Greatest Bollywood movies of the last decade: Mulk, Vicky Donor, Masaan, Queen and extra


Right here’s the place we’re, on the final Sunday of the last decade.

The Khandan, the mighty trio of Salman, SRK and Aamir, is in a holding sample. Bhai’s newest might not have tanked precisely, however there isn’t a doubt that he and his minders are recent out of concepts if the deathly Dabangg 3 is something to go by. Shah Rukh Khan is in search of a whole makeover, and has reached out to Aashiq Abu for his new enterprise: how Abu, whose idiom is so strongly rooted in Kerala, will handle to operate in Bollywood and hold his singularity intact, is anybody’s guess. And Aamir Khan’s new movie, a remake of Forrest Gump continues to be a yr away.

The opposite male A-listers Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn have been energetically waving the flag of their sanskari movies, all of which have had predictable, ho-hum arcs. I’m uninterested in their flailing about of their Padmans and Bathrooms and Housefulls and Singhams: you might get full homes, no restrictions on idiocy, unhealthy style and sycophancy, however there’s no sparkle. Akshay, although, might have discovered the sunshine in Good Newwz, during which he’s reunited together with his brash, bawdy, jokester self. How about extra the place that got here from, Mr Kumar?

The A-list women have striven and are available up prime in ways in which haven’t occurred earlier than. Kangana Ranaut, Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Katrina Kaif have made some attention-grabbing selections. A couple of, like Queen labored all the way in which; Pari, alternatively, was garbled however courageous. Most of those prime main women have struck out on their very own, and although they’re nonetheless citing the rear in hero-driven autos, they’re additionally organising their very own manufacturing homes to have the ability to do stuff that wants doing.

Trying on the splashy schmaltzy universe of the big-budget, backed by massive manufacturing homes, star-heavy movies, one factor is clearer than ever earlier than: solely good, strong writing can rescue Bollywood from the artistic stagnancy it finds itself in.

The movies which have caught our fancy are those which have plots which give off not less than a smidgeon of newness, or wrestle with a Massive Thought, whereas conserving issues actual. Sperm donation (Vicky Donor). An alien who forces us to take a tough have a look at non secular hypocrisy (PK). Erectile dysfunction (Shubh Mangal Saavdhan). Constipation, and the troubles that come up thereof (Piku). Getting off, each male (Delhi Stomach) and, gasp, feminine (Veere Di Marriage ceremony) Oh yeah, oh yeah. Or those during which caste and sophistication and faith are dusted off and put in the course of the body– Shahid, Mulk, Article 15. Or those which dared to problem patriarchy, and sexism so successfully in Anarkali of Arrah, Lipstick Beneath My Burkha, and within the quiet, highly effective Soni. Or discover identical intercourse love (Kapoor and Sons and Aligarh, and the extra thorny intersectionality of incapacity and sexuality. (Margarita With A Straw).

2020 onwards, we are going to see outdated types crumbling even when the big-budget tentpoles will keep firmly within the centre of the canvas: nothing can dislodge the pleasures of a massively-mounted, well-done masala film. Baahubali components one and two, have modified the notion of Indian films within the eyes of the world: S S Rajamouli went small and sensible with Eega, experimented with greater with Magadheera, after which exploded with the dual towering mythological sagas: now each single ‘massive’ film has to compete with Baahubali.

Greater, sure. Creating a bigger scaffolding or a bigger set could also be potential. Higher? That’s the problem. Extra delicate in the direction of the rights of girls, working in entrance of, and behind cameras, in these post-MeToo occasions? Fingers crossed on that one. Will the OTT platforms seriously change the panorama? The preliminary big-ticket collection on Netflix and Amazon (Sacred Video games, Made In Heaven) have grabbed eyeballs, and brought away from the field workplace: if attention-grabbing shifting pictures are being streamed within the consolation of your property, and your time, why go to the theater? These are questions all movie industries all over the world are grappling with. Bollywood is decidedly feeling the tremors.

In the meantime, listed here are the movies that made my decade. Some for creating model new metrics to measure heroism, each female and male. Some for breaking out of mouldy molds. All for telling us, yet again, why we love the flicks.

