Top 10 Movies of 2007: Part I

Here is long-pending personal list of my favorite movies of the year. This list strictly comprises of the movies I had the opportunity to watch.

Chak De

1. Chak De India: Country spirit goes first. This movie made a hero out of an unheard man whose story it told: Mir Ranjan Negi. To think of, this actually happens in modern India. We badly belittle players when they lose. We easily brand them as traitors, uncaring of truth. This movie questioned our idea of patriotism, gender biases we have and our fixation of cricket.

We were gently reminded that Hockey is our National sport. The movie not only defined team spirit for us, it gave us wonderful actors as Chitrashi Rawat (Komal), Tanya Arbol (angry Punjabi girl Balbir) and Shilpa (Bindya Nayak).

I went to watch Chak De India without any expectations. It turned out to be wonderful. Here was a movie that shunned all rules of Bollywood: no melodramatic tear-jerkers, no song-dance drama, no romance. Simply told a good story of triumph in face of failure.

2. Taare Zameen Par: As Aamir Khan says, it is a movie for parents and potential parents. I couldn’t agree more. It’s movie not about dyslexia, about being child. This movie had my childhood. I could relate to several incidents in the movie. I was a topper at school, certainly not dyslexic. But I had similarities with Ishaan.

Taare Zameen Pur posterLike Ishaan, I was carefree in outlook. I would be engrossed in myself and not realize that I was getting late for school bus. In fact, it was my mother’s efforts that I caught school bus whenever I did. πŸ™‚

Like Ishaan, I complained that I could not read what my teacher wrote on the blackboard. My mother went to my school to ascertain that my seat was not too far from the blackboard. She ensured that I sat close to blackboard. But, of course, my problem was not solved.

A year later, we discovered I was myopic. Well, it was pointed out earlier to my parents that I could be myopic. But they thought that my kiddie self just wanted to wear specs, so making such claims. And after all no one in the family wore specs, how could I? Just think of the impact it would have had on my eye, had I got medical attention earlier.

Like Ishaan, I was good at other things like drawing, playing badminton and weaving thoughts. But academic expectations were too much, I had to stand first in class after all. I had to learn to earn a big livelihood in future as an engineer or doctor. I could never expand my wings in the direction of my dreams.

In fact, I was too busy protecting myself and trying to live to expectations that it was too late, when I fathomed what my real dream was. Movie conveyed Ishaan’s world of dreams nicely. It tried to say there was more to academics. There was more to meeting daily rigours of life.

Some bloggers have complained about the treatment of dyslexia in the movie. It has been alleged that dyslexia is not cured as shown in the movie. I researched on Web, discussed with a psychiatrist. Aamir Khan did two things right when he projected dyslexia:

  • It helps to tell dyslexic people that there were people like them who have had the same trouble and yet managed to overcome it with flying colors. This is what Aamir did, and this is part of any self-respecting dyslexia treatment.
  • It is not uncommon for dyslexics to attain high academic degrees. Their initial problems remain in identifying the alphabets and inability to follow multiple instructions. Their learning can be easily facilitated if focused on these inhibitions. Rest depends on individual abilities. In movie, Ishaan was projected as a kid with above average intelligence, but one whose difficulties were understood by neither well-meaning parents nor caricature-ised teachers.

But I must say 40-year-old Aamir Khan’s entry in the movie was over-the-top. Yet the director Aamir Khan stole the thunder from Aamir, the actor. And Darsheel Safary as Ishaan was fabulous. So much that he said that he should be nominated in Best actor category and not best child actor category. What do you say?

3. Jhonny Gaddar: One very well made movie of the year. Nail-biting suspense: Will he be caught or will he not? Yes, this movie is not about mystery, it is about the thrill that it instills. Everything happens, by chance. Though I thought the end was quite funny.

People have complained that the lead actor Neil Nitin Mukesh was expressionless in parts of the movie. My opinion is that it worked in favor of the movie. I like the way his character becomes confident as the movie progresses. May be that was the director’s brief for the character.

Ratatouille 4. Ratatouille: Firsts are always special. My first animation movie. πŸ™‚ Please do not raise your eyebrows. I will explain. After having over-exposure to comics genre in my childhood (I used to read them by hiding in my course textbooks), a part of my now-mature brain dismissed all animation movies as kiddie-movies. I have never watched Simpsons, Incredibles, Shrek, Finding Nemo or Hanuman Returns. So went to watch this movie with a friend and was pleasantly surprised. πŸ™‚ I will soon watch other good animation movies, guys!

5. Black Friday: Fantastic. No preaching, no political motivations, no hidden messages. Just facts. Based on journalist S. Hussain Zaidi’ s book, movie realistically revisits 1993 serial blasts in Bombay.

