Countdowns – BollySpice.com http://bollyspice.com The latest movies, interviews in Bollywood Tue, 26 Jul 2016 09:00:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 REFLECTIONS 2015: Best Actresses of 2015 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2015-best-actresses-of-2015/ Sat, 16 Jan 2016 03:30:07 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118616 2015 was the year of actresses who were not content just to deliver a successful movie or two. The year’s top actresses weren’t just your usual on-screen heroines. They pushed the envelope and branched out into other projects and new roles in and out of the Hindi movie industry. Here are the actresses who went above and beyond this year. Priyanka Chopra Perhaps the actress most proving to a master of many things at once this year was Priyanka. She broke into American TV with a bang — no, really, a very big bang in New York’s Grand Central Station

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2015 was the year of actresses who were not content just to deliver a successful movie or two. The year’s top actresses weren’t just your usual on-screen heroines. They pushed the envelope and branched out into other projects and new roles in and out of the Hindi movie industry. Here are the actresses who went above and beyond this year.

Priyanka Chopra

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Perhaps the actress most proving to a master of many things at once this year was Priyanka. She broke into American TV with a bang — no, really, a very big bang in New York’s Grand Central Station — in Quantico without ever leaving Bollywood behind. She also sang and danced across the big screen in two of 2015’s big hits, Bajirao Mastani and Dil Dhadakne Do.

 

Deepika Padukone

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Deepika also kept up her long-running string of successes in 2015 by proving she was tops at both low-key films like Piku and at grand ones like Bajirao Mastani, slipping a rom-com in between with Tamasha. But she also chose to speak out on other screens in the short film My Choice, causing quite a controversy as her words were debated.

 

Anuskha Sharma

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This year, Anushka turned producer for thriller NH10, for which she also took on a violent role praised by critics. Her performance was gripping and solid, and undoubtedly something we’re not used to seeing from a top actress. And let’s not forget her showings in DDD or Bombay Velvet, in which her performance was also praised though the movie itself was a flop.

 

Bhumi Pednekar

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Bhumi has been the year’s surprising breakout actress, making her on screen debut in the sleeper hit Dum Laga Ke Haisha. In the film, she played a simple plus-sized girl whose husband ultimately learns to look past his prejudice against her size and love her. It’s safe to say Bhumi stole hearts not only in the film but also off-screen.



Kajol

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No best-of-2015 list would be complete without mentioning the triumphant return of Kajol to the big screen. While all of her humanitarian work is fabulous, it’s been five long years since My Name is Khan and We Are Family, and we were all ready and eager for her bubbly personality to light up the screen once more. While the watchability of Dilwale as a film is highly debatable, that of Kajol’s performance isn’t. She showed us just why we missed her so, with nary a cobweb in sight as she slipped seamlessly back our hearts and chemistry with Shahrukh Khan.

 

Kalki Koechlin

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Among the year’s best and most challenging performances was Kalki Koechlin in Margarita With a Straw. In the film, she plays a spunky young woman with cerebral palsy who falls in love with another woman. The character defies expectations with her disability and her sexuality, all delivered in a heartwarming performance by Kalki.

 

Honorable mention: Aishwarya Rai

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Like Kajol, it’s been five long years since Aish last dazzled us in a Hindi movie. We only wish she’d planned her comeback as well as Kajol instead of wasting everyone’s time with Jazbaa. Not even the thrill of Aishwarya’s return (or the strength of her performance in the film, according to some critics) was enough to overcome the abysmal movie that very few bothered to see. Perhaps she should have skipped it and gone straight to one of the more promising films she has due next year: KJo’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, biopic Sarbjit. Those, we’re truly eager to see.

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REFLECTIONS 2015: Best Picturizations of 2015 http://bollyspice.com/best-picturizations-of-2015/ Thu, 14 Jan 2016 03:30:50 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118500 Every year it’s a struggle for directors, choreographers, art directors and designers to come up with an innovative way of presenting a song. And every year they managed to succeed and make it almost impossible to choose from a long list of absolutely stunning, mesmerizing and heartwarming videos. BollySpice brings you a some of the Best Picturization of 2015! ‘Dard Karaara’ – Dum Laga Ke Kaisha With the song ‘Dard Karaara’ the feeling of the 90s era returned. If you have grown up in the 90s, then you can completely relive that era through this song. The melody, lyrics, choreography,

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Every year it’s a struggle for directors, choreographers, art directors and designers to come up with an innovative way of presenting a song. And every year they managed to succeed and make it almost impossible to choose from a long list of absolutely stunning, mesmerizing and heartwarming videos.

BollySpice brings you a some of the Best Picturization of 2015!

‘Dard Karaara’ – Dum Laga Ke Kaisha

With the song ‘Dard Karaara’ the feeling of the 90s era returned. If you have grown up in the 90s, then you can completely relive that era through this song. The melody, lyrics, choreography, clothing…literally everything about this song screams 90s. And it’s so much fun!

The song has been sung by Kumar Sanu and composed by Anu Malik, the same duo that created quite a few chartbusters in the 90s together. If you listen to the song, it sounds ‘old-fashioned’ and you can only picturize the song with Govinda and Karishma Kapoor in it. With your eyes closed.

The video nor the song is in any way a spoof. It’s a beautiful tribute to the era that gave us so much color (literally!). Seems almost surreal to believe that they have managed to recreate this era so flawlessly and magically.

‘Gerua’ – Dilwale

When you hear Iceland, you immediately think about the cold weather, but Iceland perhaps has the most stunningly beautiful landscapes in the world. And that is exactly what we got to see in the beautiful video of the romantic song ‘Gerua’ from the movie Dilwale.

‘Gerua’ brings back together out romantic pair of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. The song was quickly said to be the ‘Sooraj Hua Maddham’ of modern times, where it promises to transcends you to another galaxy filled with love. And yes, it did!

The video is one of the most beautifully shot video’s of the decade.The magic of Arijit Singh’s voice combined with the beautiful locales of Iceland, such as the black beach, the airplane wreckage and our most romantic duo, bearing the cold of course, is a visual treat one cannot get enough of.

‘Gajanana’ – Bajirao Mastani

This song is dedicated to the Lord Ganesha, the averter of obstacles and the Lord of wisdom and intellect.

The video comes at a crucial point in the movie, where Kashibai faces a difficult decision; will she choose to keep her mouth shut and let Mastani (the woman who stole her husband’s heart) die in the process or will she save her and her child?

The video depicts the struggle of both women; while Mastani is trying to fight to save her life and that of her child, the struggle of Kashibai comes from within. Does she have to be honest? Will she lose her husband?

As a woman you can identify and relate this to your everyday life. In the end, it takes courage to do the right thing, be honest and live your life trying to be a good person.

‘Bhar Do Jholi’ – Bajrangi Bhaijaan

This is one of the most soulful songs of the year. Even though it’s a remake of an older folk song, when you hear the music, the lyrics and in the voice of Adnan Sami you just get goosebumps all over.

The song has been shot at the beautiful Ashmuqam Dargah in Kashmir. And by doing that, the feel of hope is recreated. Desperate times call for desperate measures but sometimes it’s a good thing to just retreat, say a prayer and walk on with hope in your heart and believe in your mind that in the end everything will be alright, because picture abhi baaki hai mere dost….and that is exactly the message that this song depicts.

‘Agar Tum Saath Ho’ – Tamasha

This song carries so much pain in it’s music and lyrics alone and when you see the video it just simply moves you to tears.

The song highlights the melancholy and longing associated with separation. The pain in your chest is real because the way this video has been shot, it could have easily been a scene straight out of real life.

It’s Arijit Singh’s voice that brings out the pain, which is outstandingly expressed by the characters of Deepika and Ranbir. These two actors have an amazing chemistry and you can clearly see it shine in this song where there body language needs to be on par.

