Tag Archives: Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Best Offbeat Indian Cinema of recent times (10+1 list)

Best Offbeat Indian Cinema of recent times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Offbeat Indian Cinema, huh?

The term ‘offbeat’ generally conveys a certain idea of non-commercial, arty, not-for-the-masses kind of movies; those
intellectual films which almost invariably wouldn’t do much business in the box office but will probably travel around several festivals and Offbeat-Indian-Cinemasurvive exclusively on the blessings of a handful of niche audience and critics.

Well, that more or less covers everything except for the most essential fact, that most often these so-called ‘offbeat’ films are the real trendsetters, so unique and revolutionary in their treatment and storytelling that they are responsible for the evolution of meaningful Cinema around the globe!

And this particular list of Offbeat Indian Cinema (many are in regional languages), although some of them might have been lost in the popcorn-culture a tad too quickly for my personal discomfort, but then again, all of these films are undoubtedly the most important Indian Cinema of our recent times!

Here we go! (Listed according to their year of release)

10. Ankhon Dekhi (2013)

Language: Hindi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3yKUHI2mE4

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaRevolves around a simple yet philosophical concept of a man’s belief, as he decides to believe only what he sees with his eyes!

Brilliantly written, directed and acted by Rajat Kapoor, the film that succeeds in recognising the true talent of performer Sanjay Mishra.

And most importantly this movie sets the stage for one of the most prominent Indian producer of today – Manish Mundra,  who in the following years have given us such brilliant films like MasaanDhanakWaiting and Newton.

9. Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)

Language: Punjabi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pAByInA4kM

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaAn uniquely metaphorical film based on the post-partition era of India and Pakistan. A Sikh desperate for a male heir, but then when his fourth daughter is born, he declares her to be a boy and obsessively brings her up in the same fashion!

The first collaboration between director Anup Singh and actor Irrfan Khan which resulted in such a brilliant piece of story telling and powerful acting.

Tillotama ShomeTisca Chopra and Rasika Dugal – absolute brilliant performances by all!

8. The Lunchbox (2013)

Dabba (original title), Language: Hindi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK3R0rvnlPs

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaWritten and directed by Ritesh Batra, this film is essentially a love story between an unhappy housewife and a middle-aged man, and they depend on the Mumbai’s famous ‘dabba’ delivery system to share their delicious little love-notes.

Probably the most commercially popular in this list, this unique love affair is crisp, real and yet as romantic as a fantasy.

The performances of Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui makes the movie a true memorable experience.

7. Ottaal (2014)

Language: Malayalam

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNuJPc8u8WM

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaVisually the most eye-pleasing film in the list; a soulful story of a little boy and his grandfather and their beautiful fishing village somewhere in the backwaters of Kerala. But then there is ‘The Trap’ that awaits.

Superb direction by Jayaraaj, the story adopted from Anton Chekhov’s story Vanka.

The songs, the water, the innocence of the village – and the beauty of nature captured by M.J. Radhakrishnan in the most cinematic way ever!

6. Court (2014)

Language: Marathi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sc8z7zav9A

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaWritten and directed by Chaitanya Tamhane, the film which won the National Award (Golden Lotus Award) and was the official entry from India for the Oscars 2016! 

(Click for Review)

The film is a sarcastic take on the Indian dysfunctional legal system that revolves around a folk-singer’s prosecution!

A script so powerful and so confidently executed, superb performances, the most unique court-room drama ever made.

5. Asha Jaoar Majhe (2014)

Language: Bengali

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFObwB9TAwc

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaLabour of Love, winner of two National Awards and many International ones, probably the most sensitive and poetic film in this list.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Aditya Vikram Sengupta, the story of a married couple who yearns to meet and spend time together but couldn’t because of their work timings. The best thing that happened to the Bengali Industry in the recent times!

4. Visaaranai (2015)

Language: Tamil

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mnzK2KIz9U

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaDirected by Vetrimaaran, this was India’s official entry for the Oscars last year!

Based on a true story, four state-immigrants who experience the tragic police brutality as they were forcefully arrested, illegally detained, tortured and threatened to admit crimes of which they have no knowledge whatsoever!

