It's the time of year when everyone on the web is making Best of/Worst of/End of Year lists. I freaking LOVE reading lists of what people love and hate, but in the couple of years that I've been blogging, I've never attempted a list of my own. A) it's incredibly hard for me to narrow down my favourites of ANYTHING, let alone when I find it hard to access many of the releases in any given year. B) The end of the year list-writing time not only coincides with the busiest time of year at my paying day job (when, you'll notice, blog posting dries up to a trickle on here) but also then melts into GLORIOUS SUMMER HOLIDAYS, when I am more apt to be eating and lazing about in the sunshine and not watching or writing about movies in darkened rooms.
But screw the excuses, I LOVE LISTS. So, on Bollyspice.com where I also write stuff from time to time, like THIS, there will be a couple of countdowns written by yours truly that I will link to/repost as soon as they're posted there:
Meanwhile, I've been thinking about which films I really truly, loved in 2011, the kind of films I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to friends, the ones I know I will watch and rewatch and rewatch and end up with multiple copies of because I just LOVE them. So here they are (in no particular order):
NESSA'S FAVOURITE FILMS OF 2011 (an extremely subjective list)
Patiala House (Nikhil Advani, 2011)
Akshay Kumar and I didn't get off to a great start last year – the very first film I saw in 2011, in the cinema on January 1st, no less, was Tees Maar Khan...and I HATED nearly every second of it. Patiala House gave me everything I want for my beloved Akki – a serious leading role that carries some weight without it being overly melodramatic. Gone is the slapstick, over-the-top clowning Akki (he has his place, it's just not in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE) and in his place a guy who is almost subdued, dare I say ordinary – perfect for the role of a downtrodden son who has sacrificed his own goals to please his domineering father. This film shows Akki can act – please universe, give him more decent roles outside of tacky slapsticky comedies. PLUS! The supporting cast is uniformly amazing – Dimple Kapadia and Rishi Kapoor, Hard Kaur, Anushka Sharma, Tinu Anand, the dozens of actors whose names I shamefully don't know who play Akki's extended family...
If I'm being entirely honest, this film would be on this list just for having Role pe Gaya in it anyway:
Shor In The City (Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, 2011)
Here's my effusive (spoilery) write-up of Shor In The City, which is possibly #1 on my mental list of the Objective BEST FILMS OF 2011. (Don't ask me for the rest of the list, I haven't made it, though Dhobi Ghat and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster are on there somewhere too). Don't read the review if you haven't seen the film, just watch the film. Don't judge it on Tusshar Kapoor (unless of course, like me, you are already fond of Tusshar). LISTEN TO ME: Tusshar Kapoor is deeply wonderful in this film. EVERYONE is. IF YOU DON'T WATCH THIS FILM AND APPRECIATE AT LEAST SOME FACET OF ITS GLORY I CANNOT BE FRIENDS WITH YOU ANYMORE.
Stanley Ka Dabba (Amole Gupte, 2011)
Here's what I wrote about Stanley Ka Dabba right after I first saw it – and honestly, I don't know what I can add to it. A heartbreaking work of staggering near-genius, I am mainly astonished that the genre label on the back of my dvd copy reads “Family/Kids” because I feel like so many people might be missing out on this film, thinking it's not made for them. It's made for all of us.
Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge (Nupur Asthana, 2011)
I think I have addressed my problem with being unable to write adequate reviews for films I adore. Suffice to say I have attempted, several times, to write up MFK and abandoned each attempt when it just turned into pages of SQUEEEEEEEEE I LOOOOOOOOOVE IT!
Which, you have to admit, isn't very scintillating reading, but does sum up pretty accurately how this cute, upbeat and thoroughly wholesome feeling film leaves you feeling: filled with perky joy.
The thing I love so much about MFK is that it's a youth film that so very accurately captures today's youth without being lame, condescending or cringeworthy. The film takes as its central premise the idea of hooking up via social networking, AND IT GETS ALL THAT STUFF RIGHT. There are no cringey moments where it's obvious the film has been written by some 49 year old exec who has never used Facebook and who is just looking up “internet slang” to toss into the script to make it sound authentic. Instead, each scenario the characters find themselves in – be it IMing each other via FB chat and agonising over what to say or what NOT to say, or a Youtube video going viral, or even just the characters FB stalking each other (seriously, who hasn't been there?!) feels authentic and believable. It's a youth film (from YRF's “youth” offshoot Y-Films) made by young people, populated with new talent (actors, the director in her first film directing job, I think after a bunch of TV stuff, Raghu Dixit doing his first Bollywood soundtrack).
Plus, how can you not feel good hearing this:
Yamla Pagla Deewana (Samir Karnik, 2011)
I think this was maybe the second film I saw on the bigscreen in 2011, and the film that undeniably made me a Deol fan for life, because, well, you all know how I already had a not so secret crush on Bobby.
It's not just one of my favourites of 2011, this one is one of my favourites of all time – if for nothing else, because this is a film that clearly wears its dil very much on its sleeve. There is absolutely no cynicism, no eye to what will bring in the big bucks or what is fashionable in YPD, just pure unadulterated palpable joy in family and filmmaking. Plus Charha De Ranga is still the most persistent and gorgeously beautiful earworm I will never complain about:
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (Ali Abbas Zafar, 2011)
I'm tempted to say that it was because I had basically zero expectations of MBKD that I loved it so much, but that would be incredibly unfair to everyone involved in the film, because expectations aside, it is a charming, funny, original take on a done-to-death genre done remarkably well. Full credit to the entire team, but especially Imran Khan, Ali Zafar and Katrina Kaif, who between them carry the film with oodles of comedy, chemistry and charisma. There's no need to reinvent the wheel – sometimes just delivering a good quality product is enough, and MBKD is exactly that: good quality and satisfying. I LOVED IT.