Innovation is Bollywood۪s forte. Celebrating its 100th year of Bollywood films, the industry has spanned countless years going through all the major moments of history. No matter what year it is, the films always reflect the true flavours of Bollywood with new and engaging storylines that keep the audience hooked to their seats. Though the industry saw some major Bollywood idols pass, the film reel kept on turning and telling the audience that the show must go on. 2012 has been a massive year for Bollywood cinema and BizAsia looks at some of the most innovative films this year.
This romantic comedy encaptured the audiences when it hit the screens this year and this was all credit to the cast who made such an impact with their roles. Ranbir Kapoor played Murphy Johnson aka Barfi who is a deaf mute boy who is optimistic and looks to the brighter side of life despite his circumstances. He meets Shruti Ghosh (Ileana D۪Cruz) who is already engaged but he falls in love with her and she falls in love with him. However, her mother dissuades her from marrying Murphy because of his disabilities and the fact he does not have the means to provide her with a home. She moves back to Kolkata to get married leaving Murphy to deal with his sick father. Feeling desperate to help him, Murphy cracks a ransom plan to kidnap Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra) who is autistic but has inherited her grandfather۪s money after he passes away. The chaos ensues as they are on the run from the law and start falling for each other.
This was the comeback films to mark all comeback films with Sridevi returning to the big screen after a long break. English Vinglish۪ is a simply written storyline which follows the life of sweet hearted Shashi Godbole (Sridevi) who struggles to keep up with her children and her husband due to her lack of English skills. On a trip to the USA for her niece۪s wedding, she enrols onto an English course and embarks on the journey to find herself. Though the film did not star any other big named stars, the simplicity reminded the audience of what true Bollywood cinema is about, family and relationships.
Talaash۪ was a big starrer with the likes of Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji and Kareena Kapoor at the helm of this emotional thriller. Reema Kagti, the director of the film, had the likes of Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara۪ (2011) and Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.۪ (2007) under her belt so this film had great expectations. The film had a lot of mystery surrounding it before release with not much being given away about the storyline. However, Kagti delivered a film that was intriguing and interesting all the same time with some real characters touching the hearts of the audience. The underwater scene in the film is phenomenally shot.
Let۪s face it, gone are the days when kissing was done behind trees in Bollywood films and babies were mysteriously born on the big screen. Bollywood has now taken a much westernised approach to sex scenes, each one being raunchier than the next these days. However, sperm donation was not something discussed as openly as it is in Vicky Donor۪. Produced with Bollywood actor John Abraham, the film talked about fertility openly and helped raise awareness about the struggles that couples face in a humorous and romantic way. Dr Baldev Chaddha (Annu Kapoor) runs a fertility clinic and sperm bank in Delhi which specialises in providing high quality sperm for couples who cannot conceive. However, after a series of failed cases, Dr Chaddha goes on the hunt for a new donor and finds Vicky Arora (Ayushmann Khurrana) who likes to party and does not provide any financial support for his widowed mother. Dr Chaddha realises that Vicky is the perfect donor and goes on a mission to persuade him to donate to his bank.
Life of Pi۪
Though strictly not a film produced by the Bollywood film industry, Life of Pi۪ demonstrates the unique relationship that has developed between Bollywood and Hollywood. This film stars the likes of Tabu and Irrfaan Khan and is based on the award-winning book of the same name by Yann Martel. The film tells the story of Pi (Irrfaan Khan) who tells eager writer (Rafe Spall) about his childhood in the Bay of Bengal. Pi۪s – the younger version of which is played by Suraj Sharma – father runs a zoo which is forced to close after facing a series of financial difficulties and decides to emigrate with the family, human and animals to Canada. However, the freighter is wrecked by a storm and Pi ends up on a lifeboat with a tiger. The spectacle of this film is just brilliant and Ang Lee shows off his years of film making experience with finesse. Shot in 3D, the audience is sucked into the world of Pi in a heartbeat.
2012 has been the kind of year that has seen Bollywood evolve further and become all the more ambitious with its subjects, treatments and stories. It signifies not only a more intelligent audience but also filmmaking that seeks to educate and create awareness as much as it hopes to entertain.