Sonam ‘Neerja’ Shah Rukh ‘Dear Zindagi’ Salman ‘Sultan’ which was the BEST movie of 2016:
2016 year was an exciting year for me as a movie buff. On one hand I get to watch a commercial potboiler like Sultan, where Salman Khan has no qualms showing off his paunch, while on the other hand, I don’t mind bursting into tears for a hard-hitting drama like Neerja, that had Sonam Kapoor in the lead with no Khan to support her. It was a year where women took the lead from the men and gave us quality stuff that a male-dominated industry like Bollywood needs. If Sonam Kapoor made her detractors eat their words about her lack of acting ability with Neerja, Alia Bhatt delivered two critically acclaimed performances in Udta Punjab and Dear Zindagi, making us believe that Highway was no flash in the pan. Kareena Kapoor proved once again that marriage is no deterrent to good roles with a movie like Ki & Ka.
As for the actors, there was Akshay Kumar who gave us three different entertainers that all belonged to various genres, and yet made hits out of them. Shah Rukh Khan may have had a misfire with FAN, but it was a laudable effort and he also redeemed himself with Dear Zindagi. Salman Khan proved again why he is the golden ruler of the box office, while the younger stars like Varun Dhawan, Sidharth Malhotra, Ranbir Kapoor also got their opportunities to shine. Everyone one had their movies (except for Deepika and Kangana), not everyone shined and we had a lot of movies that sank without a trace, while some made it to our fave list. Now here’s a chance for you to show us which of these below 2016 movies are your favorites. Please note that these films were considered based on two factors – their box office appeal, as well as how they fared well with the critics.
Based on these two factors, here is our list of Bollywood movies from 2016 that stood out from the rest…
Aamir Khan does it again! He ends 2016 with a bang by delivering of the best movie of the decade. Dangal is a well-enacted biopic, that has some brilliant performances from all the cast members. Aamir gives his best performance in years, but its the girls playing his daughters who steal the show at times. The wrestling sequences are well-choreographed, and the narrative is very strong at most of the time. It’s not easy to make a movie that supports sports development, women empowerment and duty towards nation without sounding preachy, but Dangal manages to pull that off with immaculate ease.
If I had to be partial, Neerja would be the movie for me that wins at nearly every department – be it direction, the narrative, the technical aspects and the performances. It’s not easy to make a movie that finds itself confined to a claustrophobic cabin for most of its runtime, with a lead actress who is not often praised for her acting prowess, and still make it brilliant. Neerja is not only the best biopic of the year, or perhaps the decade as well, it also gave Sonam Kapoor her best performance till date. If you leave the screening dry-eyed, you know there is something wrong with you.
Based on a real-life incident set during the Gulf War, Airlift is that kind of Bollywood movie that sets us on the same scale as international-standard survival dramas. It may not be bereft of Bollywood clichés (that climax fight could have been avoided), yet this thriller has enough moments to make us bite our nails at the plight of our fellow countrymen trapped in a foreign land, torn by war. Akshay Kumar is on a roll here, and he has a fine supporting cast to lend gravitas to the movie.
Kapoor & Sons
A movie that gave the word NO a lot of respect, Pink was a near-brilliant court room drama, heralded by strong performances. Taking on the still topical subject on female harassment, Pink doesn’t hesitate into being an uncomfortable viewing at times, thanks to stark depiction of molestation. Sure the conveniently happy ending has its share of detractors, but overall it’s a very strong movie with a fantastic message.
I always say FAN was Shah Rukh Khan’s best performance in years, but the movie left me disappointed. That was somehow redeemed in his next, Dear Zindagi, a clean flick about how to face your problems head on with some philosophical (and sometimes preachy) gems. Shah Rukh Khan was fine in his extended cameo of a therapist, but it was Alia Bhatt who walked away with all the acting accolades. Sure the movie was a half an hour too long and self-indulgent, but many people could relate to its various themes and situations it presented, making it a decent hit.
Udta Punjab got me in its support the moment I saw that dark and hard-hitting trailer. While the movie found itself in unnecessary controversies surrounding its release, Abhishek Chaubey’s handling of drug abuse in Punjab told through the lives of four individuals is an exemplary tale in itself. Balancing on the fine line between hard-hitting drama and black comedy, the movie had some splendid performances from Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh. Udta Punjab is not without its flaws, but it is nearly a masterpiece that 2016 can claim of its own.
Salman never promises you good cinema, he promises good entertainers. While I am not a huge fan of Sultan, it does have its bright moments, some good songs and well-directed wrestling sequences. Above all, this could also be Salman Khan’s best performance in recent times; that self-introspective mirror scene did it for me. And those 300 crore business that the movie managed is enough to give Sultan a place in the list. After all, nearly an entire country cannot go wrong in liking a movie. Oh, wait! A country voted for Trump, didn’t it?
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story
People were disappointed that they never got to see the career controversies of Dhoni in his supposed biopic. The movie also had the feel that it was a vanity project for Captain Cool. But Neeraj Pandey’s fine handling of the project made it an inspiring drama about a small-town boy from Ranchi who became the MVP of Indian cricket, through his sheer hard work and determination. It also helped matters that Sushant Singh Rajput was brilliant in his role.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Is ADHM’s Karan Johar’s skewered take on love and friendship? Or is it his most mature work till date? Never has a Bollywood movie got so much divisive reactions than this Diwali release. While not a fan myself, I do appreciate that there was sense of maturity in how Karan Johar handled Anushka – Ranbir’s track, though that weak climax nearly did it in. ADHM also boasts of a killer soundtrack, great technical values and Aishwarya Rai looking her hottest. In short, it was this year’s best looking movie.