‘Deewani Mastani’ – Bajirao Mastani

The classic feel of Bajirao Mastani brings you back to the era of Mughal-E-Azam. And the song ‘Deewani Mastani’ completely reminds cinemalovers of the song ‘Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’ and with the same setting it can be touted as a contemporary version of the song.

In a time where most of the production houses and director heavily rely on SFX to create the correct atmosphere or location, Bhansali is still one of the few directors that strives for authenticity.

The whole set of ‘Deewani Mastani’ had 13 chandeliers and real candles that had to be lit up every few hours. That is the kind of vision, patience and passion this director has and it shows on screen. That’s the grandeur of Sanjay Leela Bhansali!

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Reflections: Best Dubsmashes of 2015! http://bollyspice.com/reflections-best-dubsmashes-of-2015/ Tue, 12 Jan 2016 03:30:23 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118703 As we continue to reflect on the Bollywood highlights of last year, we have picked the best dubsmashes from 2015. Dubsmash was almost a fading fad until it was revived by many a Bollywood celebrity last year. Check out our list below of the most popular dubsmashes of 2015: 1) The song that revived the dubsmash phase last year, was undoubtedly the title track of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. The dubsmash craze for this song began with two legendary actresses and dancers of the Bollywood industry: Helen & Waheeda Rahman. It does not get any cooler than this! Watch their

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As we continue to reflect on the Bollywood highlights of last year, we have picked the best dubsmashes from 2015.

Dubsmash was almost a fading fad until it was revived by many a Bollywood celebrity last year. Check out our list below of the most popular dubsmashes of 2015:

1) The song that revived the dubsmash phase last year, was undoubtedly the title track of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. The dubsmash craze for this song began with two legendary actresses and dancers of the Bollywood industry: Helen & Waheeda Rahman. It does not get any cooler than this! Watch their dubsmash moment below:

2) As a favour to Sonam Kapoor, Srivdevi and Shilpa Shetty also did their dubsmash to the Prem Ratan Dhan Payo title track. The dancing queens famously known for their ‘thumkas’ showed them off well in their dubsmash!

3) The sweetest gesture of all came from two filmi teams: the team of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo performed a dubsmash to the title track of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge for team Dilwale, while team Dilwale, performed a dubsmash of the epic Prem Ratan Dhan Payo title track!
https://youtu.be/y1KAFOq-c2Y

4) Actress Kalki did a dubsmash for ‘Bajirao Mastani’ https://twitter.com/RanveerOfficial/status/67592874286304460

5) The crazy boys Ayushmann and Ranveer sing ‘Ghar Aaja Pardesi’ for Arjun Kapoor https://twitter.com/RanveerOfficial/status/672119362053099520

6) Arjun Kapoor sings ‘Sandese Aate Hain’ in a dubsmash – in reply to Ayushmann and Ranveer?!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V84hi0waoc

7) Even the Big B, Amitabh Bachchan took to the craze, and did a special dubsmash with Ranveer Singh for ‘Bajirao Mastani’

8) Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh did a dubsmash for ‘Dil Dhadakane Do’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3PeHMpEeTM

9) Sonakshi Sinha’s gave a rather serious (!) dubsmash

10) The Dabangg pairing of Salman and Sonakshi came together once again for their Dubsmash
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep4Mgw4xLK0

11) Riteish Deshmukh, Akshay Kumar and Ranveer Singh gave a dubsmash together https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nomaSUCmTPM

12) Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone’s best friend forever Dubsmash

13) Alia Bhatt’s first ever dubsmash
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyaqRxv7AVw

14) Farhan Akhtar’s first ever dubsmash
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wv0gkQ12r4c

15) Special mention goes to popular dancer Lauren Gottlieb who also dubsmashed last year!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feRceMwL5kM

Tell us your favourite Bollywood dubsmashes from 2015 in the comments below.

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REFLECTIONS 2015: Bollywood Razzies of 2015 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2015-bollywood-razzies-of-2015/ Mon, 11 Jan 2016 11:01:36 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118540 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” goes the Xmas song, but it also applies to sorting through the dreck and crap that came out of Bollywood in 2015. I watched many of these duds so that you don’t have to, and trust me they’re not as hilarious as I’m going to make them, because for every great Jodi like SRK-Kajol in Dilwale there’s Sunny Leone being paired with Ram Kapoor. Yet there were some awful gems like MSG and its sequel that came out in the same year – take that annual Fast and Furious franchise! Herewith is

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“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” goes the Xmas song, but it also applies to sorting through the dreck and crap that came out of Bollywood in 2015. I watched many of these duds so that you don’t have to, and trust me they’re not as hilarious as I’m going to make them, because for every great Jodi like SRK-Kajol in Dilwale there’s Sunny Leone being paired with Ram Kapoor. Yet there were some awful gems like MSG and its sequel that came out in the same year – take that annual Fast and Furious franchise! Herewith is the worst and secretly hilarious of the year.

Worst Actor – Emraan Hashmi for Hamari Adhuri Kahani/Mr X

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After doing so well in Shanghai, and Ghanchakkar, Emraan decided to play it safe with his performances in Hamari Adhuri Kahani (paired opposite Vidya Balan) and the atrocious Mr X. Taking the concept of being an invisible man far too seriously, Hashmi flounders as he worries whether he’ll be seen in his undercover mission, while still managing to snog the heroine as well. We doubt Mr India would eat the face off his Seema, but with a Hashmi film it’s an absolute must. He couldn’t acquit himself at all in the overwritten mess that was HAK, where he spouts the most obvious dialogues in the world and gets Balan to send him selfies as part of their courtship. We hope that Hashmi finds a better movie next time, where the music isn’t the only good thing in it.

 

Worst Actress – Shruti Haasan

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Whether it’s something lost in transferring to the Hindi film industry, Haasan was pretty terrible in Gabbar is Back with her shrill antics as Akshay Kumar’s love interest, where she seemed to scare him in playing it straight. In Welcome Back, she had zero chemistry with John Abraham and was lost in the fray when the loud comic scenes came during the finale. Here’s hoping Haasan can stick to roles in the South where she seems more at ease, or that she finds a hero in Bollywood who’s up to snuff.

 

Faltu Jodi – Sunny Leone and Ram Kapoor in Kuch Kuch Locha Hai

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You’ve got to feel for Sunny Leone who gets saddled with some of Bollywood’s worst heroes: Jay Bhanushali in Ek Paheli Leela, Tusshar Kapoor in the upcoming Kya Kool Hai Hum 3, but the worst pairing has been with Ram Kapoor. Kapoor goes full throttle with his uncomfortable and creepy behavior with Leone’s character from ogling at her to buying her company as part of a competition. Kapoor seems to be biding his time away from soaps in appearing as the stalkery second lead in these bad films that he’s completely out-acted by Leone. This is one jodi that made us want to shudder and take a shower after.

 

No Sex Please, We’re Cheesy – Hate Story 3

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Borrowing the pastel lighting from Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ video, the sex scenes in Hate Story 3 were artfully aided by all the lighting and gimmicks. If you thought that blue lighting sex-scenes went away with Parinda or Top Gun, seeing Zarine Khan ride Karan Singh Grover with the lights flashing different colours every other minute was laughable. Or the yellow-lit floors that poor Sharman Joshi was lying on while thinking inwardly, “I went from 3 Idiots to macking on Zarine Khan?” If you had a “what is this even?” look then rest assured, that was the look on the actors’ faces whenever they made their “o” faces. We won’t fault the director or cinematographer for trying to improve the franchise’s sex scenes which have gone from skeezy to cheesy.

