This is by no means a comprehensive list - just stuff that I remember from last year to be of varying levels of interest.
The Abhishwarya Bonanza
Well, first there was Guru. Who could forget AB Jr.’s fantastic rendering of Dirubhai Ambani? And Ash had a chance to redeem herself after her cringe-inducing freak show in Dhoom:2 and proved that dammit, she CAN act - as long as she doesn’t have to don a mini-skirt. Then of course came the wedding blitz and we were Ash-n-Abhi’d to death. We’ve seen everything from post-shaadi trips to the temple to Ash’s first karva chauth…seriously?
The Comeback That Really Mattered
Okay - how many of us went through Salaam-E-Ishq basically waiting for the Govinda bits? That’s right - his was the comeback no one was expecting and it was all the more satisfying because we didn’t even realize we missed him! Doing only what Govinda can, he brought his own unique brand of lovable comedy back in one of the year’s biggest blockbusters - Partner.
VVC Congratulates Himself
More interesting than Eklavya the movie was the one man show called Vidhu Vinod Chopra who seemingly couldn’t stop congratulating himself on his own brilliance! Dude, let us decide. Eklavya was alright, not flawless - and the Munnabhai series belongs to Raj Kumar Hirani - not you.
The Stealthy Kumar
Check it out - Akshay Kumar had 4 releases this year and all 4 were blockbusters at the box office. So while we’ve been ruminating on the ever-fascinating hold King Khan has on the cash register and who, if anyone, can take over his throne…it’s not some new, young actor who’s the threat - it’s this veteran actor who’s been around even longer than SRK himself. Capitalizing on his comic talent, we already know he’s an action star, he’s kept himself current and trendy…could it be King Kumar before long?
The Comeback That Totally Didn’t Matter
For a while it was Shilpa here, Shilpa there, Shilpa, Shilpa everywhere. Talk about capitalizing on the whole racism controversy over in the UK…it was amusing to watch Ms. Shetty pretend like all this attention was going to get her career back on track. Unfortunately, no matter how much the Brits love her, seems like desi folk still…well, don’t.
The Remake To Unmake
Never, ever remake Sholay unless you know what the hell you’re doing.
The Invincible Khan
This was definitely SRK’s year - Chak De! saw him in a rare, understated and restrained performance that proves he CAN act, a little bit…and it was the only film from Yash Raj in 07 that did well. And then of course came Om Shanti Om. Love it or hate it, it ate up the box office. Love him or hate him, King Khan rules on.
A Star Is Born
Watch out for Deepika Padukone. It’s been a long while since there’s been a debut with this much dhamaka. Someone who can sweep on to the screen and be an instant star. There are a few promising actresses in the new breed - Amrita Rao, Ayesha Thakia, ummm…yeah, can’t think of anyone else. Konkona Sen Sharma is in a league of her own so I won’t even lump her in this group. But really, someone to take over the Ash-Preity-Rani triumvirate? Only Deepika can manage that.
The Sleeper Hit
Jab We Met was a breath of fresh air- and the first time I didn’t hate Kareena (with the one exception of Omkara) in a role. But the true heroes of this film were the refreshing dialog and Imtiaz Ali’s youthful, light touch on the direction. Shahid Kapur was good - he’s here for the long run and kind of reminds me of a young Aamir Khan. He has the same dedication and intensity and in a few years, I think he’ll be regarded as one of the industry’s best. And this guy is hands down the best dancer in Bollywood today. Yes, even better than Hrithik.
The Coolest Girl in B-Town
Is anyone cooler than Konkona these days? She’s so refreshingly unpretentious - it’s like her motto in life is “what’s the big deal?” She has the same likable quality that Kajol has and she is so unique in who she is…Whether it was Metro, Traffic Signal or the two YRF films she reluctantly took part in…she was mesmerizing. She’s that rare star who oozes character.
The Un-Bollywood Movement
A number of cool new films - from Life in a Metro to Johnny Gaddar, Bheja Fry to No Smoking, and Dus Kahaniyaan to The Last Lear - are creating a niche which in India is called “multiplex” cinema, but over in the States would be called “independent” cinema. Basically, it’s anti-establishment, anti- formula, gonna-do-my-own-thing, rebellious film-making. Some successful, some not so successful…but it’s refreshing to see the landscape of Indian filmmaking expanding.
Oh God. WTF was Saawariya? Seriously, I’ve never been so pissed off at a film or at a filmmaker. Not even RGV for Aag or Shyamalan for Lady in the Water. Ugh - the whole thing was so bloody pretentious. And needlessly expensive. It’s time for Bhansali to grow up.
The Comeback That Should’ve Mattered, But Didn’t
I’m still not sure what happened with Madhuri’s comeback. I enjoyed Aaja Nachle. I mean, it wasn’t wow or anything but it’s what we would call a “feel-good” film here in Hollywood. Nice. Enjoyable. I don’t know. Something isn’t working with the new Yash Raj formula…I’ll write a post on that as soon as I figure out what it is.
Finally, Aamir can politely flip the bird to everyone who whined about his perfectionist ways over the years….Taare Zameen Par is that rare film which is both entertaining and enlightening and the kind of movie desis desperately need to watch. I’ve heard people say this should go to the Oscars…uh - it’s not THAT good. It’s not without flaws but it is an awesome movie, an unconventional subject and along with Darsheel Safary’s performance (the best since Kunal Khemu in Zakhm), the true hero of this film was the director - Aamir Khan. We hail you, Mr. Khan.