Oh Yes!! We have finally come to the end of our 42 days long poll to find out the best movie of the last decade (2000 – 2009). We thank every voter for making our 2nd poll a grand success. We realize that movie goers are as passionate as we are if the enthusiastic response is anything to go by. We had 20 movies on the initial list and added 5 more movies after first 10 days, after considering the suggestions we had received. We have critic as well as popular top 10 movies list. We present the critic’s list first without wasting much time.
CRITIC’S TOP 10
10) Dev D (2009)
(Director: Anurag Kashyap)
Anurag Kashyap made it very clear that he doesn’t want a glossy and larger than life Devdas, but a contemporary Devdas for his adaptation. In all the previous versions of Devdas (including Sanjay Leela Bhansali one), the Devdas was portrayed as a sympathetic character. This time Anurag wanted to emphasise on the negative side of Devdas. Did he really deserve the love of Paro and Chandramukhi? Nope, in fact he ended up ruining lots of lives before ruining his own. Anurag also made mockery of the self pitying hobby of Indians. Here comes the modern Devdas, Paro and Chanda who have changed a lot with the changing times. Dev is this arrogant, spoilt man who essentially needs nothing but help. Paro’s transformation is the most noteworthy twist in this new tale. She’s not that demure, coy girl which you expect out of her, instead she’s an independent girl who is able to take care of herself. Though little shocking, she even sends her nude picture to Dev. Now coming to Chanda, she’s this girl who is a victim of society’s double standards as she became famous overnight after an MMS scandal and bears the brunt of cruel yet funny society. The treatment was refreshing and Abhay Deol did a wonderful job as the new age Devdas who mostly replaced drinks with drugs.
9) Rocket Singh: Salesman of The Year (2009)
(Director: Shimit Amin)
It is one of the most original films in the recent past. It was such an unusual film where the basic structure of the movie was way different from anything usually made in Bollywood; there were no romance, typical songs and dances or the familiar story telling territories. The screen play, direction and acting were top notch. Basically, what ticks in the business world? The movie seeks the answer to this question. It was trying to uncover the journey of an underdog namely, Harpreet Singh Bedi (excellent portrayal by Ranbir Kapor), who goes through series of humiliations and opposition at his work place as a salesman trainee. He is ridiculed by everyone and he silently suffers the insults. However, what if he’s got what it takes to reach on top of the business ladder? Having said that, was it an easy ride? No, in fact it was hell of a ride for Harpreet Singh which also was very foolish of him but very exciting for that matter. Will he be able to deal with the thorns on his way? Yes, it’s a very risky ride, but you will cheer for him on the way and he gradually realizes the hero in him. Rocket Singh is truly a wonderful cinematic experience. It rewrites lots of cinematic myths and it treads its own path and in the end we see a very satisfying film. Yes, one of the most innovative films in the last decade.
8 ) Devdas (2002)
(Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali)
If there is one story which every Indian knows, then it must be the story of Devdas. This classic tale was retold as many times in every Indian language. Bhansali is not the first person to make Devdas in Hindi, as we have a very well appreciated Bimal Roy version starring Dileep Kumar. Why Indians are so hang-up on this tale? Well, noted director Anurag Kashyap (who also made his own version of Devdas as ‘Dev D’ in 2009) reasoned that Indians love self pity as they have mastered this act all along. Yes, he’s got a point here. We tend to blame everything around and then ourselves the moment something goes wrong, instead of taking corrective measures. Coming to Bhansali’s version, we believe it wasn’t completely a flawless version. In pursuit of the grand sets, songs, dances and jewelry something was missing; was it the soul? The pain of Devdas? May be. However, we can’t overlook the sheer passion of Bhansali which no other director could recreate. When it comes to a large scale magnum opus we still don’t have someone as passionate and articulate as Sanjay Leela Bhansali. So, we can forgive the short comings and applaud Bhansali for his unique vision and passion. After all Bollywood has no identity if a film like Devdas is not made once in a while!!
