Bollywood won big at the 63rd National Film Awards on Monday. While Amitabh Bachchan won the best actor award for playing a hypochondriac father in Piku, Kangana Ranaut scored her second consecutive best actress honour at the 63rd National Film Awards.
The first part of SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Baahubali was announced as a surprise best feature film winner, even as last year’s much appreciated Masaan had to contend itself with just a best debut director award for Neeraj Ghaywan. Sharat Katariya’s debut Dum Laga Ke Haisha, a ‘90s set drama in Haridwar about the romance between a mismatched couple, was named the best Hindi film.
Sweeping historical romance Bajirao Mastani helped its director Sanjay Leela Bhansali win the best director honour. On a day when Bollywood ruled the awards, we celebrate the wins with a throwback to what HT wrote about the films when they came out. A quick refresher to this year’s best films or a lowdown in case you haven’t seen them, here are all the reviews.
Baahubali: Best Film
HT rating: 4/5
What really makes the film work is that it is, at its heart, a fast-paced adventure, fuelled by themes of questing and redemption. Prabhas is exceptional as the lead, hulking yet charming. Rana Daggubati is perfectly cast as the villain, his performance layered with subtlety and nuance. The final scene of Bahubali reminds you that the tale will be concluded in next year’s sequel. By the time the credits roll, you’re left wishing it would come sooner.
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Tanu Weds Manu Returns: Kangana Ranaut , Best Actress
HT rating: 4/5
First things first. Kangana Ranaut has done a fabulous job with her characters Tanu and Datto. Tanu hasn’t lost her weird, irresponsible and audacious ways, Datto is a sincere, young girl, a fiercely independent one, who takes up responsibilities. From the body languages of the two women to their accents, Kangana aces it to the T. She proves yet again that she is one of the few heroines in Bollywood who is willing to experiment with different roles and still come out as the most convincing every time.
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Piku: Amitabh Bachchan, Best Actor
HT rating: 3.5/5
An emotionally rich and endearing film, Piku is a heart-warming experience that every Indian who has lived with ailing or ageing parent will connect to. Independent women who juggle their professional and personal lives with domestic responsibilities are likely to identify more with it.
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Bajirao Mastani: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Best Director
HT rating: 4/5
Bajirao Mastani is a celebration of magnificent obsession — Bajirao’s obsession with his beloved Mastani, and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s obsession with the 17th-century Peshwa and his doomed love story. Sanjay has nurtured and sculpted this film for 12 years. It is based on the book Rau by Marathi novelist NS Inamdar. But it begins with a disclaimer, which states that the film isn’t professing to be historically accurate.
Bajirao Mastani plays out a like an operatic, swooning, feverish love poem. It is also Sanjay’s homage to one of Indian cinema’s greatest love stories — Mughal-e-Azam.
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Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
HT rating: 2.5/5
On the face of it, this is probably Salman’s most mellowed down performance in recent times: he refrains from flaunting his street fighting skills (unless he’s left with no option, that is), and he has managed to look innocent in the scenes where his character’s inner dilemma over non-vegetarian food comes out or when he finds that the lost child is actually a Muslim (Who he likes to call Mohamden similar to a large number of North Indians).
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Masaan: Neerja Ghaywan, Best Debut Film of a Director
HT rating: 4/5
The key to making multiple narratives work is the screenplay. Neeraj and Varun manage to intertwine the four lives largely without strain. Poetic interludes and the haunting soundtrack by Indian Ocean ease the transitions between drama, romance and tragedy.
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Dum Laga Ke Haisha: Best Hindi Film
HT rating: 3/5
That is what sets Dum Laga Ke Haisha apart from the typical, dreamy and fluffy Yash Raj Film romance. It is a love story that does not give you diabetes with sugary romance but focuses on the day-to-day lives of two strangers, turned husband-wife. It shows that it gets messy when two strangers share everything, from the room to their bed, that romance can bloom on the banks of Ganga, and not always in Switzerland or Shimla or Manali and that a lot of hard work and compromises are required both for the groom’s family and the bride to make a marriage work. At times, it gets too grimy to handle, yet Dum Laga Ke Haisha portrays all of that beautifully.
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