For Hindi movies I don’t think this year can be called a very significant one as most of the movies that got released were remakes of South Indian movies and we see big stars opting for same to earn some easy money. But certainly some wonderful movies were produced in 2014 which really stand out. Here is an attempt to write what I loved about these three movies which I think stand out of the movies produced this year.
Whenever, Vishal Bharadwaj adapts one of Shakespeare’s works it is a treat to watch and Haider is no exception. He has chosen picturesque Kashmir for adaptation of Hamlet. The issue at hand is the conflicts between the Indian army and native population in mid-nineties where Kashmiri people are toiled between militants and separatists. This issue is showcased like no one has done ever before and fits right in.
Haider is a very clever take on Hamlet. It staggeringly departs from original piece yet stays loyal to it on some fronts. In the first half Haider is an articulate take on disappearances and poignant drama, the unrest and uncertainty in Kashmir during that period. The plot from the play only kicks in with the entry of Roohdar (Irfan Khan) with audacious background music who is supposed to be the ghost from the film. Gravedigger scene is as chilling in the play as in the movie.
The performances by actors what makes movie stand out. Tabu is the pick of actors in Haider. Her Ghazala is a heartbreaking character with all passion and preening and perpetually inappropriate relationships. Shahid Kapoor and Kay Kay Menon are brilliant as well. We come across a little dazzling black humour as well when we come across Salman and Salman. It is evidently one of the finest Hindi movies produced this year.
Ankhon Dekhi is humrous and sarcastic take on the approach an individual takes to live his life. Ankhon Dekhi, set in old Delhi (an authentic version of it) is the story of Bauji ( Sanjay Mishra) and his family. One day Bauji gets an epiphany and decides to believe only in what he can see for himself refusing to go with accepted truth and we get to ride with his humorous yet thoughtful endeavours. All along the movie, Bauji, in his whimsical ways tries to establish a fundamental concept of “Truth is not same for everybody. One person’s truth may not be the truth for the other person”.
The setting of Ankhon dekhi , their house, the jobs people in the movie do, friends they have, problems they face , all of it are ubiquitous in any average middle class Indian joint family. All of it feels natural and one can easily identify with the situations the Baujee’s family come across.
The striking feature of the movie is its ensemble cast at the heart of which is spectacular Sanjay Mishra. We have his drama queen wife Seema Pahwa and his brother Rajat Kapoor among others. All of them deliver natural performances. Background music and songs are like you are hearing them in the serene winter mist.
It sets up the mood of the scenes. With ‘Ankhon Dekhi’ saying a lot of things but never becomes preachy anywhere. It establishes the message it wants to convey in a modest and a practical narrative. After all, we don’t have to go across the world to experience things and learn from them, everything could be found around us. One just needs an eye to look for it and assimilate.
It’s an Anurag Kashyap movie. Period. Not Anurag Kashyap’s finest I would say but certainly noteworthy. Like all other Kashyap movies Ugly is take on the darker (read Ugly) side of human beings, the one which every individual would like to hide, the other half of human conscience which is discomforting, bigotry and evil. It is a story of kidnapping of a little girl and how people around her ready to take advantage of the situation.
The movie is a dark thriller. Situations, people, locations like the sound proof torture rooms, sleazy restaurants and dance bars, dialogues, everything seems so real but disturbing and discomforting. Audience is left clueless in a frenzy of scepticism about who could have kidnapped the little girl amidst every other character lying to everyone else. At every juncture morality of the characters comes into question.
Ugly is story of what people are and what really they can become.It is not an easy watch.
Anurag Kashyap proves a point here: to make a remarkable film a star or a well known actor is not required. People who act well and are fit for the role can make as spectacular film.
Queen would have certainly made this list. But, I plan to write a complete piece on the movie. Other honorary mentions would be of Highway and Dedh Isquiya and I have not seen PK , Miss Lovely and Sulemaani Keeda.