Haraamkhor to Machine: 5 best and 5 worst Bollywood films of 2017
It wasn’t very difficult to choose the bottom five films of the year, but it was real pain to select the top five. Haraamkhor and Newton were clear choices, but there was a tough fight for the rest three films.Updated: Dec 30, 2017 15:07 IST
Despite some heavyweights biting the dust in the first half of 2017, we saw Bollywood getting back to big-budget films mounted on superstars towards the end. The success of Golmaal Again and Tiger Zinda Hai is likely to affirm the deep-pocketed producers’ faith in the conventional filmmaking that mostly relies on publicity and its actors’ pull at the ticket window.
But that doesn’t mean the filmmakers didn’t try to break the moulds. They came up with innovative, risky concepts that were not seen before in Hindi. Some of them stood their ground against heavily marketed projects and some of them vanished without a trace.
It wasn’t very difficult to choose the bottom five films of the year, but it was real pain to select the top five. Haraamkhor and Newton were clear choices, but there was a tough fight for the rest three films. Ultimately, we had to settle for two films at the fifth spot. Jagga Jasoos couldn’t make it to top five, but it was one film that demonstrated the meaning of ‘cinematic’.
Here are the top five and bottom five films of 2017.
Haraamkhor: Not many saw debutant director Shlok Sharma’s film that treads the thin line between morally corrupt and morally ambiguous, but who did immediately identified the characters. We all have seen such people around us. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s creepy-pathetic school teacher in a remote village invoked anger, loath and sympathy simultaneously. Shweta Tripathi played a teen struggling with her puberty. This is all a part of our daily life presented in the most ordinary way, and that’s what stuck with the audience.
Newton: The focus was on the banters between Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi’s characters, but Amit Masurkar’s film gave us space and time to imagine ourselves at ground zero. For once, an entertaining Bollywood film showed the courage to delve deep into political issues. It wasn’t a touch and go film like most of the so called Bollywood political films. Instead, it presented an all-consuming debate around the insanely clear yet weirdly confusing electoral process in the world’s largest democracy. It made the viewers serious without putting them off the theme.
Mukti Bhawan: What do we choose when we have to pick one between our family and our profession, and why do we choose it? Are we scared of something? Are we running after the right things? Will any of our choices matter at the end? Shubhasish Bhutiani understood the delicate link connecting a purpose to the life we live. Are we living only to die in the end? It’s a layered story with new meanings unfolding with every character. But do you know what the best thing about this deeply philosophical film is? It’s not hard on our senses. It’s as smooth as sailing a boat in the Ganges in Varanasi.
Qarib Qarib Singlle: You may find the idea of two internet friends travelling together to meet their ex-flames absurd, but don’t we sometimes surprise ourselves in complete loneliness. Filled with bubbly vibes, director Tanuja Chandra’s film explores the possibilities of selfless love and compassion in a world where we guard our thoughts more than our bank accounts. Irrfan Khan and Parvathy are much more than just being lovable. They represent hope and trust that we all need.
Raag Desh/Trapped: Tigmanhsu Dhulia’s film with nationalistic flavour shows how everybody’s idea of being patriotic is different from each other. It’s a detailed film that wants us to see the importance of symbols in a polity. You’ll keep changing sides with each argument and would realise the kind of battles our forefathers have fought to make us see a bright, independent day.
In Trapped, one man is locked up in a secluded apartment in the middle of Mumbai. What does his life mean to us? Director Vikramditya Motwane’s terrific film on the triumph of will forced us to gather all the courage and embark on the journey we never dared. A brilliantly written screenplay featuring a delightful Rajkummar Rao kept us on the edge of the seat.
Machine: Abbas (of Abbas-Mustan fame) chose the worst film of his career to launch his son Mustafa. It’s a film where cars looked more expressive than the actors. A weird mixture of Baazigar, Naqaab, Soldier and many other Abbas-Mustan movies, Machine had a suspense that was easier to crack than finding Anushka Sharma’s ring in Jab Harry Met Sejal. On top of that, they remixed Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast!
Aa Gaya Hero: It’s unimaginable how Govinda gathered the courage to promote this film on TV before its release. It felt like a meaningless montage of non-usable shots of B-grade films. I have seen films where I was the only audience, but that didn’t bother me much. What totally broke me from inside is that everybody appeared to be acting insane willingly.
Tera Intezaar: I don’t think I will ever be able to forget the mango that stared at the people in the middle of a jungle. 99% of student video projects are better than this film in which Sunny Leone breathed heavily. It’s not even a film. Why was it released?
Julie 2: As if Julie (2004) was a great film. Why would you remake a film like Julie? Somebody must have tricked Raai Laxmi in doing this film, but there was someone who was even worse than her in it? Ravi Kishan, who played a Southern superstar, but forgot to switch his Bhojpuri accent. Zindagi jhandawa, fir bhi ghamandwa.
Haseena Parkar: Mouth padding a la Marlon Brando made Shraddha Kapoor look really funny. Bizarre is the only word that comes close to this Apurva Lakhia film, but let’s not blame him. He has earlier directed Zanjeer.
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