And this is another year end special. Again, my attempt to compile the 10 best films of 2010 - Films which I liked, films which the masses liked and films which were genuinely good - I've tried to maintain a balance between all of them in this list. So, lets get started.
10. My Name is Khan
Director - Karan Johar
Producer - Karan Johar, Shah Rukh Khan
Cast - Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Jimmy Sheirgill, Zarina Wahab
Writers - Karan Johar, Shibani Bhatija
Karan Johar tried to move away from candyfloss cinema to serious territories with his tale of an autistic man who sets out to prove his innocence to the President of America. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol gave brilliant performances and the magic of India's most loved on-screen pair was still intact. But, as the director is Karan Johar, the film cant be far away from his sensibilities. The whole flood episode and the 'hum honge kamyaab' portions stuck out like a sore thumb from an otherwise well made movie. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's soulful music & Ravi K Chandran's spectacular cinematography deserve special mention.
9. Tere Bin Laden
Director - Abhishek Sharma
Producer - Pooja Shetty, Arti Shetty
Cast - Ali Zafar, Piyush Mishra, Pradhyuman Singh, Sugandha Garg
Writer - Abhishek Sharma
This was a small movie which nobody knew about, but when it came, it became one of the most talked about movies of the year. A clever and witty comedy made with minimum budget and lesser-known actors, this movie wins you over with its completely original concept and the smart way in which it has been handled. Ali Zafar, the Pakistani singer made a great debut and is surely promising. Pradhyuman Singh as the lovable Osama look-alike, was hilarious. Abhishek Sharma is a director to look out for.
8. Love, Sex Aur Dhokha (LSD)
Director - Dibakar Bannerjee
Producers - Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Priya Sreedharan
Cast - Anshuman Jha, Shruti, Raj Kumar Yadav, Neha Chauhan, Amit Sial, Arya, Henry Tangdi
Writers - Dibakar Bannerjee, Kanu Behl
Two-time National Award winning director Dibakar Bannerjee made his 3rd venture in a completely digital format, a rarity in India. The film, based on voyeurism, told 3 different stories using the digital camera in 3 different aspects to tell the story. The entire star cast of the movie didnt feature even a single known face and almost all of them acted brilliantly. The film went through a lot of controversy and it also had a nude scene, which was later trimmed and blurred by the censor board. The movie also featured a kickass music score by Sneha Kanwalkar. LSD is now considered a cult classic and it also did reasonably good business during its theatrical run.
Director - Prakash Jha
Producers - Prakash Jha, Ronnie Screwvala
Cast - Ranbir Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Manoj Bajpai, Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar, Katrina Kaif, Naseeruddin Shah
Writers - Anjum Rajabali, Prakash Jha
Now, this movie was BIG. In every sense of the word. One of the biggest hits of the year, Raajneeti featured a host of talented actors ranging from Naseeruddin Shah to Ranbir Kapoor. The movie's plot was an amalgamation of two of the greatest stories ever told - The Mahabharata & The Godfather, and the setting was Indian politics. This itself made for an intriguing watch and as a bonus, there were stellar performances from Manoj Bajpai, Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal & Nana Patekar. Even Katrina Kaif was highly impressive in her Sonia Gandhi-inspired role. The only actor who got a raw deal was Ajay Devgn. The second half was problematic and the climax, too rushed and cinematic. But none of this could stop this mammoth movie from being one of the biggest moneymakers in recent times.
Director - Abhinav Kashyap
Producers - Arbaaz Khan, Malaika Arora Khan, Dhilin Mehta
Cast - Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood, Arbaaz Khan, Mahesh Manjrekar, Anupam Kher, Om Puri.
Writers - Abhinav Kashyap, Dileep Shukla
Dabangg was a hurricane. It came, it conquered. A film which relied heavily on Salman Khan's extraordinary star power, this movie was styled in a western-meets-South masala cinema kind of way. It had great action sequences, fantastic songs, hilarious comedy and everything that an Indian masala film is expected to have, in plenty. It also presented to us a heroine who reminded us how the quintessential Indian woman liked like, in these days of size-zero bimbettes - Sonakshi Sinha. But all these were just mere starters, as the main course was always Salman Khan in an unstoppable form. And he proved that he will always remain the darling of the masses. The film is reportedly the second (or third) highest grosser ever in the history of Indian Cinema. From the day the trailer was launched, Chulbul Pandey urff Robin Hood Pandey became an iconic character. And of course, there was MUNNI!!