Dark, gritty and dangerously realistic, the movie emphasises on the corruption of the Indian police department and the helplessness of the common man.

3. Chauthi Koot (2015)

Language: Panjabi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFS-ETnMSw4

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaMid 1980s, politically turbulent Punjab being the backdrop, the film focuses on one particular family that (like most of the other Punjabi families of the time) gets crushed in-between the Indian Army and Sikh separatists.

Brilliantly written and directed by Gurvinder Singh, (his debut film being Anhey gorhey da daan), this movie brilliantly portrays the agitation and terror of the innocents of that era.

2. Thithi (2015)

Language: Kannada

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_NltD4Stv4

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaA man, 101-year-old – dies. His sons and their sons and their family (the next three generations) prepare for his funeral, after the customary eleven days. The film is based on their actions and reactions over the old man’s death.

Smooth flowing, realistic and immensely engaging; a story of a seemingly every-day village life but told with such conviction.

Superb direction given by Raam Reddy, impactful performances, winning multiple awards – probably the best film in the list!

  1. Aligarh (2015)

Language: Hindi

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

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaBased on a true story of Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, a professor who taught Marathi at Aligarh Muslim University, and was suspended from his job because of his sexual orientation!

(Film Review)

Masterfully directed by Hansal Mehta and such powerful performances by Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao.

Manoj Bajpayee (according to me) deserved the National Award for his role as Professor Siras.

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

+1. Kaul (2016)

Language: Marathi

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsR8pclAW1Y

Offbeat-Indian-CinemaWritten and directed by Vasudev Keluskar, this film is one of a kind – experimental, surrealistic, mysterious and stunningly visual!

The tale of a village school teacher who tries to maintain his sanity when assigned with an incredible responsibility that might change the fate of our universe!

Exceptionally well edited, shot in style playing with lights and shadows, sold performances – overall an exceptionally courageous example of story telling!

A few names of Offbeat Indian Cinema which are deserves the applause are Shahid (2012), Ship of Theseus (2012), Titli (2014), Killa (2014), Margarita with a Straw (2014), Talvar (2015), Haraamkhor (2015), Hotel Salvation (2016) and Trapped (2017).

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Lion (2016)

Lion Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

 A passionate narrative that celebrates both emotions and technology at the same time!

My Ratings: 4.1/5

80,000 children go missing in India every year never again to be reunited with their families, unfortunate indeed.

But then how many of these lost children are fortunate enough to get adopted by some kind-hearted couple from Tasmania, who are lion-poster1not only willing to give them their family name, but also enough love and affection, education and freedom to relive their own lives?

Well, Saroo a kid from rural India who loves Jalebis, happened to be one such unfortunate, yet fortunate soul!

At the age of five an unintentional train journey took him to an unknown city, alone in the streets, miserable and hungry, missing his family, and on the verge of getting exploited. But then, he survives, was sent to an orphanage and from there taken for adoption by Brierley family from Tasmania!

The first half of Saroo’s tale is dramatic enough to be made into a motion picture but the story doesn’t end there!

lion-posterAfter 25 years Saroo decides to find his roots, his village, his people, his family – he comes back to India in search of his brother and mother!

Exceptional performance by Dev Patel as Saroo, supposedly he had spent eight months preparing for his role! But more surprising was debutant Sunny Pawar‘s role, who played the part of young Saroo and stole the show!

Then of course Nicole Kidman (a great come back for her), David Wenham and Rooney Mara all made their presence felt. The Indian actors – Tannishtha ChatterjeeNawazuddin SiddiquiDeepti NavalKoushik SenAbhishek Bharate all shined in their cameos. But again the performance of Priyanka Bose as Saroo’s mother deserves a special mention, she is so natural yet subtle!

lion-poster2Brilliantly shot by Greig Fraser and edited by Alexandre de Franceschi. And also well complemented by the music of Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran.

Since Saroo used Google Earth to try and locate his origins, Google have helped in the production of the film and gave the crew satellite imagery access and other technical support.

Director Garth Davis‘s Lion will remind you of Slumdog Millionaire but then for me it’s an entirely different treatment and story, after all it’s based on a true story!