The movie, I read this in Anurag Kashyap’s interview, has been shot with hidden cameras. They were careful to capture a period when no one used mobiles, yet they had to have today’s people (who are never without mobiles) into movie frames. I would say it is a marvelous job done. Both Kay Kay Menon and Aditya Srivastav impressed with their characters as investigating officer ACP Rakesh Maria and accused-cum-state witness Badshah Khan.

To be continued

25 Responses to “Top 10 Movies of 2007: Part I”

  1. 1 ish January 28, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I’ve watched only the first two and agree with every word you’ve said. I wanted to watch ratatouille but I never had the money and it released only in the multiplexes. They’ve shown Johnny Gaddar on the T.V. a couple of times but I never got to see it as I can’t sit in front of the television for three straight hours when my parents are around. I’ve heard a lot about Black Friday, that one didn’t even release in here as far as I know. And I never really came across a DVD of it either.

  2. 2 Ruhi January 28, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Ratatouille was easily one of the best movies of 2007. πŸ™‚ And you need to watch the Simpsons and Finding Nemo. They’ll rock your socks off.

    Waiting for the rest of the list! πŸ™‚

  3. 3 lallopallo January 28, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    You are back with a bang
    I like your list..havent watched no 4 though..Yes, I also think Johny Gaddar was a well made thriller..
    I also liked your detailed analysis of Taare Zameen par..
    I look forward to read rest of your list..

  4. 4 Nita January 29, 2008 at 5:29 am

    I saw Johnny gaddar too and not a bad movie at all! I enjoyed it.
    I have not seen Ratatouille though but will keep it on my list.
    Nice review of TZP!

  5. 5 Amyth January 29, 2008 at 9:01 am

    I wanted to see Johnny Gaddar!! … Gaddam! :mrgreen: … I shall wait for it to come on TV! If you find out pls let me know!

    As far as TZP is concerned.. Yes I could completely relate to it as well.. but like i’ve said in my blog.. to an interpreter like me.. the movie is bound to bring back flashes of childhood – whether dyslexic or not!

    Have watched 3 of the 5 in your top -5 list… πŸ˜€ …. and I quite agree with you on ’em!

  6. 6 Poonam Sharma January 29, 2008 at 10:24 am

    @Ish: I’ve watched only the first two and agree with every word you’ve said.

    Birds of a feather flock together. πŸ™‚ Jhonny Gaddar on TV channel! really? It is easy to rent a DVD of Black Friday. There are services like seventmm. and other where you can get DVDs for monthly subscription. Again, I don’t know it will be available at Ludhiana.

    @Ruhi: Angrej ladki πŸ˜› You liked only Ratatouille. Hey, you did not comment on TZP?

    @lallopallo: haha..pur picture abhi bhi baaki hai, dost! I am glad, for a change, you agree with me. πŸ˜›

    @Nita: Nice review! Coming from another movie buff like you who has already reviewed these, it means a lot! Yes, you should like Jhonny Gaddar sole because it is classy though has crappy story as in a James Hadley Chase. πŸ˜›

    @Amyth: I wanted to see Johnny Gaddar!! … Gaddam! ha ha finally gave you a reason to be green. After all, you have so many times posted reviews of plays I did not have opportunity to watch. πŸ˜‰

  7. 7 Ruhi January 29, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Poonam: I don’t want to comment on Hindi movies, because as a rule, I dislike them. πŸ™‚ And you already know my viewpoint on TZP. I’m tired of repeating it. Heh.

  8. 8 sidharth January 29, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Well., certainly i feel a child can be nominated among best actor category rather than “child actor” category”. They stand by their own to compete with elders.

  9. 9 Poonam Sharma January 29, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    @Ruhi: I know about your dislike now. So could not resist teasing you πŸ˜› aha, when I asked about TZP, I meant did reading the part about dyslexia appease any of your objections? Did anything change for ya? But I can see from your response, it didn’t. Never mind, me a optimist. πŸ˜›

    @Sid: Welcome! Finally, you are at Visceral Observations. And again you have commented on something others had missed. πŸ™‚

    Yes, I too think Darsheel is well within rights to ask for best actor nomination for his role in this movie.

  10. 10 ish January 29, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Yeah, they showed Johnny Gaddar on tv. They show all the new movies on television as soon as they get off the theatres. That’s one benefit of having cable TV over Tata Sky etc. The cable guy might have already showed Ratatouille too but I missed it. He shows one english movie at 6:00PM and then one in the night. The one at 6:00 PM is usually a kids kind of a movie and the ones at night are usually scary alien eye popping kind of movies. The guy used to show adult movies at night earlier as I’ve heard but then somebody complained and now he takes revenge on them by showing the scariest movies possible. I’ve not watched many of the night movies because I don’t have a television in my room and I’m glad, nahi to abhi jo thoda bahut padta hoon woh bhi nahi padta.

