Friday, December 30, 2011

The 10 Best Bollywood Films of 2011

10 – Shor in the City

Directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, Shor in the City is a reasonably entertaining ensemble yarn. It is the cinematic equivalent of a decent train read - an easily digested page-turner that keeps you occupied but doesn't demand much. Those who don’t normally dig Tusshar Kapoor have the splendid Pitobash to look forward to.

9 - The Dirty Picture

Vidya Balan is saucy and sassy, and completely dedicated to her character in an otherwise unconvincing movie. Director Milan Luthria and writer Rajat Arora dole out a passably enjoyable piece of entertainment rife with double entendre dialogues. Naseeruddin Shah steals the show as the ageing South Indian megastar, with lines like ‘Girls are like a government, you have to support them - kabhi left, kabhi right, kabhi center’.

8 - Dhobi Ghat

 Dhobi Ghat is fodder for cineastes, romantics, and Mumbaiphiles. It is also a triumph for low budget filmmaking in India, the fact that such an arthouse movie was released in theaters is itself a big deal. Director Kiran Rao’s debut film contains beautiful imagery - most fine are those scenes that strive to capture the swooningly mysterious, grungy atmosphere that's endeared so many to Mumbai.

7 – Shaitan

Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitan is not ambitious, but it is sleek and commercially legit, and is much more engaging than one expects it to be. If anything, it’s a worthwhile piece of eye candy and one of the most technically proficient Bollywood movies of the year. The soundtrack is excellent – the now famous remixed, souped-up version of ‘Khoya Khoya Chaand’ is set as the backdrop of a fun slow-mo shootout, and ‘Pintya’ is fabulously juxtaposed with a chase scene. Shaitan also marks the arrival of a major talent – Gulshan Deviah.

6 - 7 Khoon Maaf

With 7 Khoon Maaf, Vishal Bharadwaj proves yet again that he is the undisputed grandmaster of lighting a scene. The film, though loaded with uninspired characters is so gorgeous that you can’t stop looking at it. Priyanka Chopra does an adequate job in the first half but the makeup takes center stage in the second. Irrfan Khan, however, gives the performance of the year in his small role as one of her S&M loving husbands.

5 - Yeh Saali Zindagi

Yeh Saali Zindagi carries the distinction of being the most accomplished mediocre movie of the year. Writer-director Sudhir Mishra whips up an interesting central plot involving Irrfan Khan and Chitrangada Singh with some hysterically crass dialogues. And even though we are offered much more than we can chew, courtesy of the unnecessary subplots and the short-circuiting second half, YSZ makes for a fun watch and Mr. Mishra deserves credit for chutzpah.

4  - Stanely ka Dabba

Amole Gupte’s weekender project is one of the year's most delightful surprises. With perfectly cast actors, a poignant and often funny script and original music, Stanely ka Dabba is a study in how good indie filmmaking can be. The highlight here is most certainly the young lead Partho Gupte whose reactions are priceless.

3 - I am

 I am, a compassionate and touching film is in a class of its own as far as character-based flicks go. The film features some strong performances - Nandita Das creates dialogue without words, Rahul Bose emanates a sensitivity he has not shown in any other role to date, and Sanjay Suri is quite convincing as the sexually ambiguous manchild. I am is audacious cinema, director Onir doesn't shy away from the carnal side of the homosexual characters. He does not drag the camera away to shimmering lights and that deserves respect.

2 -  Pyaar ka Punchnama

During its first half, Pyaar ka Punchnama can make your face hurt with laughter with its quippy dialogue and superbly cast male leads. The brilliance of Divyendu Sharma as Liquid is overlapped only by Kartik Tiwari’s sidesplitting five minute long single take rant on troublesome girlfriends. Without a doubt, Pyaar ka Punchnama is the Office Space of Indian cinema, and it will be legend among a certain audience - namely guys in their mid-twenties with crappy jobs struggling to learn about love and life. 

1 - Delhi Belly

By far the most fun and funniest movie of the year, Delhi Belly is a rare comedy that doesn’t wear out its welcome, and succeeds not because of the expletives but despite them.  Writer Akshat Verma’s script is as inventive as it is enjoyable, and Abhinay Deo directs a wickedly smart and visually stylish movie without a trace of pretentiousness.  Imran Khan, Vir Das and Kunal Roy Kapur make a great ensemble, but Vijay Raaz tops them all as the hilariously profane villain. Hat tip to producer Aamir Khan, who managed to release such a bold film in an industry plagued by the Censor Board.

Honorable Mentions: Sahib Biwi aur Gangster, I am Kalam and Videokaaran - had it released in theaters, I'd have named it as the best Hindi film of the year.

(First published in DNA)


  1. Naaaaaice. Loved Shor in the city more than Delhi Belly though. how did you like 'Sahib,Biwi aur Gangster'?

  2. Nice list. Not that I agree with it, but a good one nevertheless.

    waise, Dhobi Ghat came in 2010 - I loved the film nevertheless.

  3. Strange, in some ways I disagree, Delhi Belly better than Staley ka Dabba(WHAT??), Shor In the City at 10th(I believe it was one of the better pictures, top 5 at least), 404 isn't there, not even Honorable mention for 404, Shaitan is at 7th position(I was underwhelmed, it shouldn't be high up there, that's my opinion of course). I am Glad that I am Kalaam is there, but dont understand why it missed a spot in the list?

