Click here to read part 1 of this list.
Continuing the countdown, here is the Top 25 from last year.
25: Another small movie striking box office gold. And while it was marketed as a Horror movie, it was more of a Thriller. The story was great and the acting was top notch. The movie gets deeper and more engrossing as it proceeds. The tension builds up with each scene – until it finally explodes towards the end. Apparently the movie was made on a very small budget, which explains the lack of a big movie feel. Pretty sure that big stars and studios will be lining up for this team in the future.
24: Sridevi! That’s it. Nothing else was needed to make this a riveting watch. Everything about the movie was predictable and you kind of know what’s going to happen but Sridevi turns in a pitch perfect performance. She is caring, vulnerable, angry, vengeful in equal measure and completely nails the part. It’s not an easy watch, considering the theme of women safety, but that’s why it needs to be seen. Oh and there is Nawazuddin as well in a brief role, shining as usual.
23: A fast talking, smart-ass, Boss like Baby who goes undercover as a googoo gaga baby in order to save the world! Cartoons these days are becoming more and more layered, sometimes even better than live action movies. And the best part – they can be enjoyed by kids and grown ups alike. This was nearly as profound as “Inside Out” – pretty hilarious while telling a simple story about love and family. And Alec Baldwin as The Boss Baby – he was a hoot!
22: I like this trend. Small Town India, Real People, Real Problems! And Ayushmann Khurana is fast becoming the poster boy of the “Gents Problem” segment. All he now needs to play is a Sexologist himself and he will be crowned the undisputed king. I think he is very relatable as the guy next door, which is why it works. Here again, him and Bhumi Pednekar (decent and a lot slimmer) play off well against each other to give us a funny film, for most part. The “climax” unfortunately goes nowhere though.
21: If someone would have told you 10 years back that Akshay Kumar will do a movie called “Toilet – Ek Prem Katha” in the future – would you have believed them? It is unbelievable how “Khiladi” Kumar has transformed himself into a new age “Manoj Kumar”. Bravely, this one based on the Open Defecation Theme, plays to his strengths again and has him addressing a wide-spread & important issue – with a love story at the forefront. Bhumi is decent here as well. The movie gets preachy in parts, but the point gets through loud and clear.
20: This might seem controversial – but I liked Jagga Jasoos (probably one of the very few who did!). Reason? I think this would have been a very difficult movie to make! Almost every dialog was sung not spoken! And everyone does a fabulous job. The movie was very experimental in nature and while many were put-off by its sing song nature and flow – I was amazed at the coordination and choreographed filmmaking. Ranbir Kapoor shone through in another amazing performance. I just wish it was a small budget movie. Would have been hailed as a winner! The sequel, maybe?
19: I really had very low expectations from this one. Arjun Kapoor, Anees Bazmee and generally very little buzz. But I was wrong! Thoroughly enjoyed watching this one. Actually I was looking at the wrong people. The real engines of the movie were Ratna Pathak Shah, Pawan Malhotra and the “youth” Anil Kapoor! They bring gravitas to every scene that they are in and take the movie a notch higher giving us a Clean, Situational comedy. Slightly over the top but not too much – with the right emotional cues here and there, made this a very entertaining watch.
18: How do you take the same movie made 20 years back, remake it (nearly frame to frame) and have it doing so well in it’s new avatar as well? I saw this a little late asking myself the same question. Very soon, I had my answer. Varun Dhawan makes it work. He is in the zone as Raja and Prem both and you end up rooting for him, even when you know what is going to happen next. I guess growing up in the laps of Salman Khan and Govinda has really rubbed off on him. Get ready for endless re-runs on TV for this – watch from any point type movie.
17: Here comes the King! If there was one movie that needed to be seen in IMAX – this was it. We all know that King Kong is big. How do you keep the awe intact and make him bigger than ever before? That’s the question that this movie answers. Monster movie, done right. And then there is Samuel El Jackson in a familiar role of a tough as nails mission leader. Now that I think of it – I think he looms bigger than Kong in parts! The action is gripping and brutal, Kong is larger than life, the effects are brilliant and the legend of Kong grows. Get ready for a number of sequels.
