2016 was an interesting, but rough year for Bollywood. While it churned out some interesting and amazing movies, the majority of the work done this year was quite disappointing. Most of the movies were average and not memorable at all. However, amidst all of that, there were those very few movies which stood out, not just as remarkable movies of this year, but as works of art that will be remembered for a long time. Here is a concise list of the hits and misses of Bollywood in 2016. Did you catch them all?
Based on Pan Am airhostess Neerja Bhanot’s sacrifice when Pan Am flight 73 was hijacked by terrorists in 1987, this film was one of the biggest hits of the year. With Sonam Kapoor in the lead, director Ram Madhvani managed to execute a true and touching telling of the story of how a 23-year-old sacrificed herself to save the lives of 359 passengers on board. With no embellishments, the film made the audience feel for Neerja and her family. Undoubtedly, this was Sonam Kapoor’s best performance yet.
A Salman Khan movie has to be a blockbuster. The story of Sultan Ali Khan’s journey to fame and success, subsequent fall, and then rediscovery of his own identity was a tad too long. However, Khan gave a good performance, especially as the middle-aged wrestler dealing with depression. Playing his wife was Anushka Sharma, who was not much different from the lively self she usually plays. The only thing that stood out was the rustic edge in her character. Nonetheless, Sultan was a movie worth a watch, with its refreshing visuals and realistic effects.
Directorial debut of Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Pink was a movie which hit the screens at the perfect time. Reverberating under the burden of ages of gender roles and stereotypes, Pink was a courtroom drama about a retired lawyer, played by the impeccable Amitabh Bachchan, defending three women against a male politician. And the movie wasn’t just amazing to watch, it made us feel strongly as well. Direction, script, and performance were all first class, elevating this movie to a status where it will be remembered for long.
#4 Kapoor and Sons
A family drama is always loved in Bollywood. But Kapoor and Sons is more than just that. What stands out more than anything is the finesse with which director Shakun Batra executed the movie. We are not shown a family that is sloppily in love with everyone, no. The Kapoor family is just like any other family; they fight, they argue, they lie. Emotions fly high in the movie, and they inevitably reel you in as well. The performances by all the actors, especially Fawad Khan, were superb. Coupled with that great script, there was no doubt that this would become a super hit.
This much-awaited Aamir Khan movie hit the screens just this month and has already bagged a place on the super hits list. Aamir Khan is at his best in Dangal, embodying the former wrestler father Mahavir Phogat who wanted nothing but a son to continue his legacy. Instead, he focusses on making his daughters champions. In a society where chauvinism is at its peak, it is absolutely essential that Geeta and Babita Phogat defeat their male opponents. But the movie is more than just that. It captures the experience of the lives of the father and his daughters, it is ground in reality, and it makes you a part of their journey. Already on its way to one of the most grossing films of 2016, Dangal will be hard to forget.
This Shah Rukh Khan movie had huge expectations, especially because he was playing a twin role. And SRK didn’t disappoint. He played Gaurav Chanana and Aryan Khanna both flawlessly, in a way that only he could have done. Devoid of the romance of a typical SRK film, Fan was reminiscent of a darker SRK we saw long ago in Darr and Baazigar. Excited as we were, Fan disappointed. It had the potential to be a good film, and it was popular mostly because of SRK. But as a film, it failed its audience, and left something amiss.
#2 Kahaani 2
After the immense success of the first movie, Kahaani 2 was awaited with bated breath. And the first half was gripping. But the movie soon slackened and became jarring and ultimately left us disappointed. The only good aspect was Vidya Balan, who once again, gave an even performance with a solid character. The movie built intrigue but failed to sustain it.
#3 Rock On 2
This sequel to the 2008 Farhan Akhtar hit, more than anything, left us wanting more Magik. It was Shujaat Saudagar’s directorial debut, and although it was good at certain points, the overall product was very disappointing. The characters felt dead, there was no emotion through the movie, and the story was very slow at times. And the worst part of it all was the music. In a movie which centers on music, you’d at least expect them to do a good job with that. But the songs here were nothing compared to the original Rock On!! songs.
This much awaited directorial comeback from Aditya Chopra held in store nothing but disappointed. Sure, Ranveer Singh was amazing, but that was pretty much it. Vaani Kapoor was dull, as was the story. In a movie that was supposed to be a romcom, there was surprisingly hardly any feeling. The location they picked was perfect for a romcom setting but there was no plot to the story. And it never looked like the characters were actually feeling what they were supposed to be feeling. Looks like OK Jaanu is going to fill in the void left by this travesty of a movie.
Ajay Devgn is one of those actors who don’t shy away from taking up difficult topics, which is why people expected him to do a good job with Shivaay. Unfortunately, he took the reins of his character in one stride and did not steer away from it. He was the invincible godlike hero of the movie. There was no emotion, no reality, nothing. And let’s not even get started on the other characters. On top of that, it was a staggering 3 hour-long business, and every passing minute had the audience second guessing their choice to watch the movie.