 

Quit the Meta Remakes – Madhur Bhandarkar with Calendar Girls

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There was a very telling moment in Calendar Girls when the film’s director appeared as himself as the “superstar” who was shooting nearby, and one of the girls gushes over him as if he’s an auteur of thoughtful movies. Bhandarkar’s egregious appearance in his own film by flaunting his amazing talents as a director wasn’t the only familiar thing in this dud, which like the rest of his output showcases the depths that some unfortunate models get into from becoming an escort to dating cricketers. It’s almost as if there was a quota in mind: girl turning into alcoholic – check √, catty remarks at an industry party – check √, bizarro casting with Suhel Seth – check √, and even predatory photographers – check √. If the agriculture industry or IRS need an exposé, be sure to call Bhandarkar!

 

Bas Karo Song – Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

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Amidst the clutter of party songs this year, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’s ubiquity on Dubsmash and articles declaring this star did it better than the other, made us want to cry. There’s no arguing that the song is catchy as hell and the thumkas make us all amateur belly-dancers, but you couldn’t scroll through Instagram without hearing it. Much like the ‘Triple-dent Gum’ that keeps popping up in Pixar’s Inside Out, we really don’t want the “payo re payo re payooo” refrain to be stuck in our heads for eternity.

 

Dreadful Debuts – Sooraj Pancholi & Athiya Shetty

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With his troubling rap sheet aside, we have no clue why Sooraj Pancholi is sweeping the Best Debut prizes at awards season. Pancholi and his co-star Athiya Shetty were unbelievably bad in their debut film Hero which was already done better in the quasi-remake in Heropanti with Tiger Shroff and Kriti Sanon. From Shetty’s shrill voice screeching “Bathroom selfie guys!” reminding you of all the annoying people you meet at clubs, to the shots devoted to Pancholi’s gleaning abs and sweaty body, Nikhil Advani made it painfully obvious which of his two films this year were a cash-grab. It seemed very apt that Pancholi admitted, “Do hi kaam aate hain: dadagiri aur body bananaa!” Well, that should clear up why acting was left out of his contract.

 

Crazy Choreography – The Robot Namaste in Prem Leela, The Almost Fall in Manma Emotion

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Every year a Salman Khan movie comes out, and every year we are graced with another innovative dance step that Khan can kinda master with his stiff dancing. This year, Mudassar Khan who is a stunning hip-hop dancer in his Lil Masters show, but clearly concessions have to be made when training Khan who got to do a robotic namaste in ‘Prem Leela’. Starting low at his hip, Khan swivelled his hands into the right formations and did an interesting robot namaste for the devotional song. It’s a move that we’re definitely going to copy when greeting relatives, and it’s one that Khan can no doubt use when he’s dancing in his 60s much later on.

‘Manma Emotion Jaage’ featured two of Bollywood’s best dancers, Kriti Sanon and Varun Dhawan who couldn’t make us not think that they were about fall in that bendy-leg move. Like last year’s Action Jackson, it’s a cross between the “shit under my shoe” move and the “I’ve lost my footing” step, and it’s nicely capped off with a shoulder shuffle that we thought was left in the High School Musical films.

 

Put Down the Filter – Jazbaa & Dirty Politics

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We’re quite sure that Aishwarya Bachchan looks fine crying with regular daylight on her, but director Sanjay Gupta thought that adding a bright green filter would aid the drama, and what a mistake. He’s already been filter-happy before with his interference in Acid Factory which had the unnecessary sepia tone throughout. It’s like that friend on Instagram or Snapchat that’s obsessed with the Nashville filter, and insists on every frame being in that harsh lighting. The filter didn’t help the story nor improve the performances of the performers whose “Why did I sign this?” faces were plainly obvious in that glaring light. Dirty Politics had the unfortunate blue filter to punctuate its central and gross sex scene between Om Puri and Mallika Sherawat. To film a blue film, one doesn’t necessarily need a blue filter!

 

Reformed Character – Ajay Devgn

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We criticize Ajay Devgn every year with the Razzies but it’s only because we miss his stunning work in films like The Legend of Bhagat Singh or Khakee, his early millennial hits which cemented him as a thoughtful actor. We were in for a surprise when he turned in a moving performance in Drishyam. The film has five different remakes in various languages with the original Drishyam with Mohanlal in the lead, and more recently, Kamal Haasan in Papanasam (Tamil). It’s easy to picture Mohanlal and Haasan as an Everyman, but Devgn does a good job of conveying the fatherly anguish and it’s deeply satisfying to see him reined in and not slumming it through every scene. Here’s to more films that rehab his potential.

 

Recognize your Privilege, Dudes – Male Actors in Bollywood  

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With a national conversation about gender equality and pay differences between male and female actors happening in Hollywood, the conversation has been widely spoken about in Bollywood too. Anushka Sharma spoke of the micro-aggressions she’s dealt with in treatment from smaller rooms on outdoor shoots, to Priyanka Chopra talking about unfair pay for actresses. Yet when journalist Rajeev Masand asked actors Ranveer Singh, Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor and Varun Dhawan if they’d noticed this, they quickly got sheepish and deflected with “What set is she working on?” It’s disappointing that actors aren’t able to look beyond their privileged position in the industry and change things for the better. Perhaps take the memo from Bradley Cooper who agreed to negotiate his fees on par with his female co-stars. It’s a conversation that needs to be had, and having allies in male actors makes the most sense than downplaying the struggles of their female co-stars. It’s 2015 guys!

 

Worst Film or Unintentional Gem? – MSG/MSG2

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This year’s vainglorious production was Messenger of God (MSG) and its swift sequel, that starred Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the religious leader of the Dera Sach Sauda (DSS) group. I haven’t watched a religious propaganda film that made me so frightened for its followers and the viewers that it doesn’t convert in the process. MSG and its sequel are either the worst films you’ll ever see or they’re films that drinking games are made for, a fate I couldn’t avoid after laughing through a crowd calling him “Rock Papa!” for the umpteenth time. Whether he was showcasing his wealth like a hip-hop don in the song ‘Never Ever’ or trying to eradicate us of our social ills like AIDS, prostitution, corruption, and many more bad deeds that Singh thinks he can correct in the 197-minute film. The Fast and Furious franchise have nothing on Singh, who released a sequel in the same year, and it got even more offensive as Singh leaps about in the forest in an attempt to save adivasis from drugs. If there’s one thing the country can unite on, it’s in issuing a nationwide ban against multiple threat director-music composer-producer-writer Singh from creating more monstrous sequels!

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REFLECTIONS 2015: The Best Indie and Festival Films of 2015 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2015-the-best-indie-and-festival-films-of-2015/ Sun, 10 Jan 2016 11:30:50 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118533 By Katherine Matthews and Rumnique Nannar One of the most frustrating aspects of covering festival and indie films has been the limited access for a wider audience – very often review comments run along the lines of: “Tell me where I can see this!” 2015 was a year that finally saw some great shifts in this, with a number of festival films finally getting a theatrical release – some of them films that had been on the festival circuit for a couple of years, some of them hot off the 2015 festival rounds. Audiences for both festival and indie films

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By Katherine Matthews and Rumnique Nannar

One of the most frustrating aspects of covering festival and indie films has been the limited access for a wider audience – very often review comments run along the lines of: “Tell me where I can see this!” 2015 was a year that finally saw some great shifts in this, with a number of festival films finally getting a theatrical release – some of them films that had been on the festival circuit for a couple of years, some of them hot off the 2015 festival rounds. Audiences for both festival and indie films are small, but they’re growing, and access to this year’s “best of” selection should be easier for interested viewers. 2015 was, indeed, a great year for these films – enjoy our choices for Festival and Indie Bests!

