2016 – RECAP

2016 has not been a great year at movies. Many disappointments and few surprises but the surprises had the potential to completely overshadow the disappointments.

Good Marathi Films
For me 2016 was highly disappointing as far as Marathi films were concerned. The blockbusters of the year; Sairat and Ventilator did not live up to my expectations and I was highly unimpressed by both the films. The Marathi films I liked in 2016 were:
Natasamrat: Nana Patekar’s phenomenal performance and Mahesh Manjrekar’s brilliant vision to bring it on screen made Natasamrat everyone’s favourite.
Ekk Albela: Bhagwan Dada’s life story was sweetly presented. Mangesh Desai was apt for the role and Vidya Balan shined in her Marathi debut. Film literally took you back in time.
Vazandar: Sweet and simple. Gives out a very important message. Sachin Kundalkar did get lost for sometime in this film and the film does not match to his previous brilliant work. Else this one makes for a great watch.
I missed And Zara Hatke which I think I would have enjoyed.

Melodious Albums
Music is an integral part of Hindi films. With changing times the way films are being made is also changing, but Hindi cinema is far away from that day when songs won’t be required for films. Here are my most loved albums of 2016:
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil – Pritam has been surprising everyone with his soulful compositions. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was one such album of the year. Arijit’s voice all over this album made it the best of the year.
Mirzya – Shankar Ehsaan Loy; hats off to the trio’s dedication and efforts. Music of Mirzya was the soul of the film and one of the most important reason to watch the film. 
Sultan – Vishal and Shekhar were at their best with Sultan. This album was a perfect blend with a song in every genre. Most enjoyable album of the year.
Baar Baar Dekho – This one was one of its kind. Very subtle and apt to the film. Even though the film didn’t do any wonders the music was a sure-shot hit.
Kapoor and Sons – This one had the party tracks of the year, romantic number of the year. One happy and a sad song. Basically this album was peoples album.
Other noteworthy compositions of 2016 would be Rocky Handsome, Azhar, Udta Punjab, Rustom, M.S. Dhoni-The Untold Story, Shivaay, Dangal and Befikre.

Impressive Debuts
It is hard to find place in this big bad world of Hindi cinema. To impress the audience in your very first film is a task in itself, here are some of them who easily managed to do both:
Harshvardhan Kapoor (Mirzya) – His efforts and dedication to play the part so well makes him a clear winner. With such hard work Harshvardhan is surely a talent to lookout for.
Shriya Pilgaonkar (Fan) – It’s difficult to create an impact with your performance when you have Shah Rukh Khan performing exceptionally well opposite you. Shriya successfully did that in Fan.
Prakash Jha (Jai Gangaajal) – Surprised everyone with his acting skills. Undoubtedly one of the toughest competitor to all the actors in the industry.
Jim Sarabh (Neerja) – It’s difficult to make the audience hate you for your part. Jim Sarabh managed this very well in Neerja.
Disha Patani (M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story) – The typical sweet, girl next door. She was extremely adorable and made a mark with performance in the film.
The other impressive debuts of the year would be; Saiyami Kher in Mirzya, Fatima Sana Sheikh and Sanya Malhotra in Dangal.

Disappointments
Never will a time come in Hindi cinema where film will not disappoint us. The only thing that makes me happy is that disappointments were the least this year leaving aside the bad films.
Befikre – Aditya Chopra directing after such a long time made me have many expectations from the film. He totally got the idea wrong of love for current generation.
Rocky Handsome – Misleading trailer. Film had a few good technical factors but could not entertain audience. The music also failed to save the film.
A Flying Jatt – Remo Dsouza coming with something so illogical makes this film enter this list. Even if the film would have been a time-pass entertainer it would have saved the audience from one bad film.
Baaghi – May be a mass entertainer but I think Hindi cinema is done to death with this time pass films which offer nothing apart from same old formula.
Raaz Reboot – Even Emraan Hashmi’s presence could not save the film. Vikram Bhatt lacked a good story or concept. It failed to entertain or scare.

Underrated Films
Happy that Hindi films are becoming better every year. More happy that the list of underrated films is big enough. Hope these films get their due and the upcoming ones get noticed.
Saala Khadoos – This film was a victim of bad destiny. The film was made beautifully and was mass appealing as well. This one will surely be remembered after years as a cult film.
Waiting – Subtle and powerful. The connectivity of story with the audience was the highlight of the film. Such films are rare instances in Hindi cinema.
Phobia – This one was literally a step forward in Hindi cinema because of its unique execution and giving the audience first of its kind experience. Radhika Apte was simply superb in this one.
Nil Battey Sannata – Sweetest and simplest film of the year. Story full of soul and top notch performances makes Nil Battey Sannata a special film.
Aligarh -The film was made for a very niche audience. This one was for the classes and not the masses. Manoj Bajapyee was like never seen before in this one.
The other films that deserved place in this list would be; Moh Maya Money, Island City, Raman Raghav, Fitoor, 31st October, Chalk n Duster and Parched.


