From Bareilly Ki Barfi to Tumhari Sulu: 2017 was ruled by content-driven and small-budget films | movie reviews | Hindustan Times
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From Bareilly Ki Barfi to Tumhari Sulu: 2017 was ruled by content-driven and small-budget films

From Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan to Tumhari Sulu, the year gone by has treated movie buffs with some of the brilliant films that were high on content and low on budget.

movie reviews Updated: Dec 28, 2017 18:32 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Actors Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Sanon in a still from Bareilly Ki Barfi.
Actors Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Sanon in a still from Bareilly Ki Barfi.

2017 was clearly a year of content driven films that struck the right chord with the audience. Whether it was comedy, romance, dark humour or slice of life stories, filmmakers made it a point to let content take the forefront in all these genres, and rest everything just followed. Interestingly, most of these films were made in a small low budget, hence, breaking the notion that only big budget films can taste success.

Also, it served as the perfect icing on cake when these films not only garnered great reviews from fans and critics alike but also emerged victorious at the box office.

As the year comes to an end and Bollywood gears to churn more such content driven films in 2018, here’s taking a look at some of the films that ruled the roost this year.

Jolly LLB 2

Akshay Kumar in a still from Joly LLB 2.

The courtroom drama featuring Akshay Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Annu Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla set the momentum right for 2017 and made way for more content driven to follow. A sequel to Arshad Warsi-starrer Jolly LLB (2013), this laughter riot garnered great reviews and ruled the number game at the box office, for the way it highlighted the flaws in our legal system and the battles lawyers fight every day with their respective cases.


Rajkummar Rao in a still from Trapped.

Starring Rajkummar Rao, this survival drama was considered among one of his finest performances that impressed everyone and won accolades. The amusing story of a man trapped in a flat struggling for his survival saw Rajkummar portray his part with much conviction and left the audience thinking about what would they have done if they were stuck in a similar situation. It also bagged the award for ‘Best Asian Film’ by Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival.

Naam Shabana

Taapsee Pannu in a still from Naam Shabana

The Taapsee Pannu-starrer challenged the typical norms of an action film and was lauded by all sectors. A prequel to 2015 film Baby, Naam Shabana narrated the story of an Indian agent and with its women-centric connect, it proved to be an inspiring tale of courage. Backed by Akshay Kumar, the film also starred Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpayee.

Hindi Medium

Saba Qamar and Irrfan in a still from Hindi Medium.

The promising promos had already set the momentum right for the comedy drama starring Irrfan and Pakistani actor Saba Qamar. A stern take on Indian education system and the disparity between the poor and the rich, the film was heavy on content with a tinge of humour. While people loved Saba’s on-screen performance, reportedly, the film turned out to be the highest solo opener of Irrfan.

Lipstick Under My Burkha

Konkona Sen Sharma in a still from Lipstick Under My Burkha.

Despite the never-ending controversies it was embroiled in, the film eventually emerged to be a critical and commercial hit. Revolving around the stories of four women and their hidden desires, it encouraged women to free themselves oneself from the claustrophobia of patriarchy and sent out a message — loud and clear — that you have to be a rebel and nothing can happen secretively.

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha

Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar in a still from Toilet: Ek Prem Katha.

Based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan [Clean India Drive], the film starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar started a revolution of sorts for the subject it highlighted. Besides being high on content and a shot on a relatively low budget, the film rightly talked about the problem of open defecation in rural India and spread the message through a much relevant love story beautifully weaved in the storyline.

Bareilly Ki Barfi

Kriti Sanon and Ayushmann Khurrana in a still from Bareilly Ki Barfi.

Starring Kriti Sanon, Rajkummar Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana, the film was a lean budgeted project but it raked in big numbers emerging and was touted to be a sleeper hit at the box office. The quirky love triangle and the free spirited characters resonated well with the audience. however, it was Kriti’s character as Bitti that was a refreshing change from the conventional mold of a typical heroine.

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan

Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar in a still from Shubh Mangal Saavdhan.

Talking about an unusual taboo subject — erectile dysfunction, told through a rather funny script and featuring an on-screen pair that has been liked earlier too — the film had all the right ingredients to be a hit. Besides giving a social message to the audience that one must talk about these sexual subjects openly in a relationship, the film was an absolute family entertainer and minted huge numbers at the box office.


Rajkummar Rao in a still from Newton

A black comedy, this Rajkummar Rao-starrer travelled to various film festivals before it was selected as India’s official entry to Oscars 2018, though it couldn’t make it to the final list. Nevertheless, the film received rave reviews for showing how elections happen in Naxal-controlled areas and both Pankaj Tripathi and Rajkummar’s terrif performances remain the highpoint in the film.

Secret Superstar

Zaira Wasim in a still from Secret Superstar.

Set in a small town of Baroda, the film narrated the story of a young girl, portrayed Dangal actor Zaira Wasim, pursuing her dreams in anonymity due to family resistance. Her journey and the beautiful mother-daughter relationship moved the audience emotionally. Also, with Aamir Khan in a pivotal role, the film made the right kind of noise and earned big bucks too.

Qarib Qarib Singlle

Parvathy and Irrfan in a still from Qarib Qarib Singlle.

Hailed for its unusual love story and putting forth the modern take on relationships, the film opened to a warm response and was highly appreciated by critics. Also, the refreshing pair of Irrfan and south Indian actor Parvathy turned out to be an instant hit among the audience.

Tumhari Sulu

Vidya Balan and Manav Kaul in a still from Tumhari Sulu.

Vidya Balan created magic of sorts when she played the role of an ordinary homemaker, a wife and a mother, aspiring to do something of her own and be independent. Turning a radio jockey happened by chance and the way Vidya pulled this role was reflected not only in the reviews, adulation on social media but in box office figures too.

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