Considering I began the year enjoying the delights and heights of a fancy Chennai hotel at a New Year's Eve party, you'd think I'd have spent the rest of it all caught up in the glam of the various film industries. Instead, this was another one of those years I assume I will continue having, where my Indian film interest comes and goes in spurts. One week it's six movies, the next four weeks it's absolutely none. Stop and start, stop and start. Such is the nature of my fandom, it seems.
Still, even as oddly paced as my film watching is these days, I did manage to catch most of the big releases, or at least the films I wanted to see, or felt like I ought to see. This post is a quick round up, certainly not inclusive of all the 2014 films I've yet to catch up to, working on that DVD release delay as I usually do.
Favourite of The Year: Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania
I want to make a really horrible, hamfisted food metaphor about how HSKD is all about using leftovers from other films and somehow spinning the most gorgeous meal out of them, but you know what? I'm not sure gives the movie enough credit. It's made of fresh ingredients, despite being a formulaic romcom that we've seen a million times, to the point where everything feels like a throwback, but so good and well-written that it feels completely fresh. In an incredible year for Alia Bhatt, she completely shone in this and Varun Dhawan also proved why he's among the most promising of the new debuts in the past few years. I should rewatch this, because it's probably the only film I saw all year that I actually really want to rewatch.
I don't even know if I watched Kick or if Kick just happened at me. It washed over me in many waves, each more inane than the previous one. I guess I liked it, but I also hated it because it was just so stupid, but it was so stupid it was kind of beautiful. It was the kind of film where I want to want more out of it, because films this inane should not be considered the height of film making, but at the same time, it was so much fun as it happened that it's hard to hate on it too much. I can only pretend to be so pretentious.
The Greatest Cinema Experience: Sholay 3D in Juhu, Mumbai
Yeah, I'm only posting about this to gloat. It was fantastic and I can't believe I got so lucky as to be in India when it happened.
Most Unexpected Rise: Alia Bhatt
2014 kicked off with everybody laughing at this young woman for giving an uneducated answer on a chat show, and I couldn't really blame them. She was not great in her debut, and even though she had intriguing movies in the pipeline, I was not anticipating any of them all that much. Then Highway came along and I loved it, and then Humpty cemented her year. I have not seen 2 States yet because after actually reading Chetan Bhagat I've soured on film adaptations of his book but just those two films alone make her one of the most interesting names to look out for in 2015.
I Guess I'm not Weird for Liking This Guy: Randeep Hooda
I developed a very sudden affection for this guy after seeing him in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai in late 2012/early 2013 and have been following his career ever since. I feel like last year was the year where he began being more of a topic of conversation and I'm really happy for it, though I suspect we will still see him in Bhatt-y thrillers and playing second fiddle to whoever Khan but whatever, I'm just happy more people are into him now that they've seen him in Highway and Kick. He's so good and delicious, and always puts in maximum effort on screen. I just really like him.
My Queens Remain Queens: Bobby Jasoos & Mardaani
Vidya Balan had a pretty uneven year, as I hear Shaadi Ke Side Effects is just not very good, but I did enjoy Bobby Jasoos a lot. Rani just had Mardaani but Mardaani is very much better than nothing, because Mardaani was quite a showing.
I'm incredibly happy I bought this Tamil black comedy from India, because it turned out to be one of the laugh-out-loud funniest comedies I've seen from India in a long while and its satiric edge on Indian society was razor sharp. Plus it introduced me to Vijay Sethupathi, pictured here. I've not seen enough him to know if he's a favourite yet but so far so good, in all honesty.
Films I Missed Out On But Will Check Out: Haider, PK, Finding Fanny, Ugly, Gulaab Gang, Deddh Ishqiya.
If you have any recommendations outside that list of 2014 films I need to check out, I am all ears!
Questions I Have For 2015
Will Saif Ali Khan or Abhishek Bachchan, two guys who absolutely defined my Bollywood fandom around 2005-2007, ever make another film I'll actually want to see? Will Shamitabh by R. Balki make me weep senselessly like his previous Paa, considering that Shamitabh will also be the first Bollywood film shot in my country? After a year so fantastic for better roles for women, what will come of wonderful ladies like Kangana Raut and Deepika Padukone, whose stars are on the rise? Will I salivate over the immense promise of Badlapur cast & director only to be disappointed? Is my favourite of 2015 already Shankar's I/Ai, even without having seen it? (Yes on that last one. Very much yes.)