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Netflix-1: The works of Korean director JOON-HO BONG

July 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Over the years, I have grown into treating NETFLIX as my window to World Cinema…a place where I can retreat and get exposed to cultures outside of what Hollywood or Bollywood have to offer. NETFLIX is the ultimate place to go for any and every serious movie lover who is open to trying “film cuisines” from countries outside of their own. A place where one can witness the immeasurable movie talent that exists outside the one that we have gotten used to. A place which you can laugh and cry and get melancholic…and that too, despite the Subtitles!!

On the eve of the release of OKJA, Netflix’s latest movie offering, I am kicking off a series of short posts where I will recommend films from around the world that are presently available on Netflix and which you, as serious moviegoers can plan to watch, in case you are looking for a respite from the cacophony of the usual blockbusters.

And what better way to start than with the world of director Joon-ho Bong. Yes, Bong is the director of OKJA and one of the most stunning directors ever to come out of Korea, after Chan-wook Park. Bong started his career with the dark comedy BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE back in 2000 and followed it up with his so-called masterpiece MEMORIES OF MURDER (a film that I would highly recommend renting from your local library, as it is not available on Netflix).

BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE has a zany sense of humor that will have you squirming and screaming with delight, often at the same time….all owing to its funnily humane characters. It’s a small film and the low-budget is visible in the average production values. But it’s a quirky satire and one that I would urge you all to not miss.

It was his next film, the monster dramedy THE HOST that put Joon-ho Bong on the map of Korean directors to really watch out for. THE HOST is a horror film with a sharp human touch and creature special effects that make your jaw drop. It’s funny, it’s scary, it’s emotional and it’s a top-notch thriller that puts a sad smile on your face at the end. This is easily one of the best horror films with a heart that you will ever see. And it’s on Netflix.

The repertoire of Bong’s illustrious career would, however, not be complete without the absolutely unmissable and stunning MOTHER, a film that knocks your socks off and makes you feel like rewinding and watching it all over again. This is a modern classic of world cinema, in my opinion, and one of the must-see films on Netflix at present. Without giving away any spoilers, MOTHER is a staggering and heartbreaking piece of cinema which truly showcases the immense directorial talent of Joon-ho Bong.

Bong has also directed the underrated and misunderstood but highly enjoyable SNOWPIERCER. That film is presently not available on Netflix but it has been in the past and I would recommend adding it to your list, in case it shows up again at some time in the future. The film, set in a dystopian future, boasts of an ensemble cast that is drool-worthy and marked Bong’s debut in Hollywood as his first English language film.

So, sit back, relax and savor the works of a master director over the next few days by watching these four films of Joon-ho Bong on Netflix in the following order:

  1. MOTHER
  2. OKJA
  3. THE HOST
  4. BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE

I will be back soon with my next post soon, where I will try to recommend 2-3 films from different countries that you might find interesting for a rainy summer afternoon. Until then…keep (Net)Flixing!

Categories: Bollywood, Hollywood, Movies

My Favorite Hindi Films of 2016

December 27, 2016 Leave a comment

In 2016, Bollywood got a January AIRLIFT  that ended with a “Dhaakad” December DANGAL. What happened in between was a topsy-turvy ride of classic ups and downs!

As an audience, we were taken for fools (WAZIR, TE3N, AZHAR) and our sensibilities were tested (HOUSEFULL 3, DISHOOM, KI & KA). We were subjected to some sleep-inducing experiences (FITOOR, BAAR BAAR DEKHO, MOHENJO DARO), had our eardrums assaulted (BAAGHI, FORCE 2, SHIVAAY) and even saw our hearts broken, thanks to some colossal disappointments (MIRZYA, BEFIKRE, ROCK ON!2).

But all was not lost! Redemption found its way through some exemplary films and into our hearts.  My personal belief in good cinema came out unscathed and as per the annual tradition, I am presenting the list of my Top 15 Bollywood films of 2016.

I laughed and I cried. I was thrilled and I was moved. I was shaken and I was excited. I experienced a gamut of emotions through these fifteen offerings and I hope that you experienced similar feelings while watching at least a few of them.

