The best of Hindi cinema in 2017

This is the year when superstars have failed to shine at the box office but small budget movies earned all the love.

Updated - December 26, 2017 08:42 pm IST

Published - December 26, 2017 04:41 pm IST

I liked  Rangoon’s  take on how cinema or art can’t entirely exist in a vacuum, and how it will be taken over by the urgencies of the times. I enjoyed the identity politics and subversiveness in the return of the anti-Establishment hero in  Raees .

I nodded at the roti-making hero of  Jolly LLB 2  and was just as taken in by the flawed and transgressive heroine in  Simran.  The musical set-pieces of  Jagga Jasoos  captivated me   as did the new sensory dimension — the overwhelming sense of smell — in  Sniff.

The friendships and Mumbai city of  Tu Hai Mera Sunday , the mother-daughter bonding of  Secret Superstar , the quirky almost-love of  Qareeb Qareeb Singlle  and a housewife defying domesticity in  Tumhari Sulu  reached out as well. As did the razor sharp writing of Shubh Mangal Saavdhan.

However, in the year of the indies, debutants and women filmmakers, the off-mainstream, small films made for a far more overpowering experience. Some of these I had seen last year itself but they found a release in 2017. Here is my team of 11 for the year, in alphabetical order:

A Death In The Gunj : Marvellously measured piece of filmmaking, a heart-breaking tale of tragic dissipation.

Anaarkali of Aarah : Rough, rustic and rooted take down of misogyny that strongly underscores consent.

CRD : Audacious, eccentric filmmaking; experimental exploration of fascism and fierce competition in the world of arts.

G Kutta Se : A no holds barred, brutal look at gender politics through three stories set in Haryana.

Gurgaon : A Gurgaon noir in which the city becomes a microcosm for wastelands of all kinds — literal and metaphorical; physical, psychological and emotional.

Lipstick Under My Burkha : Everyday repressions, parallel lives and furtive rebellions; of/for/by women.

Mukti Bhawan : A journey in search of salvation holds a mirror to our own fractious families and the awkward reconciliations negotiated in its fold.

Newton : Cocks a snook at everything — from ballots, polling and democracy to  the country’s political and administrative machinery, the CRPF and the insurgents; even the great Indian middle-class and the eccentric hero. Only the troubled tribals are spared.

Ribbon : An unwavering, peeping-hole view of an urban marriage bolstered by some fabulous, unprocessed performances.

Trapped : Scary urban fable about the dangers of being marooned in the safety of your own home.

Turup (Checkmate) : Crowd-funded, crowd-directed, crowd-acted, the film by the Ektara Collective of Bhopal looks at religion, caste, class and gender debates in the backdrop of growing fundamentalism. And boasts of one of the year’s best soundtracks courtesy Kabir musicians of Dewas — Dev Narayan Saroliya, Kaluram Bamniya and Narayanji Delmia.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.