Amazing Male Performances
This year the men were fantastic with surprises like Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and the ones we are used to see giving their best like Randeep Hooda, Amitabh Bahchcan. The list is pretty big. 
Randeep Hooda (Sarbjit)Perfect example of pure hard work and dedication. He played every single bit of his act with great conviction. He took extra efforts for this one which were clearly visible in his act. Randeep’s this particular act will be considered as one of his best in his entire career. 
Akshay Kumar (Airlift) – He surprised all of us with his act in this one. Has been doing films for more than two decades but this one was undoubtedly his best work till date. No one expected Kumar to come up with such an emotional act.
Amitabh Bachchan (Wazir, Te3n, Pink) – I do not think there will be a time when Amitabh Bachchan would not impress the audience. In all the three films he gave an outstanding performance, Pink being the best in the lot.
Shah Rukh Khan (Fan) – Its good to see Shah Rukh Khan do something else than his regular romance. When he does so he leaves no stone unturned. Fan will always be remembered as his best of all time. Even though he has done double roles earlier this one had its own charm.
Shahid Kapoor (Udta Punjab) – A character which is hardly inspiring and something not easily likeable. Shahid put in his heart and soul to make Tommy Singh the way character turned out to be. Also the minor variation in his character helped in making his act memorable.
The other men who impresses with their stellar performances would be Salman Khan in Sultan, Emraan Hashmi in Azhar, Sushant Singh Rajput in M.S. Dhoni The Untold Story, Nawazuddin Siddhiqui in Raman Raghav, Aamir Khan in Dangal, Manoj Bajpayee in Aligarh, Vicky Kaushal in Zubaan and Raman Raghav and Rishi Kapoor in  Kapoor and Sons.

Superb Female Performances
Women have been giving some tough competition to men in past few years. This year men were surely better than women at performances but women did deliver some great performances as well. Yet the list is as big as that of men.
Anushka Sharma (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Sultan) – She added more soul to Sultan, her emotional scenes were top notch and most importantly was not overshadowed by Salman at all. In Ae Dil Hai Mushkil she was the star of the film, she dominated everyone. He performance in ADHM will be remembered as one of her best in her career.
Alia Bhatt (Udta Punjab and Dear Zindagi) – All of us saw a different side of Alia in Udta Punjab. her rustic look and act was a complete stunner. Everyone found themselves in her character in Dear Zindagi. She was perfect to the T in both her performances.
Sonam Kapoor (Neerja) – Sonam was surprisingly awesome in Neerja. Her performance was very nuanced. She totally owned her character in this one. Hope to see her do such movies in near future or hope she gets better director and films where she can prove her versatility.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Sarbjit) – Her performance simply proved that nothing is impossible for Aishwarys Rai Bachchan. She made her performance very believable, too many emotions but not even a single scene was over the top or too dramatic, she maintained the perfect balance.
Radhika Apte (Phobia and Parched) – She is redefining the tern actor for Hindi cinema. In Phobia she easily carried the entire film on her shoulder making it her film all the way. In Phobia she simply shined out in the entire star cast. Radhika Apte has a unique charm in her performances.
The other women who gave a power packed performances were; Tapsee Pannu and Kirti Kulhari in Pink, Vidya Balan in Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh, Kalki Koechlin in Waiting, Shabana Azmi in Neerja, Tabu in Fitoor and Swara Bhaskar in Nil Battey Sanaata.

Best Films
2016 had selective good films but collectively they were a great blend. There was a full on entertainer, some important film, a film which was well made and some with unique concepts. My favourites were:
Sultan – All round entertainer of the year. Sultan was loaded with drama, action, emotion, great music, heart touching story and above all strong performances. Film was short of nothing.
Pink – Surprisingly good film. Pink made everyone thinking. Film was strong and straight forward. The message of the film made it much stronger. Performances in the film were the soul of the film.
Neerja – It was Ram Madhvani’s vision to bring out the story the way he did making Neerja one of the best film of the year. Execution and Sonam Kapoor’s performance makes Neerja a memorable film. The film work big time due to its techniques with which it was made.
Udta Punjab – The subject of the film and the performances in Udta Punjab makes the film worth a watch. Good music was a add on. This film becoming a commercial success was a rare instance.
Kapoor and Sons – The only film whose flaws were strongly overshadowed by it’s strength. Film had an easily relatable story. Performances were fairly good and music was chart buster. 
The other films I enjoyed were; Dangal, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story, Sarbjit, Fan, Ki & Ka, Jai Gangaajal and Airlift. 

I strongly hope for a better 2017 at movies. Hope the surprises that come in form of small film continue and they are noticed by a huge audience. Hope the list of disappointments vanishes with passing time. Hindi cinema is surely becoming better.

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