7) Paheli (2005)
(Director: Amol Palekar)
Here comes one of the most beautiful films of the decade. It’s about the beauty of fairy tales which is so captivating. The movie starts with the shepherd Amitabh Bachchan saying “Barso Purani Prem Kahani..Ek Aurath Ki..Jiska Naam tha, Lachi..”. From that moment onwards we are hooked on to this fairy tale so much like a wide eyed kid. Yes, there was this girl namely Lachi, who fell in love with an extremely romantic ghost. Though it was not classified as a romantic movie it was romantic to the core and the ghost could give run for their money for every other Romeo living or dead. Paheli has this ingenious poetic touch which adds to the charm of the movie. The beauty of Rajasthan was captured stunningly in this movie with breath taking visuals and one-of-its-kind music. The music was one of the best ever and the national award winning song ‘Dheere jalna..’ could easily win the best song of the decade title. It was a magical movie where good story, screen play and direction coupled with stunning aesthetics. In short, Paheli is one of the finest work of art and you will instantly fall for the over all charm of the ghost and the movie. Above all, lachi is this beautiful girl who was not afraid of accepting a ghost as a lover in place of her husband who had no interest in her. She was very sure of what she wanted even though the fictional story dates back to hundreds of years ago.
6) Johny Gaddar (2007)
(Director: Sriram Raghavan)
Johny Gaddar is a perfect noir film which is greatly inspired by the thrillers made by Vijay Anand and the novels of James Hadley Chase. Flawless is the first word comes to our mind. If there is one recent movie which paid tribute the genre ‘thriller’ then it must be Johny Gaddar, all the way. The way the story proceeds is real pleasure and you would say ‘wah..’ for the fast paced screen play which is so engrossing from the word go. Dev Anand’s movie’ Johny Mera Naam’ inspired the title and Sriram Raghavan deserves a huge round of applause for giving a noir film which surpasses even Hollywood standards. It’s an original work at the same time and it deserves our special mention. We would say ‘Don’t miss it at any cost ‘as some movies are meant to be experienced!
5) A Wednesday (2008 )
(Director: Neeraj Pandey)
Here comes a movie with a story which nobody could imagine in their wildest dreams. The suspense of this movie was well executed and it was like an incomparable experience. We have seen many movies on terrorists and it wasn’t that hard to imagine where the story is heading; most of the time. A Wednesday was a revelation; a bright talent like Neeraj came and changed the entire grammar of film making. Yes, common man is not a fool and terrorists who bring Mumbai under the chilling moments every now and then should realize this, sooner or later, for their own good. The message is delivered and how powerfully!! Two of the most talented actors of Bollywood, Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah came face to face and it was difficult to judge who outdone whom. However, we assume it must be Anupam Kher given he has a slight edge over Naseeruddin Shah in the movie; well Anupam had to underplay most of the time.
4) Aamir (2008 )
(Director: Rajkumar Gupta)
Aamir is yet another film on terrorism and Mumbai city. In one word we would describe it as ‘Intense’. It’s a whirlwind journey of a man namely Dr. Aamir Ali, who just returned to Mumbai from UK. He’s in the hands of Islamic extremists and they want to carry out a bomb blast in the city with the help of Aamir and for this they have kidnapped Aamir’s family. He has to make a choice and he’s been taken to the poverty ridden streets of Mumbai where he meets large percentage of Muslim population. Rajkumar Gupta entered the Bollywood scene with his strong directorial abilities and only a good director can pull off such a one line story entirely on the shoulder of a taught screen play. Aamir’s difficult journey becomes audience’s as we are on the edge of the seat to see what happens next. It’s a hell of a ride with that red bag and you will never forget it; that’s the biggest cinematic achievement of Aamir.
3) Munnabhai MBBS (2003)
(Director: Rajkumar Hirani)
A good movie is all about how much it influences you positively and how much it makes you think. Munnabhai does that effortlessly while providing extreme entertainment. Recently, on Koffee With Karan featuring Sanjay Dutt, a group of MBBS students from a Mumbai medical college spoke in an emotional tone about the movie. They were saying how much this movie inspired them to join this profession and to use it for good. That’s the moment the makers should realize how much a goon could teach the people from all walks of life to love each other. It taught in simple words that a simple hug can melt even the biggest problems in someone’s life. Stop running after money, it’s love which is the cure to all the problems we have and it’s free of coast. Even Mahatma Gandhi realized that Munnabhai and Circuit are doing what he had left half done. Did Rajkumar Hirani ever realize that he’s giving birth to two of the most iconic characters ever on Indian celluloid?…and can we ever stop loving them?.
