Best and worst Hindi movies of 2009

Posted by Anantha | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Friday, January 15, 2010


In 2009, I have watched 20 movies in theater (to be precise 13 Hindi, 4 Kannada and 3 English). That's more than 1.5 movie per month on an average. That is really a huge amount of time and money I have spent for movies in theater compared to any other year in the past. Though I usually post the reco/review of a movie I have watched, I could not do it for all the good/bad/worse movies I watched in 2009. As the year 2009 has ended, here is my pick of some best and worst movies of the year. I have rated them purely on the basis of how much I liked or hated sitting through those movies, not bothering about their Box Office collections.

Best 5 Hindi movies
5. Luck by Chance
Dir: Zoya Akthar
* cast: Farhaan Akthar, Konkana Sen Sharma, Rishi Kapoor and a whole bunch of cameos
A classic cover drive to the fence off the first ball by Zoya!
This is a story very very well told about a struggling actor becoming successful in his career. His talent combined with his street-smartness and also luck playing a major role in his success, but in the bargain he loses his girlfriend who had supported him in his tough times. The movie seriously makes us ponder over some of the important questions like, 'what is success?', 'Is is OK to compromise on some values to achieve it?', 'What role does luck play in our lives?', 'Does always a street smart opportunistic guy outsmarts the hardworking guys in the race of life?' etc etc. All this with a mockery of the stereotypes in Bollywood to make you LOL, the movie is a great watch. Though Farhan Akthar gets pretty much predictable with his expressions, but suits best for the role of Vikram (This role landed in Farhan's kitty after most of the Bollywood biggies declined it). Konkana Sen Sharma is just brilliant and I have no second thoughts to say she is the best actress we have in Bollywood today.

Scene to watch out for:
Check out the scene where Isha Shervani tries to seduce Farhan in his hotel room. I call this a sheer act of brilliance by Zoya to think of such a scene where Isha had to be shown with a childish charm but at the same time she had to be portrayed that she is not as dumb as she looks.

4. Dev-D
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
* cast: Abhay Deol, Mahi Gill, Kalki Koechlin
What initially was a storyline proposed by Abhay Deol to Anurag Kashyap about a boy falling in love with a stripper in LA was later groomed into a totally different and very bold version of Devdas, compared to all the other adaptations of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay's novel. Shifting the locale of a Bengali Brahmin, Devdas Mukherjee of 1900s to a spoilt Punjabi brat, Devender Singh Dhillon of the modern times is really commendable. Comprehending to the complex relationship Dev shares with Parminder and Chanda, movie is quite dark and layered and also abstract in many places.

Song to check out:
No... not emosanal atyaachaar, Im tired of it. Listen to 'Payaliya..' sung by one named Shruthi Pathak. I liked her husky voice as much as the song.

3. Kaminey
Dir: Vishal Bharadwaj
* cast: Shahid, Priyanka
I am not really sure if Vishal Bharadwaj has consciously adapated Guy Ritchie or Torantino's style of movie making in Kaminey. But what I am really sure about is, Vishal Bharadwaj is one of the best directors in the industry today.
The story is about twin brothers Guddu, a stutterer and Charlie, a lisp, who would be living their own happy lives in Mumbai with former working in an NGO which fights against AIDS and latter working as a horse race bookie until one day when fate decides to intertwine their lives with a regionalist politician, two police cops, two African drug peddlers, an Indian drug lord and 3 Bengali brothers! Shahid, for me was good in playing both the roles, but was not excellent. Priyanka Chopra was superb as Sweetie. Tenzing Nima as Tashi and Amol Gupte as Bhope Bhau are surprisingly brilliant. The movie has a great music score composed by Vishal Bharadwaj himself.

Dance step to check out for:
In the song Raat ke dhaayi baje, check out Priyanka in typical Maratha bridal green saree doing 'that particular step'. U know what I mean.. :)

2. Wake Up Sid
Dir: Ayan Mukerji
* cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Konkana Sen Sharma
Another promising director forays into Bollywood! The story of a slacker was never told so well before. Yes, we had Lakshya, but I felt Wake Up Sid is way better. A perfect casting of Ranbir as a slacker, Konkana as a strong headed career oriented girl living with her own petty insecurities, Supriya Pathak as a doting mother who tries hard to bond with her son by speaking in faulty English, Anupam Kher as a caring but concerned father - the casting could not have been better. With many of the nuances of human behaviour and relationships well depicted, I liked this movie a lot. A last word on Ranbir, I was surprised to see him slipping into the skin of Sid so well and with such an ease.

Song to check out for:
No doubt 'Iktara..' sung by Kavita Seth is brilliant, but the Punjabi male version of the same song sung by Tochi Raina is utterly soulful.

1. 3 Idiots
Dir: Rajkumar Hirani
* cast: Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Boman Irani
I rate this movie the best of 2009 not because movie is flawless, not because there are no unquestionable scenes but for entertaining me and indulging me into the movie for every minute of it. I think Raju Hirani has mastered the art of preparing a heady concoction for any screenplay - with great concept and a message to convey, with enough twists, some great lump in throat moments, superb humour, some special 'Hirani Tadka' and last but not the least, a consistent 'flow' of the story. 40+ year old Aamir has adapted some mannerisms to slip into the body of an engineering student, but according to me Boman Irani beats Aamir in this area. Boman was exceptional as Dr Asthana in Munnabhai and he matches that performance here as Viru Sahastrabuddhe!

