TREND Bollywood’s quarterly update proves that small is the new big. SUDHISH KAMATH on how the films scored simply because of the script

Until about three years ago, critics often had a tough time finding 10 good films for their year-end list. Films they could remember the year by, without looking back with the slightest embarrassment. Which is why it is a pleasant surprise to look back at the first quarter and smile at the number of good films Bollywood has brought out already. Films that both critics and the public have liked.

Which is a strange phenomenon because popular opinion and critical opinion are often poles apart. Barring Kahaani , critics have rarely approved of any other 100 crore grossing film!

But this year, April is barely over and we have already have five, if not 10, films that we have all liked. Films with no big stars, just medium budget films with great scripts. Take a look.

Kai Po Che

Abhishek Kapoor’s adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s novel Three Mistakes of My Life looks like the film Bollywood will need to beat. Loved by critics and viewers alike, this bittersweet tale of friendship and India tugs at the heartstrings as three new actors — Rajkumar Yadav, Amith Sadh and Sushant Singh Rajput — packed a wallop into a well crafted, finely written drama.

Mere Dad Ki Maruti

Another film with all new comers to completely hit us out of the blue, this coming of age film directed by Ashima Chibber, set in Chandigarh, swept us off our feet with its innocence and charm with a relatively simple plot. Kids trying to cover up for the brand new car they lost on the eve of the wedding in the family, especially when the car is actually a gift to the groom! Ram Kapoor, Saqeeb Saleem, Prabhal Panjabi... The actors are fantastic. A laugh riot.

Special 26

Not the typical Akshay Kumar, this heist film from Neeraj Pandey, the director of A Wednesday , is a blast with its ensemble cast as Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee and Jimmy Shergill steal our hearts. It is full of smarts, bursting with excitement and is told with a superb pace interrupted only by songs and an unwarranted love story in the subplot. Minus these box office compulsions that come with star baggage, this could be our own version of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise.

Matru Ki

Bijli Ka

Mandola

This Vishal Bhardwaj film was a drunken riot. Extremely funny in parts, this was a tad inconsistent in tone and sensibility but there is no denying that this was certainly one of the most offbeat, crazy, absolutely zany films in recent times. Also, Pankaj Kapur. Enough said. Catch up on DVD if you still haven't.

Jolly LLB

Dealing with a rather dark premise, this courtroom drama directed by Subhash Kapoor kept it light and palatable as it took a closer look at our judicial system, blending elements of satire with drama. Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani totally make it worth our while as the film plays out just the kind of case we read about in the news.





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