Jan 14, 2015

2014, Year in Review for Bollywood

Dear Readers,

First and foremost, here's wishing you all a very Happy New Year 2015! May this be a good one for all of us!




For those who have been following my blog for the last few years, I have had this habit of doing a big massive review of the year that has gone by, at the end of the year. More specifically, I tend to do a "Maha-Review" of Bollywood for that year. And since I have been doing this from 2010 onwards (I think?), I guess it's only fair that I should continue to do this, as it is also one of the posts that gather among the most views on this blog. But apologies for this post coming so late. "Better late than never", and all that, I guess?

In the "Year in Review" posts for previous years, I used to split the article by putting the movies in three categories. Now I have changed that to only two main categories:

  • Watched and Appreciated (Liked or even Loved)
  • Highly recommended (Not watched, but recommendations based on critical reception, and general buzz)
The category I will omit this time, is the category for the "Bad/Horrible/Avoidable" kind of movies. Firstly because I don't want to spread too many negative vibes, but mostly because it will save me time. (I'm writing this while smiling sheepishly)

So here goes...the YEAR IN REVIEW, for 2014 Bollywood movies!

*DRUMROLL*

Introduction

So 2014 was a rather "quiet" year in terms of the amount of "really good" or "exceptional" movies in Bollywood. More than that, there were too many disappointments in the same year. As mentioned above, I have decided to stay mum this year, regarding the numerous movies that would have normally featured in my personal "Wall of Shame".

Despite the abundance of disappointments, and the seemingly small number of good or "great" movies, 2014 still was a year of some really nice releases! So let's have a look at those movies, those watched and those I recommend based on what I read and heard of them.

The movies are NOT listed in order of preference, but rather in chronological order (going from early releases of the year to the year-end releases).

And I'm ending this blog post on a very optimistic note, looking forward to the big 2015 Bollywood releases (or at least the ones that I'm personally looking forward to).

I may have missed out on movies here and there, so don't hesitate to let me know in the comments where I could have included other movies!




Watched and appreciated (liked or even loved)





Hasee Toh Phasee - A romcom, but that is really one of the sweetest and feel-good romcoms in recent times. Directed by Vinil Mathew, and produced by a lot of big names, including Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap, this one is mainly a must-watch for the performances by the leads, Siddharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra. Nice music, funny and smart dialogs, but more than anything a gripping story.





Highway - Directed by Imtiaz Ali, and those four first words in this sentence is enough to make it a watch. Although I must admit, I was personally a bit let down, as it did not live up to the "hype". But it is still a very well presented movie. My favorite aspect was the cinematography: absolutely breathtaking photography and visuals that just make you dream. Superb performances by Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt, Imtiaz Ali brings out the best in them as he usually does from the actors in his movies. Really good music, although not better than Rahman's soundtrack for Rockstar (2011) for Imtiaz Ali again. Was personally a bit let down by the way the story goes. You feel really heavy by the end of it, but a very strong storyline.



Queen - Among my favorite movies of the year, this one is a real gem by Vikas Bahl, produced again by Anurag Kashyap. The film is a must-watch for three things: the story, the music and Kangana Ranaut's brilliant performance! The story is brilliant, the way the narration goes and how you yourself feel you're in the character's place. The music by Amit Trivedi is refreshing, and so much more. And Kangana is truly awesome in this role, she totally lived out the role of Rani. Highly recommended!







Ek Villain - Although it was a tad too "commercial" for a Hindi movie, and yet another remake of an Asian movie, it was still a nice watch. Main highlight: Ritiesh Deshmukh's performance as the maniacal serial killer. Really nice performance from Siddharth Malhotra, and decent one from Shraddha Kapoor. The music in this one was also one of the best soundtracks of the year.









Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania - Another romcom produced by Karan Johar, directed by Shashank Khaitan, which is sort of a "modernized" and comic take on the Shahrukh-Kajol classic "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge". I recommend this one mainly for the humor, and the amount of hilarious scenes in it. Also, the acting by Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt is enjoyable as well. A light-hearted movie that is one which I put under the "popcorn fun" category.




