Bigger and grand faced celebs may be overtly the screen saviors, but who is to deny the makers of many entertaining, many times not, Bollywood flicks - the directors themselves. It is on this basis, irrespective of the BO ratings, or DTH for that matter, irrespective also of audience response and stardom rising or falling, that we at BC look back in retrospection at what the year 2009 has offered. The ranking premise is simple - It balances the scale between uniqueness of underlying scripts to the success of movies at the hands of the respective audiences.
What's your Rashee (1 Chilli) - Involving the 12 raashees or zodiac signs as the basis of his story, and further employing the same lead girl Priyanka Chopra to essay each of those 12 characterizations was surely unique concept. Perhaps Ashutosh Gowarikar could have done better in the telling of his overall plot, which involved the search of a boy for his ideal suitor. Still, the number of multiple characters portrayed by Priyanka was a record in itself, which thereby bagged her a nomination for the world Guinness records 2009. And nothing more, since the movie for all its conceptual difference bombed at BO and in the opinion of its majority audience,
Dil Bole Hadippa! (2 Chillies) - The entire idea involving the change of Veera (played by Rani Mukherjee) to Veer (a sikh boy, also played by her) so she could play in the cricket team officially with her childhood idols, was a fresh thought. Repetition on the other hand, was that it was yet another cricket movie, overtly a love for the game, and in deeper shades a spirit of patriotism. That significant sections of dialogues were predictive and obvious did not help. But what disappointed the audience most, leading to a mediocre response despite the high anticipation which had preceded the release of DBH, was the romance between protagonists Rani and Shahid which failed to live up to the vast expectations from it. That, when both actors, in particular Rani, were appreciated for their acting skill. The final ratings indicated how build up of this new thought had lacked finishing, an unfortunate fate for director Anurag Singh for potential had been evident.
London Dreams (3 chillies) - The story of an aspiring star, an old unassuming friend who steals the show instead, rivalries brewing over professional success and a love triangle to seal its complete package. London Dreams combined a little of everything, did fairly at BO, engaging bits and pieces from themes that have been put to test over the years in a revised presentation of sort. Most significantly, it is believed that director Vipul Shah gathered the broader nuances from a late 70's stage show, Amadeus. The one end where this movie did attempt to stand out, was its music. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy did not deliver their best, nonetheless, the bold experimenting with fusion of international and folk forms was new.
Paa (4 Chillies) - The ingenuity of this Paa's theme is debatable. Considering it was a first in Bollywood, was a definite plus. The fact that real life father-son duo of Amitabh and Abhishek portrayed roles oppositely in the movie added to some excitement, especially for Bachan fans. Big B's appearance for the movie, as that of a young boy suffering from genetic disorder Progeria and aging rapidly hence, is known to have involved high level professionalism and skill. But there is no denying the striking similarity between the concept director Balakrishnan has exploited for Paa, to its predecessor, a movie called Jack. At BO the movie has seen its share of success.
New York/ Kurbaan (5 Chillies) - The two movies, although for the character tracks they chose to depict stood apart, did seek common grounds in choosing terrorism as the underlying theme. A theme which also for how far it has been exploited in scripts can only differ each time in the story telling itself. While New York, directed by Kabir Khan was a first of its kind under the YRF banner, Kurbaan was Rensil D'Silva's directorial debut. Both movies, each in its spot managed to impress its audience with powerful performances and engaging plots. They tie for the spot then, for the undeniable concurrence of concept and comparable ratings.
Blue (6 Chillies) - Plotting in the mysterious underwater blues, and having the lead actor Akshay Kumar perform his own line of exquisite stunts raised the bars for this action-thriller by director Anthony D'Souza. Upon release, the movie received mixed reviews, with part of the viewers raving about the spectacular show and others unsatisfied by lose ends in the story itself. Overall, the ratings at BO for Blue were easily above average.
Love Aaj kal (7 Chillies) - For the genre of a romantic comedy, director Imitiaz Ali, in close association with male protagonist and fellow producer Saif Ali Khan, put together a thorough entertainer. Defining love across the miles, and across the decades, and concluding thereby how neither factor alters the essence and beauty of it, Love Aaj Kal was light and dense, laughable and adorable all at once. From opening to a scenario where the lead couple gives a 'break up party', to having Saif portray the older generation youthful sikh as well as the current day practical lover, to having Brazilian model Giselle Monteiro play the shy punjabi lass - the movie stood out distinctly in several aspects. Collections and ratings at BO stand testimony to fulfillment of all that the project had promised its audience.
Wake up Sid/ Jail (8 Chillies) - With the exception of the date they released, the two movies have nothing in common. Except, also perhaps, on a closer look, the idea that they each seek to portray something of the society with sheer realism. While nothing less can be expected of famously candid director Madhur Bhandarkar, than the ugly truth Jail represented, Ayan Mukherjee in the debut directorial with Wake up Sid earned himself an instant spotlight. In his coming of age concept based on the life of a rich, socially spoiled college drop out, Mukherjee reestablished how a story that can spell to the youth those routine truths they see all around them, has no reason to fail. A trend set over two decades ago by the immortal DDLJ; progressed less than a decade ago by yet another immortal creation Dil Chahta Hai. Jail on the other hand is nothing in the lighter vein. It shows a perfect life going wrong, at the expense of a mere misjudgment, of aspirations crashing, of diminishing hope revived only by an undying will. The two movies tie position on our chart - where WuS overtakes an edge in is BO ratings, Jail leads in being a concept unprecedented in Bollywood.
Kaminey (9 Chillies) - This venture by Vishal Bhardwaj has been, at its best compared to the works of Quarantino in Hollywood. Shahid in his twin role, where one lisps and other stammers, where one is the good and other the bad, where brotherly love is absent, won accolades aplenty and deserved. From its smashing track Dhan Tan Nan, to the perfect pace of its track and character development, Kaminey established how complete action movies can become as entertainers. It also proved, much to Shahid's relief, how capable he is of versatility in is acting. With its unique story and wide acceptance at BO, the movie was a sure mid - year block buster.
3 idiots (10 Chillies) - Released only at Christmas, so close to the end of year yet in prime time to salvage earnings and audience, this Rajkumar Hirani movie based in its outline on Chatan Bhagat's popular paperback Five Point Someone, the movie has been an instant hit! The story revolves around the 3 idiots, who are engineering undergraduates in a premiere institute of the country. Bu the difference comes in the enigma involved with leading star Aamir Khan's character, Rancho. A movie with its share of smart humor, adolescent dreams, love and to some extent far fetched drama, it is sure to have you glued to your seats, possibly more than one time. A perfect closing to 2009, and a perfect one atop BC's chart!
Here's wishing everyone, a very joyous, and extremely prosperous year ahead!