15.) PINK

Essential. Relevant. Topical. Superbly Acted.

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14.) MADAARI

Irrfan. Irrfan. Irrfan.

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13.) PHOBIA

Smart. Clever. Terror-ific horror, minus the gore, mayhem or ghosts/spirits. Oh…and that superlative actor named Radhika Apte.

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12.) AIRLIFT

Motivational. Tight script. Commendable translation from the real-life to the big screen. A restrained Akshay Kumar, minus his usual buffoonery.

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11.) NEERJA

Riveting. Edge-of-the-seat re-enactment of a tragic episode. The claustrophobic atmosphere, aptly captured. And of course, a huge surprise called Sonam Kapoor.

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10.) FAN

Ah, the return of King Khan. Tightly shot. Thrilling. Taut screenplay. Great chase sequences.

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9.) DHANAK

Heart-warming. Warm. Lovable. Excellent kids film, for adults alike. Wonderfully acted by the child actors. One for the entire family.

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8.) RAMAN RAGHAV 2.0

Look at the screen. No…look away. No, look again. Spine-tingling. Bone-chilling. Cringe-inducing. Vintage Anurag Kashyap. Stunning acting by Vicky Kaushal and that chameleon, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

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7.) KAPOOR & SONS

Entertaining. Touching. Emotional. Brave. Great ensemble casting.

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6.) AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL

Finally, the return of Karan Johar. The year’s best music. Great acting (naturally!) by the lead couple. Bittersweet.

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5.) ALIGARH

Poignant. Tragic. Absolutely essential viewing. Brilliantly acted by Manoj Bajpayee.

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4.) DANGAL

Rousing. Motivating. Inspiring. Clapworthy. And memorable performances by the four girls!

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3.) WAITING

Absolutely wonderful story. Humane. Moving. Truly one of the year’s best.

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2.) NIL BATTEY SANNATA

Humane. Humorous. Sweet. Emotional. Pulls at your heartstrings. Highly inspirational. Endearing. Must-see for everyone.

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1.) UDTA PUNJAB

Hard-hitting. Relevant. Brutal. Honest. In-your-face. Haunting music. And what a superlative cast! Quite easily the Best of the Year 2016.

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(Honorable Mentions: SULTAN, DEAR ZINDAGI, KAHAANI 2, MS DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY, JUGNI.)

Categories: Bollywood, Movies

The Best Hindi Songs of 2015

December 25, 2015 Leave a comment

As the year draws to a close, it is time for us to look back towards the best music that Bollywood offered us in 2015 and had us all humming. It was yet another stellar year for good music, which shone, despite the cacophony and club-based remixes that seem to have become the flavor of the month.

So pour yourself a cup of tea/coffee, huddle around with your family, create this playlist and celebrate the holidays with these songs playing in the background. Trust me…you won’t be disappointed.

1.) Tu Kisi Rail Si Guzarti Hai – MASAAN

The best song of the year also comes from the best movie of the year. And sung with a heart by Indian Ocean. You can catch glimpses of the fantastic film, along with the flavor of small-town India, in the video.

2.) Agar Tum Saath Ho – TAMASHA

Deepika Padukone killed all competition for possibly years to come with this song playing in the backdrop. This is the stuff that turns actors into potential legends. And Irshad Kamil’s lyrics capture heartbreak just appropriately, with AR Rahman composing and Arijit Singh giving company to…yes…Alka Yagnik!!

3.) Judaai – BADLAPUR

One of the most poignant and heartbreaking songs I have ever heard, this one is sung with equal anguish and pain by Arijit Singh and Rekha Bharadwaj. It gives me the goosebumps every time I hear it. What a lovely composition about loss of loved ones.

4.) Jaanam – DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY

A killer soundtrack to a film which eventually turned into a lost opportunity. The songs are mostly eclectic but this one, which plays as the opening credits roll, is sung with just the right amount of gusto needed to announce what Byomkesh is about to experience. Check out the lyrics and you will get immersed into it…

5.) Moh Moh Ke Dhaage – DUM LAGA KE HAISHA

Varun Grover is magical here with words and dialogues in this feel-good movie of the year. But one cannot help giving credit to the one and only Anu Malik, who proves that he still has a spark…or two…left in him. Monali Thakur’s rendition is also absolutely gorgeous. Feel the song. Don’t just hear it.

