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Top 10 Finest Pieces Of Hindi Cinema In 2013

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By Sneha Roychoudhury:

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time”
-H. W. Longfellow

There is a way with art which, like the humans that create it, become immortal carriers of life, of greatness and of splendour quite unknown to common minds- minds that can only stare in awe and wonder at the utter radiance of the subtle beauty this creation carries. Over the ages of human evolution, a leap has been taken in the cultural climb, with the coming of motion pictures and its rapid spread with the passing of time. Growth has been achieved and we have come far in telling small stories that make a big impression. In India, the land of intriguing tales, a certain emotion, an attachment and an unfathomable charm is attached to the movies our film industry makes. Some of them fail to articulate the inarticulate, while the ones that do, leave a sense of “feel-good” warmth and a certain dazzling enlightenment that only a piece of genius can deliver. The year that has gone by has been witness to a wave of some of the most heart-rending and beautiful films created in Indian Cinema. Enthralling performances and brilliant scripts have stood apart and made a mark in commercial celluloid.

Gangoo Bai

“Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken winged bird
That cannot fly”
-Langston Hughes

Some words hold true, true almost as the gospel for every human heart, be that of a sorry pauper or a wealthy princess. Or of a middle-aged widow, working and slogging her way through life, doing petty jobs but nursing and nurturing a dream quite far-fetched and yet the closest to her heart. For all of us that have watched and liked this movie, it is a dream, an aspiration and a wrenching desire for what is not, that influences this admiration and sheer respect. Gangoo bai soars from being the utensil-washing-aamchi-mumbai maid to the one moving in the high circles of fashion dazzled Bombay. In pursuit of her sole ambition of purchasing an expensive Gara saree she moves from suburban Matheran to the main city. But through the entire fairy-tale of utopia runs one firm reality, a reality of a small hearts large hopes and the determination- the sheer want and drive to achieve it. Sarita Joshi’s stunning performance and the movies make-believe enigma, sustains the story rather sincerely.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
bhaag milkha bhaag

A biopic on the life of the greatest Indian athlete of all times, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a very close and yet a very interestingly knitted retelling of a life and a person that has made this nation extremely proud. A rather fitted portrayal and tribute to a stalwart, makes the film a heartfelt performance by the man who took it upon himself to master the character and give it the brilliant touch it required. Justice was truly done to a very fine achieving life that could have gone unsung had it not been for the makers of this piece that will certainly make its way down in history.

Lunch box


While the year has seen many love stories, not to mention the “I shall die because I am your drug, even though we’ve just met and that’s very normal, you know”-Aashiqui 2, Lunch box takes the cake with its delicate, subtle story-telling. That “the prince charming” can be found by a neglected house-wife in an unhappy marriage and fairy godmother may as well be the dabbawala service, makes this tale a rather fantastic and yet a very grounding and realistic relation. The viewer’s heart is won by the very humble and endearing performances, the fine characterization and the warmth that one man can possibly emanate for a woman who deserves it. Prince charming could always be a widower nearing the age of retirement, and living a lonely life, waiting for the right one to come around, what do you know?


Another biopic of the year, Shahid is Hansal Mehta’s adaptation of the controversial life of lawyer Shahid Azmi who had been shot in 2010. Highlighted in this story is a sense and an idea of integrity, a message of fairness and an importance of strength in justice. Tracing a brave story of a wronged man who grows up to fight for the right, to defend the honest and protect those who are victimized, Rajkumar Yadav’s Shahid Azmi spreads a tragic and yet a very upright thought- a thought that must be welcomed in times and the India that we live in.

Kai po che


Silhouetted against a troubled and doom-stricken Gujarat, Kai po che is a brilliant adaptation of what is not one of the best written books of our times, shaping (and in places modifying) the storyline to form a tightly packed saga of agony, anguish and pain born out of the piteous history of divide and hatred. Heartrending as it was, the Abhishek Bhattacharya creation stole hearts with its simplicity and sheer honesty. Events were depicted and emotions projected on the screen with a vividness and conspicuous clarity that never once failed to touch the soul. The movie is on this year’s favourite list for much more than the situation it addresses, for the friendship it depicts and the relationship it cherishes.

Madras Café


Enough can never be written, said or shown about the Sri Lankan civil war… the ripple effects of which India felt in heavy blows as well. Madras Café comes rather close to capturing the gripping and absorbing turn of events in the times that define one of the darkest internal and external terrorist activities of all time. What is increasingly fresh about the movie is its tightness, its ability to fill each moment with action and show ground realities that, however obvious (now that corruption is something we have started coming to terms with, unfortunate as it may be). All in all it is a movie worth a mention in this year’s releases, given the sheer genius that underlies the historical narrative.



Every once in a while a movie is made which is as fluid as poetry, which flows through the nerves and veins and reaches its magic to every breathing particle of our being. Lootera is one such phenomenon, a beauty to the eye, an experience of a kind, one that leaves the sensitive viewer awestruck and grappling for words to describe it. As a period movie, Lootera captures the sepia tinted post-independence Bengal with an ease and intelligence that only an artist can achieve. Also, a very particularly striking aspect of the movie is the true message of passionate love and undying devotion that two people, in forbidden love, can hold in their hearts for each other. The story truly teaches one what redemption could ever mean to a mortal being and a repenting heart.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

ye jawani

Movies come and movies go, but love stories stay on forever. Or that is what Bollywood buffs would tell you, anyhow. But some love stories tell us much more. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is one such, where the narrative talks of a dream, an understanding and a divine connection between two people who earnestly understand each other and the thoughts they hold deep in their hearts. The movie, though light and “fun”, has a deeper message to deliver- one of a tremendous and all engaging passion that drives an ambitious boy and takes him places, satisfying every wish his heart withholds, one of fervour and travel, one of climbing the stairs of a dream that takes the protagonist away from home but nearer to the fire that burns within him. The message is clearly delivered by the protagonist himself- “Mujhe udna hai, daudna hai, girna bhi hai. Magar rukna nahi hai.” And true it is, for even when in love both the characters know that it is their dreams and the differences in their priorities that could separate them as well as bind them together with a chord of unique similarity.


raam leela

Well, we never run out of love stories, do we now? From time to time, we have had various adaptations of the epic Romeo and Juliet by various Indian directors, who have had their own little take on the story. Bansali brings together a sensitively captured, terror-stricken town of Gujarat and the immortal “leela” of two young people fighting for their love in the land of blood lust and civil war. The divide, the hatred, the power struggle and the loss, the futility more than anything else, sets the movie apart and coldly points out to all those willing to observe that it is we who kill the love that lives amongst us, even though we can help it, even if it is in our hands, we let compassion slip away.

Special 26


My final pick is an amusing con film, one which touches humour, while it brings our very own Robin Hood alive. The story, entertaining and suspense laden, brings together a brilliant cast that masterminds fake raids and takes from those who steal from the honest. An entire operation conducted with precision and planning, so much that the viewer is left hanging to the end of the seat till the very end, takes us across the country, travelling its way through Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, filling each sequence with a certain “special” spark. What sets the movie apart is how taut and precise the entire screening successfully sums up to be.

You must be to comment.
  1. Sone Ki Chidiya

    Interesting how similar this list is to our list:

    Also, well written!

  2. Prerna Siddharth

    Shin of Theseus? No?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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