By Subhash K. Jha
These films of 2014 deserved better and should have got a larger audience:
1. Ugly: A beautiful portrait of the darkest areas of the human heart, where greed, guilt and gluttony scamper freely for space. Anurag Kashyap’s film was swamped by the “PK” wave that hit the theatres at year-end. Bhago, “PK” aaya!
2. Aankhon Dekhi: Rajat Kapoor’s haunting portrait of a man on the brink of self-abnegation, looking for reasons to cling to the illusion called life, finding it increasingly hard to go through the motions of existence. Actor Sanjay Mishra’s ‘everyman’ act was exemplary.
3. Children Of War: Debutant director Mrityunjay Devrat recreated the horrors of the Bangladesh war of independence with the authentic passion of Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List”. As a brutal concentration camp officer, Pavan Malhotra was a dazzling embodiment of evil.
4. Sulemani Keeda: Amit Masurkar bitter-sweet tale of two jobless script writers trying their luck in Bollywood conveyed a certain sincerity of purpose. It seemed too real to be ‘pheku’.
5. 21 Topon Ki Salaami: An honest common man dies unsung. It’s up to his son to honour his dad in death. Heartwarming stuff directed by Ravindra Gautam.
6. Amit Sahni Ki List: This is not a great piece of cinema. It doesn’t aspire to any lofty heights of tragic romanticism. It is what it is. An uncluttered, elegantly narrated rom-com about an inherently flawed hero, played with gusto by Vir Das.
7. Revolver Rani: Everyone loved Kannga Ranaut in “Queen” and hated her in this saga of a bandit-politician whose arrogant tyranny comes undone when she falls for a Bollywood aspirant. Cheesy characters made us uneasy in Sai Kabir’s film. No one in this film adhered to the rules of characterisation. Too rebellious to be appreciated.
8. Bobby Jasoos: So okay. A weak denouement took away the bite from Samar Shaikh’s delicious tale of a Hyderabadi detective who can’t seem to stop sleuthing even when sleeping. Vidya Balan’s Hyderabadi accent and her crackling chemistry with Ali Fazal made the day.
9. Fugly: Kabir Sadanand’s interesting and original film about four youngsters’ tryst with a corrupt cop (Jimmy Sheirgil, brilliant as ever) could have been the new “Rang De Basanti”. It somewhere lost its way.
10. Manjunath: Sandeep Varma’s dry but hard-hitting take on real-life oil executive Manjunath Shanmugam’s murder by the petrol mafia deserved a larger audience to see what happens to the voice of truth in a world of corruption.