6.) Dhadaam Dhadaam – BOMBAY VELVET

Ah, the heartbreak that Bombay Velvet caused upon its release. There was universal disappointment across the board, especially when such big names were associated with the film. The lyricist/composer duo of Amitabh Bhattacharya / Amit Trivedi however still didn’t disappoint. This was an epic soundtrack, seeped in Jazz, capturing the early era of music. But this song itself was a total blast. And usage of the words “Malaal mein”…simply delicious!

7.) Lamhe Guzar Gaye – PIKU

Forget the “motion” discussions. Piku was a winner all the way, led by a phenomenal acting turn by Deepika Padukone (yet again!) and an unforgettable musical score by Anupam Roy, where every song was a total keeper! It was hard to pick a favorite. I simply decided on this one because it also happens to be liked by my 12-year old son.

8.) Ho Gaya Hai Pyar Tumse – TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS

Sigh! If only the film was even remotely close to how beautiful the soundtrack was, this would have been a different story altogether. Tanu and Manu’s return was turned into a slapstick comedy, instead of retaining some of the sensitive and emotional elements of the original. The songs, however, were a hoot and this one captures feelings for a loved one, with just the right amount of TLC.

9.) Pehli Baar – DIL DHADAKNE DO

What a rollicking song, composed by those masters Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy! And it is not an easy song to give music to, if one carefully listens to Javed Akhtar’s twisted lyrics. Zoya Akhtar, however, brought it to life on the screen with the just the right amount of spunk. Of course, with the help of that wonderful pair of Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma, who hardly disappoint together.

10.) Chhil Gaye Naina – NH10

A song that captures anger through its raw energy and superb lyrics, this was an outstanding piece from an ultra-violent film…one that gets elevated by a brave performance from Anushka Sharma. Hard to believe that it is sung by the Babydoll-singer, Kanika Kapoor. Bravo indeed!

11.) Hasi – HAMAARI ADHURI KAHAANI

This was a surprisingly lousy film from Emraan Hashmi-Vidya Balan, who had given us the eccentric GHANCHAKKAR and THE DIRTY PICTURE earlier. The songs were also in the same generic vein as anything and everything being composed by Ankit Tiwari-Jeet Ganguly these days. This one, however, had a strange magical feel to it and with the help of some excellent lyrics, turned out to be winner on an otherwise average soundtrack.

12.) Tu Jo Mila – BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN

KK’s version of this song was the most moving, in a strangely entertaining film from Salman Khan. Maybe it was the cuteness of Harshali Malhotra that did the trick but this song, composed by Pritam, was amongst the best on an overall decent soundtrack. (The link here is for the Javed Ali version.)

13.) Chori Chori Teri Meri – HUNTERR

A complete die-hard romantic song from one of the raunchiest and funniest movies of the year. However, for those who pay close attention to the lyrics, this song is not just about love but about forbidden love…and was perfect for a movie that was about nothing but exactly that! :-))

14.) Move On – TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS

I would have picked “Banno” here simply due to the usage of the word “Swagger” in those wonderful lyrics…but what won me over for “Move On” was the attitude with which Sunidhi Chauhan has sung the song. Add to that Kangana’s priceless reactions and you suddenly see a whole new meaning to “O Re Pyaare Khiske Saare Dard Bhare Naghme….Ab Rap-Vap Sa, Rock-Vock sa…Bajtaa rag-rag Mein..” What a song indeed about actually moving on.

15.) Heer To Badi Sad Hai – TAMASHA

And I end here with the most positive take on sadness/loneliness, written to a mesmerizing effect by Irshad Kamil and sung with gusto by Mika Singh. (Rahman no longer requires a mention here for the fabulous music…it is a given!). Imtiaz Ali said in an interview how he had the choice of showing Tara’s state of mind through a sad song but decided to put a folksy and upbeat spin to it. And the effect is nothing short of magical. Amazing indeed!