2) Lagaan (2001)
(director: Ashutosh Gowarikar)
Lagaan is undoubtedly Bollywood’s most priced possession and it has achieved classic status in a short time span itself. Here is a movie which is perfect in every sense and you would wonder if there is another Lagaan possible in another 100 years. Lagaan is an epic, with the grandeur and the scale with which Ashutosh Gowarikar portrayed the plight of the farmers in a village, in the British occupied India. The story was a revelation; about the power of goodness and humanity. It speaks volumes about the collective human spirit and the movie proves that you can move mountains with united human spirit. It was a flawless movie and the every aspect of the movie stood shining, be it the authentic sets, costumes by Oscar winning Bhanu Athaiya, music by another Oscar winner A R Rahman, story, screenplay, dialogues, acting (especially, large number of supporting characters), cinematography, choreography and above all Ashutosh Gowarikar’s taut direction. So many factors came together as if magic and you will see nothing but brilliance on every frame. Such a movie comes once in every 100 years, may be!
1) Swades (2004)
(Director: Ashutosh Gowarikar)
Here comes the most beautiful, feel good film of the decade. Yes, it’s extremely hard not to fall in love with this movie. This movie will leave you thinking and at the same time make you smile. You will secretly end up hoping that you would settle in such a small village where you will be able to smell the soil and feel secure at home. You would wish for a loving mother figure like Kaveri Amma to feed you and someone as beautiful and headstrong as Geeta to fall in love with. Swades is about home and the virtues you have left at home. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “India’s heart lies in the villages” and how true!! Yes, we are this touchy, full-of-heart emotional fools and we still love that about us. What prompted a NASA scientist like Mohan to come back to his roots? Because you can’t forget your roots however far you have gone. Swades was quite poetic in its narration and every frame had something deeply irresistible. Home is where the heart is and there are people waiting for you, go embrace it Mohan!
Now let’s see the popular top 10.
POPULAR TOP 10
10) Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
(Director: Farhan Akhtar)
Dil Chahta Hai will remain as one landmark film as far as new age films are concerned. The east-meets-west phenomenon in the cities was hard to neglect after a point and ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ came at the right juncture. There needed a new kind of movie which look in to the new age sensibilities which are largely veering towards western culture. The kind of male bonding we saw in Sholay was recreated in Dil Chahtha Hai keeping today’s youth in mind and they are in to speed dating or weekend getaways in Goa. Three friends and their lives were captured in a really mature fashion and Farhan Akhtar deserves a huge applause for the sensitive, fun treatment of the subject.
9) Koi Mil Gaya (2003)
(Director: Rakesh Roshan)
Given Bollywood is not that technically advanced compared to the west, a super hero movie was a distant dream. Rakesh Roshan, the man, took this challenge and brought something which was really commendable considering the shoe string budgets we have. It was an Indian adaptation of Speilberg’s ET and Rakesh Roshan tried his level best to give us a bankable super hero in the form of Rohit (Hrithik). The otherwise ridiculed Hrithik’s character was given a new lease of life with extra powers by an extra terrestrial living object namely ‘Jadoo’. The relation between Jadoo and Hrithik’s character was heartwarming and the special effects were neatly done.
8 ) Devdas (2002)
Devdas has already been featured on the critic’s list. Refer #8.
7) Rang De Basanti (2006)
(Director: Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra)
In the wake of new age movies, Mehra came up with a taut script which was captivating and unusual. The power which comes with the awakening of group of people is magnanimous and Mehra shown it in its full glory. He draws parallels between the freedom fight movements and anti-corruption movements. For the effective execution of the theme, he took the help of few aimless young men who were confused and irresponsible in their life. Mehra warns us that a second freedom movement is in the offing and we have growing number of social injustices and evils which warrant the attention of today’s youth. To put forth his angst, he took a rather violent path which was similar to that of legendary freedom fighter Bhagath Singh. We have our reservations about that; otherwise, a fantastic film!
6) Taare Zameen Par (2007)
(Director: Aamir Khan)
Taare Zameen Par saw Aamir Khan on the director’s seat for the first time and he proved himself that he’s a very sensitive director. Directing a movie with a child actor as the main protagonist is not an easy feat as only accomplished directors could achieve that. On top of it, the movie dealt with the troubles of a dyslexic kid and it required great restraint from the director to present it with sensitivity and at the same time done away with being overtly touchy. Darsheel Safari became the favorite of the nation post the release; a superstar in his own right. It was heart wrenching to see him going through so much inner turmoil in such a tender age and not too many could hold their tears while watching Shankar Mahadevan’s National Award winning song ‘Maa’. The questions he asked through that song made all the eyes moist in the theatre. The movie also made a strong statement about today’s educational system which is all about the grading and the unbearable pressure.
