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Sunday, 22 February 2015

The HIndie Awards 2015: Best Picture Award Part 1

The HIndie Awards 2015

Best Picture Award (Comedy/Musical)

This year saw as any year a number of great comedies take center stage, whether they be of the romantic kind or of satirical whimsy. Though there aren't any necessarily great outright musicals. 

Some of the greatest bits the past year in Hindi cinema have come from this side of the fence. Terrific directorial efforts by newbies and sophomores such as Vikas Bahl (Queen) and Abhishek Chaubey (Dedh Ishqiya). Definitely the best stories whether it's Queen, Filmistaan or Ankhon Dekhi. Of course the performances of a Kangana Ranaut (Queen) and a Sanjay Mishra (Ankhon Dekhi) are not far behind. 

So overall who will win the big one? In my opinion, a film need not win either screenplay or direction to prove their the best film. They don't even need to win all the awards. All the film needs to be is consistent all across the board. 

Still winning awards isn't a bad thing, so here's a look at so far how well each of the Comedy/Musical nominees have done in terms of individual nominations and wins below. 

Ankhon Dekhi
Dedh Ishqiya
Hasee Toh Phasee
Finding Fanny

So as you can see some films win big while others are consistent across the board with nominations. So which film should win? Find out below...

(PS: Straight to the award, no bullshit this time round below)

The HIndie Award for Best Picture (Comedy/Musical)

And the nominees are...

Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane for Queen

Phantom is currently working on uncharted territory and Queen is another song infused light hearted example of just that. Yet they've not lost their penchant for picking great scripts and concepts despite their entertaining commercial value.

In Queen, they find themselves on a rollercoaster ride with one of the finest actors of this generation giving a mind blowing performance, amidst a character who blooms into an empowering symbol for all.

As a film, Queen is practically flawless. It's got some of the most sprightly music that embodies the character changes Rani goes through. Its story is not only powerful in its message, but it doesn't revert to simple definitions or easy humor.

Each scene exemplifies Rani and enhances her transformation (that still keeps her rooted) in her journey. It's aptly supported by one of the finest and funniest female lead performances you'll see in Hindi cinema.

Overall Queen is a light breezy but impactful feature that with its message will stand the test of time and entertain as much as it teaches. The fact that it gained the elusive critical acclaim and box office success double bonanza, is a concrete fact of this.

Shyam Shroff, Balkrishna Shroff, Subhash Chaudary, Shaila Tanna and Siddharth Roy Kapur for Filmistaan

In Filminstaan, the team behind it brings in two juxtaposing ideologies and tastes of India to make the viewer realize that as people we are one in the same. A brave and well deserving National Award winner, Filmistaan speaks of the love of cinema and the division of years of conflict between Pakistan and India. Yet it also speaks of our brotherhood.

To make such a brave film with such ease in its soul is a commendable effort.

Filmistaan is the story of Sunny, his passion for films and the outright hilarity and tension that ensues as he is captured by Pakistani militants. A scene of his with the local doctor encompasses the feature, as the duo speak of an India pre-partition and dispersion, telling of how tightly knit the two countries are. 

Even in opposing sides on the cricket field, they gather together closely waiting with bated breath for victory.

The power of cinema washes away all worries and enmity and turns a militant into a pacifist, allowing the two friends from opposite sides but equal minds to make their gloried escape. In this dichotomy, Filmistaan itself becomes a powerful piece of cinema.

Karan Johar, Vikas Bahl, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane for Hasee Toh Phasee

What could the combination of the oft schmaltzy Karan Johar and the smart and crisp Phantom produce?

Well for one a film that despite its cliches feels authentic and earns its melodrama. Melodrama isn't a necessarily bad tool when it comes to Indian films, but it's one that feel inorganic in its larger place in the narrative. Yet with this latest free and fun rom-com, the feature works its way around such beautifully constructed and conflicted protagonists whose issues allow for a melodramatic points of resolution.

Yet its the characters that drive the narrative, the duo of lovers as fantastically played by Parineeti Chopra and too a lesser extent Siddharth Malhotra are a wonder to watch as their friendship evolves in care and romance while retaining their individuality.

Parineeti is sensational in a role that allows her to be a genius with madcap drug addled tendencies. Malhotra is perfectly cast as the loser sad sack boyfriend with great potential and genuine heart. The supporting characters and the respective actors shine on screen, especially Anil Mange.

The music is wonderfully peppy and all in all Vinil Matthew gets to shine with his directorial debut. If anything, Hasee Toh Phasee is an indication of how great a rom-com can still be.

Rajkumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopra for PK

Hirani's latest is a flawed piece, a film that becomes to formulaic in nature without neither being as fun as 3 Idiots or as hard on its topic as Lage Raho Munnabhai. Yet what really enhances and molds this into a best picture is its immensely enjoyable first half and at the center of it; the tiny quirky alien that's PK as played by Aamir Khan.

