Bollywood has seen it all in 2018. From comebacks to film controversies, to unconventional films and actors, Bollywood gave us many reasons to use Google. Directors weren’t afraid to experiment, stories took a ‘real’ turn, and your last name didn’t have to be Khan to be appreciated. As 2018 comes to a close, BizAsiaLive.com looks at the top five films of 2018 that have given us many reasons to await Bollywood movie night.
When you have a meticulous actor like Ranbir Kapoor and a born storyteller in director Rajkumar Hirani, you get ‘Sanju’. Possibly one of the most anticipated films of Kapoor’s this year, ‘Sanju’ was 2018’s biggest blockbuster. Directed by Hirani, the film brought us into actor Sanjay Dutt’s whirlwind Bollywood career, struggles, merit, and cherished relationship between him and his father, the late Sunil Dutt. The audience had only heard, read and ‘seen’ the infamous Sanjay Dutt, but Hirani gave us a raw Dutt, a vulnerable Dutt, and a running-with-the-bulls Dutt, all emphasizing that the role could only be completed by Kapoor. Kapoor transformed into Dutt to portray him from his young rebellious years to his mature self-discovery, all with ease and natural progression. With a diverse cast of actors Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Vicky Kaushal, Anushka Sharma, Sonam Kapoor, and Dia Mirza, ‘Sanju’ was more than praiseworthy and exceeded expectations.
An exhilarating joyride is what you receive from director Sriram Raghavan, actor Ayushmann Khurrana, and a story of a ‘blind’ pianist who witnesses a high profile murder. Khurrana played pianist Akash, who only pretends to be blind to ‘feel’ his music. He continues this facade even when meeting Sophie (Radhika Apte) who is well fascinated by his talent and hires him to play at her father’s restaurant. Akash is then discovered by yesteryear actor Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan) who requests him to play the piano for his wife as an anniversary present, but at his residence. This brings Akash to ‘witnessing’ a dead Pramod and Mrs. Sinha (Tabu) and her lover (Manav Vij) dragging the body into a suitcase, which is later discovered in an abandoned area. What follows is a pulse inducing, dark journey of Akash trying to report this heinous crime, which he fails to do as Mrs. Sinha discovers that he isn’t blind but poisons him into losing his eyesight. Khurrana is ever brilliant and doesn’t break a sweat as he unravels through Raghavan’s murderous web, and Raghavan keeps you guessing till the end credits, where he hints at perhaps, a sequel.
It has been the year of Ayushmann Khurrana to say the least. ‘Badhaai Ho’ was not the typical congratulatory Bollywood film, where Khurrana (Nakul) would be at the receiving end of congratulatory messages and cavities for his impending wedding with Renee (Sanya Malhotra). It took you to a middle class family whose life curved into a pregnant turn, where Khurrana’s mother played effortlessly by Neena Gupta (Priyamvada) discovered that she was pregnant at the age of being crowned grandmother. Her husband Jeetender (Gajraj Rao) looks forward to welcoming a new child but children Nakul and Gullar (Shardul Rana) are highly embarrassed and start avoiding their parents, even as the family prepares for a family wedding. Each character is utilized efficiently and director Amit Sharma leaves no room for questioning, taking you on a smooth ride through thorough storytelling.
This Sanjay Leela Bhansali masterpiece started 2018 off with a bang. The film told the story of Rani Padmavati, her husband Maharawal Ratan Singh, and enemy Sultan Alauddin Khilji, played by Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, and Ranveer Singh respectively. The period drama took us through power, love, betrayal, and strength. Padukone’s portrayal of the queen was nothing but elegant and distinguished, while Kapoor gave us an endearing, loyal and strong ruler. Singh’s performance as the dreaded Alauddin Khilji was perhaps the most noteworthy. In his first grey character, he was perfectly dreaded on screen. Bhansali artfully crafted his characters and weaved them into a seamless story.
Director Anurag Kashyap gives us a love story, but ‘Manmarziyaan’ isn’t your typical boy-meets-girl love story and why would it be. Kashyap is known for his hard hitting, dark storylines, except this film is not the gritty themed Kashyap drama. There is passion, immaturity, patience, and lots of hormones. Rumi played by Taapsee Pannu is not your typical Bollywood fairytale princess. She is brash and speaks her mind, but is still lovable and in love. She’s in love with the non-committal Vicky played by Vicky Kaushal, who backs out of marrying her, even though he is given an ultimatum. Rumi will marry someone else if she doesn’t get to marry Vicky, and that someone else is the silent Robbie, played by Abhishek Bachchan. Pannu and Kaushal are perfection and beyond words for their eccentric, demanding characters. Bachchan eases into Robbie and makes us wonder what’s been keeping him away from the big screen. All three characters have been brought to life in Kashyap’s direction proving he’s quite good at pure romance.
Aside from these films, there have been many which have been appreciated throughout the year such as ‘PadMan’, ‘October’ and ‘Veere Di Wedding’, to name a few. They deserve a mention for their overall fresh content as well as the pull they’ve achieved in terms of box office numbers. Whether it was ‘PadMan’ with the socially relevant story, ‘October’ with its sombre feel or ‘Veere Di Wedding’ which was arguably one of the most daring films of the year, there were many which gave the indication that cinema consumption is changing.