Top 10 movies in 2012

If you ask me, 2012 is by far the best year for hindi movie industry. I dont remember when was the last time so many good movies were released and good in all departments. If you dont have time and want to watch the best of Bollywood, here you go-

10. Kahani

Now I am not a fan of Vidya Balan. There is something wrong with that woman. I cant put my finger on it, but ever since Parineeta, I knew something is messed up with her. That negative bias is also the reason why I might have placed Kahani so low on the list.

The fact that there are multiple loop holes in this movie doesnt help its case. Had it not been everyone around me who enjoyed it, it wouldnt have featured on the list.

I believe a good director is like a good perfume. You know it is there but its presence shouldnt be overpowering. The director misguided the audience quite a few times, something the director of Talaash is also guilty of. But since so many people really like this movie, maybe you should have a look at it.


9. Ferrari ki Sawaari

Simple movies have a special place in my heart. Sharman Joshi shines in the movie as a Parsi father trying to gather money for his son's cricket camp. The movie reminds us of 70s' Amol Palekar movies. Such a feel good movie. If you are down and want to just feel good about life, this is a must watch


8. The Dictator

Now I know I said we are going to talk only about Hindi movies, but I gotta include Sacha Baren Cohen's awesomeness. The movie is sheer genius. Remember Borat, well this is nearly as good, if not better. I think it takes time to understand SBC's genius.

This is my second most watched movie this year (the most watched movie gets to be no.1 on the list).


7. Vicky Donor

Ayushman has arrived and how! That guy has some screen presence. This is what cinema is all about, picking up a different story, telling it differently and making you relate to the characters. Vicky donor does everything so well.

What other movie have you seen the mother and the grandmother of the hero drinking? And how do you still find it acceptable? It subtly justifies Vicky wanting to choose donating sperm as a profession. Anu Kapoor shows why he is a seasoned actor! He's quite a gem, isnt he? And Yami Gautam. That is one cute girl.

This movie has done more for the sales of Suzuki A star than all its ads.


6. English Vinglish

See? What I mean this being a good year for Indian cinema? While Madhuri might have won the battle, it's clear that Sridevi will win the war. Not only is she still very good looking, minus the botox, but she has also gotten better in terms of her acting.

The director's treatment of a simple story, is amazing. Even writing such a story is difficult. I mean how do you make your hero sound like a hero without an anti-hero or a villain? This is a must watch this year.


5. Shala

Again, I take liberties with this list and include a Marathi movie in the countdown. It is probably the best high school romance movie ever made, anywhere in the world.

Remember 'The wonder years'? The sitcom that went on to become a cult classic? If you somehow got the same guys to create a movie, they would probably come with something as good as this movie. Get your copy with subtitles if you have to. But do watch this movie.


4.Paan Singh Tomar

I think this was the first movie I saw this year and thought to myself - "This is march and already we have the best movie of this year!" And guess what? I was wrong!! There are 3 other movies which came out this year which have beaten Paan Singh Tomar! And this gives me so much happiness. At the end of this decade, I think all 4 movies would find a mention in the top 20 movies made in this decade. But I have been proved wrong in March and I would be the happiest guy if even better movies come out in the next 7 years.

A true story. I remember as a kid, watching English movies based on true stories, I wondered why did we have to do the whole song dance routine and why cant we do something this meaningful. Guess what? We can.

Everybody knows how good Irfan is as an actor. And in case someone didnt know, he makes sure they do after this movie.


3. Gangs of Wasseypur 2

Never, in the history of Indian cinema have people been so excited about a sequel.

"When is it releasing?" This is all you had to ask during July to any of your guy friends and they would tell you - August 8. You didnt even have to mention what movie you were talking about. Such was the anticipation of this movie.

So much awesomeness. What characters! Definite. Perpendicular. Tangent. Faisal. Wow. What dialogues. What acting. A hindi movie that you had to watch 2 times to completely understand. Name one other film that made you think so hard to understand. Okay, I know what movie you are going to name. So, name 2 movies. I dont think you can. This is a landmark movie.

Most years it would have topped the chart. But not this year.


2. Barfi

Before this movie I didnt respect Ranvir Kapoor as an actor. I saw 3 of his movies - Ajab prem ki, Anjaana Anjaani and Bachana Ae Hasino, all of them crap. I watched all 3 of them on different flights and finished watching them in like 20 mins. So maybe he wasnt that bad an actor, but the choice of movies was horrible.

