I already said in the review for Rock On!! that it felt like 2008 was less of a year for Indian films than 2007. Each year I miss out on films that came out during that year, and weirdly enough, the films I missed out on in 2007 (such as Chak De India, Aaja Naachle and Bhool Bhulaiyaa) were some of the ones I enjoyed the most this year. So perhaps 2008 will also reveal some interesting flicks during 2009, but so far, having seen most of the big films of 2008, I feel rather unexcited.
Filmi Girl detailed her disappointments and favourites for the past year, but I'll lay out how the year was for me in a different format.
The Film That Should've But Wasn't: Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
I understand I am completely in the minority for this one. I guess it was hype overkill; all the praise showered onto the movie, its plot, "freshness" and its stars, you forget it's still a debutante film director and first films are rarely if ever flawless. I liked Imraan and the kind of youthful romance/friendship themes should be exactly just my thing but something fell short in Jaane Tu. I thought about it a lot and came to the conclusion that despite loving Genelia in Bommarillu, I wasn't into her character in this film at all. While I love the song "Kabhi Kabhi Aditi", the picturization of it pinpoints what turns me off about her character; she feels things so extremely and doesn't even try to get over the devastation of losing a pet, and so comes off as this generally high maitenance little lady. I just raised my eye brow like, "Geez, cheer up emo kid!".
The romance doesn't quite work, I suppose because we see them being friends and essentially already in love. When you fail to see the process of the relationship, sometimes you buy it, sometimes it makes you feel like you're missing out on something that would've made you more into the movie.
But I don't want to argue these points - if you liked the movie, I'm happy for you. Just trying to detail the reasons - more to myself than anybody else - of why I didn't like it, even though I was so sure I would!
Ladies And Gentlemen, We Have a Clear Loser: Race
In my initial review, I was almost happy to have seen Race, because it's sometimes nice to mock something so completely. But in retrospect, god, what a wasted opportunity. You have perfectly capable actors like Saif, Anil and Akshaye, and some okay-to-whatever actresses like Bipasha and Katrina and the only real offering of the movie are awkward songs with skintastic picturizations. Yawn. And yet, this one was a box office success! India, sometimes I just don't understand you...
Veracious Goes Against The Grain: Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic & Tashan
So I hated Race but the other two Saif films this year, yes, the ones that absolutely tanked in the box office, I quite liked! Thoda Pyaar was a saccharine sweet Disney film in Hindi but it worked, thanks to the sincerity of the director and the brilliance of Rani Mukherjee. Tashan on the other hand, flawed movie that could've been so much better, but also a fun action masala that proves why Akshay Kumar is one of the top stars in India and why Kareena Kapoor excels if you give her a good role.
Close But No Cigar: Dostana
I really enjoyed Dostana but it doesn't quite end up on the "oh em gee favouritest ever in the universe" list of films. It had flaws, but even more annoying, it had flaws that bugged me. The first half was a pretty damn good comedy, though, and I'll be getting it on DVD. The soundtrack is also my most-listened-to of the year.
Call Me a Groupie: Rock On!!
I don't have quite as clear a favourite this year as last year with Aata, a Telugu film I loved to pieces despite it's cheesiness. But if I had to pick one, it'd probably have to be Rock On!!, a fun film that I'll probably be rewatching a lot.
Missing Out on the Biggies: Bachna Ae Haseeno, Rab Ne Jodi.., Ghajini, Yuvraaj, U Me aur Hum..
It seems like the best films this year were the not-so-big, not-so-mainstream ones, but I definitely do want to see some of these big name movies. Maybe next year.
Film Experience of the Year: Jodhaa-Akbar
I saw this in the theaters thanks to being able to visit the UK in March and wow, what an experience. The most epic film of all time, surely, and the epicness was certainly over-whelming. It gets boring every now and again, but to make up for it, there's hot chemistry, intense romance and elephants. There are few things I love more than elephants. Did I mention .. elephants!
And a final plug to everybody and anybody visiting London:
30 High Street Colliers Wood
London, SW19 2AB
Take the Jubilee Line (if I recall correctly) to Colliers Wood, follow the street you get on when you get out of the tube station, and find this shop. Ayngaran is the best releaser of Tamil DVD's and their London shop is full of offers, and a very nice helpful staff, brimming with movie recommendations. Highly recommended!
Navel-gazing ahead: Yeah, my blog was featured in the press a smidgeon this year. It was awkward, but also pretty cool. Here's the latest, on Filmfare October or November or whatever:
Thanks to Reema for the scan!
I might post before 2009, I might not. If not, have a great new year, guys!