Best Bollywood Movies of 2016

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The year 2016 brought some new additions to the long list of great movies from the Bollywood cinema. Hindi films like Dangal and Pink took the front row and legitimized the importance of women’s voice in the Indian society. The movies based on true stories seem to capture more audience this year; maybe a sign of changing times where realistic dramas and stories are gaining momentum over the ‘formula’ films. Here are some of the greatest films of 2016:
1. Dangal: Based on a true story, Dangal is a biographical sports drama. The captivating film is directed by Nitesh Tiwari and stars Aamir Khan as Mahavir Singh Phogat who taught wrestling to his daughters Geeta and Babita and turned them into world-class female wrestlers. This inspiring movie showcases some brilliant acting, lively entertainment and equally good music. At the Filmfare Awards, Dangal won many awards, including Best Film of 2016.
2. Pink: Pink is a courtroom drama with Amitabh Bachchan in the lead role as a lawyer, carrying the burden of defending three young working girls in new Delhi, and proving their innocence in the eyes of Indian legal system. With the realistic urban and court-room settings and fantastic acting, the seldom exposed issues of sexual harassment and molestation take the center-stage in this epic production. Don’t watch this film just for entertainment values, but also for social education about the evils of male dominated Indian mentality. Oh, and by the way, don’t miss the closing credits, to watch the actual incident the movie is about!
3. Udta Punjab: Punjab produced some of the top sportsmen and wrestlers for India for a long time; and now, the same Punjab harvests some of the worst drug use of modern days. This is not a film you would want to watch for fun. The lead cast includes Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Diljit Dosanjh. The drug abuse by the youth population in Punjab and the surrounding conspiracies are painfully exposed throughout the movie. Agonizing songs like ‘Ikk Kudi’, written by Shiv Kumar Batalvi – the famous Punjabi poet, suitably fit into the heart wrenching scenes of drug addition and its lasting effect on today’s youth. The film is worth watching, even though many sad scenes are hard to watch.
4. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil: This is a lively and romantic drama written and directed by Karan Johar. The main cast features Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma.This is a beautifully told story revolving around personal relationship, their interactions and interpretation. Composed by Pritam and mostly sung by Arijit Singh, the music is one of the many strong suits of this well-rounded film.

5. Kapoor and Sons (Since 1921): If you are looking for an entertaining and comic family story with surprising twists and turns, this is the one to watch. Directed by Shakun Batra, the film has a star studded cast of Rishi Kapoor, Ratna Pathak, Rajat Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt. The film is a story of two estranged brothers who return to their dysfunctional family after their grandfather suffers a heart attack.
6. Neerja: The flow of this interesting movie has the feel of a documentary at times, as if Neerja is narrating the story at her own pace. This is a historical drama based on the actual events centered around hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1986. The film features Sonam Kapoor as the title character along with Shabana Azmi, Yogendra Tiku and Shekhar Ravjiani in supporting roles.
7. Sultan: Sultan is a romantic drama with sports based story line. Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, the film stars Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma in the lead roles. The movie focuses on Sultan Ali Khan, a wrestling champion from Haryana with a successful career, and the success impacting his personal life. Very popular at the theaters, this is one the highest grossing Indian film of all time.
8. Airlift: Loosely based on actual events, this is a historical drama directed by Raja Krishna Menon. The film stars Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur as the lead actors. Akshay Kumar’s performance as a Kuwaiti businessman is superb, leading the evacuation of Indians living in Kuwait during the Invasion by Iraq.
9. Parched: Parched is a thought provoking movie depicting the age-old evils of rural Indian beliefs and traditions, with women often on the receiving end of a male dominated society. This is a touching story of four women in a desert village of Rajasthan. The film portrays the innocent yet miserable lives plagued by age-old practices of patriarchy, child marriage, dowry, marital rapes, mental tortures and physical abuse. Written and directed by Leena Yadav and produced by Ajay Devgan, the movie stars Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, Adil Hussain, Lehar Khan and Sayani Gupta. Continue reading “Best Bollywood Movies of 2016”

A Quiz on Disappeared Bollywood Stars: Where are they now?

Bollywood Quiz: Bollywood Actors from the past, where have they gone!
Mandakini
Some of the Movie stars had a very short on-screen life; they made a big entrance and then disappeared. Some had personal issues; others were not so lucky on the big screen. Yet others decided to take a different path. Here is a quiz about some of the mega stars of the past. This is your chance to test how well you know your Bollywood!
Some from the old days, some no so distant.
Some happy endings, some not so.
Here we go! Good luck with the quiz:

Remember the light-eyed teenager Mandakini; the leading lady in RaJ Kapoor's film ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’? Where is she now?





Ayesha Jhulka played key roles in films like ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander’, 'Khiladi', 'Masoom'.... What happened to her?





Meenakshi Seshadri, known for her great acting in movies like Jurm, Ghayal and Damini, disappeared from the Bollywood screens. What happened to her?





