Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Bollywood Top 10 List for 2007

Here is a Top 10 list, but not by me. I have to admit that I just didn't see enough current films this past year from any film industry to attempt a Top 10 list. This was partly due to being on the go so much and just not having the opportunity to see many films, but to a large extent it was also simple inertia and a lack of desire to see a lot of the new films coming out. Fortunately, others are still doing so and are willing to share their finds for the year. In particular, I wasn't able to see anything from Bollywood and so it is great having this list as a key to what to see. It was put together by Steve Barr and my thanks to him.

2007 wasn't the banner year 2006 was, but a number of good and interesting films were released. Of the well-received films, I did not see The Namesake, Loins of Punjab Presents, and Taare Zameen Par.

Interesting, but not in my top ten, are:

Sivaji -- Seen without subtitles. A huge film with South Indian superstar Rajnikanth, directed for the first time by Shankar, who is known for making lavish, CGI-enhanced entertainers. In between pauses for hero worship, Rajnikanth stars as a man returning to India to do good works who gets caught up in a fight against corruption.

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom -- A meet-cute love story with a twist, JBJ is a romantic comedy with in-jokes poking gentle fun at Bollywood conventions.

Black Friday -- A film about the 1993 Bombay terrorist bombings.

Chak de India -- Cliched sports story improved by having the leads be a bunch of young women from all over India who must bond together to form a team while overcoming various prejudices. Also stars Shahrukh Khan as their disgraced coach.

No Smoking -- A movie which moves between the real and unreal (like Mulholland Dr. or Brain Dead) ostensibly about a man fighting against an extreme anti-smoking organization (inspired by Quitters, Inc but very different).

Manorama Six Feet Under -- Reworking of Chinatown set in a dusty Indian town. Interesting, but suffers from a slow pace.

Top 10


10. Cheeni Kum -- Light romantic comedy about a cranky 64-yo chef (Amitabh Bachchan) falling for a 37-yo woman (Tabu). Works well, and could have come from any country. Unfortunately the movie falls apart at the end with heavy farce and melodrama out of keeping with the rest of the film.

9. Laaga Chunari Mein Daag -- A woman (Rani Mukherjee) moves to the big city to support her family and finds she's only able to get work in the oldest profession. Meanwhile, her sister (Konkona Sen Sharma) gets an office job in the same city. Not as depressing as it sounds, with nice performances throughout.

8. Bhool Bhulaiyaa -- Horror/comedy with some horror and comedy which actually work. A couple move into a cursed mansion, complete with vengeful ghost. Has a standout ending worth seeing on the biggest screen you have.

7. Om Shanti Om -- For Shahrukh Khan fans. OSO starts off as an affectionate look at Indian filmmaking in the 1970's, with in-jokes flying thick and fast. Post-interval, the reincarnation/revenge plot kicks in and the film becomes more serious.

6. Khoya Khoya Chand -- Set in a lovingly recreated 1950-60's Hindi film industry, a young actress struggles with a range of role, loves, and compromises. While the story and some of the acting isn't the best, the film is still a treat for fans of older Hindi films.

5. Life in a Metro -- A film intertwining several stories of urban love. Not a very realistic film, it does have several good performances, pretty people, etc.

4. Johnny Gadaar -- An excellent neonoir about a doublecross gone horribly wrong. The movie plays with audience expectations a few times and never puts a foot wrong.

3. Traffic Signal -- Perhaps not a great movie, this tale of all the scams and interests around a single intersection in India features an interesting subject and some great performances.

2. Honeymoon Travels -- Supposedly only in India do couples go on honeymoons together. This is the extremely funny and entertaining story of several couples taking a bus tour on their honeymoon.

1. Salaam-e-Ishq -- This movie encapsulates why I watch Bollywood films. Like many films this year, it features an ensemble cast and intertwined stories about love. But it manages to do so in a larger-than-life manner, with great drama, humor, musical numbers and a wonderful soundtrack. The somewhat disappointing story about adultery can be fast-forwarded.

5 comments:

SwatiS said...

Hi, I like your picks for your top ten Bollywood films, and I like that Partner and Hey Baby are missing from your list. Our lists for 2007 favorites overlap quite a bit!

Steve said...

I've not seen Partner; people who have seem to only like the Govinda/Salman parts.

I thought Hey Baby was OK, and it has a good commentary track.

What is your list for 2007 favorites?

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved the Salaam E Ishq movie. Love has a big impact on all of our lives at one point or another, so I think we can all relate to it. Great stuff.

SwatiS said...

Hi Steve,

You can see my favorites here:

http://bollywoodpolicy.blogspot.com/2007/12/2007-turning-point-for-bollywood.html

Enjoy!

Steve said...

Swatis,

You should stop by http://www.bollywhat-forum.com and see if you like it. They like the kinds of films you do, and the discussion isn't a lot of one-line, "OMG SRK U SOOO HOT!!!" type posts.