16: Marvel gives the Guardians another outing and the gang is back with Volume 2! Chris Pratt and his band of rebels continue on their adventures (with a few more additions) and end up solving the mystery of Star Lord’s parentage. Yondu gets an important role to play (“I’m Mary Poppins Y’all”) but the scene stealers are undoubtedly – Kurt Russell and Baby Groot! (Check out those moves in the opening credits!) Not as good as the first one, but it ties up a few more loose ends and sets up the threequel. And while it was fun to watch – it somehow seemed like a filler before their upcoming star turn in Avengers.
15: The brilliance in this one was outstanding. Set against the backdrop of the world’s largest elections, this was the story of an election official, administering elections in a small naxal affected village – with less than 100 voters! With real life situations, dark humour and thought provoking conversations – this was worthy of the Oscar buzz that it generated. It was also a small movie, but Raj Kumar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi do the star turn – elevating it to the next level.
14: M Night Shyamlan is back after so many disappointments. And How!! With a tight script and thriller elements, this was one superb watch. A story about 23 Split Personalities (in the same guy), James McAvoy brings the personalities to life with glee. Each one is so different from the other, and then there is this looming threat of one alpha personality which will consume all the rest. The Alpha does arrive at the end (in a chilling scene), while setting up the sequel with Bruce Willis (from Unbreakable!). The sequel will be Split 2 + Unbreakable 2 and it has been titled “Glass”. Can’t wait!
13: Vidya Balan, take a bow! How does she do it? Taking a simple character and imbibing it with so much life and so many layers. Of course, Human beings and real stories are like that, but to capture the essence of these characters and portray them on screen with such consistency is just amazing. A heartwarming story of a go-getter housewife in suburbs of Mumbai, who ends up being a RJ – this is a feel good watch. It does digress a bit in the 2nd half with some unnecessary side plots – but overall this one was a super take on dreams, belief and finding your wings. Hats off!
12: Mi Familia was back – for their 8th instalment!! Unbelievable how big this franchise has become and how far it has come. I didn’t think they could top the last one (Paul Walker’s swan song), but somehow they did! It’s moved from being about cars to being about people and probably that’s what has kept it going. Of course the levels of “vehicular warfare” keep going up and up – making it fun and popcorn-ish to watch – pretty much like our very own Hindi blockbusters. I will not be surprised if they get to outer space by the 10th one.
11: I love it when I see movies because of Directors. Just like a fanboy, there is just so much to see and observe and absorb. Christopher Nolan figures up high in that list and he does not disappoint, again. The movie is from all three perspectives of Land, Sea, Air – all with different timelines & stories and all of which converge towards the end of the movie. Dunkirk was a reminder about the human stories at the heart of conflict. The buildup was great, the performances were brilliant, the tension was intense and you end up being immersed in the whole experience. What a classic.
10: That Marvel is an unstoppable juggernaut has already been established. But making a 3rd reboot of Spiderman in quick time (the earlier 2 were done by Sony) and making it such an engrossing affair – speaks volumes of the talent they house. Tom Holland as the young Spiderman fits into the role perfectly with Micheal Keaton showcasing his acting chops as the menacing baddie. The smartest part of the movie was the presence of Ironman. Marvel was preceptive enough to understand that this outing requires some support – and Robert Downey was at hand. He never overshadows Spiderman, but is there long enough to mentor him towards super-heroism. Go Spidey!
9: What a fun movie! A getaway driver who has a medical condition – which is suppressed by listening to his own soundtrack. His name is Baby and boy can he drive! All he needs is one killer track! Stylishly shot, this one is so pleasing to watch that I was disappointed when it ended. Classic Soundtracks are in vogue and this one capitalises on them perfectly. The writing is sharp, the chase and car sequences are exciting and the supporting cast is excellent (Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey). Sincerely hope they don’t make a sequel to this. This is perfect as a stand alone film.
8: Andy Serkis! Who, you ask? Gollum, King Kong, Captain Haddock, Supreme Leader Snoke and Caesar. Phew! The king of Motion Capture returns in his 3rd outing as Caesar – the ape who talks. He has grown older, has a family, is watchful but weary of fighting. All of this and a hundred other emotions reflect wonderfully in Andy Serkis’ performance. And you can’t even see him in the movie. All you see is Caesar. Brilliant. So much so that Woody Harrelson’s chilling performance gets overshadowed by quite a bit. A perfect ending to a trilogy that got better with each outing.