P.S. – But why does the film named ‘Lion‘? Well, for a very good reason but you have to watch it to find it out!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Best Bollywood Thrillers 2016 (10+1list)

Best Bollywood Thrillers 2016

written by Souranath Banerjee

Best Bollywood Thrillers 2016 – Curiosity has always been an unquenchable thirst for mankind and that is exactly why so many thrillers are being produced and catered to the audience throughout the year.

And 2016 has been a specially thrilling year for Bollywood!

Enough murder mysteries, conspiracies and suspense dramas, be it fictional or based on real events; most of these Hindi language suspense thrillers have managed to keep us guessing till the end.

So without any more delay, let’s begin the list of the Best Bollywood Thrillers 2016.

10. Rustom

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L83qMnbJ198

Bollywood-Thrillers-20161959, the story of Rustom Pavri as the decorated naval officer who is accused of murdering his wife’s lover – three shots that shocked the nation!

Directed by Dharmendra Suresh Desai, this is a decent crime drama, a court room suspense thriller that reveals itself in time. 

As expected Akshay Kumar gives a great performance.

9. Madaari

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4s3JmLGLCA

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016A war against the government, a fight against corruption, and a man seeking his personal revenge!

A thriller directed by Nishikant Kamat, that tells us the story of a man who has lost his family and blames the corrupt government for his loss and now he is out to take his vengeance. 

Irrfan Khan and Jimmy Shergill makes the film a decent watch.

8. Te3n

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeBCB5ERnps

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016A remake of the South Korean thriller Montage (2013), the Bollywood version revolves around a grandfather (Amitabh Bachchan), a cop (Vidya Balan) and an ex-cop turned priest (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) – all desperate to solve a case of kidnapping.

Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, a slow paced yet well articulated thriller that keeps you guessing till the end.

7. Phobia

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBP6rYLfgFE

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016A young girl due to some tragic events become agoraphobic – develops a phobia of the outer world. But being indoors also starts taking a toll on her mind.

Innovative storyline, good cinematography, and brilliant performance from Radhika Apte.

Directed by Pawan Kripalani, this is probably the most underrated thriller of this year.

6. Wazir

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdwM7xKOph0

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016A master chess player and a valiant cop become friends but soon they fall prey of some dark conspiracy that threatens to twist their lives forever.

(Click for Review)

Directed by Bejoy Nambiar, this is a thriller that tries it’s best to hold the suspense till the very last scene. Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar at their best.

5. Airlift

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb5xCMbMfZ0

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016In 1990, when Iraq invades Kuwait, almost 170,000 Indians lost their homes and were stranded until one Indian businessmen named Ranjit Katyal managed to rescue them all – and it is the largest and the most successful evacuation mission ever attempted by any country, in the history of the world!

Directed by Raja Menon, this Akshay Kumar starrer is one historical drama that can be well qualified as a ‘thriller’ because of it’s tight suspenseful storyline.

4. Kahaani 2

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez4mXaeSKuk

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016After the huge success of Kahaani in 2012, this time director Sujoy Ghosh and actress Vidya Balan has teamed up again to give us another suspense thriller. 

A woman whose daughter goes missing and soon enough she herself is being charged of kidnapping and murder!

Not entirely dependent on logics but then again, a decent entertaining thriller for sure.

3. Pink

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL2TShb6fFs

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016Directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, this is a thriller very much in sync with our modern society and it’s issues. 

(Click for Review)

Three girls who were harassed, both physically and mentally, and then wrongly accused of finally got some help from an annoying yet clever retired lawyer.

A thrilling courtroom-drama; and brilliant performances by Tapsee PannuKirti KulhariPiyush Mishra and Amitabh Bachchan.

2. Neerja

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7779JrWy04g

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016In 1986, when Pan Am flight 73 was highjacked the credit of saving  the lives of 359 passengers goes to one courageous Indian girl – Neerja Bhanot.

(Click for Review)

Directed by Ram Madhvani, this is the thrilling biography of Neerja, played superbly by Sonam Kapoor and her heroic story of determination, acuity and sacrifice. 

  1. Raman Raghav 2.0

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq1cEmhVa68

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016Raman Raghav, an infamous serial killer from the 1960s comes to life when director Anurag Kashyap join hands with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal to create one of the darkest film of Bollywood ever!

