Picking just 10 movies is a god-damn tough task, especially in a decade where we saw the directors mature, the story-writers blossom and some ingenuity flow in.
I’m therefore going to try and walk on water by restricting my choice to only 10 best of the decade – my favourites in no specific order of preference. Not the best hits, not the top grossing ones, but movies I can watch a million times again and again on my DVD player without getting bored. So here goes my list.
1. Lagaan (2001)
If you follow this blog or know me in the offline world – this is no surprise right? A movie on cricket with Aamir in it, has to be in the list. Well yeah and much more than that – it depicted India in its raw sense, it depicted hope and struggle, it depicted life! Tell me it is inspired and tell me it is copied – makes no difference to me. I’ve watched it a million times, and every time I shout with the same excitement while cheering Bhuvan’s team. If a movie is able to entertain the viewer on repeated viewing – the movie is a class act – no documentary or statistical evidence required. It made it to the top 5 at the Oscars – what more would you ask? A.R.Rahman wove another brilliant score and Lagaan remains our crowning glory.
2. Dil Chahta Hai(2001)
If you have been 3 friends growing up together – you’d love this movie. Farhan Akhtar redefined what a Bollywood film is all about. Quick wit, sarcasm, emotion and a little drama. Fantastic script – well nothing extraordinary actually – just about friends. The real thing, the wise-cracks, the digs we would take at our own friends. My school gang watched this movie on first day together – I cannot forget the blast we had and the way the theatre rocked to the tunes of Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe and Woh Ladki Hain Kahan. Sámeer charmed his way into our hearts(Result - Saif was an instant heartthrob) while we tried hard to get over Siddharth’s (Akshay Khanna) innocent smile and Aamir’s mischievous Akash.
3. Chak De India(2007)
This is my anti depressant. Yeah I watch the movie every time I’m down in the dumps; it cheers me up every single time – the record is still unbroken. Lifted from Miracle verbatim I’m told. And again who cares? I fell in love with Shahrukh’s Kabir Khan decades after falling in love with his Abhimanyu Rai in Fauji and Raj Malhotra of DDLJ.
It’s a movie about girl power damn it – how can you not love it, even if it is copied. The characters immortal – Balbir Kaur, Bindia Naik, Komal Chautala,Preeti Sabarwal , Vidya Sharma stole our hearts!
You cheer them up every time they take the field, you swell with pride when the come close to beating the men’s team, you love them when they bash up the goons at McDonald’s and you drown in tears when they finally win the cup!
Salim-Suleiman gave a priceless gem – Maula Mere Le Le Meri Jaan- I get goose-bumps every time I listen to it.
4. Taare Zameen Par(2007)
What a lovely movie on kids. Could not get better – my eyes well up every time I see Maya flip through Ishaan’s drawing book. Aamir handled the sensitivities brilliantly without getting melodramatic. Darsheel Safary’s Ishaan touched your heart! ‘Maa’ makes me cry every single time I listen to it and Raman rendering ‘Kholo Kholo’ livens up your spirits! Shankar Ehsaan Loy are simply Brilliant.
5. Jab We Met (2006)
I never caught this movie at the theatre and please don’t be surprised that a Kareena Kapoor movie made it to my all-time favourite list. I cannot imagine any other actress portraying Geet. Kareena (though I detest her)was brilliant in this movie and Shahid super cute. I drool like a 14 year old teenager when I watch his Aditya.
There is a line in the movie when Aditya tells Geet “Tum ek unique piece ho, tum khud se bahut pyaar karti hon na?”; to which Geet replies,“Haan mein apni sabse badi favourite hoon!” Without losing a second, MDH turned immediately and looked at me, and said – Yeah that’s you talking!
For this reaction of MDH, that too off a Kareena film and her dialogue; Jab We met makes it to my all-time favourite list of this decade!
6. Jodhaa Akbar(2008)
Forget the lavish sets, forget the exquisite jewellery and clothes, forget the beautiful Jodhaa (You noticed Aishwarya?), forget the story-telling, forget that it is a Ashutosh Govarikar production and one of the finest period movies in Hindi Cinema – just forget all that.
