We’ve never had 26 films worth talking about in a single year in a very long time. 2007 has yielded a rich harvest for Hindi cinema. While rating them, not only the primary function of Indian cinema – that it has to entertain a diverse audience – is taken into account but also factors such as intention of the filmmaker, originality, repeat viewing and fatigue, quality of writing, inventiveness of story-telling, devices employed, scale of production and star appeal.
No.1 Chak De India
The girls are amazing. Because Jaideep Sahni has written a script that combines girlpower, women’s liberation and the importance of team-spirit in a convincing underdog drama with authentic sporting action, gorgeously shot. Near flawless but for the predictability associated with the sports genre.
No.2 Taare Zameen Par
Films are where reality meets fantasy and no other film in a long while has walked these two worlds at the same time, often blurring the lines associated with the distinctively different genres while also tripling as an effective social commentary. No Indian film has ever captured childhood like this before
No.3 Om Shanti Om
Has there been a more irreverent film in the history of Indian cinema? One that does not take anything, including itself, seriously while paying tribute to an era of implausible plots, melodrama and revenge themes. Just by sheer quantity of laughs and goofs and quality of style and choreogcinema raphy, Om Shanti Om, despite the silly twist in the tale towards the climax, is a colourful musical that celebrates cinema.
No.4 Jab We Met
This is Dilwale Dulhaniya’s sequel in spirit. If Dilwale tried to define Indian-ness by procuring parental consent for love, Jab We Met goes deeper into the heartland of the country and tries to understand relationships in the context of a highly self-centric India where love blurs right and wrong.
No.5 Johnny Gaddaar
Here comes a quality suspense caper after ages. What’s more, it’s slick and stylish. It’s a rollercoaster of a mind-game. Never has a tribute film been this exciting with all the cheeky referencing. Not only is it unpredictable, it also has a brilliant ensemble cast. Also, because it has Dharam Paaji show us what a fantastic actor he is even today.
No.6 Namastey London – A surprisingly endearing Katrina-Akshay romantic comedy
No.7 Bheja Fry – But for Vinay Pathak’s brilliance, a shameless rip-off
No.8 Partner – Govinda-Salman work their magic in this remake of Hitch
No. 9 Dhamaal – is a Bollywood film directed by Indra Kumar and starring Sanjay Dutt, Riteish Deshmukh, Aashish Chaudhary, Arshad Warsi and Javed Jaffrey.
No.10 Salaam-e-Ishq – This mushy overdose worked for Valentine’s Day
No.11 Apne – This boxing drama has Dharam Paaji’s heart
No.12 Saawariya – Strictly for world-class cinematography and some of the music
No.13 Dil Dosti Etc – A daring gutsy anti-thesis to Dil Chahta Hai
No.14 Aaja Nachle – For Madhuri Dixit alone.
No.15 Ek Chalis Ki Last Local – A rare whacky neo-noir comedy
No.16 Life in a Metro – A ‘Closer’-like candid look at relationships
No.17 Loins of Punjab – Have you ever laughed more this year?
No.18 Honeymoon Travels – A refreshing, modern look at marriage
No.19 Cheeni Kum – But for the climax, this offbeat romance ought to rank higher.
No.20 Apna Aasman – Promising debut conveniently resolved.
No.21 Manorama – If this weren’t a remake, this mystery would rank higher.
No.22 Khoya Khoya Chand – Soha’s miscast in this time machine to the 1960s
No.23 Black Friday – Though authentic, loses pace structured like the book
No.24 Water – Talk of bad casting and location ruining a great script
No.25 Dharm – Pankaj Kapoor, you are God!
No.26 Eklavya – The cinematography is sheer poetry