Categories: Bollywood, Movies

The Best Hindi Films of 2015

December 24, 2015 Leave a comment

Ever been in a situation when you sit down to make a Top 10 list and, while you breeze through numbers Ten to Six, the real fun starts once you reach number Five? You are unable to decide which one to pick over the other as all five are equally applause-worthy! That is the precise dilemma I ran into when selecting my list of ten best movies of 2015.

And what a year it has been for Bollywood yet again! While Salman Khan cracked the so-called 300-crore club to join Aamir Khan, the last I heard, Shah Rukh Khan was struggling to even make it to 100 Crores at the box-office with his latest release. For me, however, what matters is not how much money a film made but how long it stayed with me after the credits rolled. And based upon that criteria, here is a list of the best ten films that I saw this year….in no particular order. Let me know if any of your favorites made (or didn’t make) the cut too!!

DIL DHADAKNE DO

As much pretentious as its story sounded at times, Zoya Akhtar’s Cruising-With-the-Mehras won my heart simply because of the sibling camaraderie wonderfully portrayed on screen by Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh. The two carried the entire film on their shoulders and turned it into an overall entertaining outing for the entire family. Farhan Akhtar’s  short but highly relevant speech on feminism was another highlight of the film.

HUNTERR

Not too many people either heard about or even saw this underrated sex-comedy that boasted of witty dialogues and terrific performances by Gulshan Devaiah, Sai Tamhankar and the ever-delightful Radhika Apte. The movie remains focused throughout, seldom losing its track and was one of the best guilty pleasures one could get to watch this year.

TALVAR

Overall I found Talvar to be a bit manipulative, considering the fact that of the three police investigations shown in the film, only one of them had a known actor (Irrfan Khan) playing an investigation officer, thus clearly showing the director Meghna Gulzar’s bias and the team she wanted us all to root for. However, this was an excellent depiction of a clinical investigative process adopted by the law enforcement agencies in India…one that kept me hooked on, despite its obvious twists and turns and a story that still finds a place in the Indian media today, after so many years.

NH10

Another case of a performance-based film, where the basic plot somehow got lost amidst excessive violence, gore and shock-quotient. But what still prevented Navdeep Singh’s second directorial venture (after “Manorama Six Feet Under”) from falling apart was a crackling performance by Anushka Sharma. Her remorseless facial expressions towards the end of the film when she wreaks havoc on her wrongdoers was itself worth the price of admission. A brave and gut-wrenching performance that warrants a viewing by all cinemagoers.

DUM LAGA KE HAISHA

Ah, the ultra-sweet, ultra-genuine and ultra-delightful romantic dramedy, which moves you to tears on multiple occasions and you cannot help cheering for every single character in the movie. Varun Grover’s ethereal dialogues, seeped in the rustic small-town language, are worthy of multiple “seetis” and elevate the film to even higher levels. This was THE feel-good movie of the year, with chapters and situations taken straight out of our lives. And the odd pairing of Bhumi PednekarAyushman Khurrana did not disappoint either.

TITLI

One of the hardest films to watch this year, Titli is a film that stays with you for a long time and you cannot help admiring its bitter sadness and the bleak reality that it introduces us all to, through its five characters. Much has been said about Ranvir Shorey’s performance as the eldest brother of the family but every single actor, despite this being the first film for some of them, shines equally. This is a film for serious moviegoers and has a plot that simply sucks you in…one that has to be seen to be believed.

PIKU

Aww come on!! How could one criticize the discussions about Amitabh Bachchan’s bowel movements and not take any notice of the absolute simplicity of the story, the mesmerizing music, the wonderful camerawork, the superb ensemble acting and the stunning performance by the inimitable Deepika Padukone? Piku was a pure delight to watch once…and then again…and again throughout the year. Yet another memorable directorial effort by Shoojit Sircar.