A thriller that doesn’t shy off from getting all gory and uncomfortable, extreme level of violence not exactly suitable for children and the weak hearted.

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

+1. Buddha in a Traffic Jam

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkp7br61ixE

Bollywood-Thrillers-2016And finally a political thriller.

A genre rare in India but this one is an effectively constructed story on the how the poor adivasis of our country are being tortured and exploited in the name of different ideologies and political colours.

Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, starring Arunoday SinghAnupam Kher and Pallavi Joshi the film is surely innovative and different from the regular trend of thrillers. 

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of 2015

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of recent times

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

18th JIO MAMI – the Closing Ceremony and the Awards!

18th JIO MAMI – the Closing Ceremony and the Awards! 

written by Souranath Banerjee

Every thing, no matter how good it is must come to an end!

And thus, with a dazzling star-studded closing ceremony the 18th JIO MAMI Mumbai Film Festival bids adieu to all us Cinema-ayan-mukerji-and-anurag-kashyaplovers!

The curtain fell on India’s biggest Film Festival, Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival with Star on Thursday, 27th October, 2016. The ceremony took place at Bal Gandharva Rangmandir, Bandra. World-renowned filmmakers, talent and Bollywood stars walked the red carpet to celebrate the end of Mumbai’s very own film festival’s latest edition.

Sonam Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Abhay Deol, Kabir Khan, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Abhijat Joshi, Rahul Bose, Kunal Kapoor, Zoya Akhtar, Ayan Mukerji, Vishal Bharadwaj, Anurag Kashyap, Shakun Batra, Konkona Sensharma, Rajkumar Hirani, Richa Chadda, Neha Sharma and others walked the red carpet at the closing ceremony along with Jio 18th-jio-mami-the-closing-ceremony-and-the-awardsMAMI with Star Co-chairperson Kiran Rao, Festival Director Anupama Chopra. Shweta Tripathi and Vicky Kaushal hosted the event.

Jio MAMI with Star Co-Chair, Kiran Rao said, “We are now at the end of this festival- a Festival that not only showcased work from all over the world but also provided cinephiles a chance to be a part of panels, workshops, and master classes with experts in the field, leaving them with the best of experiences. On this day, I am filled with profound gratitude and satisfaction and I would like to thank all our partners for going out of their way to support us.”

Festival Director, Anupama Chopra said “For the last 7 days, we 18th-jio-mami-the-closing-ceremony-and-the-awardshave all participated in a remarkable film feast. I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to our amazing audience, our fantastic sponsors and the fabulous film industry in Mumbai for helping us to make this edition such a success.”

And finally, the winners under various categories were announced.

HALF TICKET

  • The Golden Gateway Award (Feature) – ‘Hang in There, Kids!’ By Laha Mebow
  • The Silver Gateway Award (Feature) – ‘At Eye Level’ by Evi Goldbrunner and Joachim Dollhopf.
  • Special mention (Feature)– ‘Colours of Innocence’ by Mrinmoy Mondal and Shupratim Bhol.
  • The Golden Gateway Award (Short) – ‘A Town Called Panic: Back to School’ by Vincent Patar and Stephane Aubier. 
  • The Silver Gateway Award (Short) – ‘We Make Images’ by Nina Sabnani.
  • Special Mention (Short)- The Best Sound in the World by Pedro Paulo De Andrade.

Book Award

  • The Special Mention for Excellence in Writing on Cinema (Hindi) went to ‘Naye Daur Ka Naya Cinema’ by Priyadarshan.
  • The Special Mention for Excellence in Writing on Cinema (English)went to ‘Kanan Devi: The First Superstar of Indian Cinema’ by Mekhala Sengupta.
  • The Excellence in Writing on Cinema Award (Hindi) went to Anil Bhargava for ‘Bhartiye Cinema ka Itihas’.
  • The Jury announced The Excellence in writing on Cinema Award (English) in favor of Jai Arjun Singh for ‘The World of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’.

Festival Director Anupama Chopra along with Stephanie Zacharek, Film Critic- Time Magazine handed over the Young Critics Award to Matthew Vetticad.

  • Young Critics Choice Award went to ‘Cinema Travellers’ by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madhesiya.

Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality went to ‘Lipstick lipstick-under-my-burkha-posterUnder my Burkha’ by Alankrita Shrivastava.

Porush Singh, Country Corporate Officer, India and Division President, MasterCard South Asia handed over the ‘Mastercard Best India Female Filmmaker 2016 Award’ to Konkona Sensharma for the film ‘A Death in the Gunj’.

 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui gave away the ‘Audience Choice Award’ to the movie ‘The Salesman’ by Asghar Farhadi.

DIMENSIONS MUMBAI

  • The Golden Gateway Award was bestowed to Santosh Ganpat Kamble, Director of ‘Mumbai’s Mahuwa’ by Mr Mehmet Akay (General Manager- Western and Southern India, Turkish Airlines)
  • The Silver Gateway Award went to Tabu Kaariya, Director of ‘Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh’.
  • ‘Bombai’received The Special Mention (Dimensions Mumbai) Award by Director Yashwardhan Goswami.

INDIA GOLD

  • Haobam Paban Kumar received The Golden Gateway Awardfor ‘Lady of the Lake.’
  • The Silver Gateway Awardfor India Gold went to ‘The Narrow Path’ by Satish Babusenan and Santosh Babusenan.
  • The Jury Grand Prizewent to Aicheng Jai Dohutia for ‘The Hidden Corner.’
  • The Special Mentionwent to ‘Autohead’ by Deepak Sampath.
  • The Special Mention went to ‘Cinema Travellers’ by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madhesiya.

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

  • David Chou received The Golden Gateway Awardfor ‘Diamond Island’.
  • The winner of The Silver Gateway Awardfor International Competition was Ralitza Petrova for ‘Godless’.
  • The Jury Grand Prizewent to the movie ‘Everything Else’ by Natalia Almada.
  • Special Mention for Political Commitment of the Filmwent to ‘When Two Worlds Collide’.
  • The Special Mentionwent to Macarena Arias for the film ‘Alba’.

Photo courtesy: mumbaifilmfest.com

Best Bollywood Thrillers 2015 (10+1list)

Best Bollywood Thrillers 2015.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Bollywood Thrillers 2015 – People in general are instinctively curious by nature, which obviously makes them so very fond of thrillers.

And 2015 has been indeed a thrilling year for Bollywood!

Enough murder mysteries, conspiracies and suspense dramas, be it fictional or based on real events, most of these films have managed to keep us guessing till the end.

So without any more introduction, let the list begin Bollywood Thrillers 2015.

10. Charlie Kay Chakkar Mein

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHzVCdpXBDc

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Multiple homicides caught on camera and now it is the job of the Commissioner of Police (Naseeruddin Shah) and his rookie assistant (Auroshikha Dey) to connect the clues and decipher the mysterious case. 

Directed by Manish Srivastav, a classic suspense drama based on the many definitions of truth, or may be the multiple perceptions of it.

9. Main Aur Charles

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOF9MlEOfuE

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015A biographical film on the charismatic con man and a deadly serial killer Charles Sobhraj. 

Directed by Prawaal Raman, the film focuses on his jail break, and also his master plan where every other person is a pawn in the game.

Randeep Hooda brilliantly played the lead, supported by Richa ChaddaTisca Chopra and Adil Hussain

8. Baby

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yu_2nyOP5o

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015As part of a Counter Intelligence Unit, an elite team is desperate to prevent a terrorist attack on India.  

Directed by Neeraj Pandey, this one is a thrilling espionage drama full of tense heart racing moments and well choreographed action.

Akshay Kumar taking the lead, the film also has Danny DenzongpaRana DaggubatiKay Kay MenonAnupam Kher and Rasheed Naz among others.

7. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG–GOpi_0g

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Saradindu Bandopadhyay’s renowned Bengali detective is back in action; he is young, ambitious and ready to learn from his mistakes.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Dibakar Banerjee, and Sushant Singh Rajput in the lead; set in the 1940’s Calcutta, a mysterious case needs the attention of Mr.Byomkesh.

6.  Badlapur

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KEoZanqlOE

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Directed by Sriram Raghavan, a unique thrilling tale of injustice and revenge.

The film is unusually realistic with strong and well motivated characters.