  4. I would nod my head in agreement with most of the films mentioned in the list. It is the order in which things are placed is cause of my disagreement. I am Kalam certainly deserves spot in top films and couldn't figure out how film Delly Belly having poor toilet jokes made it there, that too toping the list.

  5. Finally a list I agree with. Thought you would add Rockstar, No One Killed Jessica & Ladies vs Ricky Bahl (Last one was a long shot :P)

  6. Use Google Adsense Man
    You can earn a lot.. dont be stupid enough to avoid ads

  7. Delhi Belly for me was quite an overrated flick. In terms of plot, it wasn't engaging nor was the humor as funny as it was made out. For me Tigmanshu Dhulia nailed it with SBAG this year. And Shagird while may come as outdated to some still had a very engaging plot and an excellent Nana in it. The top 5 for me in no particular order were Stanley ka Dabba, SBAG, YSZ, SITC and SHagird. Delhi Belly without an Aamir Khan backing it and the expletives had a plot and humor as good as Utt Pattan.

  8. I just had a mild seizure reading that

  9. Very surprised to see "Yeh Saali Zindagi" featured in the list, let alone at the 5th spot. It just wasn't a mediocre film, it was a debacle of an effort.

    Irrfan Khan, just can't stop being annoying whenever he opens his mouth, Chitrangadha Singh with her acting skills makes Jennifer Aniston look like a Meryl Streep incarnate. The feeble plot sucks donkey balls and doesn't even manage to hold onto your attention for more than 15 minutes.
    Even a low-budget movie like '404' could've been a better pick than this!

  10. 1. Yeh Saali Zindagi (The entire cast + Low budget awesomeness)
    2. Delhi Belly (Fast paced + Deliciously crass)
    3. Shaitan (Slo-mo + Lighting + Khoya Khoya Chand)
    4. Stanley Ka Dabba (Partho + Amol Gupte + Climax)
    5. Shor In The City (Pitobash Tripathy. That's it)
    6. Rockstar (Editing + Music + Ranbir Kapoor. Ridiculous second half)
    7. Dhobi Ghat (Calm and somber atmosphere + Beautifully captured Mumbai/Bombay)
    8. The Girl In Yellow Boots (Gulshan Deviayah + Climax)
    9. Singham (Car-porn + Mediocrity at its best. Guilty pleasures)
    10. Tanu Weds Manu (Characters + Music. The film should have had stopped at the interval though)

  11. delhi belly should not be in top 5

    top 10... for sure

    I am disappointed that you said movie was success not coz of expletives...
    come on!!! there was no brilliant script...
    simple common bollywood misunderstanding/chase story...

    people laughed on lines like
    "isne mera choosa hai..."
    *boob squeeze*

    not saying it is bad movie(would give it 3.54/5 easily),just that it is not no.1 :-)

  12. Try this, if u haven't watched it yet. An old malayalam movie.
    (not related to this post)

  13. An almost nicely compiled list. Exceptions, in my opinion, being 'The Dirty Picture' and 'YSZ'. But then, that's just me. And RESPECT. for including 7 Khoon Maaf.

  14. 1) " five minute long single take rant on troublesome girlfriends"_Pyaar ka Punchnama, Dude, its not single take. haven't you noticed so many pauses during the the speech? Its another example of improvisation during filming the sequence and fine editing . You said you are the great fan of Hitchcock.

  15. 3.54. Aren't you being a litte too pedantic?

  16. WTF where is I am Singh?
    Oh there it is!

  17. Dear azent, it's not the least bit of improv. That whole scene was written and rehearsed. Apart from a couple of cuts to Rayo's bufuddled face, it is pretty much single take.

  18. Would you like me to put RaOne there, pal?

  19. Yes 7KM was unfairly bashed/overlooked by most folks.

  20. I'm guessing you're unfamiliar with my review of Rockstar.

  21. A quality comedy doesn't need expletives to be funny. Like a quality stand up comedian doesn't need to hurl F words to incite laughter. And since when has Tatti been an expletive?

  22. Thanks. Yes, SBG made it to the Honorable Mentions list.

  23. Thank you. All the films here released in 2011.

  24. SHOR works on different levels than just PitoB.Brilliant slice-of-life script,taut screenplay,great ensemble - Tuss Kapoor's pimples included! Even the US returned dude was quite a revelation.

    Question on Dirty P - if rakhi sawant had played VB's role,would it have been so raved? The role wasn't so nuanced or complex,the likes VB would have portrayed with more aplomb.VB's boldness alone seems to be the reason for the movie's reception.As for entertainment value,there have been better movies - Rockstar,ZNMD - if you choose to ignore some ineffective acting & plot contrivances,that is.

    I still can't pass fair judgement on TGIYB.Maybe I was expecting something that would rub shoulders with some of the best in world cinema.But sadly it wasn't.As your review said,it didn't have to be so 'inert'.

    Anyways,thanks Mihir for keeping us entertained & updated through the tweets and the pretzels.Hoping that 2012 is ever more rocking!!

    Last Kostian : How do you translate the Bane Chant into Hindi?
    Answer : Bhag DK Bose. Because, DK is actually 'Dark Knight'!


  25. In a sense that people dont speak it publicly in between a bunch of people and specifically guys speak it as a slang while talkng amongst themselves inside a hostel!!!! That's it!!!

  26. Don't u feel, Amit Misty's performance in Shor In The City was overlooked by critics. He was hilarious as tipu bhai