TAMASHA

Few films force me to introspect. And Imtiaz Ali’s underappreciated and often misunderstood Tamasha was one of them this year. Imtiaz is now officially one of my favorite directors and while his thoughts may sometime confuse us as an audience, the journeys that he takes us on, through his characters, are what great films are all about. In addition, when one has Irshad Kamil to give lyrics to your thoughts, the magical AR Rahman to add melody to them, the impeccable Ranbir Kapoor as your lead actor and that seriously outstanding Deepika Padukone as your lead actress, the end product can be expected to be nothing short of memorable.

BADLAPUR

If Tamasha forced me to think, Badlapur disturbed me the most this year. A raw, brutal, unflinchingly violent and yet poetic film about loss of loved ones, revenge and remorse, Sriram Raghavan’s adaptation of Massimo Carlotto’s original story blew my mind when it first came out back in February. And I still haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It is hard to say who gave a better performance out of the two – Varun Dhawan or Nawazuddin Siddiqui. But the pain and anguish brought out by both characters made this film a mesmerizing and yet harrowing watch. Truly one of the very best of the year.

MASAAN

And finally we have a gem called Masaan, with a simplistic story that restores your faith in life and the true meaning of love, despite the trials and tribulations that every one of us has to go through. This beautiful film was filmed primarily in Banaras and introduces us to some genuinely heartwarming and yet true-to-life characters from one of the rather smaller but fairly significant towns of India. A film that one wishes never ends and which engulfs you with its bitterly harsh yet genuinely moving setting, Masaan was hands down the Best Film of the Year and an absolute must-see for everyone. Thank you, Varun Grover (once again!) and Neeraj Ghaywan for a genuinely unforgettable experience!

(Honorable mentions go to Salman Khan’s BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN, Akshay Kumar’s BABY, Kalki Koechlin’s MARGARITA WITH A STRAW and Sushant Singh’s DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHY, which tried hard but couldn’t quite make it to my final list.)

Categories: Bollywood, Movies

The Best Music of 2014

December 31, 2014 Leave a comment

While melody and lyrics once again lost out to the cacophonies of “Keeda” (Action Jackson), “Alcoholic” (The Shaukeens), “Tharki Chhokro” (PK) and “G-Phaad Ke” (Happy Ending. Seriously?!) churned out by Bollywood in 2014, my resolve to keep the faith in 2015 remains intact. Albeit a bit shaken…

Movie producers and directors remained committed to subjecting listeners to the endless torture of so-called “party anthems”, wrapped around rowdy, lewd and downright disgusting lyrics. Where this trend is headed for, and whether there is any end in sight, no one can say. There is, however, a glimmer of hope that we can still survive on…and this “short” list below is a celebration of the remnants of some good music that we heard in 2014.

My hope is that some of your own year-end favorites are also here, alongside any “Chaar Bottle Vodka” (Ragini MMS 2), “The Pappi Song” (Heropanti) and “Chichora Piya” (Action Jackson) that you may have on your list. 🙂

 

5.) VISHAL-SHEKHAR (Hasee Toh Phasee, Bang Bang, Happy New Year)

No one can make rocking party songs like Vishal-Shekhar and their three releases this year are a testament to their creative abilities. From “Shake It Like Shammi” from HTP to “Tu Tu Tu Meri” in BB to “India Vaale” in HNY….everything was Bang-on. But for me, the best VS-song trophies went to “Manvaa Laage” from HNY and the absolutely heart-warming “Zehnaseeb” from HTP…both of them penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya.

 

 

 

 

4.) A.R. RAHMAN (Highway, Lekar Hum Deewana Dil)

While the film sank without a trace, Lekar Hum Deewana Dil had Rahman giving us some of his best upbeat commercial music in a long time. “Khaleefa” was an amazing party track, while “Alaahda” had Amitabh Bhattacharya once again writing some wonderful lyrics.

 

Highway – the album was a soulful listen. Like all other great Rahman albums, this one also takes time to grow on you, and when it does, you can’t have enough of it. “Maahi Ve”, “Patakha Guddi” and “Tu Kuja” were beautifully penned by Irshad Kamil but the scene stealer for me was “Kahaan Ho Tum”, a haunting melody that reminded me of “Tum Ko” from Rockstar.