Just think of Hrithik Roshan – just think of him dancing to the Sufi Khwaja Mere Khwaja, think of his controlled mature acting, think of him wooing Jodhaa and then finally think of the bare-chested Hrithik practicing his sword skills. OMG – just for Hrithik Roshan alone I can watch this movie a million times! He is the equivalent of a Greek God!
7. Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na(2008)
It’s a story about us – you and me. It reminded me so much of my college days. Jai and Aditi were absolute delights – the songs even more; and when was the last time you saw a movie with such perfect casting right down to the smallest role, even when it meant acting in a 3X4” frame.
8. A Wednesday(2008)
How many Hindi movies can you recollect, that do not extend beyond 90 minutes, hold your interest till the last minute and have twists and turns that you cannot imagine? A Wednesday is one of the most fast-paced thrillers I’ve seen in recent times with some superb acting from Naseer, Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill and Aamir Bashir. The movie is to be seen, not to be heard or read about in a review. We should consider ourselves fortunate to have lived and watched Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah – brilliant actors both of them!
9. Lage Raho Munnabhai(2006)
The Munnabhai series brings a smile on my face. Arshad Warsi simply rocks the screen as Circuit. Sanjay Dutt is likeable – Raju Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s success lies in the fact that these two characters have achieved cult status.
The script does not seem lifted from anywhere and Abbas Tyrewalla’s dialogues set the house on fire. When was the last time you laughed so heard that you cried? Munnabhai achieves that – more so in the sequel. How many times have we seen a sequel become a bigger hit than the first movie?
The concept of Gandhigiri did not remain restricted to the film and there was nothing wrong in simplifying Gandhism to the masses in this manner. The message reached to a wider audience and therein lay the film’s success.
If someone told you to never give up on hope and you don’t seem to buy the argument, go watch this movie; you’ll walk out of the cinema house convinced 200%. Iqbal is about dreams and making them a reality. It is really as simple as that. Shreyas Talpade’s Iqbal is loveable and Kukunoor manages to build a strong character wherein despite his handicap you never ever pity him. The handicap is merely incidental to the film and no where does Kukoonoor overplay it like Sanjay Bhansali did in Black.
Iqbal to me was a movie about hope & self- belief; the days I seem to lose it – I regain it back by watching this one on my DVD player.
They didn’t make it to my list but still remain absolute favourites (reasons in brackets):
3 Idiots (An engineer’s story – gosh the movie picked pieces of my life and put it up – yeah like Chetan Bhagat did in 5 point someone;-)
Kaminey (3 reasons – Vishal Bharadwaj, Shahid and Dhan Tan Taana)
Monsoon Wedding (Naseeruddin, Shefali Chhayya and a brilliant story told under 2 hours)
Luck by Chance (For the immensely talented Konkana Sen Sharma, oh do I hear someone telling me it’s a Farhan Akhtar movie – sorry the lady stole the show all the way!)
Paa (Vidya Balan, Arundhati Nag, Vishnu and the little Auro)
Rock On!! (Farhan Akhtar and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy!)
Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (Hrithik Roshan and Ek Pal Ka Jeena – reasons enough right?)
Cheeni Kum (Tabu-Amitabh’s banter and the little Sweety)
Chandni Bar (It’s such a hard-hitting movie – left me depressed for weeks. Honestly can’t watch it again, contradicts my introductory paragraph doesn’t it? But I can’t deny the fact that it is one of the best to have come out!)
Bend It Like Beckham (Funny, football and girl power again – oh come on this one is quite enjoyable!)
Mr and Mrs Iyer (Rahul Bose and was it Kokana’s first movie? Hell see it and you will find that hard to believe)
Pinjar ( Urmila Matondakar was superb in this movie, only one probably, where she did not shed her clothes and came out a winner in an unglamorous avatar)
Khakee (I really liked the story and the twists in it – all the actors except Aishwarya were good in their parts)
Page 3 ( Another Konkana classic – Madhur Bhandarkar did a good job- did not get it much right after this one did he?)
Omkara (Othello’s Desi adaptation to perfection – Saif’s Langda Tyagi is Brilliant – Vishal Baradwaj is a genius!)
The Namesake (Tabu alone is enough – rest of the cast is incidental!)
Munnabhai MBBS ( Do I need to repeat point 10 again?)
Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (Ranbir Kapoor is the one I place my bets on, for the future – he is sincere and endearing!)