Qissa

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A TIFF2013 film that finally saw its theatrical release this past year, Qissa (“Folktale”), set in post-partition India, introduces us to Sikh patriarch Umber Singh (Irrfan Khan). Forced to leave his village (in Pakistan territory), Umber takes his family (consisting of his wife, two daughters, and a newborn baby girl whom he refuses to look at – “I’ve seen enough girls,” he tells his wife, Mehar) and sets out to rebuild his life. “The Partition scattered us like birds in a storm,” he says, and Qissa sets out to examine the effect of the loss of home, nation, identity; showing how, in Umber, it affects how he relates to his family. “Who am I?” asks Umber. “What am I? What curse have I brought down on myself?”  Qissa is a fascinating film, setting itself up as a kind of folktale to explore this dark and troubling environment, and the effect of these events on the human psyche.  It is a film that is sure to divide; but in doing so, it is also sure to foster debate about the issues at its very core, issues that more than sixty years after Partition still shape people’s identity and their view of their world.  /KM

 

Margarita With a Straw

Margarita With A Straw

Another TIFF selelection (from 2014), Margarita With a Straw delighted audiences at film festivals worldwide before its 2015 theatrical release. The film has racked up a steady stream of awards in the last year, and Bollyspice reviewer Aashi Gahlot called it “Brave. Real. Beautiful.” The film, starring Kalki Koechlin as a young woman with cerebral palsy who moves to New York with her mother in order to study, and who begins to explore the nature of her own sexuality as well, is a powerful exploration of self-discovery, ability/disability, love, sex, and the nature of acceptance. /KM

 

Haraamkhor

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In a village in Gujarat, a married schoolteacher, Shyam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), begins a relationship with one of his teenaged students, Sandhya (Shweta Tripati).  Director Shlok Sharma has worked as an assistant to both Vishal Bhardwaj and Anurag Kashyap, and the influence of both these directors can be seen in Haraamkhor, a film that made the festival rounds in 2015 and which will see its theatrical release in 2016.  Small town life, gritty realism, a modern world that is encroaching at the edges and a dark sense of humour permeate the film.  In Haraamkhor, Sharma asks us to consider boundaries – most obviously, moral boundaries and their transgression, but also where the boundaries between childhood and adulthood lie.  Explosive emotions simmer under the surface, occasionally slipping as things become more desperate. With the gentle guidance of her father’s girlfriend, Neelu (who discovers the relationship, but doesn’t reveal it, preferring to treat Sandhya as an adult, and also protect her, probably aware that the consequences of having it revealed would be equally as devastating for Sandhya), Sandhya breaks free of this affair with a manipulative, selfish, immature man.  /KM

 

Talwar 

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Meghna Gulzar’s film unfurls like a Rashomon procedural drama, as we’re taken through the multiple scenarios of the Aarushi Talwar case from the central investigator played by an understated Irrfan Khan, to the bungling cops, and the anguished parents who were eventually arrested. Much like the podcast Serial or Netflix’s series Making a Murderer, Talwar walks you through the ineptitude of the initial discrepancies which turns the audience into armchair detectives. The film has stunning performances by Neeraj Kabi and Konkona Sen Sharma as the parents who have little time to mourn their daughter before they accused of murder. Khan really sells that incredulous anger in the final presentation of his evidence as he laughs at the second assessment that eventually convicted the couple. It’s a bruising indictment of a broken justice system that makes one of the best procedurals of Hindi cinema.  /RN

Angry Indian Goddesses 

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This scrappy Indie gem won over the tough crowds at TIFF2015 with its Runner Up Prize in the Grolsch’s People’s Choice Awards. Pan Nalin packs every feminist into his narrative of seven women on a bachelorette trip in Goa, and it works because every actress makes her character a lived-in and authentic person we might recognize. Sure, the film feels like it’s juggling too many tones, but it’s a rare film that doesn’t condemn its female characters for being flawed, catty, and insecure. The actresses all have a moment to shine, but it was Sandhya Mridul’s working mother that your heart goes out for as she struggles with the dilemma of “having it all.” /RN

 

Parched 

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Another gem from TIFF2015, Leena Yadav makes sure that the feminist awakenings for its central trio of Lajjo, Rani, and Bijli (Radhika Apte, Tannishtha Chatterjee, and Surveen Chawla) is hard-won. Yadav shows us how these women both uphold and shatter the patriarchy in their journeys from Rani saving her young daughter-in-law to Bijli standing up to the men around from exploiting her. It’s a surprisingly sexy film that flips its female gaze onto Indie staple Adil Hussain as the sexy shaman who awakens Lajjo. It’s a film that more than passes any Bechdel or Mori test as these women discuss everything from their sexual encounters to their daily struggles, it’s so refreshing to hear dialogues that are attuned to the way women actually interact instead of an approximation. Here’s hoping the film finds a wider release in India next year. /RN

 

Dhanak

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Honoured with a prize at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival, Dhanak is a film just filled with magic. Orphans Pari (Hetal Gada), 10, and her younger brother, Chotu (Krrish Chhabria), 8, live with their aunt and uncle.  Chotu is blind, and Pari promises her brother that he will regain his eyesight in time for his ninth birthday, that they will see rainbows when he finally can see again. When she sees a poster of her idol, Shah Rukh Khan, encouraging people to donate their eyes, Pari decides to write to him, sure in the belief that he will help Chotu regain his sight.  When she learns that SRK will be filming in Rajasthan, Pari decides to take Chotu to see him.  Their journey is filled with wonder and danger, and even a few miracles. On their way, they meet strangers who help them, who watch out for them, and who save them, for not everyone they meet is looking out for their best interest. And almost everyone they meet has a story about Shah Rukh Khan – adding to the film’s charm and humour (and it has plenty of both).  At the heart of it all is the delicate and beautiful relationship between the two siblings, their love for each other, and even their bickering over who is the better hero, Shahrukh Khan or Salman Khan. /KM

 

Festival Special Mention

Nirbashito 

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Churni Ganguly’s National Award winning Bengali film Nirbashito (The Banished) is both an unflinching and compassionate look at the idea of exile, through the story of a writer, a poet, whose work has so inflamed political sensibilities that she ends up banished from her homeland, forcibly torn from her home, moments after fussing over and feeding her beloved cat, Baaghini.  Nowhere, it seems, is safe for this writer. Nowhere in India, at least, and perhaps nowhere in the world, as the tight security which her Swedish protectors provide for her once she arrives in Stockholm shows.  The film is dedicated to legendary painter M.F. Husain, who died in a self-imposed exile.  But it is, in equal measure, dedicated to Taslima Nasreen – and the film is a somewhat fictionalized examination of Nasreen’s own journey into exile.   Despite the film’s serious subject matter, it ends on a note of hope and optimism. Nirbashito was awarded the National Award “for its poignant articulation of the suffocation one experiences when exiled in a land that is not one’s own.”  We feel the writer’s sense of suffocation in a land that is not her own, but we also feel the writer’s determination to return home someday. /KM

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REFLECTIONS 2015: Top 10 Social Media Moments of 2015 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2015-top-10-social-media-moments-of-2015/ Sat, 09 Jan 2016 09:01:33 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118422 Social media allows us to peek into celebrities’ lives like never before. From casual selfies to hilarious Dubsmash videos, we get to see a different side of our favorite actors and actresses away from the costumes, glitz and glamour – though we see a good amount of that on Instagram too! So, what were some of our favorite social media moments from 2015? 10. Amitabh Bachchan’s Duck Face T 1949 – When your son starts wearing your shoes he is no longer a son he is your friend .. my friend, Abhishek .. pic.twitter.com/jIpstXC4wu — Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) August 2,

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Social media allows us to peek into celebrities’ lives like never before. From casual selfies to hilarious Dubsmash videos, we get to see a different side of our favorite actors and actresses away from the costumes, glitz and glamour – though we see a good amount of that on Instagram too! So, what were some of our favorite social media moments from 2015?

