Best Indian Films of 2023 (So Far)
We are now officially half-way through in 2023 (I know, just how did the time pass so quickly?) But that is the case and it has been quite a year at the movies. Not saying that happily as 2023 had a lot of expectations owing to some of the biggest films being scheduled for release and expected to make a bang. Some of them did while some of them were pushed ahead but mostly, it turned out to be a rather disappointing year so far.
Nevertheless, having had the chance to see the majority of films this year, I have listed down the Top 10 Indian films of 2023 (so far). As it is explanatory already, this doesn't just include Hindi but all languages - from the ones that I was able to see.
So, here we go-ALSO READ: 'Jawan' rockets past 'Pathaan' at worldwide box office; Shah Rukh Khan's dominance continues
10. Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar
Granted that Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar (TJMM) definitely did not cross some cinematic boundaries but it came at a time where films were seemingly not working out at all. To be having a romantic comedy that is fresh, fun and relevant enough is a huge feat lately and TJMM was indeed all that.
Ranbir Kapoor going back to his comfort zone and Shraddha Kapoor making a return after three years - TJMM was just the kind of fun time at movies that was needed and hence it gets the 10th spot.
You can read our review here
What a rollicking beginning to the year did Pathaan manage to exhibit! Shah Rukh Khan's long-awaited return to doing films after four long years was always supposed to be humungous, and it sure was!
Big scale, action extravaganza, Salman Khan's Tiger cameo, the creation of YRF spy universe and everything else - Pathaan created history at the box office and was entertaining too as it gets the 9th spot.
You can read our review here
It was barely the first two weeks of January and the wave of Marathi film, Ved was still raking in the big numbers at the box office and then comes in another Marathi film, Vaalvi. Little did one know that this 'small' film would be such a fun ride.
A dark comedy about betrayal, murder and devious plans coupled with some rib-tickling dark comedy - Vaalvi definitely was a fresh breath of air and gets the 8th spot.
7. Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai
It cannot be a year without having a Manoj Bajpayee entry into any lists of Top 10s, isn't it? Bajpayee's act as a formidable lawyer against a godman who is accused of sexual assault was an extremely refreshing take at the way Indian courtroom dramas have been presented so far. Powered by the leading man's gut-wrenching performance, Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai earned several accolades and rightfully so, where it gets the 7th position in my list.
Talk about bringing in surprises and it seems Gujarati cinema had one such up its sleeve. Not known for the supernatural horror genre at all, the industry brought in a big surprise in the form Vash.
The film, in essence was a classic tale of good vs evil which included love, sacrifices and much more, but it stood out owing to exemplary performance by its leading lady, Janki Bodiwala - absolutely fantastic! Thus Vash gets a well deserved 6th position on the list.
What is better than one Manoj Bajpayee film in the list? Having two Manoj Bajpayee films! Before Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai created the stir it did, a more light-hearted film was introduced with Bajpayee and the triumphant return of Sharmila Tagore in the form of Gulmohar.
While, it was a classic family drama with tropes that were seen in the past as well, the performances, the chemistry between the actors and the overarching theme is what made it special. Thus, Gulmohar gets the 5th spot.
4. Ponniyin Selvan: II
Ponniyin Selvan: II was always supposed to be the more 'flashier' instalment of the saga of the Chola dynasty owing to just how the first part was more like a build-up last year. However, director maestro Mani Ratnam managed to create a poignant spectacle with the second film that explored in places not many would have anticipated.
It was a pity that the film did not do the numbers like such spectacles but deserves a high regard in this list as it gets the 4th position.
3. Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam
Lijo Jose Pellissery is a director that has now managed to splurge in a surprise one after with the sheer vision and originality he possesses. In 2023, he comes in taking the biggest Malayam superstar Mammooty and manages to blend him to the unique ride that is Nanpakkal Nerathu Mayyakam.
A group of Malayali travelers returning Kerala by bus take a nap but things get super weird when the bus takes a stop in Tamil Nadu, when behaviors change and so does relationships. The amazing thing about this film is that it cannot be fitted into one genre and you might be more confused than ever until your brains are blowing out in the final act. Easily deserves to be in the Top 3 as it gets the 3rd spot.
2. Vidhuthalai - Part 1
Oh boy! Director Vetrimaaran was away for a while with his last full feature being the fabulous 2019 film, Asuran. And he delivered in the best way possible with Viduthalai - Part 1. What begins with a train accident and some other occurrences leads to a police investigation to capture the leader of a separatist group.
Brutal, raw, rustic and powered by blistering performances by Vijay Sethupathi and Soori, Part 1 sets things up amazingly and thus gets the 2nd spot.
Without a doubt, the disaster survival drama, 2018 manages to take the number one spot and is the best film of 2023, so far, according to me. With survival dramas, the route and treatment is usually one-note and that takes away from the novelty.
However, with 2018, director Jude Anthony Joseph managed to create a heart-stirring, gut-wrenching portrait that showed the perfect blend of cinematic achievements of working with actors drenched in water in minimal budget coupled with moments that will surely make you tear up and feel for the victims of survivors of Kerala floods in 2018.
Do you agree with the list? Which would be your top film? Leave in your comments below.ALSO READ: 'Gadar 2' defeats 'Pathaan' to becomes the highest-grossing Hindi film in India