We had almost thought that Bollywood’s best films this year released in the first half itself. But that’s how unpredictable Hindi films are- just when you are about to write one off- you are struck by a superb story.
2015 was no less. While there were the regular masala potboilers featuring superstars releasing throughout the year at regular intervals, it was the year when small films became the talking point for people. Some of them even manage to rake in a lot of the moolah at the Box Office. New filmmakers, new stories and even new actors were accepted by the audience with open arms.
So here are the best of the best of 2015. It was a tough list to compile but here you go, the films that marveled us this year.
Piku: Shoojit Sircar hit right chord with his slice of life film ‘Piku’. When has a film on a father-daughter pair, with constipation being at its core, brought a smile on the viewer’s face so much? Never before perhaps until Sircar and writer Juhi Chaturvedi decided to give us this wonderful film. With a stellar star cast comprising of Amitabh Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Deepika Padukone, Moushumi Chatterjee and Jisshu Sengupta, the film was accepted by not just the Bengali community (the story is about a Bengali family setteled in Delhi) but also by people across the country who smiled every time Bhaskor Banerjee visited the loo. Read the film’s review here.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha: Director Sharat Kataria’s delightful film not only transported us back to the era of 1990s but also delivered a real story about the Indian arranged marriage system. The film focused on an uncanny pair- who found love only after going through a spate of problems and differences. Newcomer Bhumi Pednekar delivered a superlative performance and managed to break the image of a typical Hindi film heroine. Ayushmann Khurrana once again proved that given good role, he can deliver. Varun Grover’s brilliant lines helped in making the film a delightful watch. From the streets of Haridwar to Kumar Sanu’s songs – everything about the film was just perfect. Read the film’s review here.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan: Salman Khan’s films always do well at the Box Office but not always are they lauded by masses and critics alike. But Kabir Khan’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ was an exception to the rule. Even with a far fetched and over stretched climax scene, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ delivered a beautiful message of communal harmony and entertained everyone. The star of the film was, though, not Khan or leading lady Kareena Kapoor. It was a six-year-old girl called Harshali Malhotra who played a mute girl lost in a neighbouring country. She had no dialogues and emoted through her eyes and made everyone fall in love with her character ‘Munni’. Nawazuddin Siddiqui gave once of his career’s most endearing performance. Read the film’s review here.
Masaan: First time director Neeaj Ghaywan’s sublime film ‘Masaan’ won accolades at various international film festivals and marveled Indian audiences alike. With a beautiful story written by Varun Grover set in Benaras, the film scored high with the audience due to superlative performances delivered by the actors. Two parallel stories- both set in Benaras- and in both the need to break free from an orthodox society- left an defining impact on the viewers. Read the film’s review here.
Talvar: A story already too familiar to the entire nation, ‘Talvar’ still managed to shake us up with its very subtle yet hard hitting facts. Director Meghna Gulzar’s decision of making a film on Arushi Murder Case had raised eyebrows but the risk that she took paid off. Perhaps her biggest strength was the star cast of the film and a tight script. From Irrfan Khan to Neeraj Kabi, Konkona Sen Sharma to Tabu- everyone were absolutely stunning in their roles. A word for the screenplay that was written by Vishal Bhardwaj who gave the narrative a different twist with his writing. Read the film’s review here.
Badlapur: Filmmaker Sriram Raghavan’s last outing on the big screen (Agent Vinod) received mix response. And the maker bounced back with dark, grim ‘Badlapur’ this year. The film, a typical revenge story with a message in the end, also made Bollywood sit up and take note of Varun Dhawan’s talent. The actor delivered a matured performance- a stark contrast from his usual films- and held his own infront of the versatile Nawazuddin Siddiqui throughout. Read the film’s review here.
NH10: Navdeep Singh’s road thriller had no ghosts yet it made for a terrific horror thriller. So many moments in the film had the viewers biting their nails or grasping the next person’s hand out of sheer fright! The film also had Anushka Sharma delivering one of her career’s best performances. The actress, who was also the producer of the film, was the sole ‘star’ of the film and on whose frail yet sturdy shoulders the film rested. Touching upon the grave topic of honour killing, the film shook the consciousness of the viewers without being jingoistic. Read the film’s review here.
Drishyam: Nishikant Kamath’s ‘Drishyam’ was perhaps the most underrated films of the year, inspite of Ajay Devgn and Tabu playing important roles in the film. A remake of a Malayalam thriller by the same name, the film kept the viewer engaged throughout. A tight script, an engaging plot made the thriller one of the best this year. There were few miscasts, but with Tabu and Ajay Devgn playing the most important roles in the film, we really didn’t have much to complain about. Read the film’s review here.
Honourable mentions: ‘Baby’, ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshi’, ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ and 'Margarita With A Straw’.