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Year End 2019 – Best of the Year and the Decade

It is that time of the year when we start looking back at the Best of films, performances and music of the year. This year is special as we are also winding up a decade, and hence we will also retrospect across the entire decade over the next couple of months and come up with the Best of films, digital content and more over various languages. We will keep appending the links of all such blogs in this index post, so keep watching this space for more:

Best of the Decade (2010 – 2019)

 

Best of the Year 2019

1917 : Spectacle with a Soul

Enough and more has already been said about the awe that you are left with as you experience the cinematic spectacle called 1917, and how the tremendous craftsmanship of Sam Mendes wonderfully integrates everything from the ‘one take‘ cinematography in constantly changing war terrain, to impeccable battlefield action choreographed against mighty impressive warzone design, to terrific editing, to pitch perfect sound design and background score, to deliver the most compelling and visually enthralling theatrical experience in a long long time.

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CHHAPAAK : Gruelling Horror, Triumphant Human Spirit, & A Deeply Moving Experience

It has been a few hours now since I have watched Chhapaak, Meghna Gulzar‘s new film based on acid violence, and inspired by the journey of Laxmi Agarwal – right from the horrific attack, her painful fight back, and her plunging into the larger cause to arrest the issue at its root. Yes it has been a few hours, and I still haven’t gathered myself to write in detail about it. It has been an overwhelming experience and the horror of what unfolded on the screen for two hours is still seeping deep into my skin, still shaking me up and the shock is difficult to come out from. The film feels so disturbingly real from its first frame to last – the trauma almost leaves you feel violated, but at the same time you can’t look away from these tremendous champions of life and their amazing story of hope.

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Happy Birthday Basu Chatterjee!

The world of Hindi Cinema has got a lot of its simplistic and heart felt beauty courtesy the warm and endearing cinema of Basu Chatterjee. Along side Hrishikesh Mukherjee, he made those evergreen everyday commoner stories that we could all relate to, revolving around protagonists who were so very you and me. A Chhoti si Baat, Baaton Baaton Me, Khatta Meetha or a Rajanigandha hence become any time watches for many. As we watched and rewatched, we fell more and more in love with the films, and with life. At the same time, there is the brilliantly adapted Ek ruka huya faisla, or Swami, or Apne Paraye in his filmography as well which have their own emotional and cinematic appeal, all attacking very different topics. With Kamla ki Maut, a story and a style was chosen much ahead of the times. That is the versatile talent of the man, as much as we try to box him within a sugary sweet zone.

Happy 90th birthday Basu’da! The treasure chest of Hindi cinema looks far more richer for the gems you added to it.

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Copyright ©2020 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

GHOST STORIES : When Fear Gets The Makers

The first film of 2020 starts on a disappointing note. The latest of the anthology series by Zoya-Anurag-Dibakar-Karan, Ghost Stories, is their weakest collaborative effort so far (scaringly enough the trend on quality is downward with every passing film). Horror isn’t the easiest of genres though, and one needs to have a tight control on the sense of eeriness, atmospherics as well as metaphorical subtext to really make a lasting mark with it. None of these should be overdone just for the sake of it. Horror will only be haunting if one can elevate oneself from the jump scares and gore, and blend in a deep subtext of more relevant societal horror into the expansive play zone that the genre offers. Which is why there are only two shorts in the anthology that actually work.

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Best Bengali Films of 2019 – Ranked

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Unlike Hindi films, 2019 has been an excellent year for Bengali films. There was a lot of great films on offer, and this year in Bengali films is possibly the strongest year for content and quality since 2014. Hence there was enough and more to choose the Top 10 Bengali Films of 2019, and celebrate their richness and overall cinematic appeal.

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Best Performances by Male Actors in Bengali Films of 2019 – Ranked

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For Bengali cinema, 2019 was a year of great films, great stories, and naturally quite a few great characters and performances across the board. The themes explored were across genres, giving scope for wide variety of characters to flourish and actors to explore their potential beyond what is expected from them. It can also be safe to say that 2019 clearly belonged a few artists who dominated the scene from start to end and the two names that shine the brightest are Ritwick Chakraborty and Kaushik Ganguly. But there are other actors as well who repeatedly performed well across films. Hence we look at the Top 10 Male Actors in 2019 who delivered the best of performances across one or many bengali films released this year.

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Best Performances by Female Actors in Bengali Films of 2019 – Ranked

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2019 has been one of the much better years for Bengali films after a rather poor offering of quality films over the last few years. A good indication of the quality of bengali films this year is in the fact that 6 films secured either a listing or an honorable mention in the top 30 bengali films of the decade. Naturally, good films and stories led to several great performances as well, and we see certain actors who repeatedly performed well across films. Hence we look at the Top 10 Female Actors in 2019 who delivered the best of performances across one or many bangla films released this year.

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ROBIBAAR – Delayering Deceit

Through Robibaar, filmmaker Atanu Ghosh wants to take the audience on a journey of delayering love, heartbreak and deceit that are essential elements of the complex human mind. There are shades of black and white in everyone, everyone is struggling with boxed up memories and hasn’t really been able to go forward much with life where it really matters, and the frustration has led to a sense of opportunism in everyone.

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Best Performances by Male Actors in Hindi Films of 2019 – Ranked

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Even though 2019 wasn’t particularly a very strong year for Hindi Films, the reason it turned out good in terms of performances because there were wholesome ensemble films right from Gully Boy to Article 15 to Sonchiriya that had brilliant performances stacked on top of each other. Some films also provided ample scope for very young actors to shine like stars. And then there were films where seasoned actors took a backseat for younger talent to lead the show, but there was still enough and more in them to still be recognized as the best acts of the year. In fact there was so much to choose from that instead of top 10, the decision was to recognize the Top 15 Performances by Male Actors in Hindi Films of 2019.

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Best Performances by Female Actors in Hindi Films of 2019 – Ranked

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2019 was not the greatest of years for Hindi Films, but thankfully the role and scope for female actors continued to evolve. They were anchoring many stories front and center, and even in ensemble films, there were enough and more layers in their characters to stay with you for long. These women were strong and vulnerable at the same time, they were flawed, they were common women with all their issues, and they were deeply relatable. So in spite of being a moderately cold year overall, there was  a plenty of range to love and choose from for picking up the Best Performances by Female Actors in Hindi Films of 2019.

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