Rewind 2021 | Favorite Malayalam Films

When the Pandemic came and hit us from nowhere in 2020, cinema was possibly one of the most impacted industries in terms to figuring out how to take quality and commercials forward. The entire world came to a standstill and naturally the impact of cinema was widely evident. So much so, that even the Malayalam film industry that has been consistently producing the best cinema in India for a few years now struggled to find its feet. After a terrific 2019 and host of brilliant movies, 2020 was relatively listless for them. But they came back in 2021 and how! 2021 will possibly go down as one of the strongest years of content for the Malayalam film industry and they played the game very smart by ensuring that most of their quality content was available through the leading OTTs of the country and hence they ensured that their consumer base increased far and wide all across India, initiating several cinema lovers to their magic. They played around with genres, periods, storytelling styles but always ensured that the content was always rooted to the local culture, always touched hearts and stirred souls. The plethora of excellent choices they offered also has inspired me to make an exclusive list of my 10 favorite Malayalam films of 2021 for the first time.

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Rewind 2021 | Favorite Hindi Films

2021 has not been a good year for hindi films. As the year was mostly spent in waiting for unlocking of theatres, most of the content was made available to us more through the OTT platforms and less through theatrical releases. But that was not really an excuse for great content not being available to us, as in a parallel universe, Malayalam film industry was dishing out gems after gems (more on that later). Yes there were a couple of exceptional films, but for the times where there is scope to experiment with so much of different kind of content, it is a shame that not much in Hindi cinema flashed this year. So here goes a round up of what worked and what did not work for Hindi films for me this year. Will keep this to just listing of the films for this year (with a link to the individual reviews if a detailed write up was done). As always this is a very personal list, and my 10 favorite films of 2021 is based on what I could watch based on availability on public platforms (and I have not watched a lot of available films by choice too).

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Rewind 2021 | Favorite Indian Web Series

2021 was yet another year in our lives where most of us were locked up for a large part of the year in our homes and most of the entertainment that was available to us also came through OTT platforms. This included both movies and web series and there was more content up there to consume than time available to get to all of them. Quantity however did not commensurate with quality and the web series content particularly paled given the previous year had given us content like Panchayat and Scam 1992. There were a few web series however that were really good and stood out on merit of their making and performances, and here we look at the 5 Best Indian Web Series of the year. This is again a very personal list and based on what I have watched in the year. It is hence worthwhile to mention that while in cinema, I indulged into a lot of great movies from all over India including Malayalam, Tamil, Marathi etc., my web series watching for Indian shows was more restricted to Hindi, English and Bangla only, so the list will be reflective of that. Also to be noted that there are a couple of critically acclaimed series that I have not watched this year and hence cannot comment how they are. This includes the hindi show Family Man Season 2 (skipped it because Season 1 did not work for me) and bangla web series Mandar (on the watchlist but haven’t got there yet). So based on whatever I have seen and liked, here goes my top picks for the year.

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Rewind 2021 | Favourite Hindi Songs

2021 has been a disappointing year as far as Hindi film music is concerned. In fact, we can extend it to say that 2021 was as such disappointing for Hindi films too (other than one exceptional film, and a few good ones), but more on that later. Coming back to music, there wasn’t one single album which could even claim that it had three or four real good songs. Most of the times it was one good song here, another decent song there. Even the albums like Atrangi Re that had solid names associated with it finally delivered only a couple of good songs. As an album, Meenakshi Sundareshwar was possibly the best of lot with two or three very good songs, lot of freshness, but then there was so much mediocre and forgettable music all around, that anything slightly more melodious than the rest stayed back. One has to mention about the background score of Sardar Udham though, that was as brilliant as the film was, even though it didn’t have good songs in the offer and rightfully so. There were a few surprises thrown in from unlikely quarters, but overall the music scene was just dull. So much so that when I sat down to compile the best hindi songs of the year, I could not get to 10 songs even. So, here goes my pick of 7 Best Hindi Songs of 2021. It is of course a very personal list, and your choices could be very different than mine. Also it is not a ranked list in any chronology.

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Top 12 Indian Films of 2021 – Mid Year Check Point

So just like that, six months of 2021 are already gone. And while we had hoped at the beginning of the year that 2021 would be the year of life opening up again including our regular visits back to the cinemas, sadly that was not to happen. The six months went by with us locked up in the corners of our homes, and watching a lot of cinema that saw their releases across digital platforms – big and small, across languages, genres and themes. There has been a lot to appreciate in what we consumed, quite a bit to feel disappointed, but the overall feeling has been of hope because cinema is becoming far more universal crossing the boundaries of languages and geographies and speaking to our sensibilities with their global human themes. As we are at the mid year checkpoint of 2021, here is then looking at a dozen films that stood out at the top, appealing the most to my sensibilities and making a very strong mark. As always, this is a very subjective list and may not match up with your favorites for the year, but it would be wonderful to know what were your favorite films of the year so far, so that I can also catch up on anything that I would have missed out.

