There are three things that almost every Indian has an opinion about – politics, cricket and cinema. With the rise in the number of streaming services and increasing demand for better content, there has been a substantial improvement in the quality of movies during the past few years. 2019 has been one of the best years for Indian cinema in recent times, with filmmakers being open to taking risks and making unconventional movies.
We have compiled a list of movies that have opened new doors for Indian cinema during the past year – so sit back and get your popcorn ready!
Bala is a beautiful amalgamation of the desolate reality of the physical-beauty centric society with witty writing and direction. The story revolves around the life of Bala—who considers physical attributes of the utmost importance. The plot begins with him bullying his balding teacher and taunting his classmate Latika for her dark-complexioned. As he grows older, he faces premature balding, and his confidence is stricken as his once silky locks, once his pride, was now long gone. The film also focuses on the life of Bala’s neighbour Latika—her personality bright enough to carve herself a remarkable career in law, but not bright enough in complexion to attract the neighbourhood men. The movie shows us the journey of the lead character, from bullying people on their physical characteristics to accepting his own skin and extruding confidence from within.
Ayushman Khurrana owns every scene of this film with his golden touch, and Bhumi Pednkar is confident as the assertive and valiant Latika.
Kumbalangi Nights (Malayalam)
Set in the fishing village of Kumbalangi in Kerala, Kumbalangi Nights depicts the story of four brothers in the town. Saji, Bonny, Bobby, and Franky share a love-hate relationship and are often at each other’s throats during the movie.
The beautiful shots of the Kerala backwaters and the vivid depictions of the lifestyle in the quaint village make the film a complete visual treat. The movie is filled with exemplary performances from the entire cast, with Fahadh Fasil’s performance particularly standing out for his exceptional portrayal of Shammi, an orthodox village patriarch. During its 135-minute runtime, the movie weaves into its story a family drama, an adorable love story as well as a psychopathic villain.
Article 15 (Hindi)
This movie— exquisitely disguised as a crime thriller—is thought-provoking and hard-hitting, while bringing light upon the burning caste discrimination. The story pivots around the case of brutal rape and murder of three Dalit girls, and a comprehensive search of the third missing girl. Based on the Badaun rapes in Uttar Pradesh, here we are taken to Lalgaon, where people wear caste on their sleeves. A young IPS officer is assigned to this case and faces these disparities and uncomfortable truths in the face of a horrendous crime. The case further dives deeper into the deep-rooted discrimination and forms the climax of the story.
Ayushman has knocked it out of the park again with his golden touch in this Anubhav Sinha’s thriller. The supporting performances by Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub standout and are a cherry on the cake.
The Sky is Pink (Hindi)
The Sky is Pink is colourful melodrama exploring the relationship of a couple, spanning 25 years—seen through the lens of their teenage daughter. The story follows through the lives of Aisha’s parents and their undying devotion towards their daughter. Aisha had been diagnosed with SCID, a rare genetic disorder, which is life-threatening. Her parents make it their life mission to provide and care for her, showing a life of struggles to a life of riches.
The movie provides a refreshing tone towards the inevitable end of the story. It makes us laugh despite its tragic undertone. The story plays with a sombre tone, with bright hues of happiness and fun — this a unique storyline and definitely one of the first of its types in mainstream Indian Cinema.
Zaira Wasim is lovely as Aisha Chaudary, while Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, and Rohit Suresh Saraf have played their roles to their best of ability.
Virus is a medical-thriller that follows the journey of a group of individuals who tried to curb the 2018-Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala. Filled with an ensemble cast consisting of some of the biggest names in Malayalam cinema, Virus brings a liberal perspective to one of our country’s scariest disease outbreaks. The movie brilliantly depicts the role of various doctors and government officials in controlling the epidemic and keeps the audience engaged through its thrilling background score and stellar performances from its cast. The film’s biggest asset is that it does not just limit itself to telling the story of the outbreak – it gives each of the characters backgrounds and humanises the efforts.
One of the biggest films of 2019—Uri takes a patriotic and political route of portraying the Surgical Strikes as a retaliation to the 2016 Uri Attack. The movie follows Major Vihaan Singh Shergill of the Indian army and is divided into five chapters. Aditya Dhar, making his directorial debut, shines in this unforgiving war drama and shows the events leading up to the strikes in an arresting manner. The rigorous process of the infiltration of the 80 Indian Para SF commandos into the terror camps makes for a gripping story to watch. The execution of the film attracts a childlike intrigue to the storyline, despite knowing the results.
Vicky Kaushal is on a roll with his astounding performance, and the supporting characters lift the movie to a whole another level. In all-inclusive, this film is a patriotism infused ride and pays its respect to the heroes of this war.
Super Deluxe is a thriller film consisting of four subplots (each written by a different writer), with the narrative continually switching between the various stories. The director Thiagarajan Kumararaja tailors every scene to perfection – right from the background score, the colours used to the actors’ costumes are meticulously chosen. Filled with a multitude of pop culture references, Super Deluxe’s biggest strength is the commitment with which every actor performed their role – the 8-year-old Raasukutty captivates the audience with his innocence and honesty, Vijay Sethupathi moves us with his stunning performance as Shilpa, a transgender woman, and Fahadh Fasil dons the role of a struggling actor with utmost ease. While the four subplots are mostly disconnected from each other in terms of their story, the entire movie has an overarching theme of acceptance and forgiveness.
In Chichhore, Anirudh Pathak (played by Sushant Singh Rajput) recollects his college days along with his long-lost friends. Although the movie resorts to a lot of clichés, its most significant strength is its accurate depiction of life at an engineering college. It strikes all the right chords with different age groups – it represents the day to day lives of the present-day college-going youth, while it fills the older audiences with nostalgic memories of some of the best days of their lives.
—Written by Alankriti Singh and Sudarshan Sivakumar for MTTN
—Featured Image by Ritwika Sarkar
—Image Source: Google Images