Band Baaja Baraat Band Baaja Baraat gave us a glowing new romantic pair in Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma.

Band Baaja Baraat (2010): This Yash Raj smash-hit managed a number of issues. Dived again into the protected, tried-and-tested zone of ‘shaadi-vaadi-pyaar-vyaar’, with a purpose to rub off the humiliating failure of 2009’s Rocket Singh, considered one of YRF’s greatest, most authentic movies. Cemented our enduring love for plots set towards the good Indian marriage, served with a new-agey twist. Positioned Delhi, and (haww) pre-marital intercourse, on the centre of the Bollywood map. Gave us a glowing new romantic pair in Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma. Created one of many decade’s hottest stars: on the cusp of the brand new decade, Singh is on the highest of the Bolly heap. Sharma thrives too, as an actor and producer.

Udaan Udaan is a shifting, affecting, sharply unsentimental portrayal of teenage angst.

Udaan (2010): Vikramaditya Motwane’s debut, and Bollywood’s first true coming of age movie, blew me away. So many mint-fresh protagonists in a shifting, affecting, sharply unsentimental portrayal of teenage angst. A father who routinely brutalizes his sons (Ronit Roy is flat-out fabulous), an exploration of patriarchy and masculinity that tamps down on pleasure and laughter, and the will to be free. I’ve seen it a number of occasions, and favored it higher every time.

Love, Intercourse Aur Dhokha (2010): The catchy title was a stroke of genius from producer Ekta Kapoor, however the movie is not any laughing matter. Dibakar Bannerjee educated his lens (a number of, really) on the issues we don’t prefer to acknowledge, not to mention discuss. Caste, class, discrimination, violence, sexual extortion, come disturbingly collectively within the tryptich (three strands which join ultimately) in an pressing, brutal, demanding watch. (In its uncut model, you see a feminine head separated from her torso in essentially the most dishonorable killing: I’ve by no means been capable of neglect it). It has remained extremely related, an uncanny precursor to the query we’ve been left asking: what’s the which means of privateness within the time of social media? You Are At all times Being Watched.

Vicky Donor (2012): The arrival of Ayushmann Khurrana, and the start of the makeover of the Bollywood hero. This Shoojit Sircar directorial created historical past by getting a ‘hero’ to do issues no hero had executed earlier than – giving middle-aged women a ‘padicure’ in his mum’s middle-class Lajpat Nagar parlour, changing into a sperm donor (we see vials of the stuff in his hand, as he comes out of a room the place he’s been made to, , gulp, masturbate) with a purpose to assist childless {couples}. There’s additionally a granny who drinks. We gave the movie and Khurrana a giant thumbs up, and he has gone from energy to energy, dismantling the singing-dancing-three-bags-more hero one movie at a time. Now movies are being written for him, and he’s certifiably one of many largest game-changers in Bollywood.

Paan Singh Tomar (2012): These of us who had grown up on a weight-reduction plan of colouful daakus on horses romancing ghagra-clad shy maidens had a impolite shock when Sholay’s Gabbar got here out of his ravines, in khakis and boots. Bandit Queen deep sixed that romanticized notion of a daku, as Seema Biswas’s Phoolan Devi raised her gun aloft. And with the sensible Paan Singh Tomar, Tigmanshu Dhulia gave us a baaghi, not a daaku, a insurgent with a trigger, a personality so actual that you might odor the mud of the Chambal on his fatigues. Irrfan Khan was terrific as Paan Singh, and his line ‘Daaku toh sirf sansad mein hote hain’ is a stayer.

Gangs Of Wasseypur Gangs Of Wasseypur is Bollywood’s most cinematic, pleasing blood-and-gore-and-invective-laden gangsta rap.