7: Led Zeppelin’s immigrant song introducing the God of Thunder, Thor. Talk about a perfect fit! There could not have been a more apt song to kick off the third outing for Thor. I have always felt that Thor has traditionally been the weakest of the standalone marvel films. But not any more! Thor was having fun, the team up with Hulk was effective and Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum & Loki make come into their own as well. I am so glad they decided to experiment with the tone of this one. This was funnier, lighter and more irreverential than before. I hope we will see more of this in the upcoming Avengers. I hope more of Led Zeppelin as well!
6: The conclusion that we all had been waiting for! Did it deliver? Oh boy, you bet! Prabhas and Rana Daggubati further cemented their place in Indian Film Lore. Rajamouli delivered once again and most interestingly – the movie went above and beyond the million dollar question – Kattappa ne Bahubali ko kyu maara! Specatcular action, larger than life characters and a satisfying conclusion. I hope we see Mahishmati on the big screen again! Also, I really wanted a trilogy, so I penned down part 3 as fan fiction myself. Read here!
5: With the year that he has had, this one comes as no surprise. We deserved a movie Starring only Raj Kumar Rao. And in 2017, that’s all you needed to make a great movie. Trapped tells the story of a character who gets stuck in an uninhabited Mumbai high-rise for a few days. Its a fight for survival as he runs out of food, water, battery and all hope. Holding the movie as a solo character has to be tough – but our man shows us a complete range of emotions and makes us live the characters journey. I felt trapped myself when I saw the movie. One of his best.
4: There are some movies which herald a change in times. Wonder Woman is one such movie. A female director, a female superhero saving the world (and the DC universe) – that’s what we all were thinking. But the movie was all this and much, much more. An excellent and well made movie (notwithstanding the weak-ish villain) this was inspirational in more ways than one, and the male-female debate was quickly pushed to the background. Gal Godot in a career defining role, effortlessly carries this movie on her shoulders. A fantastic and inspiring movie to watch. Will be safe to say that Wonder Woman has given a whole generation a new superhero to look up to. And she just happens to be female. Much needed in this day and age.
3: The thing about goodbyes in the comic world is that they are never permanent. But with Hugh Jackman deciding to finally hang-up his boots as Wolverine (after 8 prior outings), this truly was goodbye. Logan is old and retired in his final outing, but like all superheroes, he still has a last fight left in him. And fight he does – to save a little girl (who has similar powers like him). Wolverine’s first R rated outing arrived with a capital R and it was WOW. The claws were out and it was satisfying to see Logan use them with abandon. Chopping and slicing and smashing into his enemies, Hugh Jackman finally gives Wolverine the movie that this character deserves – Raw, Angry and Animal like but Old, Tired and Human at the same time. Brilliant. RIP Logan. You will be missed.
2: Small town magic strikes again and this time, they knock it out of the park. A wonderfully delicious and endearing tale set in Bareilly and you know you are in for a treat as soon as the movie kicks off. A wonderful story, attention to detail, super funny lines and with just the perfect dollops of everything – this was an awesome watch. Kriti Sanon (surprise, surprise) pulls off Bitti with natural ease. Ayushman Khurana is wonderful as ever. Pankaj Tripathi and Seema Pahwa are tremendous as Bitti’s parents. But the show truly belongs to (who else but) Raj Kumar Rao. The way he slips in and out of the “Rangbaaj” character is just mind blowing to watch. The body language, the voice modulation is just brilliant. This is a supremely talented actor enjoying his best year ever – and he makes it count.
1: Well, it’s true. Irrfan can do Anything! What a gem of a movie. When cinema gets a point across in an entertaining fashion – that’s when you tap into the power of this medium. Set against the backdrop of the primary schooling system – Hindi Medium talks about our obsession with the English Medium. Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar are terrific as the parents who will go to all lengths to get their girl into the top english schools. Even if it means staying in a slum for a while – to fraudulently avail the Gareeb Quota. The whole movie has a surreal-but-it-does-happen quality to it and that drives home the point. Special shout out to Deepak Dobriyal as the “Shuddh Gareeb” – who is the trigger for the finale we all should be aspiring towards. Will the finale ever become a reality? Maybe someday. I am sure this movie would have made the right people think.
Well, there you go. The 50 movies I saw in 2017. Let me know what you think!