The year is wrapping up and as we get ready to relax, feast and claim the right to do absolutely nothing for at least a few days this holiday season, it's also time to look back at 2010 for it's films. So, as a first for The NRI, we are letting our readers decide the best of the year in films and film music. I will throw in my own opinions too but first I want to hear from all of you. Which Hindi films this year moved you like none other, made you laugh, cry or inspired? Which ones took you by complete surprise? Which music albums left you obsessed, playing them on loop until your friends threatened to abandon you? Here are a few reminders to inspire ideas, but feel free to throw in films and albums not mentioned here as well.
You can vote by adding a comment at the bottom of this post.
This year has marked the revolution of indie cinema, with low budget innovative films regularly making an appearance and leaving everyone surprised, or in some cases downright amazed. These films have also marked the emergence of several very promising young filmmakers into the film industry. Abhishek Chaubey’s directorial debut Ishqiya (produced by Vishal Bhardwaj) made a splash early in the year. This rustic tale offered three hapless and lovable characters entangled in a love story, yet each having their own agenda. Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan, about a volatile father-son relationship came quietly but left an unforgettable imprint on Indian cinema. Abhay Deol-starrer Road, Movie was a beautiful journey across India and to self-discovery for four strangers, while Tere Bin Laden was an engaging political satire on the global attitudes towards terrorism. Perhaps the film that most noticeably broke new ground – technically and in terms of content – was Dibakar Banerjee’s Love Sex aur Dhokha, a bold foray into digital filmmaking, using innovative camera techniques combined with engaging stories. And of course, trust Aamir Khan to be the first of his contemporaries to break the mold by producing an indie-to-the-core film like Peepli Live. This satire about the news media made everyone sit up and take notice for its wit and irony. It is also India’s official entry to the Oscars this year.
The big-banner films that left a mark were few and far between. Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan received mixed reactions but definitely managed to stay in the news for much of the year. Prakash Jha’s magnum opus Raajneeti showed how a large ensemble cast of a mix of character actors and Bollywood stars can be brought together to tell a powerful story about greed and power in politics. One of the year’s most awaited films, Mani Ratnam’s Raavan sank at the box office but left critics divided. Is it one of those films that succumbed to immense hype but will be appreciated more down the line? Who can forget this year’s biggest blockbuster – and second highest grossing Bollywood film of all time – Dabangg. The Salman Khan-starrer had a thunderous release and left everyone panting. Rajnikanth-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starrer Endhiran - Robot had a very similar response. Both films brought back the unapologetic masala genre with a vengeance. The very latest contender for this vote could also be Yash Raj Films’ Band Baaja Baraat, one of the most sincere and realistic films to be made by the production house, with very relatable characters running a wedding planning company.
In terms of music, the year offered many great soundtracks, many for films that were released this year and some for films that will release in 2011. Duo Vishal-Shekhar have had a rocking year, with chartbuster albums for Anjaana Anjaani, I Hate Luv Storys and Break Ke Baad, all three offering a pop rock youthful vibe. Similarly, composer Amit Trivedi has delivered stellar albums for Aisha, Udaan and No One Killed Jessica (the film will release in January), each one pushing the envelope in Hindi film music. A.R. Rahman hasn’t had quite the successful year, with his music for Endiran – Robot and Jhootha Hi Sahi receiving lukewarm responses but Raavan definitely stood out. But maybe some of you out there think otherwise.
Other albums that stood out were the very eclectic music of Peepli Live, composed and sung mostly by Indian Ocean. An edgy and raw film like Love Sex aur Dhokha also had a music album that suited it very well. Yash Raj Films’ Lafangey Parindeyhad a youthful tapori sound with some memorable numbers.
So that was a quick summary of some films and music albums worth considering. Now we want to hear from you. Vote by leaving comments and tell us which film and music album you think would be the best of the year. Feel free to even vote for films that I didn’t mention here. We will announce the results in a couple of weeks.