    I don’t think that service you’re talking about will be available here. Maybe I’ll just see it when I go to Delhi after the board exams. If I give the board exams and pass in them, that is.

    And Darsheel should be a happy kid now. He did get a special best actor award from the jury at the Star Screen Awards. And he’s following Aamir uncle well by not attending award functions.

  11. 11 lallopallo January 30, 2008 at 4:01 am

    Common I always agree with you..infact you show me the path and I just follow

  12. 12 Poonam Sharma January 30, 2008 at 4:14 am

    @Ish: Palika seems to be the favorite hunting ground for movies! Maybe I should stand there as part of community service with hoarding, Say no to piracy! Just joking. πŸ˜›

    Did ya read Amir Khan’s blog post where he says he was angry with those who watched TZP on pirated DVDs? πŸ™‚ My cablewallah, I think, is not so enterprising. Personally, I do not like to watch movies with bad print as cablewallahs show.

    I didn’t know Darsheel got the award. Like Aamir, I do not watch awards. πŸ˜‰

    If I give the board exams and pass in them, that is. and of course you gonna pass, I only will ya find your dreams. I can’t resist the question you hate: how are your studies going these days?

    @lallopallo: Ja Ja! πŸ˜›

  13. 13 ish January 30, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Cablewallah’s don’t show bad prints. These days our cablewallah has taken to buying those Moserbear DVD’s that come soon after a movie has gone off the theatres. So it’s legal too.

    I haven’t read Aamir Khan’s blog in a long time now, never got the time and never really felt like reading it because you know that even if you comment about it, your comment is going to be lost within 1000’s of other “I love you, Aamir’s”.

    Studies are going okay, not very well but just okay. I’m having to give a lot of tests and re-tests so kam se kam practice to ho hi raha hai if nothing else.

  14. 14 Ashish January 30, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Chak De was good, not great [I watch too many underdog movies… Disney ruins you! πŸ˜› ].

    I’d give props for Black Friday, superb. Now if it only had been released earlier as planned…

  15. 15 Poonam Sharma January 30, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    @ish: Showing Moserbear DVDs is not legal fro cable purposes. They come with strict warning that it is for private viewing only. But of course, it ensures print will be good. πŸ™‚

    I read Aaamir Khan blog on and off. Never comment though. Guy has a knack for communication, wonder why he has such a pathetic site.

    As for study, you still have one month. It is still good to do wonders. Lage raho! πŸ™‚

    @Ashish: you back, eh? Chak De tops only because it was better than the rest of the movies in terms of moviemaking. πŸ˜‰

    You back, so soon? Or you haven’t landed up to university yet?

  16. 16 shuz January 31, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    i agree with ur 1, n 2…… havent seen the rest….. my friends have mentioned tht JG is a good one, but i missed it…… will watch it sometime soon……


  17. 17 praneshachar January 31, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Chak de is certainly a movie with a difference and I fully agree with u. It has been screened in our co., for free for viewing of emplyees and families free and reason it shows what team spirit is so they want to spread the message of team spirit. I have also heard some co., have distributed CD’s/DVD’s to their empolyees;
    it deserves a special mention and I heard TZP si also good on a different note not seen yet.
    your selection must be good as u are very choosy and selective. I kept away from commenting as I have not seen all but finally tempted to write.
    go ahead and keep up the really good work covering all phasets of life

  18. 18 Poonam Sharma February 3, 2008 at 9:15 am

    @shuz: You have a knack of abbreviating any movie name. I was wondering what you meant by JG. πŸ˜€ yes, it was good!

    @praneshachar: Chak De was screened at work. Yes, it defined team spirit something we Indians are bad at. 😦

    Hey, keep commenting even if you disagree or have some doubts. That is why I blog to have reader’s feedback. Thanks for being a consistent reader. πŸ™‚

  19. 19 praneshachar February 3, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Poonam: Chak de was not screened at workplace it was screened in our auditorium which has got facility for screening movies (earlier regular screening of movies was there for members of film club) 3 shows were organised on sat and sunday
    It is nice always to read ur blog and I simply adore ur posts and also the versatile comments from ur readers.
    keep going I certainly continue to read ur posts with lot of interest and expectations

  20. 20 Poonam Sharma February 4, 2008 at 4:58 am

    @praneshachar: Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

  21. 21 Veenu February 11, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Seen all of them…loved everyone of them,,,

    Poonam: Good to know that there is someone who agrees! πŸ™‚

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