 

 

 

3.) AMIT TRIVEDI (Queen)

Kangana Ranaut may have been the Queen in the film but the title of the King belonged to music director Amit Trivedi. Kudos to Vikas Bahl, the director, who masterfully juxtaposed Trivedi’s songs, written beautifully by Anvita Dutt, onto the Queen’s life situations. The best song in the film for me was “Kinare” signifying the liberation of Kangna’s character from the shackles of societal pressures.

 

 

 

2.) VISHAL BHARDWAJ (Haider, Dedh Ishqiya)

While Gulzar Saab and Vishal Bhardwaj had fun with both poetry as well as playful lyrics in Dedh Ishqiya, it was their Haider that had me mesmerized for weeks. I was not impressed with the songs initially and found them too metaphorical, but upon seeing the film (which incidentally ranks as my favorite film of 2014), the entire album stuck with me for a long time. Every song captured the emotions of the characters just perfectly but the one that remains etched in my heart till date is Vishal’s own rendition of “Jhelum”. Superb!!

 

 

1.) SHANKAR-EHSAAN-LOY (2 States, Kill/Dil)

And finally, the masters of music, in my humble opinion! SEL gave us two of the best albums of the year and every song deserves multiple listening. Whether it was with the inimitable Amitabh Bhattacharya who wrote for 2 States or Gulzar Saab who amazed us with his ultra-witty Kill/Dil (coming right off the heels of the soulful Haider), SEL knew how to make popular, catchy and memorable music. “Mast Magan” is my favorite song from 2 States while “Bol Beliya” is the best pick from Kill/Dil.

 

 

 

Categories: Bollywood, Movies

The Best Opening Credits Songs of Bollywood

March 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Opening credit songs in Bollywood have been known to set the tone for a film. While some of them act as the film’s “curtain-raiser”, others are nothing short of a lasting memory that stays with the audience long after the film has ended. If the opening song hits its mark, the expectations from the rest of the movie skyrocket as well. And as has been the case most of the times in the past, films with good opening credit songs have not disappointed the audience either.

For a long time, I have harbored a desire to create a list of such memorable songs…songs that we will almost never see playing again on any TV Channel (because they run with the credits of the film being displayed on screen), and yet are amongst the ones that still have us humming when they are played on radio…or on our portable music players.

I make an attempt here today by listing my personal Top 15 Favorite Opening Credit Songs. Although I have rated them from 15 through 1, it is hard to actually pick one over the other. They are all equally dear to me and I’m sure to some of you as well. Of course there would also be a lot that I missed and I look forward to hearing from you about the ones that may not be on my list…but are definitely on yours.

PS: Don’t forget to click on the links to view and enjoy the songs in YouTube.

15.) HAHK – Hum Aapke Hain Koun

This one started it all…the lead characters looking straight at the audience and doing nothing but singing a melody about love as the credits roll. The trend was subsequently adopted by other filmmakers, in different variations, like “Yes Boss” and “Dil To Paagal Hai”.

Link: http://youtu.be/QyJoeduGpJI

 

14.) MAUSAM – Dil Dhoondta Hai

A soul-stirring opening song for a brilliant film by Gulzar Saab. Even though I like both versions of the song, I find this one particularly melancholic and far-reaching in its overall impact.

Link: http://youtu.be/SWHvxc9bTPA

 

13.) DHOOM 2 – Dhoom Machaale

The “Greek God” hero of Bollywood, Hrithik Roshan, has never looked more dashing and danced on a more electrifying song than this!! Wonderful start to an equally entertaining film.

Link: http://youtu.be/19yQgZXX0q8

 

12.) KHATTA MEETHA – Yeh Jeena Hai

One of the best made bitter-sweet comedies of Bollywood, the opening credit song introduces us to the various characters of the two primary families featured in the film. Two families who unite to brave the storms of life together. Composed by an unforgettable Rajesh Roshan.

