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The End – of Cinematic Journey 2019

As we enter 2020, here’s a flashback – where we’ll take a look at some of the best performances, the most underrated films of the year, which regional films made a mark and how Indian web series created waves across the country

Best Performances (Male)

l Ayushmann Khurrana: Bollywood’s ‘golden boy’ Ayushmann Khurrana, who also bagged the National Award for Best Actor this year, delivered great performances throughout the year — in Article 15, Bala and Dream Girl.

l Ranveer Singh: Portraying the role of Murad – a rapper from Dharavi – Ranveer Singh stole the show in Gully Boy, rapping his way to the top!

l Vicky Kaushal: With Uri, Vicky Kaushal proved yet again that he is here to stay for long.

l Vijay Varma: The way actor Vijay Varma essayed Moeen in Gully Boy, no matter how little his screen time was in the film, it was hard to not take note of him. And rightly so, his performance was considered one of the best of the year – by both audience and critics alike.

l Manoj Bajpayee: Though it’s not a surprise to find this talented actor’s name on such lists — but in Sonchiriya, Manoj Bajpayee yet again mesmerises the audience.

Most Underrated Films

l Hamid: Aijaz Khan’s film Hamid, which recently bagged two National Awards – one for the Best Child Actor (Talha Reshi) and the other as the Best Urdu Film – is one of 2019’s best, but unfortunately did not get noticed by many. Even then, it was talked about in critical circles and received immense love and applause.

l Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota: Vasan Bala’s action comedy, starring Abhimanyu Dassani, Radhika Madan and Gulshan Devaiah, stood out owing to its quirkiness and unique storyline.

l Sonchiriya: Directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Abhishek Chaubey, starring Bhumi Pednekar, Manoj Bajpayee and Sushant Singh Rajput, the film was taken down from the theatres in less than a week. But even that could not deter it and it was helmed as one of this year’s best.

l Section 375: Not many are aware of Ajay Bahl’s Section 375 – starring Akshay Khanna and Richa Chadha. The film deals with the issue of sexual consent and rape, and portrays it onscreen flawlessly.

l Gone Kesh: Qasim Khallow’s Gone Kesh, starring Shweta Tripathi, came much before Bala and Ujda Chaman. Dealing with hair loss at a young age, the film perfectly captured the essence of the tragedy.

Best Performances (Female)

l Alia Bhatt: In Gully Boy, Bhatt plays Safeena – a feisty, no-nonsense girl who’s extremely possessive about her lover. And her character might not be as big as Ranveer Singh’s in the film – but she definitely grabbed the limelight whenever she was on screen and delivered an unforgettable performance.

l Kangana Ranaut: In both Manikarnika and Judgemental Hai Kya, Ranaut delivered flawless performances and did complete justice to her roles – be it portraying a queen or a mentally unstable girl.

l Bhumi Pednekar: She had a ball this year with four back-to-back releases – of which her work in Sonchiriya, Bala and Saand ki Ankh were applauded by critics and audience alike.

l Tapsee Pannu: Sharing screen space with Amitabh Bachchan, and yet making your presence felt is not a joke. In Badla, Tapsee Pannu managed to do so unfailingly!

l Yami Gautam: After working in the industry for years, it took Bala to make people take not of Yami Gautam’s talent. Her effortless performance as a Tiktok star in the film gave her the much-needed recognition of her acting skills.

Best of Regional:

l Amis: This Assamese film, directed by Bhaskar Hazarika, created waves both nationally and internationally due to its unusual concept and engaging narrative.

l Jalikattu: Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jalikattu, a Malayalam language film, was showcased at various national and international film festivals and received widespread acclaim. The plot follows a bull that escapes from a slaughterhouse in a hilly remote village and the entire village men gathering to hunt down the animal.

l Super Deluxe: Directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja, this Tamil language film, was praised immensely. It had four subplots weaved together, each dealing with issues like stigma, greed, infidelity, sex, among many.

l Moothon: This Malayalam language action thriller, directed by Geetu Mohandas, received rave reviews from the critics. It tells the story of a 14-year-old child from Lakshadweep who comes to Mumbai in search of his elder brother.

l Hellaro: Abhishek Shah’s Hellaro – a Gujarati period drama which revolves around a group of women living in Kutch in the 1970s. The film won the National Award for Best Feature Film this year.

Web wins big

This year, a host of Indian web series were released consisting of different genres – from crime to horror, and from action to drama. And most importantly, all were praised for offering something unique.

The sequel of Sacred Games released this year in Netflix – which might have failed to meet the audience’s expectation, but it was the talk of the town. Then there was Leila – a science fiction starring Huma Qureshi which was praised for its out-of-the-box concept.  Amazon Prime’s Made in Heaven – a slice of life drama charted a whole new path for itself! And, Delhi Crime – based on Delhi’s Nirbhaya rape case – was a hard-hitting portrayal of real life events. Then we had Four More Shots Please, which was more like an Indian version of Sex and the City. During the end of the year, we had Typewriter – a horror drama by Sujoy Ghosh, and Manoj Bajpayee starrer The Family Man. The latter was praised for its concept, narrative and Bajpayee’s performance.

Star Speak

Patriot talks to well-known actor Saswata Chatterjee about his views on the success of regional films this year and more. Excerpts:

l With regional films getting honoured in a large scale – both nationally and internationally, do you think they are getting much more exposure than before?

Nowadays, we are not pointing out at any movie and saying that it’s a Bengali or Marathi or Hindi movie – because everybody is trying to make world cinema in their own language. Thus, the subjects have a universal appeal which is why it is being loved in festivals across the globe – especially those who love different kind of films and believe that content is king. And I have always believed that in a film, the script is the hero. If the script is good, the film is bound to be a good one.

l You’ve worked in Tollywood (Bengali film industry) as well as Bollywood. Have you noticed any major difference between the two, as to how they function or their work culture?

There’s definitely a financial difference between the two. Also, Bollywood is much more professional than Tollywood. After all we are Bengalis, we tend to take things light at times (laughs). In Bollywood, an actor spends a lot of time to remain fit or build a body – whereas we (Tollywood) don’t. But we might not have that big a budget, but Tollywood is never short of talent.

l Any movie of this year that you really liked?

I did a film called Tarikh (Date) – I really liked its script. It’s a modern tale. Also, I liked Kaushik Ganguly’s Nagarkirtan. There are many more, but cannot recall right now.