Accent to check out for:
Every word Chatur Ramalingam utters in his Uganda born, Pondicherry brought up accent is hilarious.

The movies that deserve a special mention are: Paa, Gulaal, Love Aaj Kal
The movie that I missed watching: Rocket Singh

After the best, now comes the turn of the worst. Wherein the above movies were the best of 2009, the below are the worst among the 13 Hindi movies I saw. There were many other worst movies that were made to torture the audience, but these are the tortures I went through.

Worst 3 Hindi movies
3. All The Best
Dir: Rohit Shetty
* cast: Ajay Devgan, Sanjay Dutt, Fardeen Khan
First of all stop calling Rohit Shetty a new master of comedy. Only Golmal was his best (that too was a remake of a Malayalam movie), Golmal Returns was miserable and then All the best is a classic torture. Making a comedy movie is the most difficult thing, watch this movie to see how director and actors fail to make you laugh.

2. Wanted
Dir: Prabhudeva
* cast: Salman Khan and Ayesha Takia
I have said enough about this movie here.

1. London Dreams
Dir: Vipul Shah
* cast: Ajay Devgan, Salman Khan, Asin
Why the hell this movie is so silly!?! Not a single sequence made any sense to me. The so called friendship between Salman and Ajay looks so synthetic, the so called ego clash between them looks funny!, Ajay introducing Salman to drugs and Salman coming out of the habit is hilarious!!, the gem of all this is Asin as a 'dancer' in a Rockband!!!

Trek to Bandaje falls - Part 2

Posted by Anantha | Posted in , , | Posted on Thursday, January 07, 2010


Renting a 'farmhouse'
Walking down for few hundreds of meters with the help of marks that we made on the tree trunks, this time we saw the door of that house open. I went there and spotted a lady there. She said the falls is not that far away from there but she also said from her house we had gone in an opposite direction to the falls! It was disheartening to hear that. I wish some one was here in that house when I had come there while trekking up, we would have reached the falls by then. The sky opened up and big drops of water started falling on the dry leaves on the ground with a thud. With that our last option of trekking down also withered. By then the lady gave us a ray of hope that in the supposed to be direction of falls, there is an empty outhouse owned by a family living close by. That news was sunshine for us in that heavy rain. The lady asked us to follow her, as she herself had to go to that house. On crossing the bamboo fence of that house, she pointed her fingers towards the outhouse saying that was the one she was referring to. We all looked at each other thinking, there could not have been a better ending to our trekking for the day and to celebrate New Year if we get that house for a night's stay. We crossed a small stream of water and entered the house of our potential tenant for the night. There lived an old farmer's family. The lady who had brought us there, explained our situation and requested the outhouse on our behalf in Tulu to the old lady of the house. Though our heavy bags and drenched bodies had almost convinced her how badly we wanted a roof to spend the night, I started requesting again in Kannada to that old lady. The lady who had come with us cut me short saying the old lady does not understand any language except Tulu (Do not be surprised; There is a huge populace in Daskhina Kannada and Udupi who speak only Tulu and does not understand a bit of Kannada. I had seen so many such people near my aunt's house in Udupi). Hearing that I turned to the old lady and uttered, "Tulu barpujji (don't know Tulu)". Listening to that, the old lady grinned showing her stained teeth and replied, "yenka Kannada barpujji (I do not know Kannada)". That was the verbal rental agreement the four of us made with the old lady and her family. The old chap who knew Kannada unlike his wife, inquired if we had carried food for the dinner. I replied in content saying we have enough food. Byre smacked his lips looking at the brood of hens running around in the yard.

The old lady gave us a broom to clean the outhouse before entering in. Jumping in joy for getting a 'farm house' to spend the night, we thanked the farmer's family as well as the other lady and headed to the outhouse. Opening the latched door, we found a spacious hall with a door to the left leading to kitchen. The entire floor of the house was covered with some bird shit. We spotted few bats clinging upside down to the roof. Byre threw an empty plastic bottle to scare them away. The bats gave away hitherto their residence without any resilience to the unexpected guests. We cleaned the bat shitted dirty floor with the broom, spread the tarpaulin we had carried and threw our bodies on the floor. It was still raining heavily outside, after changing our wet clothes we belted Jowar rotis, Sharath had packed for all of us. Tired bodies caught sleep soon after the late lunch we had. After an hour or so we all woke up and saw the rain had stopped, Sun had set. We all went to the nearby stream to freshen up. Returning to the outhouse, we lit a candle. Sitting around the candle we chattered till we started feeling hungry..

Needless to say, the trek to Bandaje falls was a flop. But who cares! Four friends sitting around a candle in a cozy room in the cold night of the Western Ghats munching delicious food to greet a New Year.. I don’t think it could have been better.