Link: http://youtu.be/jZ6I2LCOnic

 

11.) KARZ – Paise Ye Paisa

Any list of memorable reincarnation films would not be complete without a mention of Karz. And the lyrics of the songs aptly capture a common man’s view on money. Relevant and catchy…even today.

Link: http://youtu.be/ezbL7ZipsxY

 

10.) KHUDDAR – Oonche Neeche Raaste

A beautifully penned song, composed by the inimitable Rajesh Roshan once again. This one shows an elder brother’s love for his siblings, in one of Amitabh Bachchan-Sanjeev Kumar’s most underrated films.

Link: http://youtu.be/eHMlVZ1UVxk

 


9.) VIDHAATA – Haathon Ki Chand Lakeeron Ka

Two legends sharing the screen space for a song with deep rooted meaning. This song lays the ground for the events that unfold in an excellently crafted film by Subhash Ghai.

Link: http://youtu.be/YDAetrJLabE

 

8.) SHAAN – Doston Se Pyaar Kiya

Ah…a classic homage to the James Bond Theme songs, composed by Pancham and sung with equal panache by none other than the terrific Usha Uthup.

Link: http://youtu.be/FQd_JSFOZN8

 

7.) GUIDE – Wahan Kaun Hai Tera

Aptly capturing the ethos of a tormented man, this was Dev Saab and SD Burman at their best for a movie of an RK Narayan novel that is never enough when seen just once.

Link: http://youtu.be/7KR67xAVj5U

 

6.) VEER-ZAARA  – Kyun Hawaa Aaj

This was a coup of sorts. Sonu Nigam singing a beautiful melody penned by Javed Akhtar in the 2000s, composed by the late Madan Mohan decades ago and featuring a vintage Shah Rukh Khan in Switzerland for a Yash Chopra’s romance. And just when you thought the goings were getting too romantic, Yashji ends the song with the sound of a bullet!!

Link: http://youtu.be/RACmSDJt_uk

 

5.)  BASERAA – Tumhein Chhod Ke

A wonderfully written (Gulzar) and an equally beautifully composed (RD Burman) opening song from one of the most emotional films of the eighties. Ultra-hummable to this very day.

Link: http://youtu.be/l2ed5Cs1H5c

 

4.) GOL MAAL – Gol Maal Hai Bhai Sab

This would hardly be a Bollywood fan who wouldn’t have heard this song from Hrishida’s classic comedy. Gulzar Saab and Pancham created magic with a song whose lyrics are a GolMaal in themselves.

Link: http://youtu.be/RZGyKoRwpLA

 

3.) ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA – Dil Dhadakne Do

Ah…the ultimate guys flick with a kick-a^%$ song that sets things into motion. A rock-infused ditty composed with gusto by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, this one was an instant hit with me…and remains so to this date. “Kyun Hai Koi Aab Dabi…Shola Jo Bhadke Bhadakne Do”.

Link: http://youtu.be/5An4-FqNQ0E

 

2.) DES PARDES – Yeh Des Pardes

Rajesh Roshan once again composes a song written with such clarity and heartfelt emotions by Amit Khanna that it brings a lump to my throat every time I hear it. The song describes feelings all of us immigrants in a “Pardes” go through and Dev Saab captures them through striking visuals of Indian Immigrants in London, as part of the opening song for one of the last great films that he made.

Link: http://youtu.be/HlLO5zP-PhU 

 

1.) TRISHUL – Aap Ki Mehki Hui

Hands down my personal favorite opening credit song from one of the most powerful films made in Bollywood. This one may come as a surprise to a lot but the ethereal lyrics from Sahir, the seamless composition from Khayyam and the effortless singing by Yesudas and Lata Mangeshkar makes me fall in love again and again. Love in its purest form indeed from the King of Romance, Yash Chopra.

Link: http://youtu.be/QHtU_jYkQks

Categories: Bollywood, Movies

My Unforgettable Movie Moments of 2013

January 5, 2014 Leave a comment

With everyone coming up with their own best and worst lists of Top 10 movies and soundtrack, I decided to forgo doing the same for myself and instead list the most unforgettable moments that I experienced at the movies back in the year that was 2013. Surprisingly it did not take me long to come up with a few, but as I said earlier, this is not another “Top Ten” list. So I narrowed them down to two – one each for Hollywood and Bollywood.