10. Amitabh Bachchan’s Duck Face


This rather adorable selfie with son Abhishek Bachchan shows us a playful side of the Big B as he sports the notorious duck face (a.k.a. pout). It also raises numerous questions. Does he know he’s doing a duck face? Does he even know what a duck face is? Whatever the answers, we want more of this from the Big B because it is too cute!

9. Ranveer Singh’s Bajirao Mastani Promotions

A STORM IS COMING ………. #BajiraoMastani

A photo posted by Ranveer Singh (@ranveersingh) on


If you take a look at Ranveer’s Instagram feed from the latter six months of the year, you’ll notice it’s completely riddled with images and stills from his December flick, Bajirao Mastani…and we’re not mad about it! We enjoyed being able to follow along from the first look to the costume reveals, stills and more. Ranveer’s Instagram is a prime example of how social media has become a new, more accessible platform for film promotion.

8. Parineeti Chopra’s #BuiltThatWay Debut


Parineeti took to Twitter to debut her new, svelte bod along with personal words about confidence; and the Internet went crazy. After spending months on a fitness regime, Parineeti released a slew of shots from a fitness-themed photo shoot—and she looked sexier than ever! While her new hot bod was met with some criticism from folks who thought she was conforming to industry standards, Parineeti has made it clear that her transformation was a personal choice.

7. Sonam Kapoor’s Fashion Moments


Sonam’s Instagram is filled with glorious fashion shots of her breathtaking outfits and stunning hair and makeup looks. It’s the perfect place for inspiration for any budding fashionista! With more than 1600 posts in total, the gorgeous star gives us plenty of shots of her formal, casual and Indian fashion. We can’t wait to see what more she has in store for 2016!

6. Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan’s Mutual Support


Shah Rukh and Salman’s lengthy feud has had its ups and downs over the years, and 2015 was certainly a year of “ups.” Often pitted against each other, the two actors took to social media to promote each other’s films, Dilwale and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. It was heartwarming to see these two veteran actors support one another’s hard work.

5. Deepika’s Mysterious Photo with Vin Diesel


Deepika sure knew how to get the buzz going with this very mysterious photo of her posing with Hollywood actor Vin Diesel in front of a poster of his action film, XXX. The Twittersphere immediately speculated that she would be a part of the film, but Deepika kept completely quiet on the matter. It wasn’t until very recently that it was finally confirmed that she would, in fact, start shooting for the film in February!

4. Shahid and Mira’s First Wedding Selfie

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A photo posted by Shahid Kapoor (@shahidkapoor) on


Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput’s grand marriage was arguably Bollywood’s wedding of the year. Fans eagerly awaited details and glimpses into the seemingly majestic affair and Shahid obliged! The actor took to Instagram to share this adorable selfie from the event with his new wife, simply captioning it #hitched. The image was natural, undoctored and, best of all, they both looked so happy! His toatlly adorable pic posts since then with Mira have fnas just going awwwww!

3. The Overall Support for Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico


When Priyanka became the first Bollywood actress to star in an American primetime TV series, she received an outpouring of support from colleagues and fans all over the world. Sushmita Sen, Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Sunny Leone and many, many more beamed with pride on Twitter as they shared their heartfelt congratulations for Priyanka new role. We loved seeing the Bollywood community unite in their support for one of their esteemed colleague’s success in the west.

2. Sonakshi Sinha’s Epic Twitter Shut Down


In addition to the support and love, celebrities receive tons of hurtful and disrespectful comments from users on social media every day. That’s why we cheered when Sonaskhi stood up for herself and shut down a hater who called her “ugly.” What made it even better was how Sonakshi responded with a simple, but hilarious meme. You go, girl!

1. Shah Rukh Khan’s Selfie with Zayn Malik


The Baadshah of Bollywood nabs the No. 1 spot on our list of social media moments for his selfie with former One Direction member, Zayn Malik. This simple photo was named India’s Golden Tweet of the Year; it was the most retweeted tweet by an Indian Twitter handle and garnered more than 18 million views on Twitter. Wow! The power of two international super stars can sure break the Internet.

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Reflections 2015: New Year Resolutions 2016 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-new-year-resolutions-2016/ Thu, 31 Dec 2015 09:16:41 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118197 It is already that time to say goodbye to the year that has passed and to look forward to the year ahead. And oh are we glad! Let’s face it, 2015 has been a poor year for Bollywood. A really poor year. For instance Shamitabh, Bombay Velvet and Katti Batti had the audiences hoping for a great show. We held our breaths and were rather… disappointed. And Dilwale?! Where is our SRK who has the God given gift to make the audience reel with tears, or with laughter? Well, we won’t be despondent as with a New Year arrives new

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15dec_BollySpiceNYResolutions2016It is already that time to say goodbye to the year that has passed and to look forward to the year ahead.

And oh are we glad!

Let’s face it, 2015 has been a poor year for Bollywood.

A really poor year.

For instance Shamitabh, Bombay Velvet and Katti Batti had the audiences hoping for a great show.

We held our breaths and were rather… disappointed.

And Dilwale?! Where is our SRK who has the God given gift to make the audience reel with tears, or with laughter?

Well, we won’t be despondent as with a New Year arrives new hope.

The BollySpice team have put their Bollytastic heads together to provide essential Bollywood New Year resolutions to ensure 2015 is not played on loop!

Bollywood,  you can do it!

Konkona Sen –  I shall do more films

Aishwarya, SRK, Imran, Salman – We will pick better scripts

Anushka Sharma – I will keep shining! No way will I stop shining! My NH-10 performance was a new record. But I won’t smoke in my films.

Ranbir Kapoor – I will carry on being charming. And oh so talented.

Deepika and Ranveer – We will keep on being cute. Our chemistry rocks!

Kunal Khemu – I have great potential and will get signed to more films

Tanu Weds Manu Team – We will return in 2016 because frankly we were awesome and the reason why many still held faith in Bollywood (Possibly Tanu and Manu will have kids)

Varun Dhawan – I will only say yes to a film that has a storyline. Dilwale was an “experience”. My Badlapur performance was amazing so only scripts that justify my acting skills from now on.

Kajol Devgn – I am coming back to do more films! I am gorgeous and so have not put on weight, as joked about in Dilwale.

SRK – I will never ever ever never do a Rohit Shetty film ever again. But I would like to keep the beard.

Censor board – If we are cutting a kiss from the James bond movie then we might want to consider cutting movies like Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 and Mastizaade next year from the theatre all together. We might as well show porn in theatres.

Bollywood –  I will go back to classic both in film AND music. I remember the days of Mughal-e-Azam! Oh and Pakeezah, Umrao Jaan, Guide, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge!

Bollywood – I will write better scripts! I remember the days of Maine Pyar Kiya!

Bollywood – I shall return to music that makes the world want to sing. I remember the days of Bobby and Taal and DDLJ!

So there we have it, keep believing in Bollywood people!

Very soon we shall see the return of films such as this…

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REFLECTIONS 2014: Best Films of 2014 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2014-best-films-of-2014/ Wed, 14 Jan 2015 07:14:54 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=95897 The celebrated filmmaker and cartoonist Walt Disney once said, “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Whatever background or class you belong to, we all love to relish in a Bollywood film now and again. It transports us in to a world we wish we were a part of, as well as exposing us to characters who we can relate to. So has 2014 been a good year for Bollywood? Well let’s just say there were a minority of good films that form part of a pile of disappointments. It’s not

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The celebrated filmmaker and cartoonist Walt Disney once said, “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Whatever background or class you belong to, we all love to relish in a Bollywood film now and again. It transports us in to a world we wish we were a part of, as well as exposing us to characters who we can relate to. So has 2014 been a good year for Bollywood? Well let’s just say there were a minority of good films that form part of a pile of disappointments. It’s not been an amazing year for the Hindi film industry, yet we feel that the films which have lived up to our expectations deserve its due recognition. So without further ado, here are the films that have made the final cut!