(Click for the review)

Brilliant performances by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Varun Dhawan, accompanied by Radhika ApteVinay Pathak and Divya Dutta.

5. Nh10

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9icNqWlylw

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015A perfect romantic trip turns into a nightmare.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Navdeep Singh, this is one hard hitting thriller where a urban woman experiences the brutal face of rural India, as she unintentionally becomes involved in a case of honor killing.

Anushka Sharma‘s best performance till date.

4. Rahasya

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvm-KpdRrbk

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Directed by Manish Gupta, a film that is loosely inspired by the Arushi murder case.

A doctor accused of killing his own daughter, but the evidences somehow doesn’t add up. Kay Kay Menon as the CBI investigating officer finally brings justice to this mysterious case.

A perfect thriller with solid performances by Ashish Vidyarthi and Tisca Chopra

3. Drishyam

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuuX2j14NBg

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015A thrilling tale of a common man who by his intellect and imagination tricked everyone in order to save his family.

Directed by Nishikant Kamat, a south remake starring Ajay DevgnShriya Saran and Tabu.

A thriller that keeps you on the edges of your seat and doesn’t reveal the suspense till the last shot of the film.

2. Talvar

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQNMsw8Ljjc

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Directed by Meghna Gulzar, this one is a well researched version of the Noida Double Murder Case of 2008, also known as the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case.

(Click for the review)

Very natural performances by Irrfan KhanKonkona Sen SharmaNeeraj Kabi and Sohum Shah among others.

One of the best realistic thrillers of this year. 

  1.  Titli

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOqiQiMkXDA

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015A family whose family-business is car-jacking, often violently abusing the passengers and looting their valuables.

The youngest member of this family is named Titli (Shashank Arora), and this is his story of freedom.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Kanu Behl, the film is nominated in the Cannes Film Festival, a gritty thriller that shouldn’t be missed.

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

+1. Kajarya

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_1jBPqL9K8

Bollywood-Thrillers-2015Directed by Madhureeta Anand, this one is not the ideal Bollywood thriller you expect but nevertheless, a very significant film of this year.

(Click for the review)

It focuses on the issue of female infanticide and tells a dangerous tale of murder, betrayal and injustice. Brilliant performance by Meenu Hooda

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of 2016

Similar Interest: Best Bollywood Thrillers of recent times

Poster courtesy: filmywave.commovies80.com

Haraamkhor (2015)

Haraamkhor review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4/5.

Haraamkhor recently won the Silver Gateway Award at the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival and according to it’s producer Guneet Monga of Sikhya Entertainment, the film is all set to release in the theaters very soon.

It is a rural tale of a teacher-student liaison.

Till now Bollywood has always played the safe game while portraying the ‘sacred’ emotions of a teacher-student relationship; such relations have always been handled delicately, from a safe distance and that too often dipped in deliberately dramatized dignity.

Haraamkhor-poster1But in the film Haraamkhor, the only emotions that are taken into consideration are unprocessed and raw, intense, realistic, and devoid of any kind of sugar-coating for sure.

Set in a small town of Gujarat, a school teacher named Shyam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is said to be having an affair with one of his student Sandhya (Shweta Tripathi).

At the initial stage though, it all seems to be just a rumor, a small-town gossip but as the film reveals itself along with it’s characters, it soon becomes pretty evident that Shyam and Sandhya’s relation is way beyond the usually expected tutor-pupil correlation. It’s a strange mix of lust and passion, of naive innocence and also a bit of love.

And then, Sandhya being underage (15-year-old) and Shyam being a 35-year-old married man makes their relationship more of a taboo!

The premise is simple but the execution is savagely precise and gritty and very entertaining as well.

Now of course, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the selling point of the film as undoubtedly he is the most gifted actor of our recent times. And yes, he has done a tremendous job with his character in Haraamkhor; the cunning, libidinous, occasionally violent school teacher who at the same time is desperate to maintain his reputation!

But this film is not a one man show.

Haraamkhor-posterThe stage is been shared by another very talented actor Shweta Tripathi, who already appeared earlier in a soulful film called Masaan, and yet again in this film has proved herself to be one of the best upcoming talents of our industry.