Kumar Gaurav, the son of superstar Rajendra Kumar, was an overnight star with his debut movie Love Story. Where is he now?





Kimi Katkar created a stir for her film Tarzan (1985). She played opposite Big B in Hum and is still remembered for her Chumm Chumma song. Where is she now:





Saira Banu, the famous lead actress of 1960s and 1970s stopped acting suddenly in late 1970s. What happened?





Salma Agha made a splash with movie 'Nikaah', her soulful voice won her filmfare award for Best Playback Female for the song "Dil Ke Armaan Aansuon Mein Beh Gaye". What happened to her?





What happened to Sushil Kumar and Sudhir Kumar after their superb acting in the superhit movie Dosti in 1964?





Bhagyashree, best known for her debut lead role in the movie Maine Pyar Kiya, is nowhere on the Bollywood screens. Where is she?





Raj Kiran acted in around 100 films. Karz, Begunah, Basera, Maan Abhiman and Arth were some of his most memorable movies. Where is he now?








Continue reading “A Quiz on Disappeared Bollywood Stars: Where are they now?”

Best Bollywood Movies of 2013

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The best Bollywood Hindi films of 2013
The tastes vary, the choices differ. When it comes to the Bollywood films, some like them spicy and action packed thrillers while others prefer sweet and romantic dramas. Some like suspense while others prefer plain old romance. The films below are some of the best standout Bollywood features from 2013.

1. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: This is a sports drama film produced and directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra; the script is written by Prasoon Joshi, based on the life of Milkha Singh – an Indian national champion runner and an Olympian. The movie stars Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor, Divya Dutta, Pavan Malhotra, Yograj Singh, Meesha Shafi and Prakash Raj. 2014 Filmfare Awards recognized this movie with multiple awards including the Best Movie, Best Director, along with Farhan Akhtar receiving the best actor award.

2. Chennai Express: This is a romantic action comedy film directed by Rohit Shetty and produced by Gauri Khan under the film production company Red Chillies Entertainment. The film features Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in lead roles, along with Sathyaraj, Nikitin Dheer and Kamini Kaushal. The movie is about a man’s journey from Mumbai to Rameshwaram and what happens along the way after he falls in love with the daughter of a local don. The melodious music is composed by the duo Vishal-Shekhar; the lyrics come from Amitabh Bhattacharya and Yo Yo Honey Singh.

3. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: This is a coming-of-age romantic comedy, directed by Ayan Mukerji and produced by Karan Johar. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone in lead roles – the duo know for their on-screen chemistry. The cast includes Aditya Roy Kapur, Kalki Koechlin and Kunaal Roy Kapur. Madhuri Dixit appears in an item number titled “Ghagra”. The soundtrack score is composed by Pritam, with lyrics from Amitabh Bhattacharya and Kumaar. The popular songs include ‘Dilli Wali Girlfriend’ and ‘Badtameez Dil’.

4. The Lunchbox: This artistic film is a romantic drama written and directed by Ritesh Batra. It stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead roles. This unexpectedly refreshing and slow-developing love-story has a touch of loneliness, highlighting complicated human relations. The story is simple and supported by brilliant acting. The film was screened at International Critics’ Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and later won the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award also known as Grand Rail d’Or. It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival as well. Continue reading “Best Bollywood Movies of 2013”

Happy New Year!

Another day, another year.
May 2014 open many new doors for you!
Wishing you adventurous and exciting times ahead!!

Anther day, another year.
Laugh a lot and travel often!
Time flies by; live the laugh to the fullest!!

Another day, another year.
New moments, new memories!
Have a healthy, wealthy and prosperous 2014!!

Happy New Year!

Choice!

“Yestereve, on the marble steps of the Temple, I saw a woman sitting between two men. One side of her face was pale, the other was blushing.” ~Kahlil Gibran

Happy Spring!

Time – infinite moments put together. Time – so unpredictable. No one knows what tomorrow brings,  if tomorrow comes.

Yet, time – always predictable if you step back and look at the bigger picture. The beauty of time – the spring always follows winter.

Another dawn, another beautiful day. The mild temperature of a sunny afternoon;  a welcome change.

The wintery chill is finally fading; the days growing longer, the nights shrinking. The morning frost is short lived. The winter attire and warm clothes are a thing of the yesterday. Strolling down the street in a spring jackets – it feels much lighter, much nicer…you can finally breathe the freshness of new air. Yes, a welcome change.

Another day, another season; it is finally starting to feel like spring again!

The small green buds are starting to peep from the naked tree branches. The green hue is returning to the brown dead grass. The ponds are no longer frozen; a pair of white swimming swans declare that the spring is finally here – the proof if you still need one. The outdoors are inviting again, with open arms. Continue reading “Happy Spring!”