PK - Clearly one of the top releases of the year! Directed by ace filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani and featuring Aamir Khan in the lead, this Aamir-Hirani duo does even better than in their previous venture, 3 Idiots (2009). This time taking on the crazy and objectionable religious practices in India, the movie takes on bravely on a very tough subject, and puts a forward criticism against the major religions in India. What I found incredible, was that they did this by taking the route of comedy and satire! A movie that makes you laugh a lot, but ends up making you think again over what the situation is in India. Aamir's performance in PK is certainly among the best in his wonderful career. But Hirani is the true star here, and the dialogues are just fantastic. Go for this one, don't miss it!



Ugly - If PK was a satisfying way to end the year, it was equally very reassuring to have Ugly as the very last movie of 2014. Directed by one of my favorites, Anurag Kashyap, this one is a very dark yet engaging suspense thriller. The story grabs your attention till the very end of the movie, and you will remain on the edge of your seat. There is a lot of "bad language", and some really violent scenes, like it usually is the case in Kashyap's movies. But the message of this film being very clear, regarding greed, it really was one of the best releases of last year. A dark but very well-made movie, I recommend this one to people who like Kashyap's movies (like I do)!


Highly recommended (based on critical reception)

NOTE: I will not give a detailed description for each movie, as I have not really seen these movies yet. But this is just a list based on the good critical reception these movies received.

Dedh Ishqiya

Ankhon Dekhi

Bhootnath Returns

2 States

Hawaa Hawaai

Manjunath

Citylights

Filmistaan

Mardaani

Finding Fanny

Haider

Sulemani Keeda

2015 Releases: What I'm Looking Forward to





Baby - A thriller made by ace director Neeraj Pandey, featuring Akshay Kumar, the actor-director duo back together again after Special 26. What else?











Shamitabh - One of the best filmmakers, R Balki, pairing yet again with the legend Amitabh Bachchan. This one features Dhanush too (which explains the title of the movie, the end of his name, and Big B's first name, joined together)











Badlapur - Even though his last directorial venture, Agent Vinod, was a really poor show, Sriram Raghavan's next features Varun Dhawan (who looks fabulous in the trailer) and the reliable Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in a dark tale of revenge. Should be a good one, I hope!








Detective Byomkesh Bakshy - National Award-winning director Dibakar Banerjee turns a famous Bengali fiction character into a full fledge feature film, with Sushant Singh Rajput in the titular role. Interesting!




Bombay Velvet - Anurag Kashyap, Ranbir Kapoor, Amit Trivedi's music. This trio is enough to make me an eager beaver for this movie's release!





Dil Dhadakne Do - She is one of those few directors whose EVERY MOVIE was incredible, and I am a huge fan of Zoya Akhtar's work. She brings together a big starcast together (Farhan Akhtar, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka, Anushka, among others), on one cruise trip. This looks very promising.






Fan - Directed by Maneesh Sharma, and featuring Shahrukh Khan in the lead. Despite SRK disappointing me year after year since the release of Don 2 in 2012, the "diehard fan" in me cannot help but hope that this will finally be a "good movie" by Shahrukh. Please don't disappoint me again, SRK. Please.

Jagga Jasoos - The trio of Ranbir, Anurag Basu and Pritam's music, really sounds exciting, after the wonderful product from them in Barfi (2012).

Bajirao Mastani - Sanjay Leela Bhansali's big project that has been in the making since a very long time. Featuring Ranveer-Deepika again, after the success of Ram-Leela.

Tamasha - The movie seems to be ending on a high again. Imtiaz Ali, Ranbir and Rahman's music, back together again after Rockstar. Deepika will be the lead actress. All eyes on this one!

Last Thoughts

So there were my favorite Hindi movies of 2014 and Bollywood looks very promising for this year. 2015 should surely be a good year for the Hindi movie industry. And by that I do not mean "100 crores" for every single "mass entertainers", that do not deserve the box office collections. But movies that are ACTUALLY good to watch. 2015 should bring more of those, we hope.

Here is hoping that you enjoyed this post on my blog, and that you agree with most of my choices. If you find yourself disagreeing with some parts, don't hesitate to let me know about it, in the comments section.

I have opened the account of my blog posts for this year. Hope I have "knocked that one out of the park", as they say in cricket!

Feedback is welcome and more than appreciated. Have a fantastic year ahead, my wonderful readers! :)

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