DRAMA

5. Mardaani – Director: Pradeep Sarkar. Producer: Aditya Chopra

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Mardaani was not an amazing watch. Yet praise is due to the cast and crew of this film for raising awareness of such an important issue like child trafficking and abuse. Rani Mukerji delivers a power packed performance as a police officer trying to locate the kidnapper of a teenage orphan who she has taken care of for a long time. This is a story which needed to be told and Pradeep Sarkar does a respectable job in illustrating the seriousness of child trafficking in India.

4. PK – Director: Rajkumar Hirani. Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani and Siddharth Roy Kapur

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It is now officially the highest grossing Bollywood film EVER, having surpassed the record set by Hirani’s last hit comedy 3 Idiots (2009). PK is a wonderfully told story about an alien who visits earth and sees the contradictory stances of religious priests and figures. With superb performances by Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma, PK is something which we have rarely seen in Bollywood before. It is a film which has a meaningful message and emphasises the importance of listening to God’s words only and no one else’s. If you have yet to see it, do not miss out on the film which had a massive impact on Bollywood towards the end of 2014!

3. Ugly – Director: Anurag Kashyap. Producers: Arun Rangachari, Vivek Rangachari, Madhu Mantena, Vikas Bahl and Vikramaditya Motwane

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Just a few days before 2014 came to a close, we were exposed to Anurag Kashyap’s thriller Ugly. This is a very moving film about a woman, her husband, her ex-husband and daughter which leads to a major tragedy. Ugly is a film which has a lot of highpoints and definitely has a lot of offer which won’t disappoint you.

2. Highway – Director: Imtiaz Ali. Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala and Imtiaz Ali

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In a year where we have had films which were more about hype than substance, Highway is one of few films surrounded by ver little hype, yet has a very gripping story that makes it an interesting watch. Starring Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda in the leading roles, the film narrates the story about a girl who gets abducted by a gang the day before her wedding and goes on a journey which eventually feels like freedom to her. Highway is a complex drama which has been made well by Imitaz Ali and therefore makes it on to our list in second positon!

And the winner is…
1. Haider – Director: Vishal Bhardwaj. Producer: Vishal Bhardwaj and Siddharth Roy Kapur

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The third film in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare trilogy, Haider was one of the most powerful dramas to have released in 2014, which is why it has secured the number one position in our list of Best Film (Drama). Starring Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Tabu, Narendra Jha and Irrfan Khan in pivotal roles, Haider is bold, unconventional and a brilliant Indian adaptation of a Shakespearean classic. With standout performances, especially by Shahid and Tabu, this was by far one of the most talked about films of the year. Vishal Bhardwaj has certainly outdone himself and we strongly recommend that you see Haider if you have not done so yet.

ROMANCE

5. Ek Villain – Director: Mohit Suri. Producer: Ekta Kapoor & Shobha Kapoor

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Following the success of romantic drama Aashiqui 2, director Mohit Suri returned with the revenge saga Ek Villain. Starring Sidharth Malhotra and Shraddha Kapoor in the leading roles, the film revolves around a man named Guru (Malhotra) who sets out to get revenge on the mentally deranged Rakesh (Riteish Deshmukh) for killing his wife Aisha (Shraddha Kapoor). Ek Villain was not only a commercial success at the box office upon release, but it was also poignant emotional tale about two lovers who come together and also drift apart in the most unusual circumstances. In particular, the chemistry between Sidharth and Shraddha was very strong and it was great to a see a fresh pairing for a change. Though Ek Villain was not as romantically intense as Suri’s last hit Aashiqui 2, the film still triumphs in many places. We recommend that you give it a chance if you have yet to see it.

4. Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania – Director: Shashank Khaitan. Producer: Karan Johar

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Following their successful debuts in Karan Johar’s Student of the Year, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan reunited for the romantic comedy Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. A story revolving around a woman who meets and falls for a guy whilst on the hunt for an expensive wedding dress, the film is considered a tribute to the classic Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). Reportedly made on a budget of 20 Crores, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania succeeded at the box office and has been praised for the chemistry delivered between Alia and Varun. The soundtrack was also another highlights with songs like ‘Saturday Saturday’ and ‘Samjhawan’ becoming huge hits and have been picturized well in the film itself.

3. Khoobsurat – Director: Shashanka Ghosh. Producer: Rhea Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Siddharth Roy Kapoor

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Director Shashanka Ghosh reinvents the classic 1980s Khoobsurat in to a modern day Disney comedy. Starring Sonam Kapoor and Pakistani actor Fawad Khan, the film did good business and was praised unanimously by critics for being a fun-filled romantic comedy that lives up to the Disney brand. The pairing of Sonam and Fawad was also praised and the latter has now become somewhat of a ladies man following the release of Khoobsurat. All in all, do check out this romantic caper if you’re in the mood for something fun

2. Hasee Toh Phasee – Director: Vinil Mathew. Producer: Karan Johar, Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap

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This film is essentially like Marmite. You will either love it or hate it. Hasee Toh Phasee is not your typical form of Bollywood romance, yet perhaps this is why certain sections of the audience appreciated it. The film is based on an engaged businessman who falls for his finance’s pill-popping geeky sister. Starring Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra in the leading roles, Hasee Toh Phasee makes it on to our list for offering a different form of romance which set it apart from other Bollywood love stories. It’s not a film for everyone, but you never know, you may end up liking it!

And the winner is….
1. 2 States – Director: Abhishek Varman. Producers: Karan Johar and Sajid Nadiadwala

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The winner of this category had to be Chetan Bhagat’s romantic comedy/drama 2 States. Based on the famous author’s real life love story, 2 States revolves around a North Indian boy named Krish (Arjun Kapoor) falling in love with a South Indian girl named Ananya (Alia Bhatt). 2 States is a film which any couple who are from different backgrounds can relate to. It shows that you both do not need to share the same culture or language to love each other or to understand each other. Love itself will do all the work and this is the essential message of 2 States. The film has great visuals, music and wonderful performances by Arjun and Alia, who also share electrifying on-screen together. This is a film which was definitely a huge highlight of 2014, which is why we have crowned it as our winner for Best Film (Romance).

COMEDY

5. Happy Ending – Director: Raj Nidimoru & Krishna D.K. Producer: Saif Ali Khan, Dinesh Vijan and Sunil Lulla

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Happy Ending was not an outstanding film, yet it had some humorous moments which makes it worthy enough to feature on our list in fifth position. Starring Saif Ali Khan in a double role, the film is based on a writer who suddenly runs out of money and ends up working for a Bollywood actor. Also starring Ileana D’Cruz, Kalki Koechlin and Govinda, Happy Ending is certainly worth that one watch, especially if you wish to see Saif make you laugh as Yudi and Yogi!

4. Main Tera Hero – Director: David Dhawan. Producer: Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor

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A David Dhawan comedy is not for everyone. Yet if you are one of those filmi lovers who enjoy a laugh out loud comedy without all the artsy fartsy stuff, then Main Tera Hero may well be a film which you will appreciate. Starring Varun Dhawan, Ileana D’Cruz and Nargis Fakhri in key roles, Main Tera Hero will take you back to the way Bollywood comedies were done back in the 1990s. Surprisingly, David Dhawan does manage to make you laugh in some places hence, we think that it is certainly worth your time.

