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BizAsia 2020 Reflections: Best films of the year

This year, there have been many films which have released online with all the cinemas and theatres around the world forced to close due to the pandemic. As such, audiences may have lost the experience of the big screen but it meant many more were able to view films in the comfort of their own homes on OTT platforms. looks back at the year and brings you the ultimate list of the best five films of the year of these online and theatre releases, with a couple of special mentions at the end too.

Right from the first announcement about this project, it was evident that ‘Chhapaak’ would be a hugely important film for Indian cinema and who better to lead the ship than director Meghna Gulzar. Touching on the intricacies and surrounding before and after an acid attack, this was a story based on true events which is representative of so many who have had same or similar experiences. However, what made this particular portrayal so aptly shows is that life does also move on, you live with the physical and mental scars and there are always going to be those who view you negatively but there are people who will accept you too. Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey and the rest of the ensemble cast play their characters very well but Gulzar’s direction was the real star.

Taapsee Pannu was the lead character Amrita in this very interesting and thought-provoking depiction of a married couple whose life and relationship completely changes when the husband (played by Pavail Gulati) slaps his wife Amrita in the middle of a party. The film was definitely a conversation starter and if any of the social media comments were anything to go by when the film released, it has to be said that the conversation needed to be started. Anubhav Sinha wrote and directed the film and it had an impact not many films have had this year or even in recent years.

When a father wants to ensure that his son gets the best start in life, he will stop at absolutely nothing to achieve it. This is, in summary, the entire story of ZEE5 film ‘Pareeksha’, the cast for which was led more than ably by Adil Hussain. The charm of this film was totally in director Prakash Jha’s hands as the characters needed to be relatable even if they were a little extreme in emotion to the average cine-goer. This was achieved and more, as were themes such as the importance of education, opportunities and others who have the same mindset. Sanjay Suri’s small role was also full of impact in the film, showing that good intentions can lead some people to make intense decisions but they can also lead others to help those in need. The desperation, love and goodness really comes through in this film.

Bulbbul is a child bride who grows up being a very extravagant woman, well known by those in her village. As a film, ‘Bulbbul’ challenges and showcases repressed housewives and in a beguiling way, adding in the supernatural to make it more beautiful. That defines the allure of the film entirely. It’s a supernatural film which manages to be stunning on screen, directed by Anvita Dutt. It’s enticing and manages to create a world for itself that proves quite unforgettable. The performances make it elevate from the visuals too.

With ‘Ludo’, Anurag Basu created a world which was fabulously intertwined where every person’s actions more or less affected another person, mostly unknowingly. The characters were all different and with a multi-starcast, the world was one which had many heart-warming relationships seeped with expectations, assumptions and, in most cases, unhappiness and discontentment. With actors Pankaj Tripathi, Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sanya Malhotra, Rajkummer Rao, Fatima Sana Shaikh, and more, they all got their space as part of the story to move it along. It was clever and explored so many emotions.

Special mentions:
‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ was a stunning portrayal of sisterhood, fronted by Konkona Sensharma and Bhumi Pednekar. The film tackled some interesting social issues and formed some strong images which the viewer keeps in their mind much after completing the film.

‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’ deserves a mention because of the warm-hearted feel it delivers in the form of a biopic. Although it received some flak, Janhvi Kapoor’s performance was understated but commendable and her chemistry with her father in the film played by Pankaj Tripathi was perhaps the real hero of the film. It was a decent portrayal based on real events and the feel-good factor was just what one would’ve wanted.

‘Kaamyaab’ was definitely an underdog type of movie which had such a big heart. Sanjai Mishra’s performance was applauseworthy to say the very least. The story was inspirational and thought-provoking, making one think about all those in the arts and also about those who perhaps may get overlooked as audiences often focus on the main cast of anything they watch, particularly with Asian cinema.

Here’s to year that was, which presented so much interesting content that we all gorged on. And here’s hoping the coming year will be just as rich and successful at the movies.