Barfi changed that. The director is probably who should get a pat on the back for this. When one actor acts better than the others it is the actor's greatness, but if all actors act better than they have in the past, then it is the director who is behind that.

Sure, some of the scenes might have been copied. There was a time in the late 80s and early 90s when Bollywood would copy everything. Scenes, songs, lyrics etc. In the past, we have gotten rid of some of this natural inclination to copy from the west and started copying from the east. While this movie had scenes from like 50 other movies, let me explain why this movie is placed so high up.

I firmly believe being inspired from art is not a bad thing, only, you should be able to improve the quality of the art. That is how humans have progressed throughout the ages, nothing wrong in that. While watching the movie, as an audience, I didnt feel any of the scenes were forced. They were simple and cute. This is India's official entry to the Oscars. Obviously it's not gonna win. The movie that could have won is the #1 on this list.

1. Gangs of Wasseypur

Take a bow Mr. Kashyap. This is the kinda movie after which you can retire. You have given back more than what you took from the society. This is the movie that my kids are going to watch when they are 20, and marvel at the story telling of our era.

You know how we find the movies made during our parents' time silly? Well this is the movie that I think will save our generation from becoming a laughing stock, coz you know, Dabangg 2, Ishqzadde, the works...

You actually had to draw a family tree to understand this movie fully. Everytime I watch it, I learn something new. I might seem to be over praising the movie, but there might be a day when GOW might acquire the same status that Sholay did.

Not matter what part of the world you are from, this is a movie you HAVE to watch.


I might have not included some of the movies that you think should be included in this list. You are free to include your lists in the comment section.

P.S. - In the meanwhile, this blog has reached 3 lac views! Thank you so much, people! 
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Euro Trip

This has been pending for a long long time. I did this trip last year. I have been meaning to write about this for a long time, but just couldnt get the right inspiration - Something happened the other day that reminded me of that trip, of Europe in general and I thought, I have to write about this. So here goes....

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The Euro rail screeched to a halt. I was sleepy. I had this brainwave of saving money on hotels by travelling in the night and roaming around the cities in the day. Traveller tip: Don't think you can save money by sacrificing sleep. I peered through the window. I saw a dimly lit platform, the Indian equivalent of Bhusaval. Something was wrong. This didnt look like Europe. Had we unknowningly slipped into a diffferent dimension? I thought about Tarantino's only good movie - Hostel 1.

Police entered the bogey. We were the only brown guys in that bogey, maybe in the entire train. An overfed sniffer dog entered, brown, hairy, his eyes the blue of merciless Siberian winter. His master looked very much the same, only, he had more hair. He looked at us suspiciously and then moved on. I repented my decision to do an Euro trip across Eastern Europe. I had chosen to visit areas where even my adventure crazy white friends had not been. Right then, we were somewhere between Slovenia and Croatia. My mind had now drifted to the more gruesome Hostel 2.

Then entered a police woman. Light blue shirt, dark blue pants, which seemed to fit her so well. Ah, so well. Tall, dark brown hair, light brown eyes, curves in the right places, with her right hand on the compartment door and the left hand on her hip, she said - Hi boys.... And smiled. Her smile lit up the compartment. In 2 mins, we had gone from the "Hostel" series to "That-movie-in-the-system32 folder" series.

I looked at JD, he smiled. We had both seen movies which started with women in uniform saying - Hi boys. But nothing of that sort happened. She asked for our passports, wished us happy journey and we were on our way.

Every morning we were greeted with beautiful landscapes whizzing past our compartment window. Had I clicked all those pictures, that I decided to keep engraved in my memories, I would have a mini-desktop wallpaper company by now.

It would be tiresome to share everything that happened during the trip, and anyway, that is not a point of a trip or a blog for that matter. I will share with you all the awesome things that happened on the trip.

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So this one morning, we reached Zagreb. We decided to live in the outskirts, which I realised, unlike Mumbai which stretches for like 40 kms, is like 3 kms from the city centre. So, we were super hungry because all the travel and everything. Actually, we are almost always super hungry. So we entered this small cafe. There was a caring middle aged lady and a cute girl in her early 20s serving us. So, since they were so nice, and we were so hungry, we ordered almost everything veggie on the menu. After a hearty meal, I took out two 10 Euro notes and placed them in front of them. The following dialogue followed.