3. Bobby Jasoos – Director: Samar Shaikh. Producer: Dia Mirza & Sahil Sangha

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Bobby Jasoos proves that Vidya Balan can do almost anything to keep us all entertained. Here she plays a wannabe spy who is given the task of finding two missing girls. It’s not your typical Bollywood comedy, yet the unconventional style of Bobby Jasoos and its number of funny moments makes it a good watch. Even more so than some films which have released this year and have surprisingly made over 100 crores!

2. Finding Fanny – Director: Homi Adajania. Producer: Dinesh Vijan

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Having given Deepika Padukone her breakthrough role in Cocktail (2012), director Homi Adajania casted the beautiful star again in the comedy/drama Finding Fanny. Also starring Arjun Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Naseeruddin Shah and Pankaj Kapoor, Finding Fanny is one of the most critically acclaimed films to have released this year. Made on a small budget of 15 crores, the film has certainly paid off as it became a sensation at the box office and has been praised by critics and fans alike for the script, comedic moments and performances from the leading cast. Finding Fanny is a delightful journey about five odd balls which will undoubtedly keep you entertained!

And the winner is…
1. Queen – Director: Vikas Bahl. Producer: Anurag Kashyap & Vikramaditya Motwane.

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It can be said with confidence that BollySpice will probably be booed by everyone if we did not crown Vikas Bahl’s female oriented comedy/drama Queen as number one in our list of Best Film (Comedy). Starring Kangana Ranaut as the innocent and quirky Rani, the film is based on the story of a woman who has her wedding broken off by her smug finance a day before. She then decides to go on her planned honeymoon to Europe alone, where she discovers herself and the freedom she now has. Queen was unanimously praised and it is highly regarded as one of the best women-centric films to have ever been made in Bollywood. A special mention should be given to Kangana Ranaut’s performance, who manages to play the character of Rani with a lot of conviction. Queen also stands out for the fact that it was a man (Vikas Bahl) who was behind the director’s chair of a well-crafted film based on a woman’s journey. This makes Queen all the more special!

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REFLECTIONS 2014: Best Directors of 2014 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2014-best-directors-of-2014/ Wed, 14 Jan 2015 04:48:02 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=95842 Directors, they are the driving force behind the movies. They take the words on the page and bring them to life on screen. They guide the actors, they work with the crew, they create the shots, they create the sound and the songs with the music directors and so much more. Every year there are some directors whose work truly stands out and we like to shine the spotlight on them.  So, it’s not strictly a top ten and we have not put them in numerical order as such. Plus there are a few surprise horses, but here are the

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Directors, they are the driving force behind the movies. They take the words on the page and bring them to life on screen. They guide the actors, they work with the crew, they create the shots, they create the sound and the songs with the music directors and so much more. Every year there are some directors whose work truly stands out and we like to shine the spotlight on them.  So, it’s not strictly a top ten and we have not put them in numerical order as such. Plus there are a few surprise horses, but here are the directors the BollySpice team thought shone through brightest in 2014 and a few personal reasons for why – enjoy!

Hansal Mehta (Citylights)

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It was a remake of 2013’s Metro Manila, but relocated to Mumbai. It tells the timeless tale of a village worker migrating to the big city and the struggles which that bring. Hansal’s remake was as good as the original (check the ratings in IMDB!) and extracted great performances from his cast, most notably lead actor Rajkummar Rao. A slow burner, but nevertheless a really well made film.

Vinil Mathew (Hasee Toh Phasee)

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He gave loveable and rising actress Parineeti Chopra her only decent film and hit of the year. Praised for not being a run-of-the-mill romcom, the film was noted for its excellent dialogue, which was written by? You guessed it – Vinil also!

Hasee Toh Phasee had a great combination of comedy, emotion and entertainment. But it also went a little deeper, giving us a reflection on Indian society and providing extra layers to the script, which weren’t expected.

An excellent debut for a promising first time director!

Pradeep Sarkar (Mardaani)

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Re-launching former lead actresses the right way is becoming an art form itself, requiring more mature roles and scripts and allowing actresses the opportunity to do something both different and challenging. Pradeep delivers these aplomb for Rani Mukherjee.

As one of our viewers put it: “It was like watching Aamir Khan, in an Aamir Khan movie!” What more can we say of both Pradeep and his Mardaani!

Homi Adajania (Finding Fanny)

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An amazing star cast comprising of thespians Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur and Dimple Kapadia and also featuring Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor, this film had one of the most interesting lineups, music and treatments of 2014.

One BollySpicer says: “He (Homi) really managed to balance the absurdity and humour so well.”

David Dhawan (Main Tera Hero)

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One of our surprising entries for 2014 and one which quite a few of our writers backed.

One BollySpicer totally explains why: “He (Dhawan) took an incredibly (average) South Indian film, reworked it so that it worked as a Bollywood film and just sparkled. It was his own inimitable style of filmmaking (and I recognize that may not be everyone’s cup of tea), but he was on form and the film ended up a lot of fun. I’ll confess to having seen it maybe five or six times already!”

Abhishek Varman (2 States)

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It’s always tough adapting a book, and a successful one at that, onto the big screen. Audiences were clearly pleased with the results which saw writer Chetan Bhagat’s real life romance between himself (a North Indian Punjabi) and his wife (a South Indian Tamil) presented through the dynamic pairing of Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

Vikas Bahl (Queen)

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One of the best feel-good films of the year and one which saw Kangana Ranaut shine through as a young lady on her journey of emancipation. Amazing performances, great music and a lovely story line.

Our BollySpice review expressed the entire film in just five words: “Simple and heartfelt film making.”

Mohit Suri (Ek Villain)

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Following up a mega-hit like Aashiqui 2 was always going to be difficult. But our review said, “It was a really good watch. Though not as romantically intense as Aashiqui 2, I still think the story was quite meaningful and well made…”.

Not to forget one of this year’s best film soundtracks also.

Imtiaz Ali (Highway)

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Imtiaz continued his classic themes of displacement and belonging with an early career best performance from Alia Bhatt. He took us on an amazing journey from the city, through the interiors of India and back, laced with some amazing cinematography and plenty of food for thought throughout and by the end. A journey many of us had never taken before and one we would love to go on again.

Rajkumar Hirani (PK)

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What next from the man who last gave us 3 Idiots? Re-team with the country’s greatest actor and deliver something fun, loving and different.

Critics and fans may have been torn, but one BollySpicer puts it best: “Very few directors would have been able to create a unique story like that. There’s a lot of complexity in the narrative and the fact that he interspersed it with comedy, romance as well as presenting a social message is a very rare indeed.”

Vishal Bhardwaj (Haider)

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Hands down winner with the most votes from all of us for 2014. Vishal took a Shakespeare classic, shaped it into a classic Indian story and totally revitalised Shahid Kapoor’s career in the process. Anyone who will have seen even the trailers for this film, would have realised a masterpiece in the making.

Special mentions:

Omung Kumar (Mary Kom)

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The second of 2014’s first time directors was Omung and picking a biopic of female boxer Mary Kom was a tough call. However, it was one which Omung was able to pull off. Taking a leading commercial actress such as Priyanka Chopra, having her portray a sports icon and pulling it off, was a success in itself.

All credit to Omung, his direction was sincere and honest throughout.

Shashanka Ghosh (Khoobsurat)

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His last film was back in 2010 and he is known for small budget, powerful performance films, therefore directing a film for Disney, Anil Kapoor and Siddharth Roy Kapoor, was a big move for Shashanka. With a good critical response, the film which started slow, grew through word of mouth and ended up being declared a surprise hit. Let’s hope we see more from Shashanka.