The Best Bollywood Movies of 2012

Top Bollywood films of 2012
As every year, Bollywood industry churned out hundred of feature films in 2012 – some very good, some very bad and a lot of mediocre ones. Here are some of the standouts of the year:
Barfi
Barfi!: This is a romantic comedy written and directed by Anurag Basu. The movie narrates the story of “Barfi” – a mute and deaf boy in Darjeeling, West Bengal. The plot beautifully outlines his relation with two girls, one of whom is autistic. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D’Cruz in lead roles.

Gattu: A low-budget flick for all ages, Gattu appeals to kids and adults alike. Directed by Rajan Khosa, the story revolves around a kid living in a small town where everyone is obsessed with kite-flying. No glitter or high-budget stunts here; just pure human drama at its best.

Vicky Donor: This romantic comedy with modern twist is directed by Shoojit Sircar and produced by John Abraham.The movie explore the subject of sperm donation and infertility, something new for Indian cinema. It stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam and Annu Kapoor as the main cast.

Ek Tha Tiger: This is an action film, directed by Kabir Khan and produced by Aditya Chopra of Yash Raj Films. The movie stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in the lead roles supported by Ranvir Shorey, Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth and Gavie Chahal. A combination of love story and spy drama, the movie is full of dazzling action, beautifully filmed international scenery and pleasant music. Continue reading “The Best Bollywood Movies of 2012”

Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown Connecticut – a new low!

A horrific tragedy beyond imagination: Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting!

This is bad, beyond words.
Just heard on the news: Some deranged lunatic went crazy inside an elementary school in Connecticut, shooting little kids. More than 25 people are reported to be dead, 20 of them are children between the age of 5 and 10 years.

This is just unimaginable – one of the worst tragedy you can dread..
This is pure evil, the worst kind you can think of.
Killing innocent people is bad enough, killing innocent little kids? How low can you go!

I feel sad and helpless; not sure what to say or what to do! Continue reading “Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown Connecticut – a new low!”

Summer of 2012

Time – infinite moments put together, one after another.
Moments adding up to the continuous flow of life.
The tree of life growing moment by moment, day-by day, season-by-season.
The moments – sweet and sour – some memorable, most of them forgettable.
Summer. The summer of 2012; another season.
Another phase, another period punctuated by the scattered memories.
Summer of 2012, summed up in one word – heat.
Relentless heat; unforgettable!!

Heat, the dry heat.
The endless summer heat-wave.
Long days of summer and the long periods of droughts.
No rains for weeks, a rare tease of light sprinkles in between.
Dry ground. Dry ponds.
Dead grass, thirsty gardens.
Thirsty gardens, cornless cobs, shriveling fruits, withering leaves….
The sun bombarding the earth every moment of day, day after day
The never ending summer of 2012… Continue reading “Summer of 2012”

Funny translations around the globe!

What do you call a person who only speaks English? An American! But fear not, many countries try to help the visitors by putting up signs in English language.

A hotel elevator in Paris read:
Please leave your values at the front desk.

The real meaning may be lost in translations unless that’s what they really meant! The unintended outcomes of English translation are at full display in many of these travel signs, intended to help the tourists! Here are some of the funny ones:

Ladies have fits upstairs.
~ Outside a dress shop in Hong Kong

Drop your trousers here for the best results.
~ A Bangkok dry cleaner’s sign Continue reading “Funny translations around the globe!”

2012 – Welcome!

Happy 2012 to you and your loved ones!

The Time is the ultimate story teller; the time is the father of truth. As time goes by, the reality of everything around us strips down to their true colors.

We talk about passing time or sitting around idle, or killing time; in reality it is the time that kills us in the end. This is nothing new, we all know the importance of time; how precious it is!

Yes, we are overly preoccupied with the time and its passage. We have organized our time into calendars, into a busy schedule to prove that we are not wasting time. We are even double-booked some times! Yes, we have understood the importance of time, we have figured out a way to make the best out of it, so we believe!!

The new years, the new wishes, or the old wishes tweaked a little…this is the beauty of time, the new time. The passing time makes us feel so important, as if we control it.

Of course, we don’t control the time, or the life passing by. In fact, there is no need; there is no need to drag the time, or hold on to the past. Continue reading “2012 – Welcome!”

Price of True Love exceeds $100K in 2011 !

Every culture, every place has its own unique traditions, some meaningless, some plain weird. We follow many trivial customs as a part of our culture, not because they are important but because it is part of our past!

Here is another tradition, followed every year soon after the Thanksgiving holidays: the calculations of ‘True Cost of Christmas’, or the cost of True Love, as some call it.

This ‘True Cost of Christmas’ or the price of True Love is calculated based on the current price of the items or commodities mentioned in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

To refresh your memory of the carol, it goes like this:

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
a partridge in a pear tree

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
Two turtle doves
and a partridge in a pear tree….. Continue reading “Price of True Love exceeds $100K in 2011 !”