Trek to Bandaje falls - Part 1

Posted by Anantha | Posted in , , | Posted on Tuesday, January 05, 2010


First of all, I want to wish all the readers a very happy and wishful new year.

Here is an account of another wild New Year eve celebration with my close buddies. As we friends do every year, this time too we had plans of welcoming the New Year atop any hill or amidst any thick jungle. The plan was to trek to Bandaje Falls near Ujire (near Dharmasthala).

Byre, Sharath, Pujar and me boarded a red KSRTC bus to Dharmasthala on 30th night at 11 PM. The ride was smooth till the bus crossed Sakleshpur. The road after that till Dharmasthala churned out all the internal organs of our bodies not letting us even blink our eyes for the rest of the night. We reached Dharmasthala around 6 AM. The place seemed to be crowded with most of the guest houses and hotels hanging out 'No Rooms' board near the reception. Lord Manjunatha being Byre's family deity, he has been to Dharmasthala umpteen times. He knew every inch of the place and led us to a guest house where he was sure of getting a room. We alighted our heavy bags, freshened up in the shared rest rooms of the guest house. After resting for a while there and having the most terrible breakfast of my life we headed towards Ujire in bus. About the shared rest rooms, terrible breakfast available in the hotels of Dharmasthala and the Darshan we had of the Lord on the next day, I am planning to write a separate blog post, because it deserves at least some hundreds of words to describe what I under went and what I feel about the place!

It was surprising that some locals and auto drivers in Ujire, seemed unaware of Bandaje falls! From the details we had collected from the net, it was said that one has to go to a place called Mundaje from where the trail starts towards Bandaje falls. We hired an auto from Ujire to Mundaje, till the point we saw a board reading Bandaje falls. Bandaje falls is visible from this point, at least a kilometer right to the highest peak in the range of mountains. In many of the blogs and sites, it was advised to hire a guide to the falls from a local landlord named Narayana Gowda. The board had his contact number too. Underestimating the dense jungle trek to the falls, we planned not to hire any guide but to explore the route on our own. The auto guy was kind enough to give us some tips to camp near the falls during the night. He also warned us about the wild elephants on the route to Bandaje Falls. The four of us started our trek with our heavy bags loaded with food, water bottles, sleeping bags and other necessary items to survive in the wild.

Raise to the falls
The hot merciless Sun of coastal Karnataka shone above our heads. We kept walking on the mud road, reconfirming the route from the unfamiliar but friendly faces peeping out from the stranded tile roof houses. The distinct brownish red colored tile roofs amidst the green Areca nut plantations in Karavali and MalenaaDu region are always a treat for the eyes. After walking on the mud road nearly for 4 Kms, we got what we believed as Narayana Gowda's house. Firm on our decision of exploring the route on our own, we did not stop at Narayana Gowda's house for a guide. After walking for a while, the mud road narrowed down to the gate of a house. Inquiring there, we were told to follow the main trail to reach the Bandaje falls. I know that is really a vague way to direct some one when the path itself is less traveled. After freshening up near the stream of water there, we marched ahead in the Areca nut plantations which appeared to belong to the house where we had last asked for the directions to the falls. We hit the hedge of the plantations with no clear path beyond that. That is when Sharath murmured, "I think it is better to hire a guide"...

We walked back for few meters and took the deviation from where the hedge had a clear trail further up the jungle. At that point, we thought that was the last point of civilization and we would be facing the wild jungle from then on. But later we got to know that there were many other houses hiding their roofs in the greenery of the Western Ghats. After crossing the hedge, it got steeper and all of us started sweating profusely except Byre. I have trekked for hours together with Byre earlier too, what I have noticed is he does not sweat out a single drop of saline from his body pores. I do not know if it is some rare disease or some thing ;), but it feels so awkward to see a fellow trekker without a droplet of sweat on his forehead when the rest are profusely sweating. The sight of the peak and Bandaje falls was hidden behind the thick canopy long back. It was a combination of our instincts, sense of direction and the pale trail which was the 'guiding' force for the rest of our trek.

Trek n untrek
There were many deviations that kept confusing us. In all such moments, one or two of us would go in each of the directions for few meters and find out if there was a distinct trail ahead or not. Also, we used to scrape the trunk of a tree as a mark of the path we took, thinking it would help us while trekking back. This act of doing and undoing continued till 2:30PM. The sky which was bright and sunny when we had started the trek turned out dark and cloudy. We spotted a house there - While Sharath and Byre explored the trail further, Pujar and I went near the fence of the house to ask for the directions of the falls. Unfortunately no one was there in the house to answer us and we had to again rely on our 'guiding' force to trek ahead. The trail led us to the thick jungle from there on and the ticking clock and the dark sky made us rethink our decision to continue our trek to the falls. All of us sat down munching some snacks and discussed about our altered plan. It was evident that we had given up the idea of going to Bandaje Falls by then. The concern then was to find a safe shelter in case it starts pouring down. This time we did not have tent and all we had was a tarpaulin. Knowing the frenzy of the rains in Western Ghats we thought of trekking down before it starts pouring.

(to be contd...)