Sukanya Verma in Mumbai
In the final part of this special series, Sukanya Verma lists the best films of the decade that are a must watch! Here's a look at her batch of movies to cherish.
Mr and Mrs Iyer
Cast: Rahul Bose, Konkona Sen Sharma
There's tremendous humanity in Aparna Sen's Mr and Mrs Iyer on which she cements a string of exquisite moments, reminding us of the unplanned nature of hard-to-categorise relationships in the face of communal tension.
The above, coupled with daughter Konkona's compelling presence, renders the circumstances and the actions they trigger as plausible and identifiable.
Cast: Ajay Devgan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Resonating the timeless quality of romance and sacrifice, Rituparno Ghosh's Raincoat pays a lyrical and languid ode to the profundity of O Henry's The Gift of Magi.
Almost as if a song in the making, Ghosh creates a luminous moment whilst underlining the lamentations and deliberation of an estranged couple through the raw edges of Ajay Devgan and quiet radiance of Ash.
Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara
Cast: Anupam Kher, Urmila Matondkar
Jahnu Barua's Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara reconfirms that a great actor is just a great role away.
Bringing back memories of his terrific portrayal in Mahesh Bhatt's Saaransh, Anupam Kher delivers one of his career best works as professor suffering from an Alzheimer's like condition in this stirring story of forgotten values in a greed-driven society through the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
Barua, a master storyteller, renders the drama several layers making MGKNM an unforgettable experience.
My Brother Nikhil
Cast: Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla, Purab Kohli, Victor Banerjee
Director Onir picks a hard-hitting subject to make his directorial debut. He tackles the stigma associated with AIDS and homosexuality with restraint and sensitivity while emphasising the problem isn't just the disease but the attitude around it.
And because he does that without being overtly moralising or dramatic, My Brother Nikhil, high on high-caliber performances from Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla and Purab Kohli, proves to be rather effective.
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Vidya Balan, Raima Sen, Diya Mirza, Rekha
Barring it's over-the top climax, Parineeta directed by Pradeep Sarkar is elegance personified.
Admittedly, this glossy labour of love -- which introduced the viewers to the luminosity of Vidya Balan's prowess -- isn't anything like Bimal Roy's simple, sweet adaption of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel starring Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari.
Cinematic liberties aside, Parineeta celebrates the vintage charm of old-fashioned romance and jealousy through the simmering allure of Balan and Saif Ali Khan.
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Vidya Balan, Paresh Rawal, Arundati Nag
What is that Amitabh Bachchan cannot do? Practically every decade, since he began his career, boasts of a blockbuster performance from Big B.
And Paa is hardly an exception. The man gamely sports multiple layers of prosthetics and brings to life R Balki's vision of a 13-year-old imaginative, impish Auro with an understandable major Paa fixation.
If that entails making numerous potty jokes and doing a silly monkey dance, so be it.
Even if the idea of roping real life son Abhishek to play the Paa in question is quite a casting coup, it's Vidya Balan's measured and gritty Maa that gets our vote.
Cast: Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Shergill, Deepal Shaw
There's something instantly potent about films that say it like it is. Debutant director Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday is one of these uncompromising lot.
In the sharply-penned drama about prevalent terrorism and the administration's complete failure to deal with them, Naseeruddin Shah's common man-on-a-mission against Anupam Kher's razor-sharp cop packs in quite a punch.
A Wednesday's success at the box office highlights how good cinema is appreciated against all odds.
Mumbai Meri Jaan
Cast: R Madhavan, Soha Ali Khan, Kay Kay Menon, Paresh Rawal, Irrfan Khan
Movies based on true-life catastrophes are either mawkish or sensationalist. Filmmaker Nishikant Kamat's Mumbai Meri Jaan, however, is a significant instance of the ones that got it right.
With an ensemble star-cast involving multi-storylines, it exploration of the aftermath of 2006 Mumbai train blasts is unmistakably incisive and emotionally varied in its approach and sentiment.
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Raveena Tandon, Manoj Bajpai, Nandita Das
Nothing can quite prepare you for the wildly impressionistic and gothic imagery of Aks. The brilliance of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's eccentric style and unconventional narrative is vividly reflected in the grim ideology of this supernatural thriller.
There's much delight to be found in the sinister face off between Bachchan and Bajpai as the twain indulge in a battle of morality, mortality and more.
Cast: Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpai, Sanjay Suri, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Isha Koppikar
The intricate threads of relationship and the impact partition had on them are carefully laid out in Amrita Pritam's compelling novel.
Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi's minutely detailed, big screen adaption of this period story is a befitting tribute to its literary origins.
The beauty of Pinjar lies in its delicate portrayal of the trials and tribulations faced by Urmila Matondkar's character. The actress to her credit delivers the part with all possible grace and authenticity.
Not to forget Manoj Bajpai in a National Award winning performance.
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Shernaz Patel, Nandana Sen
Sanjay Leela Bhansali likes to make his audience cry. Be it Khamoshi, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam or Devdas, the showman leaves no stone unturned to assure a like response for Black as well. He gets it too.
What makes this loosely Helen Keller-resembling drama worth its while, despite Bhansali's pressing need to show off his artistic leanings and symbolic excesses, is the combined effort and insightful talent of Rani Mukerji (as a blind and deaf girl) and Amitabh Bachchan (an Alzheimer's patient) to create an aura of genuinely inspiring triumph of spirit.
Cast: Mukesh Khanna, Sushmita Mukherjee
India is a treasure trove of mythological tales and adventures wherein there's no shortage of enchanting magic, extraordinary heroes and vile villains.
Even if Hanuman, an animated exercise in the same is not astonishing in the SFX department, it pays a charming ode to its celebrated God and his innumerable feats.
An old-school wholesome entertainer, Hanuman fulfills the combined role of educating and entertaining, kids and adults alike. Too bad its sequel was a mockery of these very sentiments.
Darna Mana Hai
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Vivek Oberoi, Nana Patekar, Boman Irani, Sanjay Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty, Sohail Khan, Antara Mali, Sameera Reddy, Rajpal Yadav, Aftab Shivdasani, Isha Koppikar, Revathi, Raghuvir Yadav
An anthology is always a tricky genre. While some stories work, some don't. But there's always an element of intrigue and suspense. Hate it. Love it. Simply cannot ignore it.
Ram Gopal Varma's Darna Mana Hai, featuring a heap of Bollywood stars, ably directed by Prawal Raman, fascinates on that account itself.
A subject like this allows tremendous scope for experiment and quirkiness, which can be witnessed to good effect in the wacky episodes featuring Saif Ali Khan and Nana Patekar.
The novelty, however, wore off with Darna Zaroori Hai.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Vinay Pathak
How in the world is it possible not to like the affable but awkward Surinder Sahni? Especially after the pains he takes to win over Taani and us.
A heart of gold has always been an integral part of Aditya Chopra's sensibilities. And Shah Rukh Khan conveys that goodness with his inherent charm and author-backed simplicity. He gets to play the star too as Suri's alter ego, Raj.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is sugary, alright. But, hey, everyone's got a weakness for condescended milk. You slurp a little, you slurp it all.