Nikhil Kuruganti: Hits and Pits By Rajeev Masand

Hits and Pits By Rajeev Masand

The following article is no way mine.. but of Rajeev Masand.. the critique i always liked. So here are the hits and pits of 2009

It would be a lie to describe 2009 as anything but a disappointing year for quality cinema. Good films were few and far between, and box-office successes were also hard to come by this year. Big stars disappointed with big-budget turkeys, and unlike 2008 which threw up at least a few pleasant surprises like Mithya, A Wednesday and Welcome To Sajjanpur, this year we didn't discover as many little gems either.

But as is tradition, at the end of every year I pick my personal best and worst films--the Hits and Pits. Based purely on my own personal tastes and opinion, and no reflection on their box-office performance, these are the films that made me laugh and sulk in 2009. So without any further ado, and strictly in no particular order, first up, here's presenting my Hits and Pits of 2009.


KAMINEY: Vishal Bharadwaj's wildly unpredictable crime drama with a Tarantinoesque blend of visceral violence and dark humour. The film boasted spot-on performances from its ensemble cast, and experimented bravely with manic cinematography and edgy lighting. To top it off, Kaminey gave us the anthem of the year.

LUCK BY CHANCE: Zoya Akhtar's layered portrait of the Mumbai film industry, complete with quirky characters and fleeting cameos. Heart-breaking and heart-warming in equal measure, the film cast an honest eye at the grime beneath the glamour, and yet succeeded in oozing affection for its leads. As a bonus, Luck By Chance gave us the best opening credits sequence in years.

WAKE UP SID: Director Ayan Mukherji's refreshing, relatable coming-of-age drama that cemented Ranbir Kapoor's reputation as the finest actor of this generation. Cool, light and easy, the film was packed with endearing moments and charming characters that leapt out of the script and came alive on screen thanks to intuitive casting and nuanced performances.

GULAAL: Anurag Kashyap's compelling thriller about campus politics and student activism in a once-royal city. This intricate tale of deceit, desire and corruption simmered with a slow-burning passion, driven largely by the performances of its key players and the sheer beauty of Rajasthan's varied landscape. Seldom has an actor held you captive by his performance the way Abhimanyu Singh did as the rakish Ransa in Gulaal.

ROCKET SINGH SALESMAN OF THE YEAR: Shimit Amin's cheerfully optimistic drama shattered the old "greed is good" dictum, and delivered a life-affirming reassurance about the importance of basic goodness. A solid cast breathed life into the film's flesh-and-blood characters, and we were reminded once again, than script is king.


BLUE: Director Anthony D'souza's damp squib of an underwater adventure in which the only things lazier than a potbellied Sanjay Dutt were the indifferent sharks that circled around a meaningless treasure. Low on thrills and basic common sense even, the film offered nothing but travel brochure-style photography of the Bahamas' beaches.

CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA: Nikhil Advani's unimaginative East-meets-East comedy sacrificed both logic and coherence to emerge but a poor cousin of that martial arts-laugh fest, "Kung Fu Hustle". Those never-ending gags couldn't make up for the absence of a script, and even Akshay Kumar's occasionally inspired goofiness didn't compensate for the sheer exhaustion you felt watching this film.

WHAT'S YOUR RAASHEE: Ashutosh Gowariker's humorless comedy about bride-hunting by horoscope clocked in at an excruciating 3 hours and 40 minutes, packing in every Gujarati stereotype you could possibly think of. Too many mediocre songs and repetitive scenes turned it into an endurance test for the viewer, and sadly the only award Priyanka Chopra deserved in the end was a medal of bravery for making a fool of herself. Twelve times over.

LUCK: Director Soham Shah's misadventure involving death-defying challenges and human betting turned into an unintentional comedy thanks to corny dialogue and wooden acting. Bad enough the action scenes lacked tension, "Luck" came with the stupidest climax you could possibly imagine: Imran Khan's character escapes death despite being shot at point blank range, because - listen carefully - turns out he's one in a small minority of people whose heart is on his right side, not left.

KAMBAKKHT ISHQ: Director Sabbir Khan's mind-numbing battle-of-the-sexes featured more crude language and sexual innuendo than you'll hear at a bachelor party. A haggard Sylvester Stallone and a smattering of Hollywood B-listers made an appearance in this ridiculous romantic-comedy whose lead couple clashes over an ill-fated musical watch that is inadvertently left inside a living person.

Of course there were several more films that I enjoyed and hated. I have fond memories of Firaaq, Dev D, Delhi 6, Chintuji, All The Best, Aladin, 3 Idiots and Paa.

Each offered something new, something exciting in those hundreds of hours I spent inside the cinema these past 12 months. Also, how can I forget such titles as London Dreams, Do Knot Disturb, Dil Bole Hadippa, Main Aur Mrs Khanna, 8x10 Tasveer, Shortcut and Victory, each of which gave me a migraine or an upset stomach or both. They're all very worthy candidates in the hall of shame. These are, of course, MY personal choices, feel free to send in your own list of 'Hits and Pits of 2009'.

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