Another year of anticipating Fridays, buzzing box-office collections, an array of films big and small draws to a close. Several hits and misses with the 100 Crore Club becoming the most coveted price. But most of all, 2012 has been a year of surprises, especially for the Hindi film industry. Several movies have graced the big screen but those that have carved a niche for themselves have one factor that screams out loud – ‘unconventional’. Small is the next big! Ranging from a taut thriller to the biopic of a dacoit, an out an out comedy with a quirky social angle, a battle against blind faith and so much more, films this year have broken out of the conventional boundaries.

Truly an exemplary year that witnessed captivating narratives, immaculate cinematography, eccentric performances, refreshing melodies and moreover scintillating genres that have seldom been experimented with in Hindi film cinema.[pullquote_right]Ranging from a taut thriller to the biopic of a dacoit, an out an out comedy with a quirky social angle, a battle against blind faith and so much more, films this year have broken out of the conventional boundaries.[/pullquote_right]

The year that started on a high note, with the remake of the angry young man’s Agneepath, has seen several films crossing the esteemed 100 crore mark like Ek Tha Tiger, Rowdy Rathore and others. However, exceptional and astounding is the open minded acceptance and performance of comparatively smaller budget films – some with new and not so contemporary faces.

It surely is a sign of a new wave of cinema that is fast growing and gaining a loyal fan base. Summing it up is our list of the top 5 movies that undoubtedly go down memory lane for offering a fresh, comprehensive and enthralling treat to Hindi film enthusiasts.

Small packages, Big entertainers

Vidhya Balan in Kahaani


 After a long time came a thriller that had us glued to the edge of our seats. An immaculate storyline by director Sujoy Ghosh and his co- writer Advaita Kala succeeded in building up and sustaining the unpredictability of its plot at every level. Kahaani with its clutter free narrative gripped you from the start and culminated in an impressive and gritty climax.

 The film revolved around software programmer Vidya Bagchi played by Vidya Balan. She proves her mettle once again as a vulnerable pregnant lady in search of her missing husband. As she embarked on a dramatic journey investigating through the beautiful underbelly of Kolkata, one could only wait with bated breath for the suspense to unfold. The casting is king and compliments the setting to the T. Credit of which goes to Roshmi Banerjee. The gentle & helpful cop, the cold & rude Khan played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and a special mention to the insurance agent cum contract killer Bob Biswas played by Saswata Chatterjee’s. With the uncanny smirk on his face and patent dialogue, ‘Nomoskar, ek minute,’ sounding the death knell to his targets.

Ever since its promos hit the screens, Kahaani gave us a promise of being something beyond the ordinary and the film successfully accomplished that.

Vicky Donor

Vicky Donor

[box_light]Vicky Donor[/box_light]

Good things come in small packages and the success of Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor is a perfect example of the adage. John Abraham’s maiden production has a good natured quirkiness, a perfect cast that effortlessly mold themselves into our hearts, spot on comedy and an almost impeccable script.

The film draws on the strength of its story which deals with a cringe worthy topic– sperm donation. Yet Vicky Donor makes you embrace the cause without much fuss thanks to Juhi Chaturvedi’s screenplay, with witty ‘dilli’ style dialogues, a sweet romance and no cheap innuendos. Ayushmann Khurana charmed the nation with his Punjabi boy-next-door antics and spontaneity. Yami Gautam also brought a certain grace to her character that the audience lapped up. Another highlight in the film is the ensemble cast – Annu Kapoor as the persuasive Dr.Chadda, Dolly Ahluwalia who plays the typical Punjabi mother and Kamlesh Gill as the ever so cool, gadget savvy grandmother. The music is worth a special mention for its fresh numbers one of which can be credited to the multi – talented Ayushmann himself. A laugh riot, Vicky Donor proved that good films do not necessarily need big names or glossy backdrops but a story with a good heart.

[box_light]Paan Singh Tomar[/box_light]

Not every day do you see Bollywood come up with biographies, let alone one as compelling as Paan Singh Tomar. Making a biopic is a challenge and Tigmanshu Dhulia has effectively managed to create a winner.

Based on the life of an athlete from a small village in Madhya Pradesh who is forced to pick up the gun, Paan Singh Tomar demonstrates the harsh reality of several athletes across our country whose glory fades away into oblivion. The film took really long to hit the screens but when it did, the wait was totally worth it. Irrfan Khan marvelously brings to life Paan Singh – the national steeplechase champion and the notorious dacoit from Chambal. The role seemed tailor made for Irrfan Khan as he carries the entire film on his shoulders. Director Tigmanshu Dhulia’s almost authentic settings with the local dialect take us into the world of Paan Singh Tomar. Aseem Merchant’s flawless cinematography set the mood of the film while the editing by Aarti Bajaj was crisp. Music though not a pre requisite has been cleverly integrated into it. Paan Singh Tomar is not just a movie but a fulfilling experience which defies the conventional norms of serious cinema.

English Vinglish

English Vinglish

[box_light]English Vinglish[/box_light]

Touted as the very talented Sridevi’s much awaited comeback to the big screen, English Vinglish is a sweet film written and directed by debutante Gauri Shinde. Gauri successfully transforms an average Indian housewife into the hero of the film. The USP of the film however is Sridevi who even after a 15 year hiatus effortlessly gets into the skin of her character. It also reinstates the successfully growing trend of women – centric films – who says a film cannot work without a hero!

English Vinglish revolves around Shashi, a very identifiable Maharashtrian housewife who though adept at her role as a homemaker, feels inadequate due to the lack of English speaking skills. What follows is a journey of self discovery, confidence and overcoming fears – in a heart rendering way but devoid of melodrama. The extended cast comprising her obnoxious husband (Adil Hussain), teenage daughter, amusing mix of classmates including the talented Mehdi Nebbou is beautifully woven into the story. Amit Trivedi’s music is hummable and seeing Sridevi gracefully moving to the Marathi remix ‘Navrai Mazhi’ was completely mesmerizing. Easily one of the best films of 2012, English Vinglish makes you laugh, cry and smile. Kudos to Gauri Shinde’s remarkable storytelling skills and Sridevi’s outstanding acting – she continues to amaze us as always!

OMG: Oh My God

OMG: Oh My God

[box_light]OMG: Oh My God![/box_light]

Another surprise package of the year, OMG: Oh My God dealt with a topic that is close to all of us, often a sensitive topic that evokes various emotions – religion. Adapted from the popular Gujarati play Kanji Viruddh Kanji, the film revolved around the commercialization of religion and raised pertinent questions on the existence of various religious norms. Complete with an atheist, uncanny godmen and God himself, the film had several moments of humor but also somber instances which make you sit up and think –is religion really being misused?

Directed by debutante Umesh Shukla, OMG Oh My God was a comedy with a twist that dealt with a courageous premise. However it gets preachy in parts and though adapted well, lacks the punch that the original play delivered. It is solely thespian Paresh Rawal who single handedly carried the film with his wit and humor. The other characters including Akshay Kumar as the suave bike riding Lord Krishna and Mithun Chakravarty as the effeminate Godman were refreshing. Though the inclusion of the item number is questionable, movies today seem incomplete without it. OMG: Oh My God proves that an interesting concept coupled with good performances and witty dialogues can become an  entertainer sans the mindless drama.