After a period of not being quite up on what was happening in Indian films (or being up on it, just not having a chance to watch most of it), I feel like 2012 was the year I was finally caught up on most new releases. There are of course a couple of films I still intend on seeing and haven't yet (mostly films that have not come out on DVD yet, like Talaash - so please no spoilers for that one!) but for the most part, I've seen the films that interest me.
Of course, films that interest me do not equal the most talked about films of 2012 or even the biggest box office successes of 2012. I've not seen Jab Tak Hai Jaan because I'm not that huge on SRK in his current romantic roles, nor do I particularly like Yash Chopra's filmography (though recognise his significance). I probably won't see Student of The Year unless I feel like hating on Karan Johar one of these days. The action flicks I missed out on, like Son of Sardaar and Khiladi Numbersequence, I might check out, provided I'm bored in 2013. Rowdy Rathore is definitely on the list.. And if Gangs of Wasseypur ever gets a decent DVD release, I'll be the first in line to buy it.
But onto the list of favourites, not-so-favourites etc.
Queens of My Heart: Rani Mukherjee & Vidya Balan
With The Dirty Picture still fresh on most people's minds, Vidya had Kahaani, a wonderful performance-driven thriller, easily in the top 3 films of the year. Meanwhile, Rani had both Aiyyaa and her re-union with Aamir in Talaash. As I said previously, haven't seen Talaash yet but I loved Aiyyaa so much that while it may have flopped making very little noise, it reminded me of why Rani is so good, and among my favourite actresses of all time. I will enjoy anything these two women grace with their presence.
The Man Who Blazes His Own Trail: Aamir Khan
It seems that every year Aamir Khan does something new I have to admire him for. There are a lot of legitimate criticisms of Satyamev Jayate and the way it presented important issues, but there's also so much to be said for the intelligent manner it brought these issues to to be discussed. Every episode contained an appeal to the humanity in all of us; I believe the show truly did something unique and I really appreciate having the opportunity to watch it legally via YouTube.
But Aamir is still a film star and I am psyched to see him in Dhoom 3 next year. Only this guy would go from exploring heartwrenching societal ills on television one year into such unapologetic entertainment the next.
The Character Actor To Watch Out For: Adil Hussain
You might remember him from Ishqiya or Kaminey from previous years, but this year he played not only the Colonel in Agent Vinod, but also Sridevi's husband in English Vinglish AND the main character's father in Life of Pi (which I just saw and hugely enjoyed!). Personally I barely remember him in Agent Vinod, but thought he was really good in English Vinglish. The role needed an actor who could portray the character with a certain softness - he does things we as audience loathe, because we love Sridevi's character Shashi so much, but we also have to see why she loves him. Santosh Patel in Life of Pi was a pretty similar role; he's not perfect, he can come off as unfeeling, but overall still likable. Of course, your mileage may vary, but I certainly enjoyed his performances this year and will keep an eye out for this Assamese actor in the future..
Most Likable Newbies: Ayushman Khurana & Parineeti Chopra
As well as Ranbir Kapoor acts (or so I hear, having not watched all of his work all that consistently), as pretty as Sonam Kapoor is and as cute as Imran Khan is, a lot of the newer generation of Bollywood have left me quite cold. I like them, I just don't quite love any of them yet. This year again brought on some new faces, and two that I quite enjoyed. Ayushman Khurana did not play the most sympathetic character in Vicky Donor, nor did I love the film as others did, but I still liked him a lot. Was it just the dimples? Who knows, I just know I'll keep watching whatever he does next. Parineeti Chopra I already liked in last year's Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, but she was by far the best thing in this year's objectionable Ishaqzaade. I was really looking forward to the latter, and was so sad it took such an odd turn around the half-way mark, but it solidified my liking of Parineeti, and I will continue following what she does, for sure.
The Film That Should Win All The Awards, or: The Film of the Year: English Vinglish
It's not that tough a competition this year. This heart-warming gem just has it all: the rare well-written role for an older actress, an exciting comeback for one of the industry's brightest stars, a supremely likable international cast and quite a fun soundtrack to boot. Review here!
Most Favouritest Film This Year: Aiyyaa
As I said in my review, this film seemed happily tailor-made for film fans like myself, so of course I ate it like it was candy on ice cream cake, because it truly was that level of deliciousness. I suppose only time will how much I actually like this film, but based on rewatching the songs multiple times, it's definitely among my favourites.
And now, other categories...
Blandest Film: Ekk Main Aur Ek Tu ...no competition here.
Most Aggravating Film: Ishaqzaade. Siiiiigh.
Uncle Pyaar [phrase coined by Rum] Award, or What Am I To Do With You, Yaar? Award: Saif Ali Khan, who I was disappointed in Agent Vinod, and whose other film, Cocktail, also did not look too enticing, what with romancing ladies nearly half his age (well, not really, but come on, he looks pretty old these days). And let's not even discuss his upcoming films .. Race 2? Ack! And yes, SRK was a strong contender for Uncle Pyaar as well, but hey, I just ignore JTHJ so..
Favourite Southie Discoveries of the Year: Ko, a supreme Tamil thriller starring Jiiva (cutie!) and a belated discovery of Raavanan and Why This Kolaveri Di. Also - Upendra!
Most Fun Filmi Meet-up: Watching Chor Sipahee at Memsaab's with Filmi Geek!
Best Retrospective Oldies Discovery: Young Kabir Bedi, who I saw in Kucche Dhaage.
Favourite Posts in Which I Invent Films: This one and this one.
The Film That Got It Wrong, and the Film That Got It Right: Over-ambition left Agent Vinod in the ditch while under-ambition means Ek Tha Tiger actually delivered what the audience wanted to see.
Most Gif-able Song Sequence in a Film Ever: Pinnilavu, with those Mammootty dance moves!
News At 11: I really like young Vinod Khanna, you guys. I also really like Abhay Deol, because reasons.
And that's about it from me for this year. What are some of your favourites, guys? Anything you'd really recommend I check out?