors of human trafficking, the torturous lives of girls who are forced to prostitution.

Film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wf4hOMpKlEI

2 States (2014)

My rating – 3/5

2 States is a film that is stretched too long but still mostly entertaining in its own way.

The topic of ‘cultural diversity’ in India is kind of exotic to read in our history books but when two such culturally diverse families try to get along together for their children’s marriage sake – the outcome is so interesting (and so non-exotic) that one can write a book on it and then even make a film out of it.

No doubt the basic concept is amusingly predictable but the main USP of the film 2 states is its fresh lead-casting duo – Arjun Kapoor (Krish Malhotra – the Punjabi munda) and Alia Bhatt (Ananya Swaminathan – the Tamil chori).

Yes, both the actors have done a good job, especially Alia who being out of her comfort zone (as she plays the Tamil girl) still manages to give a very natural performance.

2 States is adopted from Chetan Bhagat’s autobiographical bestseller novel (of the same name) … … produced by Karan Johar and Sajid Nadiadwala … … powered by the music of Shankar Ehsaan Loy … … and of course beautifully shot by Binod Pradhan.

First time director Abhishek Varman has done a great job, he has kept it simple yet entertaining.

The first half of 2 States when Arjun and Alia meet up and fall for each other is very well shot – their onscreen chemistry is so crisp and fresh. They are projected as the young and courageous generation who kisses and have pre-marital sex with much ease – the ultimate romantic lovers who keep telling each other ‘I love you’. The anticipation of a perfect rom-com builds up.

But then the stereotype, over-the-top traditional parents join the party or rather spoil the party.

In one hand we have the inevitably caricatured Tamil parents (Revathy and Shivkumar) who doesn’t smile, doesn’t like furniture but only have an affinity for Carnatic music, coffee and Kanjeevaram.

On the other hand the loud Punjabi family who unapologetically supports the custom of taking dowry – the protective mom (Amrita Singh) who at times gets unnecessarily rude with her in-laws and of-course the drunk, ill-tempered father (who else but Ronit Roy) who doesn’t get along with anybody, especially with his son.

Though both the families are presented as educated and of a certain social class their illogical cultural barriers often seemed inappropriate and forceful. In the twenty-first century one should stretch the envelop of generation gap wisely to make it believable.

(I feel in the film ‘Vicky Donor’ such culture clash was shown in a more rational way but again the focus of that film was completely different from this one.)

Overall 2 States is a fun film to watch.

If you are a fan of either Arjun Kapoor or Alia Bhatt surely go for it. If not then also no harm in experiencing a pure Indian love story.

 

Highway (2014)

Highway review.

Written by Souranath Banerjee.

My Ratings: 4/5.

Recently saw director Imtiaz Ali‘s latest film Highway. A good experience – full of emotions and genuine performances.

But before probing into the film’s story-structure lets consider these two archetypes:

Story No 1. – You probably know the story of the princess who gets bored living the mundane, affluent life in her palace. She feels confined and skeptical about marrying the stereotype prince and all she wishes is to experience the real world. In the bizarre realm of cinema these kind of adventurous wishes are promptly granted and before you know it (or rather she knows it) our beloved princess gets sucked into the wicked but exciting, sometimes too-real-to-handle vortex of a thrilling new life. Highway-poster1Least assured she has the excitements of a lifetime and almost invariably finds the love of her life (generally a common man with sharp features who is largely responsible for keeping her safe from the bad, bad world through out her adventure).

This story version is very popular in Hollywood and two best examples are Princess Jasmine from animated feature Aladdin (1992), Rose in Titanic (1997).

Story No 2. – This time a different story but I am sure you know this one as well. A girl and a boy (specifically a rich girl and a poor boy) who are forced by certain unforeseen/unavoidable circumstances to stay together in very close proximity for long enough till they fall in love. These two must have dissimilar backgrounds and social class, contrast features and habits, different upbringings – the more incompatible the better! They should loathe each other at the start but finally they will be all sticky in love. Then it’s time for the parents to interfere. Usually the rich girl’s parents are more of a pain in the ass and the film ending totally depends on them – if they accept the good-for-nothing guy then it’s a love story (99% times that’s the case) but if they reject him (the other 1%), then it’s a tragedy.

This story version is extremely popular in Bollywood and two prominent examples are Raj and Simran in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Raghu and Pooja in Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin (1991). 

highway-poster3Well, now bake these above two stories (the primary ingredients) and you have the base prepared. Now to make it smell different add the concept of Stockholm syndrome (where the kidnapped person falls for his/her kidnapper) and delicately sprinkle some sensitive issues of childhood trauma.

Highway is ready to serve.

Looks like an easy dish to prepare but I assure you it’s not. Only expert chiefs with the caliber and imagination of Imtiaz Ali can bring such unique flavors, where the actors and their emotions are marinated to perfection.

Brilliant performances – Alia Bhatt is so natural and spontaneous; she has managed to eclipse a much senior and gifted actor Randeep Hooda (Randeep has also done justice to his character but perhaps a bit less-utilized). The decision to cast Alia for the role was the trump and it really paid off (Imtiaz wasn’t that lucky in his earlier film Rockstar when he casted Nargis Fakhri in the lead role).

HIghway-posterIn a nutshell Highway is all about this fun-loving, rich, ‘bride-to-be’, young girl Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) – what happens when her life takes a wretched turn as she gets kidnapped by a crude, merciless criminal Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda) – and finally how this unfortunate event changes her – she experiences love, her dreams come true and she learns to see the world from a different perspective.

Oscar winning composer A.R.Rahman‘s soulful music is skillfully weaved throughout the film to smoothen the bumps on the highway. (Thankfully not a single abrupt/forced song sequence added).

The attractive highway sequences seen mostly from the point of view of a moving vehicle (the truck) are always layered by the humming of the truck-engine to give the audience a feel of being a part of the journey. Excellent sound designing throughout the film – thanks to Amrit Pritam Dutta and the Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookutty.

highway-poster2No high-end camera rigs used, no artificial lights (in most of the shots), very less use of make-up for the actors, no extreme image manipulation in the post-production; credit goes to the cinematographer Anil Mehta who still managed to make the film look classy.

Two emotional sequences worth mentioning – one of Alia crying and laughing at the same time as she let herself go and the other one where Mahabir cries watching Veera making food and cleaning their new home in the mountains, very touchy and superb performances by the actors.

A scenic journey through Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir, seat back and enjoy the emotional love story of Veera and Mahabir as they hit the highways.

Highway is a film that will engage you, entertain you and in a certain level make you uncomfortable.

P.S – A note of comparison: There’s the scene where Veera confronts her uncle in front of other family members – she accuses him of abusing her when she was nine years old. I feel that Mira Nair handled the same kind of situation in her film Monsoon Wedding (2001) much better when the child abuser (played by Rajat Kapoor) gets accused by the victim (played by Shefali Shetty).