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Thursday, 31 December 2015

For Your Consideration: Bajirao Mastani [2015]

HIndie Awards 2016

For Your Consideration: Bajirao Mastani [2015]

With the new year looming large and a possible set month of March for the HIndie Awards 2016; we have to get a good move on.

Today's post is going to be the most non-biased and blank ever as I have yet to see Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Magnum opus.

This means that the awards being contended for are on the basis of well what parts that look good from my hype perspective as well as an accumulation of critical thoughts.

So enjoy this one, it is going to be a different beast altogether;

Saturday, 26 December 2015

For Your Consideration: Bajrangi Bhaijaan [2015]

HIndie Awards 2016

For Your Consideration: Bajrangi Bhaijaan [2015]


There's a few movies on these series of posts I am going to find difficult being subjective about. 

So here goes; 

In all honesty I didn't think that Bajrangi Bhaijaan would be that great and it isn't. Still there are traces of a film worthy of viewing and awards consideration. 

Bajrangi Bhaijaan stems from the sort of grandness one expects from a masala film without the conventional elements being trapped by a post-modern sensibility of winking and nudging to the audiences. 

What I mean by this is that the film tends to respect the genre. The new influx of Masala films in this generation are from people who are fans of the genre but stuck in a place where the audience blindly and vehemently demand logical situations and a sense of modernity. As such filmmakers are forced to make the kind of Masala movies that also deride the genre;

So when an illogical step is taken, the makers both tip a hat to the genre convention while telling audience; logic might not be there, but fun is. It's like being apologetic for taking cinematic liberties and providing escapism. 

I like this pertinent quote from well known writer and blogger Jai Arjun Singh; 

"I’m bemused by the snobbery directed at “escapism”, or by the idea that watching such a film or reading such a book entails leaving your brain elsewhere. No, it doesn’t – you need to engage, just as you do for the overtly serious stuff"

It highlights the important issue that is in effect destroying mainstream Hindi cinema culture from both sides; by the mildly intellectual viewer and the genre obsessed film makers. 

In essence we end up with hollow masala films that feel nothing like the old classics nor adhere to a new generation as they so wished to. 

Yet coming back to the film; somewhere Bajrangi Bhaijaan captures that, it helps that it comes from the Rajkumar Hirani school of thought which in itself comes from Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Middle of the road' cinema that as the name suggests includes both populist mass sensibilities and insightful sensible cinema. 

It captures these flavors, but also somewhat seems to lose itself at points. The third act goes all the way and in my opinion falls flat with the titular characters capture and false death. At the same time a certain dark scene while much appreciated nearly becomes tonally misplaced as well as just a showcase for Salman Khan to do what Salman Khan does best. 

In the event of all this, a few things do come across;

-Kabir Khan has good if not great directorial sensibilities. He also has a knack for getting the casting of supporting roles right whether they be Salman Shahid [Kabul Express], Nawazuddin Siddiqui [New York], Ranvir Shorey [Ek Tha Tiger], Sohaila Kapoor [Phantom] or coming back full circle to Nawazuddin Siddiqui [Bajrangi Bhaijaan]. 

-He tends to take pieces inspired or set in a real sociological world as is seen with his past films and in this he adds a neat wrinkle; the inspired use of journalist Chand Nawab for the character played by Siddiqui. Giving the scene stealing actor one hell of a role to play. 

-Also thankfully there's no outright villain for a typical Salman to face and thank god it's not Nawazuddin Siddiqui either as rumors had attested to. Instead we get some genuine chemistry between the, trio of actors; isn't Harshaali Malhotra an adorable winner in this film?

So those were a few notes, if you are still interested [in my madness], then below you will find the complete post on what awards EROS International will contend this film for. The idea being that I will reflect on each potential nominees from an objective perspective taking into account the audience/critics/relevant reviews and not my own thoughts. 

So let's get it started...

Sunday, 20 December 2015

For Your Consideration: Badlapur [2015]

HIndie Awards 2016

For Your Consideration: Badlapur [2015]

Continuing on the Road to HIndie Awards, the next film is none other than Sriram Raghvan's Badlapur.

