Mid-year Bollywood report card: The 5 best films of 2019 so far
If 2018 set the mood for content-driven cinema in Bollywood- the first half of 2019 only affirmed the fact that the age of star-driven big budgeted films is over. From films on the army to a story of an underdog who aspires to become a rapper to a mystery thriller featuring a veteran star- the first half of 2019 gave us some very interesting stories. So here it is, the best films of 2019 so far.
Uri: The Surgical Strike
Directed by newcomer Aditya Dhar, the film was based on Indian army's secret surgical strike in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, post a terror attack at an army base camp in Uri, Kashmir. An incident which happened in the recent past and that remains one of the proudest and significant moments for the defense was beautifully captured and narrated by Dhar in the film. Technically sound with an incredible performance by Vicky Kaushal- 'Uri: The Surgical Strike' soon became an obsession for the entire country and the film's catchphrase 'How's the josh' became the nation's favourite line.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
It's rare to have mainstream Bollywood actors play homosexual characters on screen and not making a mockery of it. Directed by Shelly Chopra Dhar and written by Gazal Dhaliwal, the film had Sonam Kapoor playing an introvert who is in love with a girl but is too scared to admit it to her father- played by Anil Kapoor. The film scored not just for its hatke love story but also for its impressive performances from Sonam, Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and Juhi Chawla. A wholesome family entertainer with a very poignant message- ELKDTAL had all of us rooting for it. Let's just hope that film paves way for more stories based on LGBTQ characters. Read the film's review here.
In Zoya Akhtar, we trust. The filmmaker who has in the past made a buddy-road movie, a film on the film industry and a film on the dysfunctional rich families has often been accused of making films that are far from the reality. But Akhtar managed to shut her critics with 'Gully Boy'- a story of an aspiring rapper living in Dharavi, Mumbai and his journey to stardom. With top performances by Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Vijay Raaz, Vijay Verma, and incredibly refreshing soundtrack, 'Gully Boy' got us hooked. Read the film's review here.
An official remake of 'The Invisible Guest', Sujoy Ghosh's film was a taut thriller featuring Amitabh Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu and Amrita Singh. An edge of the seat thriller with a murder mystery at its core, Ghosh managed to keep the audience engaged from start to finish. It may have been a remake of a very popular film, but it still managed to woo critics as well as the masses. Read the film's review here.
After an incredible 2018, actor Ayushmann Khurrana chose a niche subject like caste politics as his next project. Teaming up with Anubhav Sinha who made the critically acclaimed 'Mulk' last year, ' Article 15' spoke about the caste divide that still exists in Indian society. The constitution states that no one should be discriminated against one's caste/ religion/ colour- yet casteism continues to plague society. With top performances by Khurrana, Kumud Mishra, Sayani Gupta and Manoj Pahwa- 'Article 15' made you sit up and take notice of the discrimination that exists in present times. Read the film's review here.
Kesari, Luka Chuppi & Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
Notable mentions: Kesari, Luka Chhupi, Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota
With Kesari, Akshay Kumar added another name to the list of nationalist films that he has been part of. Based on a real battle of Saragarhi of 1897, director Anurag Singh's film has Kumar and a bunch of Sikh soldiers fighting 10,000 odd Afghan invaders. Meanwhile, Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon played a couple in a live-in relationship in a small town in North India which ticked the funny bone in all of us. Debutant Abhimanyu Dassani and actress Radhika Madan kicked some serious butt in Vasan Bala's hugely entertaining 'Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota' which took you back to the VHS era.