Sunday, May 11, 2014

Filmi year 2013 - better late than never, I guess?

2013 was kind of a very strange year for me, in terms of following Indian cinema. I started the year in a frenzy, watching and enjoying a lot of films, then the interest fizzling, but keeping up with films somewhat, and managing to catch a fair few films at a festival in early autumn. Most of the year was spent planning for the eventual epic India trip, that would commence in December and go through to mid-January, when I would finally return home, happy and sated, with tons of movies with me. 

There are notable exceptions to the 2013 films I saw - I couldn't find the time, effort or interest to catch Chennai Express, the big SRK blockbuster. I saw bits of it on TV in India, but Indian TV drove me up the walls with the commercial breaks, so I just couldn't focus on it. I think I saw most films, though, most films that I intended to see, anyway. 

So, here's my takeaway from last year.

Why The Hell Did I Do This To Myself Film of the Year: Race 2

We all have regrets, and I'm surprised watching Race 2 wasn't followed by a year-long chronic hangover in which everything and anything would be a plot twist and nothing would make any goddamn sense. But thankfully, the end result of watching Race 2 is merely that you've wasted your time watching Race 2. If your life is irrevocably ruined afterwards, that's on you. 

Disappointment of the Year: Go Goa Gone

Gosh, oh gosh. I so wanted to like you, movie. Why didn't you let me

I'm A Special Snowflake For Getting to See This Gem of the Year: Monsoon Shootout

It's an interesting little indie flavored flick, it's got Nawazuddin Siddiqui (ie perfection), it's just a really intriguing watch and I want everybody to see and I hate festival slow-burn releases, except when I don't, because I got to see this ahead of most other people. But when it hits theaters, do check it out, I implore you. 

Best Used Formula of the Year: AnyBody Can Dance

All the delightful underdog team tropes are in use here, and it just works so well. This was my delight of the year, and I can't wait to rewatch it once more.

The Most Puzzling Film of the Year: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola 

I loved it. It was weird. It was gorgeous. It was water buffaloes? I don't know what to make of this movie, but I do know I own the damn thing on DVD, so I suppose I'll have to give it another look. There was so much good, and such good satire amidst all the strangeness, but I don't know if Matru is, at the end of the day, just an okay oddball movie, or a splendid underappreciated masterpiece.

The Biggest Causes of Worry: the various struggles of the young generation

I'm talking questionable movie picks (I know they can't all be winners but I'd want to see Parineeti Chopra in something good, and Shuddh Desi Romance was not it), weird appearance changes (Anushka Sharma's face) and careers generally headed towards the toilet (Abhay Deol, Imran Khan). I like some of these people. I may not love all of them, but I do wish them all the best, and it saddens me to see these young stars take significant missteps. Don't Saif Ali Khan your career, guys, let's pull it together.

A Thing That Happened That I Didn't Think I Could Type In 2014: Karan Johar directed a kiss scene between two men

No, seriously, I did not think that would happen. As for the short film itself, well, I like Karan Johar sometimes, flaws and all. And believe me, there were flaws. (I also need to rewatch Bombay Talkies, I don't believe I ever reviewed it in full.)

The Top Five Most Epic Film Experiences I Had in India (because I must gloat)
  1. DDLJ at Maratha Mandir. Enough said.
  2. Sholay 3D in Juhu, amongst people who loved it and who could quote it by heart. I am the luckiest son of a gun.
  3. Dhoom 3. Because Dhoom 3. And also, Dhoom 3, which stars Aamir Khan and Aamir Khan, and I am happy that was a thing that was. 
  4. The Tamil film Kumki, viewed at night, in a village setting. Magical.
  5. Dancing so enthusiastically to Badtameez Dil from Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani at a Chennai New Year's Eve event that some random folks came to tell me I rock out harder to Bollywood music than most Indians. I was flattered, but it was only because I never get to dance to Bollywood music outside my bedroom that I was so into it. That, and...

My Film of the Year: Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

Because as much as I appreciated other films last year, YJHD was the only one that hit home on all fronts - it was funny, charming, had a cute romance, a rocking soundtrack, a beautiful depiction of female friendship and inspired me to think about some of my choices in life. For a guy I am not a fan of, Ranbir Kapoor keeps performing in a manner that is hard not to like, and Deepika Padukone continues to impress. It's a movie I saw, and then went back to, and have gone back to twice or three times after first seeing it. I love it. I just love it. 


Mette said...

Awww this is the cutest post I've seen in a long time. Maybe I just miss all the Bollywood blogs that have closed down. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for the expression "Saif Ali Khan your career".
YJHD was my #1 Indian movie of the year too, absolutely loved it (re-watch time?!). And I'm sooo jealous 1) you saw Monsoon Shoutout 2) you went to India 3) you danced to Badtameez Dil there!

veracious said...

It's kind of sad that by "Saif Ali Khan your career" I meant Saif's early career, obviously, but his recent films haven't been all that good, either. Sigh. But thanks, glad you enjoyed it! I always like making these wrap up posts.

As for Monsoon Shootout and India trip, I'll just say good things are worth waiting for. Remember, I started watching Indian films ten years ago, so that trip was about that long in the making, and I'm glad it was, since I knew what I wanted to see, what I didn't need to see, and all that extra information consumed over such a long time just made the trip better. When you finally get to go, I'm sure you'll have a good plan for it, and it'll be a blast.

Filmbuff said...

Glad you had a good trip to India. I too saw Sholay on the big screen in the open air in Sydney a couple of years ago- it was one of the events at the annual Parramasala - south Asian festival event. Needless to say the whole garden and open area was full of people who knew all the dialogues and were mouthing these dialogues at the right moment too.

I haven't seen Dhoom 3 coz KK puts me off totally. I may watch one of these days on DVD for Aamir Khan.

I too have enjoyed watching tamil movies in the villages during my tours to India.

If you were lucky to be in India in the 70s with a chance to watch one of those 70s awesome movies with the audience, it would have been a life time's experience. Of course you were born waay after that era - lol. Movies were usually screened in single screen theatres with all kinds of audience enjoying the experience together - ie the masses and classes. If you were a rickshaw guy, you buy the cheapest ticket in the front row. On the other hand if you were a moneyed businessman you would be in the balcony (costliest ticket) - the reaction of the audience would be spontaneous and that itself was an enjoyable experience on its own.