It’s hard to believe that another year is drawing to a close. A year when different types of movies tried to make a mark at the box office, when new stars emerged and old ones floundered. 2013 will stand out as a landmark year for independent Indian cinema, which not only found supporters in the form of big studios and star endorsements, but also an appreciative audience that had been gasping for “intelligent” cinema. Here is my list of 10 standout movies, in no particular order.
1.Shahid: Hansal Mehta’s hard-hitting biopic saw Rajkumar Rao excel as the young lawyer Shahid Azmi, who is murdered. A gritty story told with conviction that not only engaged you but made you sit up and think, Shahid tops my list as one of the best examples of collaborative filmmaking.
2.Ship of Theseus: Film festivals around the world feted Anand Gandhi’s episodic triptych before Kiran Rao decided to champion its local release. A philosophical dialogue, the film explored the Theseus paradox (is a ship that has been restored by replacing all its parts still the same ship?) through its three protagonists, all of whom have had organ replacement surgeries.
3.The Lunch Box: Irrfan Khan made a simple homemade lunch look incredibly appetising, as the lonely man who revelled in an explosion of tastes and a tantalising love letter during his lunch break. Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui offered impressive support in director Ritesh Batra’s love story.
4.Go Goa Gone: Saif Ali Khan’s Russian via New Delhi, who finds himself battling zombies in Goa, was a laugh-riot. Director Raj and DK created a world that was creepily overrun by zombies as they followed the adventures of three friends looking for a good time in Goa.
5.Bombay Talkies: An omnibus that paid tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema presented short stories by four directors—Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar. Each one explored a different facet of our ongoing love affair with the movies. Though not all the four stories were equally good, the ones that worked made the experience memorable.
6.Kai Po Che: Another threesome of boys and their coming of age: Abhishek Kapoor’s adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s novel, Three Mistakes of My Life, made stars of Amit Sadh, Rajkumar Rao and Sushant Singh Rajput.
7.Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola: Vishal Bhardwaj continues to be a unique storyteller in the Indian film-scape. And this time he captured our imagination with a pink buffalo and a drunken landlord, a role played brilliantly by Pankaj Kapur.
8.D-Day: Nikhil Advani’s spy thriller, headlining Irrfan, Rishi Kapoor and Arjun Rampal, took a ‘what if’ scenario and built a focused thriller around it: what if four R&AW agents were sent on a mission to extricate India’s most wanted man from Pakistan.
9.Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: Ranbir Kapoor, as I have often said, could seduce a lamp post! In this case, he has the gorgeous Deepika Padukone for company against lush backdrops and one of the best soundtracks of the year. Ayan Mukherji’s successful film is true blue Bollywood.
10.Lootera: Vikramaditya Motwane’s second film may not have touched me the way his debut, Udaan, did, but Lootera was a great showcase of his technical skills. A beautifully shot, languorous love story based on O Henry’s short story, Lootera is also Sonakshi Sinha’s finest work to date.
- Udita Jhunjhunwala