All you folks who missed me on this blog for all this time.. (does that even amount to 1 person? :-/ ), here I am back on the job at the fag end of the year.. This is most certainly the last post of this year.. to cap as the 12th post of the year.. hmmm.. 12 posts in 2007 comparing to 32 for 2006. So there, am certainly not upto the challenge to feed this blog enough.. lets see what 2008 brings...
2007 had me watching a lot of movies... a lot.. and a lot of good ones.. I DID watch a lot of classics, popular english titles and a whole lot of Hindi mainstream ones too.. What was nice to see was that this year saw a surge in quality film making. True, the Partners and the Dhols were made, but there were more than a handful of movies made not for the only reason to watch bottom lines. There were creative reasons behind these. An effort to make movies that push the envelope.
Let me try to outline some of these:
- Manorama - Six Feet Under
The finest film to hit screens this year, in my opinion. A film that doesnt take the easy route when the going gets tough. A genuinely crafted thriller brilliant direction from a debutant, Navdeep Singh.
- Chak de India
Good story and well made, though is not as novel in its narrative as Manorama.. A little over hyped in my opinion. But nevertheless, a quite departure from the formulaic Bollywood stuff.
- Johny Gaddaar
JG is a tribute to the 70s movies. An interesting story well written and well directed. It has its moments and it does NOT try to fall in the rut, when you expect it to.
- Cheeni kum
The best written dialogue of the year. Amazing conversations happen here.. and for once Amitabh is utilized. Inspite of a tacky ending, a great watch.
Another Amitabh starrer.. though more prototype than Cheeni Kum. Eklavya is rightly chosen as the indian entry for the Oscars (though i admit I havnt seen Dharm), for its narrative and its compact direction. Its the closest we have to a 120 minute thriller that hollywood makes 10 every year.
- Black friday
Well, definitely the most different movie to be present, even in this list. A complete departure to any pattern you might have seen in Bollywood. Chapter based narrative and amazing tension built in key scenes. What stops this from getting in Black Friday idolatory is its rawness.. i find too many edges and uneveness to love it the way a lot of people do.
- taare zameen pe
Yet to watch it.. :-( But from the reviews and news, Aamir brings in a fresh perspective to the area of direction too. All eager to watch it.
Yet to watch it.. But again, its a movie based on the horrors of Gujrat genocide. Actually the thought of it makes me want to skip this one.
- Life in a ...metro
Metro is pretty much the only multi-thread narrative in Bollywood that didnt suck. A little tacky at times, but certainly engrossing once you watch it past the 30 minute mark. Some inspired acting here.
- honeymoon travel pvt ltd
Another multi-narrative.. nothing breathtaking here, but finds a mention here, for the sheer bravery of this one. The story is quite different and at times does seem to go in the right direction.
- bheja fry
Yet to see it completely. Though have seen the original french title 'The Dinner Game', which this is a faithful interpretation. A small budget movie that raked in a lot of monies. A good trend, only if this one was a complete original.
- ek chalis ki last local
A take on Tarantinoish thriller. The screenplay reeks of Tarantino all the way.. though direction lets this down quite badly.
- jhoom barabar jhoom
Contrary to the popular view, I kind of liked this one. It is pretty much the first Hindi movie I can recall to have used misleading narrative. They dance too much at the end to really ruin this one though.
- gandhi my father
A great attempt actually to take on a very interesting and difficult subject. Almost succeeds. The transitions between various sequences jarred.
- blue umbrella
Vishal Bharadwaj, one of the best film makers in India today, makes a small childrens' film. Yet to watch it, but everything about it feels too interesting.
- jab we met
Imtiaz Ali comes back to write a Hum Tum type romance. Decently written, the direction could do with some work though. Some moments are very effective, some quite over the top.
- No Smoking
Anurag Kashyap finally makes his own film -ontime. Critics dump it. Yet to watch it, but have a good vibe for it. Atleast he made something different than a rip off on Hey Baby.
So, here it was, a list of titles released this year that I thought attempted something to challenge our tried and tested Bollywood formulas. Do write back which ones worked for you and which ones didnt.
So, come back again next year and hopefully there will be something fresh out here to take away.
Happy New Year 2oo8....