2012 saw the release of several new movies. While some raked in the moolah at the box-office, some managed to yield sufficient profits for the producers, and some others gasped for breath to survive in the movie halls. Here's a look at Movie Lover Shiv Charan's pick of top 5 films of 2012.
If the year 2012 were a movie, one can safely say that it took its time to warm up and get going. It was almost as if the collective industry was taking a pit stop and recharging their batteries after coming off what was an action packed second half in 2011, with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Rockstar, Delhi Belly, Shaitan, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster and The Dirty Picture scorching the screens. So, it wasn’t until March that the first memorable film hit the screens. While 2012 was a commercially strong year for Bollywood, in terms of number of memorable films, the year wasn’t as strong as 2011. But what 2012 lacked in quantity, it made up in quality. The top 5 list of 2012 has some truly path breaking movies – movies that will last well beyond this year in the minds of people who have watched them. So without much ado, let’s dive into the top 5 list of 2012. While we are at it, let’s also discuss some memorable moments in these outstanding films. (Also Read: Top 50 Bollywood movies of 2012)
Easily the most anticipated movie of the year, the film opened to massive crowds and mixed reviews. While some found the film to be too slow, some couldn’t digest the twist in the climax. Others found the film’s multi layered story line compelling and were all praise for the “mood” of the film. Two weeks into the release of Talaash, the dust has settled. Whichever side of the divide you are on, it’s only fair to say that Talaash is a creditable effort. The film has its goofs, and the pace and interest slacken in the second half but Reema Kagti does a brilliant job of bringing closure to the multiple threads in the movie and directs the film with terrific control. For any film buff, the anticipation of a big release is as much part of the film watching experience as watching the film itself. Directors who understand this, play with their material to ensure that they start the movie in a fashion that takes the fans’ anticipation to an orgasm. Across the country, Talaash opened to housefull auditoriums, with every single soul ensuring that he/she had settled into their chair, waiting for the screening of the most talked about film in the year to start. They were treated to the title “TALAASH” appearing on screen with “Muskanein Jhooti Hain” playing in the background. It is followed by one of the most brilliantly shot title sequences in recent times. The shots of street people in Mumbai against the backdrop of peak hour evening traffic even as the titles come on screen to a song that people have come to love was pure cinematic magic. As the titles sequence ended and Reema Kagti’s name appeared on screen, the guy sitting next to me whistled. I was wondering if Reema Kagti planned that response while shooting the title sequence! I hope she did.
About an hour and half into Shanghai, Farooq Shaikh’s character remarks to another character who is playing a cabinet minister: “We always listen to Race Course Road sir, but Race Course Road should also listen to us; no, sir?” It is this kind of authentic and honest treatment that makes Shanghai a compelling watch. Dibakar Banerjee’s dream project did not meet with commercial success but had some great cinematic moments it. Shanghai had a lot going for it as it had against it. Shanghai suffered because the story lacked the element of surprise. It was a straightforward story in which the most obvious suspect for committing a political murder was indeed the murderer. But, Dibakar Banerjee made up for the plain vanilla screenplay by painting a grim, realistic picture of small town India. It was in the atmospherics that Shanghai found its life and credit must go to Banerjee and his technical team for their vision and execution. Shanghai could have been a stronger movie if Dibakar had cared to explain the who, what and where of the film a little more. All the audience knew was that the story of Shanghai was unfolding in a fictitious place called Bharat Nagar. Is Bharat Nagar a town? Is it a slum which is part of a bigger city? Which state is this? Which year is this? Banerjee didn’t give any of those details and Shanghai’s story therefore took place in a suspended space disconnected with reality. That this disconnection with reality was to happen in probably the most realistic movie of the year is a contradiction of gargantuan proportions. It’s a contradiction that might have cost Shanghai its commercial success. Nevertheless, Shanghai will be remembered for A-grade acting by its ensemble cast and its visuals. Above all, Shanghai will be remembered for Dibakar Banerjee’s decision to make the film without any background score. Did anyone notice that? Hats off to Dibakar for that experiment! It worked.
