Cinema 2019

Some of the Hindi films that hit the screens in 2019 include “Bharat,” “De De Pyar De,” “Notebook” and “Student Of The Year” among others. (photo provided)

MUMBAI— Half the year has gone, and in our last feature, we looked at how the films fared and even why they became blockbusters, hits, successes, flop and disasters. It is now time to look at the standout work in these six months.

Three Best Films

Heading the list is “De De Pyar De” (Director: Akiv Ali) that was decidedly even worth a revisit. Great performances, slick treatment, and truly fine comedy were its assets.

“Gully Boy” (Director: Zoya Akhtar) was technically a better film in many ways and had a serious edge to it. But it remains among the toppers of the first half. I admired the film more than “De De Pyar De,” but I took home more of the former for its progressive stance narrated in a supremely entertaining yet warm-hearted manner.

“The Tashkent Files” (Director: Vivek Agnihotri) comes in at third place – a small molehill of a film that won a mountain of appreciation. Crisp research and unostentatious execution did the trick.

Honorable Mentions: “Badla,” “Kesari” and “URI: The Surgical Strikes”

Three Best Real / Bio-pic / Political / Historical films

We saw a disproportionate lot of such films, especially until May, and leading by a wide margin was those mentioned above “The Tashkent Files.” Coming a tight second was the biggest hit of the year, “URI: The Surgical Strike” that caught the mood of the nation like no other film, and in third place was “Kesari.” We will rule out “Thackeray” here as it was an essentially Marathi film also shot as a bilingual. Otherwise, there would have been a tie in the third place.

Three Best Performances (Male)

Ranveer Singh in “Gully Boy” was a stunner and showed another facet of his seemingly limitless range. Shahid Kapoor in “Kabir Singh” was a total revelation. And Ayushmann Khurrana in “Article 15” was flawless.

Honorable Mentions: Amitabh Bachchan (“Badla”), Salman Khan (“Bharat”) and Ajay Devgn (“De De Pyar De”)

Three Best Performances (Female)

We would place Katrina Kaif in the top slot for “Bharat” – she really worked hard on all aspects of the complex role. She was followed by the no-nonsense Alia Bhatt in “Gully Boy.” The sympathetic Tabu, as well as the ardent Rakul Preet Singh in “De De Pyar De”, were both close thirds.

Honorable mentions: Taapsee Pannu (“Badla”) and Ananya Panday (“Student Of The Year 2”)

Three Best Supporting Artistes

The first place will easily go to Siddhant Chaturvedi in “Gully Boy.” He was almost to the rapper born. Sunil Grover in “Bharat” and Manoj Pahwa in “Article 15” were in second and third place for their endearing and lethal turns respectively. There was no female supporting actor who came up to their levels.

Honorable mentions: Mithun Chakraborty (“The Tashkent Files”), Paresh Rawal (“URI: The Surgical Strike”)

Three Best Music Scores / Songs

“Gully Boy” with a bevy of composers comes in though there was no song that will stay the course. The lyrics and music were, however, an extension of the script and dialogues, and that is what a film score should be. Barring this, there were only sporadic tracks – “Bekhayali” (wish it had been much less loud) and “Yeh Aaina” in “Kabir Singh” and “Tere Mitti” from “Kesari” that connected as a package of lyrics and music.

Three Best Newcomers

Ananya Panday won hands down for “Student Of The Year 2,” but Pranutan Bahl (“Notebook”) was handicapped by a dull film. In third place was Tara Sutaria, Panday’s co-heroine, who was given step-motherly treatment.

Zaheer Iqbal (“Notebook” again) was the “best” new male actor because he had no real competition and won what was practically a one-horse race.

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