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.
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.
Like 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. 🙂
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.
4. Ratatouille: Firsts are always special. My first animation movie. 🙂 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. 🙂 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.