3. Vicky Donor
If Shanghai was a director’s movie, Vicky Donor is a writer’s movie. This is not to take credit away from Shoojit Sircar, but Vicky Donor belonged to its writer Juhi Chaturvedi. Having said that, the screenplay and dialogue are not worth the page they are written on if one doesn’t have good actors bringing them to life. Vicky Donor had just that, with Annu Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurrana setting the screen on fire with their sizzling chemistry. Annu Kapoor’s acting abilities, especially his comic timing, were never in doubt. But it was Ayushmann Khurrana who took everyone by surprise matching Annu Kapoor line to line. Both Annu and Ayushmann showed that they can carry a film on their shoulders, only that they didn’t need to. The film’s leading lady Yami Gautam wrested her share of attention away from A & A with great acting and looks to die for. It’s only fair to say time didn’t stop for just Ayushmann Khurrana’s character whenever Yami Gautam was on screen. The whole of India took a collective gasp in a shot where Yami Gautam checks herself out in a mirror. Nobody would blame her for doing that. Coming back to the movie, who can forget the scene in which the Punjabi and the Bengali families meet for the first time. Towards the end of the scene, with the audience already in splits, the Bengali father opposes the idea of having alcohol in the wedding, much to the chagrin of the Punjabis. “I personally feel that these sort of things should not happen in a marriage function” he says. The Punjabis look on in disgust. The scene cuts to “RUMARUMARUMARUMARUMARUM” song with booze flowing in the wedding ceremony even as the auditorium erupts in laughter. Memorable scene. Memorable Movie. Brilliant sperm!
If there was ever a perfect screenplay, this was it. Kahaani’s screenplay will be studied in film schools years from now as the prototypical thriller. What made Kahaani so delicious though was that it wasn’t just a thriller. Sujoy Ghosh’s screenplay masterfully meshed the story and its backdrop in a manner that made the city of Kolkata, a living and breathing character in the movie. There are entire montages in the second half of the film that are dedicated to Kolkata gazing. If you add to this, the acting, the cinematography, the colours, the background score and of course, the riveting plot, you have a near perfect film. And if it hasn’t been said before, it’s probably time to say it now: Kahaani is a perfect film. Nowhere was this perfection more evident than the stunning interval scene which is arguably the best ever in the history of Hindi cinema and the evocative post climax. As Amitabh Bachchan’s baritone says in voice over against a shot of Goddess Durga’s idol being immersed “Har saal maa aati hai, burayi ko door karti hai, taaki hum sab bina koi darr ke, chain kee neend so sake” , the symbolism of the story comes to the fore. It’s not as if Kahaani needed the crutches of symbolism, but it’s something that takes the film to an altogether different level. In the final analysis, Kahaani’s flawless character is what probably makes it No.2 on the list and not No.1. For what is art without its flaws? Hats off to Sujoy Ghosh!
1. Gangs Of Wasseypur
Shahid Khan, Faizal Khan, Ramadhir Singh, Sultan, Definite, Perpendicular, Tangent, Guddu, Danish Khan, Mohsina and Nagma are characters that will be etched in people’s minds for ever. The simple fact that the majority of these characters appear or occupy more screen time in part 2 of this vengeance saga makes Gangs Of Wasseypur 2 the better film of the franchise. There are many things that make Gangs of Wasseypur a special film. But the most notable of these reasons is the tone of the storytelling. The tone of the film is not too serious, neither is it too frivolous. You don’t dismiss the violence, nor do you take it so seriously that it makes you cringe. You are not treated to a grim revenge saga but you are made to witness a magically colourful blood bath that ironically makes you laugh. It’s a tone which is not only difficult to execute, but extremely difficult to even think of. It is precisely because of this reason that Gangs of Wasseypur is not just a film, it’s a genre. The film achieves all this despite being riddled with a story with many “plot holes” and inconsistencies. The film manages to stand tall on the strength of its characters and brilliant scene construction. It’s hard to pick one scene in a film that has so many memorable moments. But if one has to do it, the introduction montage of the character named Perpendicular has to be right up there in terms of its execution, the acting , the background score and the overall effect of the character. A 14 year old juvenile armed with a blade in his mouth, who is in many ways more dangerous than his gangster brother. It’s a character that will never be forgotten by the people who have watched the film. And to think that the character occupied around 12 minutes of screen-time in the movie makes this nothing short of genius. As the 5 hour 17 minute saga ends and the credits roll, one can’t help but think if Anurag Kashyap can ever make a movie that is better than this one. One wouldn’t bet on it. Not that he should be worried, GoW has immortalized Kashyap.
In closing, 2012 would be remembered for the simple reason that it will take a superhuman effort to stop the top 2 movies of 2012 from being the top 2 movies of the decade. Can 2013 prove things otherwise?
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