5) Swades (2004)
Swades has already been featured on the critic’s top 10, please refer #1
4) Lagaan (2001)
Lagaan has already been featured on the critic’s top 10, please refer #2
3) 3 idiots (2009)
(Director: Raj Kumar Hirani)
3 Idiots was a complete entertainer and at the same time it carried a message. Raj Kumar Hirani was always known for his social relevant yet entertaining movies and ‘3 idiots’ followed the tradition. It makes some solid statements about the age old education system in India. Inspired by the Chetan Bhagat book, ‘5 point someone’, it deals with the pressure students face as far as choosing career is concerned. It’s your parents or the demanding society that decide the best career for you and you end up studying one of those courses which are straight ticket to high paying jobs and you lead a bitter existence for the rest of your life. Is everyone prepared for that? Hirani was trying to shed some light in to the otherwise neglected issue and it met with thunderous applause from all quarters. Students across the country could instantly connect with the helplessness shared by the protagonists, all the while enjoying the ‘balatkar’ speech of Omi Vaidya.
2) Jab We Met (2007)
(Director: Imtiaz Ali)
Can Bollywood ever stop making those highly romantic movies for which the industry has been known for a long time? We love to fall in love with the quintessential hero and heroine of Bollywood romantic movies. We want to sing and dance with them and that feeling never changes. Jab We Met is the only typical romantic movie on the list and clearly defines romance we have seen in the last decade. Indians constantly face the east versus west conflicts, especially the youth in the cities. On one hand Speed-dating and live in relationships are catching on fast and at on the other hand we are not yet ready to leave our tender Indian values. Family, parents and every other age old symbols are dear to us. Here comes, Imtiaz Ali, the master story teller who can speak non stop about heart and its little dilemmas for hours, of course after Yash Chopra. He creates an iconic character like Geet who is able to keep you glued to your seat with her inimitable charm and purity. It was a time when we thought film makers stopped writing beautiful roles for a female actor and Imtiaz fleshed out a girl who we all have been waiting for. The typical boy-meets-girl story has its heart set at the right place. Though it was an out and out Kareena film Shahid Kapoor gave ample support in his difficult role which is in fact one of his career bests. It’s not that easy job to stay in the background doing nothing but listening to non-stop Geet. He had to show that he’s recovering from the past wounds and at the same time hopelessly falling in love with Kareena. The soft spoken Aditya and chatter box Geet are extremely likable and audience loved every bit of their interaction which also rekindled our faith in love stories all over again.
1) Kaminey (2009)
(Director: Vishal Bharadwaj)
Kaminey is a strong word and the maverick director Vishal Bharadwaj could not find a better way to express the edginess of this film. Kaminey marked the birth of Shahid, the super star. Those romantic movies Shahid did so early in his career could not help him much to escape the stereotype or to create an identity. Kaminey provided him the much needed raw, mature, heroic, manly aura which transformed him completely in to another league. Vishal Bharadwaj, who is otherwise known for his intense films tread a different path in Kaminey where he introduced dry sarcasm and fun even though the story had much scope for bloodshed and shootouts. ‘Stylish’ is the right word to describe Kaminey. Vishal is known for his penchant for underworld and the undercurrent violence. He also got inspired from the 70’s underworld movies and the brother’s rivalry associated with movies in that era. He created twin brothers Guddu and Charlie who are as different as chalk and cheese and their speech impediment is the only thing they have in common. Though the plot gets extremely complicated with large number of characters towards finale, Vishal managed to make it look as stylish and entertaining as possible. Though Kaminey was meant to be an entertainer Vishal Bharadwaj nevertheless took measures to match up to the brilliance his movies are usually associated with. Rumors were rife that both Shahid and Vishal wanted to do a sequel to Kaminey, we hope that it materializes! After all, who can forget the gyrating ‘Dhan Ta Nan’ which brought the entire nation down with its explosive energy?
Once again, thank you all for giving us company in this long journey. We hope to come up with another interesting poll very soon:)