Gangs Of Wasseypur, half one and two (2012): There has by no means been a gangster movie with such an extended wagging tail, such an attractive story and such crackerjack characters. Anurag Kashyap’s testosterone-filled hovering epic is Bollywood’s most cinematic, pleasing blood-and-gore-and-invective-laden gangsta rap. The music matched the movie’s raucous imagery. The actors had been fabulous (Manoj Bajpayee, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Pankaj Tripathi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Piyush Mishra, and an entire phalanx of supporting characters). And oh the traces: ‘tum se na ho payega’ or ‘keh ke lenge/loonga’, or ‘permission toh leni chahiye thi na’. Which one is your favorite?

Ship Of Thesus Ship Of Thesus’ characters, construction, and sheer visible sparkle helped make the esoteric acquainted. And memorable.

Ship Of Thesus (2013): Anand Gandhi’s debut function asks the existential query: in the event you take components of somebody/one thing away, do they continue to be the identical? A blind photographer studying to look, an ailing monk studying the which means of life, a stockbroker understanding what empathy actually is, and all these disparate characters discovering a standard hyperlink: these circularities weren’t one thing we had seen earlier than in Bollywood, which isn’t actually recognized for coping with the summary. The movie’s characters, construction, and sheer visible sparkle helped make the esoteric acquainted. And memorable.

The Lunchbox (2013): Ritesh Batra’s debut function is a gently noticed relationship drama between a sliding-down-the-slope-of-middle-age widower and a lonely younger spouse. A ‘dabba’ reaches the fallacious individual, and a connection is made. Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin are all superb on this flavoursome ode to loneliness, a recurring theme in Batra’s work. The Lunchbox created historical past by changing into essentially the most profitable Bollywood field workplace story in non-NRI pockets in Europe.

Titli Titli is intentionally unsettling, and a strong testomony that patriarchy damages us all.

Titli (2014): Kanu Behl’s placing debut function is about on the outskirts of Delhi. This isn’t the capital of expansive streets and inexperienced parks and roundabouts full of flowers. Nary an India Gate or Qutub Minar in sight. What we see in Behl’s terrific movie is a metropolis rising upon itself, regardless of itself, its borders being stretched to accommodate the no-where individuals who reside right here (in the event you can name it dwelling), attempting to hack a life. A damaged household, comprising a father and three sons (Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial, Shashank Arora, Lalit Behl) and their violent doings, depart us shattered. Can they ever escape the cycle of abuse? Can Titli, the youngest, break away? The movie is intentionally unsettling, and a strong testomony that patriarchy damages us all. Males too.

Queen Kangana Ranaut performed Rani in Queen.

Queen (2014): Queen was the break-out film which gave us a Dilli woman coming of age in Paris, having put behind her the catastrophic prevalence of getting being dumped by a man who’s a category A entitled jerk. As an alternative of sobbing and asking for forgiveness, Rani, performed beautifully by Kangana Ranaut, takes off, and finds herself. And we discovered an actual, reside, respiratory woman that we might take house. Sure, Bollywood heroines might.

Ankhon Dekhi (2014): I’m nonetheless fascinated about this Rajat Kapoor gem, during which we get not simply characters we hadn’t met earlier than, however an entire texture that we hadn’t skilled earlier than. Kapoor has all the time been an exponent of spiky comedy-of-manners, however right here he creates one thing uncommon in Hindi cinema: whimsy. I’ll solely imagine what I see with my very own eyes, declares his protagonist, the Purani Dilli dweller Babuji ( Sanjay Mishra has by no means been higher): kar lo jo karna hai. Mystical, magical, unforgettable, considered one of Bollywood’s most uncommon movies of the last decade.

Masaan Masaan is a riveting have a look at in the present day’s India.

Masaan (2015): Debutant Neeraj Ghaywan introduced a clear-eyed harrowing depth to his story of star-crossed youthful lovers negotiating the cusp of modernity and aspiration within the historical city of Banaras. It was Vicky Kaushal’s debut, and he reveals simply how proficient he’s, in a job that would so simply have turned banal. Small city restrictions, sexual repression, younger ladies struggling to interrupt limitations — Masaan is a riveting have a look at in the present day’s India. It launched us to main new abilities: I’m now ready for Ghaywan’s subsequent.

Dum Lagaa Ke Haisha Dum Lagaa Ke Haisha marked the directorial debut of Sharat Kataria.