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REFLECTIONS 2014: Top 10 Actresses of 2014 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2014-top-10-actresses-of-2014/ Tue, 13 Jan 2015 07:47:31 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=96328 As reflections of Indian cinema in 2014 do their rounds, there are some very common conclusions everyone has come to that are undeniable. And that it was not the greatest year for actors but quite a year full of feats for our ladies. Indian cinema has come a long way in terms of credible roles and films for our leading ladies. Whilst we are still flooded with the kind of cinema that provide the leading actress with nothing more than a page of dialogues (if that) and 4 songs, we do get the occasional Sridevi in English Vinglish or a

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As reflections of Indian cinema in 2014 do their rounds, there are some very common conclusions everyone has come to that are undeniable. And that it was not the greatest year for actors but quite a year full of feats for our ladies. Indian cinema has come a long way in terms of credible roles and films for our leading ladies. Whilst we are still flooded with the kind of cinema that provide the leading actress with nothing more than a page of dialogues (if that) and 4 songs, we do get the occasional Sridevi in English Vinglish or a Vidya Balan in Kahaani. 2014 gave us more of these rare moments than we bargained for. No doubt we are still hungry for more from our ladies, however we choose to not stop and lament about what we lack but instead reflect on the brilliant year the ladies of Indian cinema have had. Here are BollySpice’s Top 10 Actresses for the year 2014.

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10. Anushka Sharma – PK

Things have been quiet for Anushka Sharma in recent years, with no releases since Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. However despite the lack of releases she leaves a mark on our countdown list for her portrayal of Jagat Janani aka Jaggu in Rajkumar Hirani’s PK. To hold audiences’ attention so firmly in a film where you’re pitted opposite Aamir Khan is quite the achievement. Her quirky look may have been a bit too distracting in some parts, but for the most part she managed to woo us with her simple charm.

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9. Sonam Kapoor – Khoobsurat

2014 may just be remembered as the year Sonam Kapoor finally came into her own. With Khoobsurat she managed to carve a very definite niche for ‘her’ kind of characters. She is loud and bubbly, not the YRF unreal kind, but the girl next door kind. Her character was one that she could have easily overacted with, but Sonam’s portrayal was perfectly balanced, showing signs of the actor’s growth. She held the film very firmly on her petite shoulders, for the most part, being the character that propelled the story forward. 2015 looks as exciting for Ms. Kapoor and we hope that gives her an opportunity to climb higher up on this list.

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8. Vidya Balan – Bobby Jasoos

Vidya Balan carries a very big responsibility these days, which is all her doing of course. When you have performances like The Dirty Picture and Kahaani on your filmography, you cannot blame audiences and critics alike for judging you on a very different high scale. This year she had two releases, but lands on this list for Samar Sheikh’s Bobby Jasoos. Although not a flawless film or a Kahaani for that matter, Vidya still managed to keep us engaged in the story of a middle class orthodox girl with big dreams. It is great to see that she can do something as grand and dramatic as The Dirty Picture but then also do something so simple and sweet as a Bobby Jasoos.

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7. Parineeti Chopra – Hasee Toh Phasee

Parineeti Chopra had a total of three releases in 2014, however it is her portrayal as Meeta in Vinil Matthew’s directorial debut that stole our heart. She made us laugh and cry with a performance that is hard to believe is only her fourth. Many have played the glamorous ‘it’ girl in a rom-coms but very few take up the challenge of playing the black sheep of the family, the girl you usually don’t look at, but the one who has quite the interesting back-story to her. Parineeti deserved all the accolades she received for this film as she most certainly was the highlight of the movie for us.

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6. Priyanka Chopra – Mary Kom

Audiences and critics may not have been all praises for Omung Kumar’s Mary Kom, which fell short from being an impressive biopic, but what did not fall short was Priyanka Chopra’s performance as the Indian boxer. We don’t deny it was hard to believe that the glamorous PC could bring herself down to such a rooted position to play Manipur’s beloved Mangte Chungeijang Kom, a small town girl who fought to fight on the international platform. But she did and rather beautifully we must admit. With many contemporaries who began their career with Priyanka struggling to hold on to credible limelight, it’s great to see Priyanka going from strength to strength each year, and a lot of credit for the same goes to the brave choices, like Mary Kom, that she makes.

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5. Deepika Padukone – Finding Fanny

Finding Fanny was the much needed Deepika release we needed amidst a Chennai Express and a Happy New Year. It put Deepika in a zone that we don’t see her often in, but we love seeing her in nevertheless. Her performance as Pokoli’s virgin widow was what we’d call a non-performance, with Padukone simply ‘being’ onscreen. Nothing was overt or exerted strongly but simply casually put before you to experience for yourself. Her chemistry with Naseeruddin Shah was one of the highlights of the film, as was the effortless camaraderie she shared with Dimple Kapadia. Homi Adjania definitely has an eye for what Deepika is capable of, which perhaps many others need to develop.

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4. Rani Mukerji – Mardaani

Just when we had started to question whether she still had it in her or not, Rani delivered an answer with a bang. Not only did she give the critics much to rave about, she also had the cash registers working overtime with Pradeep Sarkar’s Mardaani. The hunger, the drive and the anger that drove her character was brought onscreen with as much clarity as it was possible by Rani. She indeed became Shivani Shivaji Roy. You weren’t as interested in the how she was doing or what she was doing, you just wanted her to get the job done! Sarkar did away with the glamour and sleekness of cop dramas and let Rani do the talking to the audience. And may we say, the decision paid off!

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3. Kangana Ranaut – Queen

She is one of the most exciting talents we have in our industry. We never know what she will do next, but we’ve always got an eye out for a Kangana Ranaut film. In 2014 she firmly takes the position as one of the actors that will go down in Indian cinema history for her seamlessly flawless portrayal of Rani Mehra in Vikas Bahl’s Queen. We loved the howling cries, the bar-top dancing, the Bollywood loving and above all, the final walk of satisfaction of a woman who had her heart broken but was better for it. Gems like Queen don’t happen often, which is why it is not a film that Kangana is likely to live up to very easily, but we wish her all the best this very tough task.

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2. Alia Bhatt – Highway

We’re really not sure how Imitiaz Ali saw Veera in Alia. We will never know but we’re forever grateful he did. Alia left us dumbfounded with her performance as the child born with a silver spoon who finds herself freed in captivity. Her performance captivated us to such an extent that when Highway concluded it took us a while to be jolted up from our seats. She completely revelled in the character given to her and delivered a marvellous and absolutely uninhibited performance. She followed it up with two rom-coms and clearly told us in 2014 that she means business. She may have been limited to a few lines and songs in her debut film, but rest assured that is by no means the extent of her talent. She ends 2014 on a grand high and we simply cannot wait to see her career unfold. Alia is no doubt one of the most exciting new female talents we have around.

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1. Tabu – Haider

She comes and she conquers. That probably is the motto of Tabu’s life. She’d go off our screens for years or grace us in commercial films that are so bad that we cannot even utter their names, but when she arrives in her element she ensures everyone stops in their tracks and takes note. Firstly we have to credit Vishal Bhardwaj for creating Ghazala Meer the way he did, capturing the essence of Gertude so flawlessly. Then we come to Tabu who took the biggest of risks to play the character. The words ‘grey character’ developed a whole new meaning with Ghazala as you changed your opinion of her by the second as the film progressed. You empathised with her, you questioned her and at times you deeply respected her. Vishal’s writing took ‘layered characters’ to a new level and Tabu indulged in his writing completely. Her chemistry with Shahid will be something we’ll speak of for years to come. We end the year by bowing down to this powerhouse of a lady for the performance of the year.

As we reflect on this list as it’s shaped up over the last few years there is one thing we cannot deny and that is the quality of work our actresses are entrusted with every year has progressively increased. We wish the ladies of Indian cinema all the best for the year to come as we know that things only get better from hereon in.

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