By Amrita Roy:
Films are the mass visual medium that package stories and deliver them right to the homes of millions of people. While I am not an avid Bollywood movie goer, I was pleasantly surprised by three movies in particular this year — Dedh Ishqiya, Highway and Queen. All three were replete with a unique plot, dynamic characters and stellar performances. Not only that, they also had interesting layers to the overall plot. In Dedh Ishqiya, for the first time since Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das kissed in Fire, we witness some expression of homosexuality which isn’t in the form of mockery or comedy. Madhuri Dixit and Huma Qureshi both play their parts to perfection adding more shades to their respective characters. In Highway, while the focus is on Veera’s (Alia Bhatt’s character) journey to freedom and the depiction of Stockholm’s Syndrome, a deep undercurrent runs in the film vis-a-vis Mahabir’s (Randeep Hooda’s character) journey. This makes the movie more than just a story of a girl’s freedom from the callous society; it also presents a social commentary on how men are equally scarred by the patriarchal and oppressive society. Queen on the other hand is lighter than the other two. Kangana Ranaut makes the audience go through Rani’s journey from a to-be-somebody’s-Mrs girl to an independent, free and spirited soul. Her journey is juxtaposed with Vijaylaxmi’s (played by Lisa Haydon), which is much more strained. And yet, through the artistic charm of Europe, both of them live their own lives on their own terms.
Having thoroughly enjoyed these three films, I have compiled a list of seven films that are expected to deliver the same kind of (if not more) artistic prowess combined with a good story —
Well, it was the only official selection from India at the Cannes 2014. Need we say more? Directed by Kanu Behl, the story revolves around a man, Titli, and his desires to escape the underbelly of Delhi, something that has been forced upon him by his criminal family. He finds an unlikely companion in his new wife, and they both devise a plan to escape from the clutches of their family to pursue their dreams.
The World Before Her
This 2012 Canadian documentary is being presented by Anurag Kashyap in India. It juxtaposes the concept of the “Indian woman” by drawing parallels in the seemingly unrelated worlds of fashion and Hindu fundamentalism. Director Nisha Pahuja beautifully captures the lives of the women at the boot camps of a beauty pageant and Durga Vahini to highlight the common need to shape the future of the nation in their own ways.
Directed by Hansal Mehta of Shahid fame, Citylights is an adaptation of the British film, Metro Manila. The film showcases the tribulations of the hundreds who migrate from all corners of the country to Mumbai. Rajkummar Rao plays the role of Deepak Singh who comes to the city of dreams with his family in search of a better future only to be later confronted by the harsh realities of the big city.
More mainstream than the rest, this movie is directed by Anurag Kashyap with Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma in the lead roles. It is a neo noir film which demands the presence of antiheroes and nihilistic moral systems along with key visual elements like low key lighting. The film is based on Gyan Prakash’s book, Mumbai Fables, which shows how Mumbai became a metropolis against the “backdrop of love, greed, violence and jazz music.”
This one too features Anushka Sharma as the female lead. The combination of Rajkumar Hirani and Aamir Khan is back to enthral yet again. Not much is known about the plot but in Hirani’s own words, the film is a “satire about Hindu Gods and their godmen.” While the brief itself is interesting enough, the film also boasts of a strong supporting cast including Sushant Singh Rajput.
Directed of Homi Adajania, this film is meant to be a road trip of four people to Goa in search of a postman’s childhood love. It is an English/ Konkani film with Deepika Padukone, Arjun Kapoor, and formidable actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia and Pankaj Kapur forming the ensemble cast. If Adajania’s first film, Being Cyrus is anything to go by, then we can be assured that this one too will be an interesting story to watch out for.
Vidya Balan is back! The movie presents the story of Bobby, an aspiring detective in the mystic and charming city of Hyderabad. The pitch of the film is clearly different from the pitch of The Dirty Picture and Kahaani as seen through the presence of high octane drama and comedy. And yet, it is difficult to miss the undertone of a unique plot with a fine actress portraying an iconoclastic character.
From a variety of documentary-style films to full-fledged big budget movies, it seems like 2014 will go down as a rather interesting and experimental year for Bollywood.