Not since Rangeela (in my opinion) has Khan ever out-shown his film such that he proves to be the superstar that he is. He puts in heart and sweat into this role, keeping his eyes intact and unblinking while adding little ticks to everything about PK, from his robotic dance to cheeky smile.

Of course that's not all there is to the film. Certain sections felt PK insulted religion when it was barely even toothless in its pursuit for satire. However the film does have an enjoyable fish out of the water concept that makes the first half engaging.

Some of the music isn't too bad either and there are detailed cues that work such as the sad radio song after the bombing. Anushka Sharma uses her charm to strike a chord and Sanjay Dutt gives his finest performance in years.

Overall PK's a bit to easy and dull (in its second half), but if anything else its Aamir's film and it shows.

Abhijit Pradhan for Ankhon Dekhi

Ankhon Dekhi is another film in the line of many that have pervaded the middle class Delhi life culture and taken a gander into the quirky people living withing. The one thing that Dekhi has over the others, is that its genuinely touching and honest of itself.

At the center of the film is Bauji and his new declaration, he will only believe in what he sees or has seen. Hilarity with a dose of melancholy ensues, already close to frustration; his brother moves out of the house. His son begins gambling, his daughter wants to be married and his wife nags on.

The central drama stems from the brothers soured relationship, the humor from Bauji's troupe of blind followers creating a hilarious instance of irony and everything else ranges from the simplest of details. The Old Delhi vibe captured by the 80's styled production design, top notch and simple costuming, some soulful music and rough homely textures.

Screenplay and direction are champions, with the films concept being unique but probing into something that the common man can understand. The heart of all, the performances.

With Sanjay Mishra leading the charge in a well deserved main role. Yet, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Pahwa and a host of others manage to shine.

Ankhon Dekhi is a comedic masterpiece with a biting edge and a big win for the underrated team involved behind it.

Dinesh Vijan for Finding Fanny

As a producer, Dinesh Vijan promised Homi Adajania one thing. He would let him make Finding Fanny, as long as he made something commercially viable. Despite that thing being the unwieldy Cocktail, Adajania was the better for it.

Now truly in tune with a medium caliber actor like Deepika Padukone and gaining traction as a new age director, Homi Adajania brought eyeballs to his next project that he couldn't have thus. It helps since Fanny is such a fun, intriguing and quirky concept.

Based on the road trip formula, throwing together a bunch of dysfunctional personalities on a life changing journey. Finding Fanny is witty and provided with dollops of black to screwball humor. It also uses its interesting characters as a vessel to ponder on the idea of lost people and in truth pushing hard to find and get those things you want, especially love.

The smaller details, such as the parallels between the older and the younger characters and their juxtapose of ideals feels genuine. Touches of culture sprinkled through and by the costumes, production and cinematography are neat.

The music is terrific, the editing crisp and the story simple with tropes, but ones that work.

In a cast headlined by up and coming young stars, its great to see the scope that the veteran thespians are provided. Naseeruddin Shah headlines the film despite the younger duo of Arjun and Deepika, who manage to shine despite Shah, Kapur and Kapadia's enthralling performances.

It's in a sense, a brave move these actors/stars make to work in this honestly sweet and sour offbeat movie. One that manages to steal your heart.

Raman Maroo and Vishal Bhardwaj for Dedh Ishqiya 

Dedh Ishqiya adhered to the typical cliched sequel motto...


And it does so in grand poetic fashion. Vishal Bhardwaj's camp produces his latest darkly humorous film that ponders on issues of royalty, crumbling aristocracy, the art of poetry and the seven stages of love. 

Thrown into a world of nawabs, Khalujan and Babban navigate the under the nail secrets and the treacherous romances they form with panache. Providing dollops of laughter are a bunch of wondrously constructed and executed moments. 

The thrills and tumbles riding on a very tense and mysterious plan, hinging on the strength of two interesting and infinitely complex characters with a genuine relationship. 

Chaubey speaks no truer words than when he says this film is about its women, just as the series has been. The music is soul stirringly powerful, the costumes and production are a marvel to stare at. 

The scripts packed with detailed characters and some of the best dialogue. Chaubey's direction is stern and steady. His execution flawless.  The performances as expected stunning, especially a scene stealing Huma Qureshi and the always magical Madhuri Dixit. 

All in all this is truly a sequel, cause it just betters itself from the original and it at least sticks to continuity. 

And the Winner is...

Ankhon Dekhi!

That's the big winner of the Comedy/Musical section, Dekhi made great strides for some more of Indie cinema while highlighting the brillaince of Rajat Kapoor. It also rakes the best win/nomination ratio, for those really technical about it. 

Up Next: A Shakespearean revenge saga, A missing girl forming the crux for a clash of egos, A woman finding freedom in captivity, A sneak peek into B-Grade cinema of 80's, The underdog eklavya tale, A couple's tribulation in the big city and two men on warring sides finding friendship; The HIndie Award for Best Picture (Drama)

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia


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