The Best Bollywood Films Of 2015: Part 1
There were countless films that released this year, but only a handful stood out for columnists Brooke Anderson and Sal Salam. These were the ones that caught their fancy:
Hindi movies often have a very rigid idea of morality; one person has to be the hero, and the other has to be the villain. Badlapur subverts that trope, making you equally despise and sympathise with both the criminal and the victim. Nawazuddin Siddiqui was, as always, great…but the real surprise was Varun Dhawan, who gave a surprisingly gritty and mature performance. He deserves extra brownie points for picking such a divisive and offbeat film at such an early point in his career.
DIL DHADAKNE DO
To write this film off as a story about “rich people problems” would be doing it, and the audience, a huge disservice. Above all, it’s a story about how we relate to one another. Zoya Akhtar expertly captures the minutiae of human relationships, and the ensemble cast comes together perfectly to deliver top-notch performances. As great as the younger stars are, Anil Kapoor and Shefali Shah are the heart and soul of this film; it just goes to show that we NEED more well-written roles for mature actors.
DOLLY KI DOLI
The main factor behind this choice is that we desperately need more films made specifically for a young female audience, and Sonam Kapoor is the only person in the industry right now who is supporting those films. Dolly Ki Doli was far from perfect, but it was an enjoyable and brisk watch that made you think about the possibilities of the genre that have been left unexplored. And Sonam seemed like she was having so much fun with it, it’s hard to begrudge her the flaws in construction and performances.
The premise of this film is bizarre, to say the least, and I can’t say I was excited about seeing it beforehand. A story about an old man’s bowel movements could have easily gone the way of toilet humour, but instead, Shoojit Sircar was able to come up with a touching portrayal of the father/daughter relationship that questions the boundaries of how available children should be to their parents. Deepika gave her career-best performance in Piku, but it was Amitabh Bachchan who made the movie work. Not that we have any reason to doubt his acting skills! But the character of Bhashkor could have easily been too over-the-top…too grouchy to be likable, too cartoonish to be relatable. But Big B struck an absolutely perfect balance, and through his performance, we were able to identify with Piku’s constant emotional tug-of-war with her father.
Just a few years ago, a movie like Talvar would have been considered strictly parallel cinema, and the mainstream audience never would have had a chance to see it. But in 2015, Talvar was able to hook a sizeable audience for itself, which will hopefully lead to similar films being made with bankable stars. The film itself is an excellent deconstruction of a true-to-life crime investigation, which relies on Roshomon-style storytelling to keep the audience guessing at the truth behind the double homicide that even till this day is a mystery. It questions the technical methods used in the investigation, but more importantly, it shows how some cases stir up emotions within us that affect the way we view the evidence available. It’s always a win for cinema when you leave the theatre still wondering about what you’ve just seen!
View Sal's favourite films here.