2021 is about to end and here are 7 Hindi movies that we thought were the best of the lot. Read on.
Ankahi Kahaniya - Madhyantar
Director - Abhishek Chaubey
Writers - Abhishek Chaubey and Hussain Haidry
I think of Madhyantar as an attempt to understand the impact of restrictions on romance, ambition, and romance as an ambition (which it often becomes, if nurtured long enough in perceivable or non-perceivable confinement). It adds value to gestures that may or may not have been important in a setting that allowed freedom. The struggle is painful, the commitment is moving.
The movie, adapted from the Kannada short story of the same name, has a keen eye for fleeting glances, shrugs, sighs - and dilemma which solves itself in the end. Or does it? I am tempted to think of the climax as the interval of the protagonists' story - the Madhyantar.
Geeli Pucchi - Ajeeb Daastaans
Director - Neeraj Ghaywan
Being a lower-caste or a gay person in a country where either could get you killed is terrifying in itself. To live as both is mostly a horror. Geeli Pucchi navigates the frustration and exhaustion stemming from this continued struggle, with exceptional sensitivity. It shows the impact of things that are, or become a part of your identity, and how one tries to make their way in an unfair world that encourages biased behaviour.
Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar
Director - Dibakar Banerjee
With a strong take on gender roles, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar makes for an interesting watch, and in places, even difficult because it doesn't tone things down. That's necessary too. The protagonists are on a run to save their lives, and so 'journey' is not a word I'd use for the movie. Though ultimately, it becomes one.
Sandeep and Pinky are not necessarily 'talkers' but they have an unconventional way of communicating things, which, to me, was very touching. The film is heavy, and the writing, outstanding
Director - Vishnu Varadhan
Shershah had its own flaws. The over-reliance on breezy romance, and lack of depth when it comes to the perils of violence, but when considered wholly, it turned out to be a movie you ended up thinking about days after watching it. That was partly because of the protagonist's larger-than-life personality, which stands out, even when it is portrayed with extreme caution.
Director - Shoojit Sircar
Sardar Uddham had exactly what Shershaah lacked. Bravery. The writing, even though convoluted in parts, has courage, which makes it effective. The movie reminds you of the heavy cost of harboring hatred, which is an act that goes on to become the foundation of wars. The cinematography of Sardar Udham is outstanding, and so is Vicky Kaushal's acting who melts into the character.
Director - Amit V Masurkar
Sherni is a movie about a man-eating tigress on the loose, and the attempt to stop it from causing more damage. In the process, one witnesses the roadblocks a woman officer has to face while doing the job that many would say is "suited for men". Patriarchy leads to delusion. When faced with a fierce tigress, a human of any gender will struggle, and most likely not succeed in making it out alive. But the system is rigged. While hunting for the tigress, Vidya (protagonist, played by Vidya Balan), also hunts for a logical way to explain this. On purpose, and sometimes accidentally.
Director - Umesh Bist
Grief doesn't follow a set template. A widow doesn't have to think of her husband's death as the end of her own life. She can want cola a day after his demise. We are humans, this happens, and we must accept that. Paggait drives home these points rather beautifully, while also throwing light on how differently closure works for different people. The movie submits itself to certain tropes, but that doesn't take away from its overall effectiveness and sentimentality.
All the movies are available for streaming.