"No, no. Not Euro. Croatia currency please"
Our research was so extensive that we didnt even know Croatia didnt have Euro.
"But I dont have Croatian currency. I only have Euros"
"No. No Euros."
Seriously?! You are saying no to the most powerful currency in the world!!
"Umm... I am sorry, but we dont have any Croatian currency." I said.
The 20 year old who was quiet till now, said -
"That's okay. You dont give money."
And she said that with a smile, which meant she wasnt being sarcastic.
"I will exchange Euros, and give you money" I said.
"Okay." she said. Her smile still intact. JD and I however, had a worried look. How could they trust us? What if we never came back?
The first thing that we did was exchange money at the hostel and pay those ladies.
"What do you suggest we do here" I asked the pretty one as I paid her in croatian currency.
"Spend lots of money in Croatia," she laughed.
I made sure I leave behind a huge tip. Croatians are the most patriotic people I met on the trip. They have a beautiful country, ravaged by years of war, they have put together a rather optimistic folk.

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We stayed at the awesomest places. So in Slovakia we stayed at a hostel that was once a prison. Then in Bratislava, we stayed at a hostel that was actually filmed in The Hostel. There was a bar downstairs which was constructed on that exact theme, with severed head and legs and everything.

In this particular hostel, the bathroom wasnt attached. So basically it was a common bathroom. What we didnt realise that it was common to boys and girls. So, this is what happened, the bathroom was occupied, so I thought I shave my 2 day old stubble. I was shaving, when the bathroom door opened, a girl, must be from southern Europe guessing from her hair colour, walked out, dripping, and picked up the towel that she must have placed there before the shower, wraped it around herself and walked away. I just stood there, foam on my face and water running.

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There is one more incident I have been trying to forget, but it is etched in my memory. So there is a hot water spring in Budapest, which of all the cities is my favourite city to live in Europe, apart from Berlin obviously. Budapest feels a lot like Mumbai, as in, it is really vibrant. So, after a soak, we decided to just lay in the sun, coz you know, we arent tanned already or something. So we came to the locker area and this German guy started talking to JD in German. I say, how did he know that we knew the language? It is not like we look German or anything!

The discussion moved from Budapest to Berlin, and suddenly, the middle aged man dropped his towel. Right in front of us! And there were more guys around! Nobody seemed to notice or mind. We were astonished, scarred for life, rather. And he kept talking. Like that thing hanging there didnt matter, discussing politics with two brown guys he had just met in the locker room! And while that wasnt weird enough, there was a japanese boy with his father and they undressed and dressed up right in front of each other. Like nobody used a towel to hide anything and stuff! And this shock came after living in Germany for 1 year. It is still there stuck in my head, just doesnt go away. :P

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Once we were cycling through Slovenia, I think it was, really, it is a blur. We came across a party in a garden. How can you be so chilled out to have a private party in a public garden? Only then, we realised it wasnt a private party. Everybody who passed by was invited.

This bunch of guys welcomed us and gave us a shot of something to drink. It was alcohol for sure, but they didnt tell us what it was. Imagine Vodka, if it was compressed to somehow increases the alcohol content, that was it. It burnt my inside.

What is this? - I asked
This is Serb drink. Very strong, no?
Yes. Very strong, I said, shaking my head sideways to get my orientation right.
Good. Here one more.

Then a few more.

Come come, you dance with us. - They said. We danced around in circles. With men, children, middle aged ladies, young ladies, grandmas, the priest. All this even before knowing our names or knowing where we were from!

I am Volkovich (or something like that), he is Buskovich, and so on. We told them our names, which I am sure sounded gibberish to them.

After the frolicking was done, in a serious voice and broken English they told us that they were Serb farmers who had lost land when Yugoslavia fell into several pieces. But before the atmosphere could die out, another round of drinks was served and everything was merry again.

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Though I love India and Mumbai esp, every time I pass an open drain, or an encroached footpath, I do miss Europe. I no longer find solace in the fact that we arent a rich country, coz you dont need to be a Germany to have beautiful road and wide sidewalks, even countries like Croatia can be beautiful if they want to. We just need people who believe in this country as much as they believe in theirs. A friend asked me if I missed Europe. Well, sometimes, I do. Very much.

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