It was an planned decision on my side. Right after Richard Linklater’sBEFORE MIDNIGHT” opened earlier in the year to positive reviews, I had made up my mind to watch all the three films together – back to back – especially given the fact that I had never before been exposed to the world of Jesse and Celine. So I rented “BEFORE SUNRISE”, “BEFORE SUNSET” and “BEFORE MIDNIGHT” and sat down to watch how these two characters, as well as the actors portraying them, had grown over the past 18 years…both on screen as well as off-screen.

For those of you who may not know, all three films were released with a gap of nine years between each one. Sunrise was released in 1995, Sunset in 2004 and Midnight in 2013. All through these years, the two lead characters – Jesse and Celine – played passionately by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, have spent time together, first in Vienna, then in Paris and finally in Greece in the latest installment of the trilogy. And what a fantastic journey this must have been for them, along with their fearless leader….their wonderful director, Richard Linklater.

It is an amazing experience watching the characters talk about their lives, their opinions, their fears, their inhibitions, their desires and their failures throughout these three films. And what’s even more fascinating is the fact the last two films were written together by Linklater, Hawke and Delpy. So they not only represent the metamorphosis of the characters from young kids to a couple in love but, also in a way represent the change over the years in thoughts, views and likes/dislikes of the actors who originally developed these characters and have been brave enough to smartly carry them forward from the nineties through the millennium into the world of Skype and Internet chatting.

Watching the “Before” trilogy back-to-back was my single favorite moment (albeit a fairly “long” moment that lasts about a combined running time of 5 hours :-)) of 2013 spent watching any Hollywood film. I will refrain from giving away anything more related to the plot, for those of you who may wish to enjoy these films at some time in the future. However, all I can hope and pray is that, nine years from now, when both Jesse and Celine are in their fifties (as will be most of us…), and the year is 2022, I wish to check on both of them, once more time, through the same insightful eyes of Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

I saw the film again this past evening…for the third time. And with every subsequent viewing, my belief in this Bollywood film has strengthened. Vikramaditya Motwane’sLOOTERA” is simply brilliant and I can’t get enough of it!! Even though it did not end up on top of any film critic’s 2013 list (due to an uncanny allegiance the reviewers’ seemed to have pledged towards “THE LUNCHBOX” and “SHIP OF THESEUS”…), it did have a place in almost all of them. To turn a beloved short story into something so cinematically beautiful and poignant requires effort. And Motwane’s efforts are visible in every single frame of the film. This was indeed a true labor of love.

The acting was superlative. Right from the supporting cast to the lead pair, you could see the hard work everyone seemed to have put in into making this click. And how!! The love, pain and anguish of the lead characters was so delicately captured by both Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha that I laughed, cried and sympathized with them at every single point.

The music was ethereal. Right from “Manmarziyaan” and “Shikaayatein” to the heavenly “Ankahi”, “Sanwaar Loon” and “Zinda”…every song and its lyrics were dripping with melody and soul. The lyricist-music director duo of Amitabh Bhattacharya-Amit Trivedi, has rarely made any mistakes in the past. But this one was a true masterpiece from the pair. Haunting and mesmerizing.

As I watched the film again this evening, I could see the flawless camerawork, the lilting background score and the impeccable costumes and set designs on display throughout. Here was a film that should be mandatory viewing for anyone who wishes to see how far Bollywood has come over the years. Every minute of “LOOTERA” was a delight and the film unquestionably represents the other “long” unforgettable moment that I will cherish from 2013 – masterful, delightful and worthy of uninterrupted applauses.

I end this post with a line from the song “Zinda” from LOOTERA…which aptly sums up my feelings as I leave behind 2013 and move into 2014:

            “Kuchh Maangna Baaki Nahin…Jitna Mila Kaafi Hai”

            (There is nothing more left to desire…I am content with whatever I got)

Categories: Bollywood, Hollywood, Movies