Promoted as a revenge thriller, Badlapur is quite a twisted dark tale of vengeance but above all else morality, divine intervention and toxic masculinity.

So let's get straight to it; 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

For Your Consideration: Baby [2015]

HIndie Awards 2016

For Your Consideration: Baby [2015]


So let's just get cracking with this crazy game of Road to HIndie Awards 2016.

The first major film to release this year and in fact the first film I saw this year in the cinemas; none other than Neeraj Pandey's Baby.

Now let me just lay down the rules once again. All the films in consideration, specifically the ones that I actually might think were good on first watch or at least an element of there's was will get a rewatch.

Prior to that; these For Your Consideration posts will use a mix of my own pre-release hype of the film, audience responses and critical analysis of each film, I will chart out what an expected campaign by the filmmakers would be for each of their films.

So first on the list is Baby. 

[PS: Despite my listing of Baby earlier this year as overrated and a tad bit disappointing, I will try my best not to bring my subjective opinion of the film]

Monday, 14 December 2015

HIndie Awards: What if?

HIndie Awards

What if?

So I thought about this, since I'm anyways going crazier by making predictions for my blog's HIndie Awards then why not go the whole way.

If you see a lot of Oscar season predictions then the race generally bends to not only how good a film or an aspect of it is, but who is behind the film; the backers that are going to campaign the hell out of it to win. It's like any other dirty political race.

So I decided; why not utilize that-yes flawed but-fun method to cast my predictions for this year's HIndie Award.

For that to happen, it mean there is a need for a history to be built around the awards and since it is in actuality only one year old; why not do a What if version like I did for my Underdog Awards.

It'd be fun...right?! RIGHT?!

Yeah, I'm going nuts.

Anyways let's begin with what if's going from 2013-2009 [Only this decade! and the one year which in my opinion cannot be missed since it was one of the best for modern Hindi cinema]

Friday, 11 December 2015

Road to the HIndie Awards 2016

Road to the HIndie Awards


The road to the Oscars has just picked up with the huge announcements from the SAG's and the Golden Globes with some dazzling shockers;

Rocking and Rolling towards the Oscars!


So once again, I am forced to think about our very own awards season

Yes I'm talking about Hindi Cinema and yes I am saying our, because as my first year of film school unwinds and I go to my path to become a filmmaker, I realize I am a part of-for a lack of a more famous word-Bollywood!

So speaking of awards seasons.

Hindi cinema has one, but as you know from my previous entries; the Hindi awards season is replete with pointless events scampering for TRP's and patting each other in the backs without shame.

Hmm...No I'm not talking about the Oscars.

Sure the prestige of the Academy Awards are undeniable, but the Oscars are just a gold academy award coated sham like the Hindi Awards I like to bark on.

But I'd be denying my hypocrisy to the world if I didn't admit that the Oscar race is so much fun to follow.

2 for 2 for Redmayne, or is it finally Leo's year?!

Just fixating on what might make it this year and what might not adds a level of intrigue, hype and yes in this internet age; prestige, to the Academy awards.

Something the Hindi Film Industries so called "Big" Awards shows lack.

So I thought; why not do something crazy for myself.

Much more crazier than my very own HIndie Awards. Something that will send me rattling of the brink and will make me derided among blog circles and never be taken seriously as a writer.

Yay Career Suicide!

I'm thinking of writing down my own Road to the HIndie Awards post;

Analyzing the potential best films of this year and laying out For Your Consideration posters as well as placing hair brained predictions on who will make it to the nomination ballot.

Okay so first things first I know what you're thinking;

Aneesh are you crazy! You're the only one nominating the films and creating these awards so then how does predictions and all that work.

Well for one I will be looking at IMDB scores, reading up on both public and critical reviews as well as truly insightfully looking at the predictions I'd made at the start of the year but never shared.

See this way I will be able to make a healthy based prediction for the road to HIndie Awards depending on expectations of films and trust me it will work because a lot of films this year haven't lived up to my renewed lofty standards.

At the end of the day, this is just a fun exercise I want to do because I'm bored silly and frustrated of the fact that nobody takes Hindi film awards seriously and they are drab, dull and no fun.

