2017: The year that was for cinema

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.

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.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:15:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/top-10-hindi-films-of-2017/article22260909.ece

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