As far as storytelling is concerned, Bollywood reached a new high this year. A lot of films that hit the theatres in 2013 proved how progressive the Indian cinema is becoming – be it bolder themes, better stories or innovative ways of filming. Choosing to not go by mere box office collections, MensXP brings to you an exclusive list of the best Bollywood films of 2013.
10. Aashiqui 2
Movie-goers would’ve thought ‘Aashiqui 2’ would be another disappointing sequel given that Aditya Roy Kapur and Shradhha Kapoor had no brilliant performances to their credit. But the film left the audiences more than impressed. The music was already a hit amongst the masses and still continues to hog the 2013 chartbuster list. Shradhha Kapoor’s spotless beauty and performance as the love-struck middle class girl won accolades from all movie-goers. With his breakthrough performance, Aditya Roy Kapur as the brooding, alcoholic lover caught everyone’s eye and entered the league of the hottest guy in Bollywood. Not even once did Mohit Suri’s style of story telling let this heard-before romance go overboard!
9. Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani
There are films that stir you from within, and then there are those that make you feel good. Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani may be ridden with clichés, but the plot centring on a man who never wants to settle down with one particular thing did manage to strike a chord with the young. It may not be a thought-provoking piece of art, but it never promised to be one. YJHD delivered exactly what it promised through trailers – entertainment, fun and some foot-tapping music. The film had the correct amount of drama, emotions, substance and light-heartedness. Not to mention, praise-worthy performances by most of the cast, especially Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Aditya Roy Kapur.
Based on the life of the assassinated lawyer and human rights activist, Shahid Azmi, this Hansal Mehta film was an exceptional example of meaningful cinema in 2013. A moving performance by Raj Kumar Yadav and an engaging plot left the audiences speechless after the show was over. Critics were all praises for this masterpiece. Even though ‘Shahid’ wasn’t one of the highest grossing films of 2013, it was undoubtedly one of the most critically acclaimed films.
This love saga of a Hindu Tamil priest and a Muslim girl needs a special mention. After infecting the nation with ‘Kolaveri Di’, Dhanush proved his mettle as an actor with ‘Raanjhanaa’. His brilliant performance as one-sided lover obsessing over Sonam Kapoor won him many accolades from every movie-goer. The film was brimming with powerful performances by the leads and the side characters alike and the plot was equally strong. The political twist in the second half added the perfect amount of depth and pace in the film. Kundan’s character was as lovable as it was annoying because of his perseverance to woo the lady. Sonam Kapoor, as the girl who just cannot get herself to love the protagonist, showed marked improvement in her performance and A.R. Rehman’s music took the movie a level higher. Executed by the director with praise-worthy finesse, Raanjhanaa stands tall on this list of best Bollywood films of 2013.
6. Madras Café
One of the most underrated films of 2013, it may not have hit the 100 Crore club, but it definitely etched the mind of everyone who went to watch it. Based on the Srilankan civil war, this thriller has striking resemblance to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. John Abraham really outdid himself with this one. This ambitious and brave attempt takes you through the plot matter-of-fact-ly without dramatising it even a bit. The film sticks to its original theme and never wavers off to induce senseless humour. The plot may wander off a little from the real events at times, but it is still one of the most hard-hitting films we saw in 2013.
5. Ram Leela
Sanjay Leela Bhansali returned after a long time and delivered yet another magnificent film. The lavish costumes and larger than life sets redefined grandeur. But never did the visuals take away the attention from either the performances or the plot. Ram and Leela meet, they share a passionate kiss and thus begins the ‘goliyon ki raas-leela’. Very rarely have we seen a romance so fierce! The two lovers are severe – be it in bed or the battlefield. Deepika Padukone was explosive as Leela while Ranveer Singh raised our expectations even more with his performance. The music grows on you over time and transports you back to the dangerously magical world of Ram and Leela where Rajadis and Saneras might still be fighting for blood.
4. Kai Po Che
Based on Chetan Bhagat’s ‘The 3 Mistakes Of My Life’, ‘Kai Po Che’ revolved around three best friends who set out to start their own sports academy and shop. It tracks down their friendship as it is uprooted by some religious upheavals. Packed with brilliant performances by all the three leads, this tear-jerking film left the movie-goers choked. A very insightful take on how dreams, aspirations and friendships alter and suffer at the hands of communal hatred, the film was a very thought-provoking attempt.
3. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
One of the finest actors today, Farhan Akhtar and eminent visionary of cinema Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra joined hands to give us one of the most prized films of Bollywood. With it’s success, BMB has made an entry into the most amazing biopics of all times. Based on the life of ‘The Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh, BMB showed how the nation wronged its most prestigious athlete. Farhan Akhtar prepared himself mentally and physically to portray Milkha on the 70mm screen and his dedicated was visible. Not even once did the film made it’s long runtime affect the movie-goers’ experience. With exceptionally good cinematography and screenplay and moving performances by everyone in the film, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is the most inspiring film we’ve seen in a long time.
2. The Lunchbox
This compelling story about a lonely middle aged man and a housewife seeking companionship, comfort and to some extent, love in each other’s letters is extraordinary. The lunchbox as the cupid has an equally big role to play as the two protagonists. Without much said, the scenes speak a thousand words. Veteran Irrfan Khan gets into the skin of Saajan Fernandez and Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shaikh is endearing at his best. Nimrat Kaur is a revelation. The little nuances she holds on to throughout the movie make her performance stand apart. When you can act like nobody’s watching who cares if your legs aren’t as hot as Deepika’s! This heart warming film is sure to make your heart melt.
Undoubtedly the best on this list, Lootera is a film Bollywood will boast of for decades to come. Wonderfully slow paced, this love saga of Pakhi and Varun Srivastava has a rare old world charm. The silence in the film is haunting and the jolting performances by everyone, including the surprise package Sonakshi Sinha will leave you speechless. The plot is loosely based on O. Henry’s ‘The Last Leaf’ does entire justice to the short story. Setting his film in the early 50s, Vikramaditya Motwane effortlessly makes the film glide from Manikpur to Dalhousie, making your heart pulsate whenever Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi come on screen together. Be it the cinematography, the pace, the locations or the look – ‘Lootera’ gets it all right to perfection.