Dum Lagaa Ke Haisha (2015): For a Bollywood film to topline an ‘chubby’ or plus-sized main girl, and that too from Yash Raj Movies who created the notorious Measurement Zero, with the assistance of Kareena Kapoor Khan and her wisp skinny waistline (keep in mind Tashan?). That was the USP of this wholly winsome Sharat Kataria debut, and what was good was that our girl isn’t compelled to go off to shed the load. She is completely happy as she is. Yay. And she or he will get her petulant spoilt-brat of a husband to simply accept her the way in which she is. Double yay. Khurrana was fantastic; as was debutant Bhumi Pednekar, who additionally hasn’t appeared again since.

Pink (2016): ‘No Means No’. This one-line anthem. which rippled out from the film, shortly grew to become greater than only a line, and has continued to reverberate in the present day when an increasing number of ladies are popping out with their tales of harassment and worse by the hands of male predators.

It didn’t matter that it was spoken within the movie by the massive male star, Amitabh Bachchan. It didn’t matter that Bachchan’s authorized eagle is the saviour (in court docket) of the three ladies’ and their ‘honour’, as they battle towards ingrained misogyny and highly effective male adversaries.

What mattered was that the trio, which included flavour-of-the-season Taapsee Pannu, was proven to be coping with the informal sexism that so many ladies face every day. And the sort of feedback they must fight when a seemingly innocent dinner date turns right into a nightmare. What mattered was that they fought even once they had been scared. And most of all, what mattered was that they received. Pink beat the drum for equality, and was determinedly feminist whereas doing so. Win-win.

A Demise In The Gunj (2017): Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut is a finely-written, beautifully-acted movie on the evils of bullying, the pressures of being a person, and the issues of being a single, engaging lady. A clutch of consummate actors, chief amongst them being Ranvir Shorey, Gulshan Devaiah, Vikrant Massey, Tillotama Shome, Kalki, Tanuja, Om Puri, maintain us in thrall as they create alive an India of the 70s, in a tiny colonial city which is busy warding off the pulls of the previous, whereas feeling the pushes of the current.

Sen Sharma posts discover of a helmer to be careful for, and Massey’s besieged younger man attempting to return to grips together with his overpowering household will hang-out me for an extended, very long time.

Anarkali Of Arrah (2017): One other debut function, from Avinash Das, a couple of people dancer who stands up for herself towards insurmountable odds. The movie turns into what it’s due to deep authenticity when it comes to setting, language and characters: Swara Bhaskar goes full throttle on the lady who entertains an meeting of largely males, males who assume she is sport for something, particularly a deeply entitled distinguished lustful Arrah citizen (Sanjay Mishra), whereas proudly owning her sexuality. It’s a marvellous efficiency, in a movie with its gender politics squarely in the suitable place.

Newton Newton is a hard-hitting, savage serio-comedy.

Newton (2017): Amit Masurkar’s Newton is a miracle. Using a deceptively straight-forward type, it takes us into considered one of India’s least-known locations, the forest of Dandakaranya, deep in Naxal nation. A bound-by-rules rookie election agent, performed by Rajkummar Rao, learns some life classes as goes about organising his polling sales space. As he and his companions (Raghubir Yadav, Pankaj Tripathi, Anjali Patil) await the tribals to point out up, he understands what it means to be so distant from what we time period civilization, and the way we, callous metropolis slickers, have to be taught extra in regards to the nation we reside in. A tough-hitting, savage serio-comedy which asks: does casting our vote make us residents with rights? The query Newton poses may be flung simply as simply out into the ether in the present day, because the younger protest and declare the streets: who, certainly , is Indian?

Lipstick Under My Burkha Lipstick Beneath My Burkha was helmed by Alankrita Srivastava.

Lipstick Beneath My Burkha (2017): Being a lady continually underneath the thumb of their menfolk is a dismal actuality. A university-going pupil, or a sexually adventurous beautician, or a spouse looking for her method out of an abusive marriage, or a middle-aged common buaji who’s dying to discover her sexuality: this quartet finds a camaraderie which retains them going, and eventually, when the going will get robust, they select to maintain going.