Along with the two child actors who added enough humor to the script, Trimala Adhikari‘s performance is also much creditable as Sunita, the wife of the flirtatious school-teacher Shyam.  

Written and directed by debutant Shlok Sharma, the film is an unique combination of serious adult drama and numerous fun-filled moments. An awesome debut film!

Though the ending is not the part to be particularly proud of but overall the film is based on a taut script, beautifully portrayed emotions, attention given to every little details in preparing the characters and superb acting.  

If you prefer realistic films and aren’t shy of looking into an illicit relationship between a minor girl and a much older married man, this film is definitely worth a watch.

poster curtsey: www.clickmaza.comwww.ibnlive.com

JIO MAMI – DAY6 AND 7 (Nawazuddin’s Haraamkhor and much more)

JIO MAMI – DAY6 AND 7.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Every good thing in this world comes to an end and so did the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival.

Featuring 200 films from over 35 countries and this is what the last two days of the festival had in store for me.

 

Day 6 (4nd NOV)

The first film that was waiting for me on the sixth day of the festival was Haraamkhor (2015). A very interesting film to start the day.

haraamkhor1Directed by debutant Shlok Sharma, a film that though gives an impression of light comedy (specially looking at it’s poster) but then it’s not.

A few comic moments here and there, but essentially the film is based on the illicit relationship between a teacher and his student and it’s brutally realistic. 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui is as usual the heart of the film, his acting skills are currently the best in the Indian film industry and we all know it. But Shweta Tripathi is one actress to look forward to. She is brilliant in the film and has all the potential of becoming a great actress.

 

And then there was this animated gem of a beautiful film called Belladonna of Sadness (1973).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdp85x9d0A4

Belladon-posterA peasant woman who has a pact with the devil and challenges the social norms!

Directed by genius Eiichi Yamamoto, a master of visual art and animation.

A film that is considered to be as a classic and why not? Extraordinary visuals and spectacular color play, powerful erotic imagery and a very thin narrative structure.

A must watch for people who are more into visual arts and animation.

 

And then there was The Club (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqv8PPDfiyw

club-posterDirected by Pablo Larraín, this is both an innovative and a disturbing film.

In a Chilean beach town, the disgraced priests and nuns (suspected of crimes in their past) are sent to stay in a house. And then one day a crisis counselor comes in and everything changes!

Beautiful images and great acting, a terrific story that is too real and hard hitting at times. Something that lasts an impact on you.

 

And the day ended with a superb film called Mia Madre (2015) aka My Mother.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWiFif96t3Y

mia-madre-posterDirected by Nanni Moratti, this one is a film so sensitive and emotional that it makes you miss your own mother/parents.

A film director whose mother in in the hospital, and in-between her busy schedule she visits her and try to comfort her.

Brilliant performances by Margherita BuyNanni MorettiGiulia Lazzaroni and some well deserved comic reliefs by John Turturro – a film that that is complete in it’s own unique way.

 

Day 7 (5nd NOV)

On the last day i watched the only 3D animated film in the festival, Monster Hunt (2015).

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR6JRIlf1jM

monster-hunt-posterThe monster’s world and the human’s world collide and two humans become responsible to protect a baby monster (the future monster king).

The film boasts of awesome animation and superb use of VFX.

Directed by Raman Hui, this Chinese animated film reminded me of my all time favorite film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).

A bit kiddish of course but a good watch.

 

And then, there was this soulful film Ottal (2014) aka Trap.

Ottal-posterDirected by Jayaraj, this one is about a poor, young boy whose grandfather wants him to study and become somebody respectable.

But instead of going to a school, the boy ends up as a child worker in a distant town away from the love and protection of his grandfather.

The film is the voice of thousands of such children who are illegally being forced to work under inhuman conditions.

 

Well, this ends the spectacular journey of films and also the JIO MAMI 17th Mumbai Film Festival. I was glad to be a part of it and will eagerly wait for it the next year.

Thank you.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.ibnlive.comisammakesstuff.tumblr.comwww.cinenews.be.

Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015)

Manjhi: The Mountain Man review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4/5

A man who is blinded by rage, a man who believes in true love, a man who has nothing else to loose, a man with tremendous willpower, a man with a mission.

manjhi_poster2The latest biographical drama by Ketan Mehta is inspired on the real life story of a poor labourer Dashrath Manjhi from a village called Gehlaur (near Gaya, in Bihar).

Gehlaur was surrounded by hills and the nearest town with school and hospital facilities was almost 70 km away, and that too one had to take a path around the difficult mountain road.

After the death of Manjhi’s wife Falguni Devi (she accidentally slipped and fell from the mountains and couldn’t survive due to delayed medical treatment), Manjhi in a feat of madness vowed to take revenge on the treacherous Gehlaur mountains and cut it down to make a short-cut road for the benefit of his fellow villagers.

And incredibly enough Manjhi kept his word.

dashrat-manjhiIt took him 22 years but Dashrath Manjhi, single-handedly, with only a hammer and a chisel did slice the mountain and made a passage through it, reducing the distance from his village to the nearest town to a mere 15 Km.

An achievement of which even Thor (the mythological God of thunder always seen with a hammer) would probably be jealous or even proud of.

The film Manjhi: The Mountain Man tries to depict the passion and determination of Dashrat Manjhi. And it succeeds too to an extent but in a very ‘bollywoodish’ and filmy way!

Ketan Mehta, undoubtedly a talented director with a vision but in this case his job becomes easier because of the choice of casting.

manjhi_poster3Nawazuddin Siddiqui as we all know is the one of the finest actor in India and he himself admitted in a recent interview that playing the role of Manjhi is his best performance till date. Probably it’s not just promotional talk but he is telling the truth!

Nawazuddin easily transforms himself from the easy-going comic lover to a delirious victim of love. The madness in his eyes, his hysterical laughter, the frantic resolution and the demented strength of character – i can’t imagine anybody else performing such a challenging character.

Radhika Apte, playing Manjhi’s wife (Phaguniya), has also done a great job. In her no-blouse-saree-draped costume, she is the perfect combination of innocence and seduction. 

manjhi-poster3And then Tigmanshu Dhulia as the corrupt Mukhiya and Pankaj Tripathi as his scandalous son did make their presence felt.

The mountain man’s journey wasn’t an easy one – not only for the sheer physical strength that was demanded for the job but also because the ignorant man was repeatedly mocked, harassed, cheated and once even arrested. 

But the important lesson to learn is that he never stopped doing what he believed is right.

Darshat Manjhi is a legendary figure in his own right; though this 120 min film may not be that legendary but it surely made Manjhi a much more popular legend than before.

Badlapur (2015)

My Ratings: 3.8/5.

“Revenge is a dish that tastes best when served cold.” – a quote from the book/film The Godfather. And then “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” – the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi.

Badlapur is a film that tries to establish a balance between the above two quotes; a movie that thrives on the concept of revenge but also condemns it in the process.

badlapur-poster4Within the first ten minutes of the film a bank gets looted, two bandits on the chase and two innocent hostages loose their lives. One of the thugs get caught but the other one runs away with the money!

Raghav looses his wife and son (both were hostages) and it shatters his life.

And hence the mood is set for a perfect revenge thriller.

Badlapur revolves basically around the two main characters and their goals in life – firstly Varun Dhawan (Raghav) and his thirst for retribution and secondly the gangster who gets caught Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Liak) and his unending desire for freedom, money and his long-lost love Jhimli (Huma Qureshi).

A film that burns in the flames of Violence and Vengeance.

badlapur-poster1A hammer used as a weapon (i guess this is an inspiration from the South Korean action flicks); make no mistake Badlapur is a hard-core, realistic action film where even the letters on an innocent scrabble board-game spells “revenge”.

Superb acting by all, specially Nawazuddin Siddiqui, his simplicity while delivering dialogues is outstanding. Even Varun Dhawan did give his best, his matured look with the beard and all looks very promising indeed.  

Huma Qureshi, Divya Dutta, Yami Gautam, Radhika Apte all played their parts pretty well.

Edgy editing by Pooja Ladha Surti and good casting choices by Mukesh Chhabra.

Sriram Raghavan is back; if you have enjoyed his earlier films like Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddaar i am sure you will like his latest Badlapur as well.

So go watch it.

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