5. Band Baaja Baaraat
Director - Maneesh Sharma
Producer - Aditya Chopra
Cast - Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma
Writer - Habib Faisal
A refreshingly lovable film, Band Baaja Baaraat was the story of 2 Delhi University passouts who start a wedding planning business on their own and how their friendship gets affected in the course of their business (or binness, as Bittoo would say). The film introduced us to a supremely talented Ranveer Singh, who had no acting backgrounds and who can give all the star-kids a run for their money. Anushka Sharma looked ravishing and gave an incredible performance as well. The chemistry between the two was unbelievably real and that added more authenticity to the movie. The film had a great musical score by Yash Raj regulars Salim-Sulaiman. Habib Faisal, who directed one of the other best movies of the year (coming shortly in this post) wrote this lovely movie for debutant director Maneesh Sharma. The film has helped Yash Raj Films to regain at least some of their lost glory.
Director - Abhishek Chaubey
Producer - Vishal Bhardwaj, Raman Maroo
Cast - Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, Salman Shahid
Writers - Vishal Bhardwaj, Abhishek Chaubey, Sabrina Dhawan
This was one helluva movie. With 3 supremely talented actors in the lead and the brand name of Vishal Bhardwaj associated with it, Ishqiya was a winner from the word go. Vidya Balan played the femme fatale role to perfection making her the most favorable candidate to sweep all the awards this year. Naseeruddin Shah is synonymous with brilliance and we get the same here too. Arshad Warsi also excelled as the lovable goon Babban. Abhishek Chaubey, long-term associate of Vishal Bhardwaj made his debut through this movie which was co-written by him, Vishal and Sabrina Dhawan. And of course, there was the magical soundtrack by Vishal Bhardwaj and Gulzar Saab with the all time classic - Dil To Baccha Hai Ji.
3. Do Dooni Chaar
Director - Habib Faisal
Producer - Arindam Chaudhuri, Walt Disney Pictures
Cast - Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Archit Krishna, Aditi Vasudev
Writers - Habib Faisal, Rahil Qazi
This was a gem of a movie. A Delhi middle class family's struggle to move from being owners of a scooter to a medium range car, is traced through some interesting incidents laced with a lot of subtle humour. There was nothing extraordinary about this small film (except the acting by its lead cast) and yet it manages to make you feel unbelievably good. Rishi Kapoor delivers one of the year's best performances and Neetu Kapoor plays the perfect foil to his character. And other than these experienced actors, the new kids Aditi Vasudev and Archit Krishna are also exceptionally good and leave a solid impact. Every single person who has had a middle-class upbringing would relate to almost all the scenes of this movie and love it completely.
2. Peepli [Live]
Director - Anusha Rizvi
Producer - Aamir Khan
Cast - Omkar Das Manikpuri, Raghubir Yadav, Malaika Shenoy, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Naseeruddin Shah
Writer - Anusha Rizvi
After watching this film, Salman Khan remarked that whatever Aamir Khan touches, it turns into gold. Well, that has been true for the past 4 yours now. A small budget satire about farmer's suicides, ex-reporter Anusha Rizvi's directorial debut became the talk of the nation upon its release. The only known faces in the movie were that of Raghubir Yadav and Naseeruddin Shah, but the tale of Nattha and his decision to take his own life for the sake of the suicide compensation money that his family would get, made people flock to the theaters, thereby making Peepli Live a grand success. Aamir Khan's excellent promotional strategies also played a key role in the movie's success. The movie has also been selected as India's official entry for the Foreign Language category in the coming Oscars.
Director - Vikramaditya Motwane
Producers - Anurag Kashyap, Sanjay Singh, Ronnie Screwvala
Cast - Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor, Aayan Boradia, Manjot Singh, Anand Tiwari
Writers - Vikramaditya Motwane, Anurag Kashyap
Udaan was one of the films in the competition section for the Palm D' Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year, a rare achievement for an Indian film. The film got released on 16th July and turned into a flop despite getting rave reviews from almost everyone who saw the movie. The movie was a simple coming-of-age story of a boy in extreme situations. It was realistic, poetic and uplifting and had some amazing performances as well. Ronit Roy was a revelation as the terrible father and there was Ram Kapoor as the loving uncle as well. Rajat Barmecha stole everyone's hearts with his lovely performance and so did the young boy who played his kid brother in the film. Amit Trivedi's music made the film scale new heights each time a song played in the movie. Intricately written by the director Vikramaditya Motwane and producer Anurag Kashyap, Udaan is easily one of the best films of the decade. Too bad that it didnt do well at the box office.
P.S. - There were several other good/great films which came out in 2010, but unfortunately didnt make it to this list. There was the dhinchak retro-gangster flick Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai, the clever and witty Phas Gaye Re Obama, Ram Gopal Varma's return to form through the Rakht Charitra series, Ashutosh Gowariker's Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's plagiarized but very good Guzaarish with a stunning performance by Hrithik Roshan and Priyadarshan's Mississippi Burning rip-off Aakrosh. And of course, there was the hurricane from down south called Robot, dubbed in Hindi.