Alankrita Srivastava’s creation of the claustrophobic Bhopal setting, and these characters, particularly Ratna Pathak Shah as buaji, is spot on. You are feeling for these ladies, you need them to be let out, and the payoff has weight.

Mukti Bhawan (2018): Does demise actually come as an finish? Or is it simply one other stage of life that a few of us aspire in the direction of? Shubhashish Bhutiani’s debut function takes us down paths that Bollywood hasn’t cared to tread: the one method the ultimate vacation spot is proven in our mainstream films is picturesque shamshaan ghats, burning pyres and characters sporting pristine white kurtas. In Mukti Bhawan ( English title – Salvation Lodge), an outdated man actively works in the direction of his demise in a rickety ashram in Banaras, together with his reluctant son in tow: for a movie with such a morbid topic, it’s surprisingly upbeat with out changing into sentimental. Lalit Behl because the death-seeker is strong, and Adil Hussain, because the finally supportive son, is near-flawless.

Mulk Mulk must be important viewing.

Mulk (2018): Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk must be important viewing, particularly as of late, when it’s extra crucial than ever earlier than to maintain India’s syncretic traditions alive. Hindu-Muslim ekta, the battle towards legislations that divide individuals on non secular traces, and the corrosive traces that divides communities: these are all a part of Sinha’s impactful movie, which feels extra reality than fiction. Who’s Us and who’s Them?

Tumbaad Rahi Anil Barve’s Tumbaad needs to be essentially the most vividly cinematic movie of the last decade.

Tumbaad (2018): Can greed ever be good? How a lot is sufficient? Can somebody who’s enslaved by the very act of acquisition ever cease?

Rahi Anil Barve’s Tumbaad needs to be essentially the most vividly cinematic movie of the last decade: the display screen is drenched with rain (it all the time rains in accursed Tumbaad) and the sights and sounds of the mouldering mansion which housed the monster: I can nonetheless really feel the dampness and need that wafted off the display screen.

Sohum Shah as the person who exemplifies I-want-more, whether or not it’s the sensual firm of girls, or the seductive clink of gold cash, is astonishingly good. As is the movie: one thing like this, half horror, half fantasy, half supernatural cautionary story wrapped in terror and enigma, has by no means come out of Bollywood.

Gully Boy A mainstream movie which catches the zeitgeist with such felicity and ferocity, regardless of its nods to filmi tropes, is a large achievement.

Gully Boy (2019): Mixing the anger of road rap, reflecting the real-time angst of a slum-dweller, doubling as a rallying cry for the have-nots towards the inconsiderate tyranny of the haves, Zoya Akhtar’s movie is a whole lot of issues. Her protagonists, performed by Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, are Muslim, however that’s not essentially the most distinctive factor about them: what’s, is the insistent need to get out of a stultifying life and intention for one thing higher.

A mainstream movie which catches the zeitgeist with such felicity and ferocity, regardless of its nods to filmi tropes, is a large achievement. We’re, at coronary heart, all gully boys. And ladies. And we’re, as we converse, popping out and spilling what’s in our hearts and minds. Go searching.

Article 15 Article 15 tells us that it’s totally potential to make movies that imply one thing, and that the structure is price saving.

Article 15 (2019): Anubhav Sinha returns, inside a yr, to showcase the ugliness of caste, and the way it’s the insidious factor which has saved us in our place for hundreds of years: ‘santulan mat bigaadiye,’ says Manoj Pahwa’s Brahmin native cop to Ayushmann Khurrana’s English-speaking ignorant- of-local-ways outsider. However Khurrana’s job is simply that, and we see, as he fumbles and mumbles, and eventually attracts a bead on the culprits on this brisk police procedural cum sharp social commentary, simply how deep the fault traces are.

The movie has received flaws, certain. The portrayal of the Dalits-as-victims, people who go into manholes and emerge coated in human filth, could also be restrictive, however Article 15 is greater than the sum of its components. It tells us that it’s totally potential to make movies that imply one thing, and that the structure is price saving.


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