So here goes anyway, below you will find this years awards categories which I will also explain further.

So enjoy, this years road to the HIndie Awards 2016

Best Motion Picture (Drama)
Best Motion Picture (Comedy/Romantic)

Best Director
Best Cinematography

Best Screenplay (Drama)
Best Screenplay (Comedy/Romantic)

Best Actor in A Leading Role Drama (Male)
Best Actor in A Leading Role Comedy/Romantic(Male)

Best Actor in A Leading Role Drama (Female)
Best Actor in A Leading Role Comedy/Romantic (Female)

Best Actor in A Supporting Role Drama (Male)
Best Actor in A Supporting Role Comedy/Romantic (Male)

Best Actor in A Supporting Role Drama (Female)
Best Actor in A Supporting Role Comedy/Romantic (Female)

Best Breakthrough Actor (Male)
Best Breakthrough Actor (Female)

Best Breakthrough Director
Best Regional Language Film

Best Director (Regional Film)
Best Screenplay (Regional Film)

Best Leading Actor in A Regional Film (Male)
Best Leading Actor in A Regional Film (Female)

Best Supporting Actor in A Regional Film (Male)
Best Supporting Actor in A Regional Film (Female)

Best Cinematography (Regional Film)
Best Ensemble

Best Editing (Regional Film)
Best Documentary/Short Film

Best Production Design
Best Costume Design

Best Editing
Best VFX

Best Original Song
Best Original Score

Let's start from the top;

Radhika Apte has had one bumper year...spoiler alert!

Like the Golden Globes, there is a genre divide for awards. Despite this being a weak year, it allows me to at least give a modicum of acknowledgment to some films that deserve it.

However instead of Musical as genre this year, I have put Romantic. Why? Because most Hindi films tend to be musicals in a sense; though that distinction is dying a slow and somewhat sad death these days.

Also Romantic is an important genre staple in the Hindi cinema and it allows some strong contenders to be thrown out by the prowess of bigger and better dramatic films. It's indeed a year for dramas.

Neither Breakthrough Actors nor Directors can be nominated on any other list. I added Breakthrough Director as a category with nominations this year because there was a great expansion of brilliant directorial talent this year.

I was also going to add a Regional Film award and this year with the number of multicultural and multilingual films I've been able to catch; I did so. This however also prompted me to consider a whole Regional cinema section because to be honest most of the best Indian films this year have not been in Hindi.

Best Ensemble and Best Documentary/Short film are there to fill out the gaps, though they are now staple awards with their tough contenders.

Also instead of Best Soundtrack; I have decided to go for the awards prestigious Best Original Song. Original because there's quite a few that don't make that cut; a good example being 'Fifi' from Bombay Velvet originally sung by Geeta Dutt in Mr. & Mrs. 55

Now let me present you the films of 2015 and what genre category they will be competing in.

Also remember these selected films are a mix of those I felt would actually be great at the start of the year and those films that people are critically acclaiming or had the backing of a reliable filmmaker behind them.

And also like the Globes, sometimes it is hard to decide which genre a certain film falls into

So here goes;

Drama: Baby, Rahasya, Badlapur, NH 10, Detective Byomkesh Bakshi!, Margarita With A Straw, Bombay Velvet, Masaan, Drishyam, Brothers, Gour Hari Dastaan, Manjhi-The Mountain Man, Phantom, Talvar, Titli, Main aur Charles, X: Past is Present, Kajarya, *Angry Indian Goddesses

Comedy/Romantic: Shamitabh, Roy, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Coffee Bloom, Hunterrr, Piku, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Dil Dhadakne Do, Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho, Guddu Rangeela, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Bangistan, All is Well, Kaun Kitne Paani Mein, Katti Batti, Meeruthiya Gangsters, Shaandar, Yaara Silly Silly, Tamasha, Bajirao Mastani

So strap a rocket on your backs because this will be a hell of a crazy ride.

*Angry Indian Goddesses-Proved to be more of a drama, then the comedy it was promoted as

The HIndie Awards 2016 are heating up and the road is as furious as Fury Road...MAD MAX FOR OSCARS!

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia