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”
Top Hindi Films of 2015
The 2015 year brought us a lot of Bollywood masala. The big budget films combined with big name stars dominated the big screen, but there were many outstanding movies in a variety of genres. Here are some of the memorable movies of 2015:
Bajrangi Bhaijaan: A sweet little girl with contagious smile opens this movie in the beautiful and scenic valleys of Kashmir. The touching story spans beyond the borders of India and Pakistan. The direction is brilliant; the music is true to the north India and Kashmiri settings. The dialogues are crisp, even though six years old Harshaali Malhotra says more with her eyes and smile throughout her captivating screen presence. Salman Khan plays the role of a devoted Bajrangi; he follows his heart and breaks all the religious and political boundaries in an effort to return the separated child back to her parents in Pakistan. His noble mission encounters serious hurdles all along; his innocent and naïve approach results in comic dramas, some of them predictable. Kabir Khan directs this comedy-drama; Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Kareena Kapoor feature in the supporting roles.
Piku: This is not your typical Bollywood masala movie with standard plot. It is an artistic and entertaining comedy that revolves around an aging father and his street smart cosmopolitan daughter. Amitabh Bachchan portrays a Bengali old man who speaks his mind and is overly obsessed with his non-existing health issues. The entertaining dialogues are short, sharp and mainly argumentative throughout the movie. The acting and direction has a very natural flow. Even though the characters cannot stand each other most of the times, the movie centers around love and the caring nature of average human beings. Irrfan Khan and Deepika Padukone are natural actors and this movie is no exception for their brilliant acting.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha: This is a beautiful family movie without a dashing muscular hero or a glamorous leading lady. Set in the 1990s in the temple town of Haridwar, the nuclear family drama is realistic and with a natural flow. The dialogues and the acting are true to the settings and the surroundings of lower-middle class lives. With little true romance, the movie is a comic yet beautiful story of ‘acquired love’ in an arranged marriage. The film portrays a complicated relation of an average young couple dealing with the daily struggles and social stigmas. Bhumi Pednekar and Ayushmann Khurrana deliver outstanding performances of an odd yet caring couple. Continue reading “Best Bollywood Movies of 2015”
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”
The top Bollywood films of the 1960s (1960 to 1969):
The decade of 1960s was unique for Bollywood in many ways. The legends like Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Rajender kumar, Sunil Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Dharmendra were the leading heroes. The beauty and acting of Saira banu, Sadhna, Vyajanti Mala, Mala Sinha, Sharmila Tagore, Waheeda Rehman, Asha Parekh and Mumtaz was at its prime, adoring the big screens. The color movies had started to replace black-and-white cinematography. Mohammad Rafi,Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Manna Dey were at the peak of their vocal magic….
The decade of 1960s delivered some of the ever-green Hindi films, supported by soulful music and memorable acting. Here are some of the top Bollywood movies from 1960s.
Mughal-e-Azam (1960): This is one of the all time greats and one of the most expensive Hindi movies ever made. The star cast is great: Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Durga Khote. The acting is very ‘real’. The dance sets are unparalleled for its time. Some of the famous dance sequences of Madhubala are filmed in the Shish Mahal -The Palace of Mirrors- in Lahore Shahi Qila.
Barsaat Ki Raat (1960): This is beautifully told love-story; another classic B/W of the 60s. The film starring Bharat Bhushan, Madhubala, Shyama, Mumtaz Begum and K.N. Singh in the lead roles. With lyrics from Sahir, the film is also popular for its qawwali songs, the likes of ‘Yeh ishaq ishaq’.
Chaudvin ka Chand(1960): Another great movie with equally great music. The film centers on a love triangle between Guru Dutt, Rehman and Waheeda Rehman. The ever-green songs are composed by Ravi and the lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni. Rafi delivered a very versatile vocal performance for the title song ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho’ and other songs like ‘Mili Khak Main Mohabbat’.
Junglee (1961): The film stars Shammi Kapoor, Lalita Pawar, Shashikala, Asit Sen in the lead roles, along with Saira Banu in her debut role. The movie is lighthearted musical; it established Shammi Kapoor’s as the youth icon of the times. The song ‘Yahoo’, sung by Rafi, became a symbol of Shammi’s wild (Junglee) and lover-boy image.
Dharmputra (1961): Directed by Yash Chopra, the film features Shashi Kapoor and Mala Sinha as the lead cast. The movie is based on the the partition of India and the Hindu fundamentalism at the time. The film deals with the issues of religious bigotry and fanaticism during the dark days of 1947. This was Shashi Kapoor’s first film as an adult actor. Film’s music is by N. Dutta with lyrics by the famous poet of the era – Sahir Ludhianvi.
Bees Saal Baad (1962): This is a brilliant suspense thriller; the spirit of a dead girl, who committed suicide after being raped, seems to avenge her rapist. The film stars Biswajeet, Waheeda Rehman and Madan Puri among the main actors. With lyrics from Shakeel Badayuni, and vocals from Lata and Hemant kumar’s, the movie has some of the most memorable hits songs, like ‘Bekarar Karke Hume…’. Continue reading “Best Bollywood movies of 1960s”
Top Bollywood movies of 70s (1970 to 1979):
The Bollywood in 70’s was at the peak of of its game. Everything you can relate to in a Hindi movie – acting, directing, music and exploring new boundaries – was flourishing. Some of the best Bollywood movies of all times were produced during this decade.
Choosing top 20 movies out of a span of 10 years, when every year was producing score of hit flicks, is almost impossible. The selection below tries to accommodate every genre – action, classic, artistic, popular….
So here we go:
1. Sholay (1975): This all-time-great movie needs no introduction; it is one of the biggest hits ever. It is a classic thriller of modern days, a must watch Bollywood gem. The mega cast includes Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan. Sholay is the highest grossing film of all time in Indian cinema. When first released, the movie did not win any major awards from the film critics, but it has a cult like following. At the 50th Filmfare, it received the award as the Best Film of 50 Years.
2. Bobby (1973): The movie is a brilliant combination of romance, music and social conflicts. This blockbuster is known to be a trend-setter in its own rights. Raj Kapoor introduced the genre of teenage romance with a rich-vs.-poor clash as a backdrop. Some of the romance scenes were simply too bold for its time. This popular flick was a debut film for Dimple Kapadia and the first leading role for Rishi Kapoor.
3. Pakeezah (1972): This is a legendary movie; with a larger than life appeal. Beautifully directed by Kamal Amrohi, this movie is a combination of good artistic tastes, lovely costumes, a fluid storyline, excellent settings and melodious music. The film is a story of a Lucknow tawaif (courtesan) played by actress Meena Kumari. Raaj Kumar and Ashok Kumar lead the cast. The evergreen and superb music comes from Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad. Continue reading “Top 20 Bollywood movies of 70s”
The other quizzes on this site can be found as linked below:
Bollywood Quiz 7 – Bollywood Playback Singers :A quiz on popular Bollywood playback singers.
Bollywood Quiz I: Know your Bollywood?:A Bollywood quiz about old movies of yesteryears!
The Quiz III below relates to Bollywood movies or stories from August 2009, (and originally published in August 2009):
- The Best Bollywood Movies of All Times
- 10 Best Movies with NRIs and India Abroad Theme
- 20 Best Bollywood movies of last 10 years
- 20 Best Bollywood movies of 90s decade
- Top 20 Bollywood Movies of 80’s
- Bollywood Quiz 5 – The Idiots and a Dog