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15 Best Performances from Hindi Web Series of 2020

2020 is the year that will be possibly remembered more for its web series content than films. As the world shrinked to the confines of home, people found comfort and engagement in long format story telling, a format that helps the characters to take it slow, breathe and show their complete character arcs. The content creators also upped the game, and created shows with some very interesting characters, and soms excellent performances. The year will be remembered also as a breakout for many industry veterans, who have been here for long, but perhaps were waiting for a 2020 to happen to truly win global hearts. Hope they are here to stay.

Here we look at 15 Best Performances from the Hindi Web Series of 2020. We look at it differently from films, because the scope and span of the two formats makes them distinct with very different arcs of individual or ensemble performances. Also, though we talk about 15 top performances, we list the performances from male and female actors separately. Lastly, we do consider some of the series like A Suitable Boy or Churails whose primary language was not Hindi, but the spirit of the characters or their milieu was very comparable to the rest of the content considered.

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10 Best Hindi Films of 2020

2020 can easily be called the year of the Digital. As the pandemic brought the world to a lockdown state by the end of the first quarter, it was only the content on digital that kept the world sane and going one day at a time. With time, more and more completed films found their direct release on digital, with time new digital content started getting developed with the constraints of social distancing, and the audience were treated with a rather diversified platter of engaging content – human stories of hope, heartbreak, struggles and agency. 2020 was also a very brutal year in the way in which it took away so many artists from the field of Performing Arts and Entertainment, and some of these losses were beyond our comprehension. The films featuring those departed souls also left us teary eyed in their own ways.

So here is our pick of the 10 Best Hindi Films of 2020, films that worked in totality, some of them making a part of our repeat watchlists, and many of them going bold and experimental with themes, narration styles, and challenging the status quo without inhobitions. In spite of many big films pushed out to 2021 as they continue to wait for theatrical releases, 2020 didn’t leave us empty handed and gave us some pretty good films to cherish and celebrate. Here’s to more of that in 2021 and beyond.

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10 Best Performances (Female) from Hindi Films of 2020

2020 wasn’t a very easy year for anyone. But one of the biggest pluses of the year as far as cinema was considered is that as films moved to OTT platforms, it became a sort of level playing field for all kinds of cinema, as all content had equal reach in digital, and audience paused to consume the rich variety of themes in offer. The good news was that women were at the center of some of the strongest hindi films of the year, and gave great opportunities to our leading ladies to rise and shine. And they shined across genres, age groups and character arcs through and through.

Here, we pick the 10 Best Performances from Female Actors from Hindi Films of 2020, and we consider all performances irrespective of the length of the roles. These are performances in films only, and we will consider Web Series separately because the scope available for character development is vastly different in both. But there are some really great performances here, some of them the career-best by the actresses, and we can only hope that they continue to evolve from strength to strength in the coming years as well.

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Best of 2020

Best that Films and Series had to offer in 2020 – the index. Will be updated as new posts keep getting added.

15 Best Performances from Hindi Web Series of 2020

10 Best Hindi Films of 2020

10 Best Performances (Female) from Hindi Films of 2020

10 Best Performances (Male) from Hindi Films of 2020

10 Best Hindi Film Songs of 2020

10 Best Performances (Male) from Hindi Films of 2020

In a very unlikely year for cinemas like many other things, where there weren’t too many releases of films at the theatres past the first quarter, enough and more films found releases through the digital platforms – right from films starring the biggest movie stars, to the really small films, to films trying to find a release for years. In a way, due to the special circumstances, the year also provided a level playing field to all kinds of films, all kinds of performances, with them reaching a wider audience in their homes than any other year. Not that 2020 will be remembered as an extremely strong year for Hindi Films, but there were quite a few performances from these films that left a strong impression, some a lot more than the others.

Here, we pick the 10 Best Performances from Male Actors from Hindi Films of 2020, and we consider all performances irrespective of the length of the roles. They came from actors young and old, playing varried shades of characters, and they all made traversing through 2020 a little more easier. We will consider Web Series separately because it is not fair to compare film performances with series as the scope available is vastly different in both. But here’s wishing that these talented actors continue to give us stronger performances in the days to come.

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