THE BEST OF HINDI CINEMA IN A YEAR HIT BY COVID-19
by ASJAD NAZIR
THE number of Bollywood films released in 2020 plummeted and many were forced to premiere straight onto streaming sites, but that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating the best Hindi cinema had to offer during a troubled time hampered by Covid-19.
With that in mind, Eastern Eye looked back across perhaps the most unique year for Bollywood in the modern era and selected the best it had to offer, with a nominees short list and a winner.
Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior
Winner: With 2019’s best Bollywood film Article 15, director Anubhav Sinha highlighted a social issue. He did that again with Thappad, which placed domestic violence at the heart of an engaging film. The powerful drama showed less could be more in the story of a housewife who decides to take a stand.
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (Panga)
Anubhav Sinha (Thappad)
Meghna Gulzar (Chhapaak)
Anu Menon (Shakuntala Devi)
Honey Trehan (Raat Akeli Hai)
Winner: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari reinforced her reputation with Panga. Her third film gave a new spin to the traditional sports drama and told the uplifting story of a housewife who decides to resume her kabbadi career. She brings out real emotion in the heart-warming story with cross-generational appeal.
Ajay Devgn (Tanhaji: The Unsung
Amitabh Bachchan (Gulabo Sitabo)
Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Serious Men)
Rajkummar Rao (Chhalaang)
Abhishek Bachchan (Ludo)
Winner: Nawazuddin Siddiqui added to his haul of winning projects on Netflix with stand-out 2020 movies Raat Akeli Hai and Serious Men. He was particularly brilliant in surprise success Serious Men, a story inspired by a real incident of a devoted family man who attempts an audacious con.
Kangana Ranaut (Panga)
Deepika Padukone (Chhapaak)
Saiyami Kher (Choked)
Taapsee Pannu (Thappad)
Vidya Balan (Shakuntala Devi)
Winner: Deepika Padukone has established herself as the queen of commercial Hindi cinema and with Chhapaak showed once again how much of an incredible actress she is. She was unrecognisable in the demanding role of an acid attack victim and brings out every ounce of emotion from her character.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Pankaj Tripathi (Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl)
Vikrant Massey (Chhapaak)
Gajraj Rao (Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan)
Santosh Juvekar (Bhonsle)
Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub Khan (Chhalaang)
Winner: The performance that won most hearts in Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl was that of Pankaj Tripathi as the supportive father. The perfect performer once again added a backbone to a film and showed just why he is the most in-demand actor to play supporting roles in commercial films.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Tabu (Jawaani Jaaneman)
Shweta Tripathi (Cargo)
Sanya Malhotra (Shakuntala Devi & Ludo)
Fatima Sana Shaikh (Ludo)
Richa Chadha (Panga)
Winner: Sanya Malhotra added a spark to two contrasting projects with sterling supporting roles. She plays the daughter battling with her mother in Shakuntala Devi and a woman trying to get a sex tape removed from the web in Ludo. Both roles showed off her impressive range and give her a double win.
Pankaj Tripathi (Ludo)
Saif Ali Khan (Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior)
Kunal Khemu (Malang)
Pavail Gulati (Thappad)
Rahul Bose (Bulbbul)
Winner: Comedy-drama Ludo had a big star cast and the performance by Pankaj Tripathi towered above all. His villainous character is the connecting point for the various stories and lights up every scene he is in. His multi-layered performance reinforces his position as one of India’s finest actors.
BEST BOLLYWOOD NEWCOMER
Aditya Rawal (Bamfaad)
Alaya Furniturewala (Jawaani Jaaneman)
Lydian Nadhaswaram (Atkan Chatkan)
Shalini Pandey (Bamfaad)
Aakshath Das (Serious Men)
Winner: Alaya Furniturewala seems to have inherited the acting talent of her legendary grandfather Kabir Bedi and delivered a winning debut in Jawaani Jaaneman. She held her own opposite Saif Ali Khan with a strong performance of a young woman who reconnects with her wayward long-lost father.
Love Aaj Ka
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan
Winner:Overall, it was a terrible year for Bollywood music, but there were some rays of musical lights and surprisingly, the brightest of these appeared in action drama Khuda Haafiz. The superb songs composed by Mithoon were all good, had world-class singers in fine form and repeat value.
And the turkeys go to…
THERE were fewer films released in 2020, but that didn’t stop high-profile disasters from dampening an already depressing year blighted by the coronavirus.
Here is Eastern Eye’s selection of the biggest disappointments Hindi cinema had to offer in the past 12 months.
Worst Film: The biggest disaster of 2020 was horror comedy Laxmii. Despite being a remake of hit Tamil film Kanchana, the shockingly bad film was an assault on the senses and an insult to Bollywood.
Worst Actor: Sanjay Dutt continued to deliver stinkers with flop films Torbaaz and Sadak 2, which add to his mounting failures in recent years. Both films showed that perhaps his glory days as a leading man are over.
Worst Actress: Jacqueline Fernandez has seen her Bollywood career nosedive in recent years and hit rock bottom playing the title role in truly awful 2020 release Mrs Serial Killer.
Worst Director: Legendary director Mahesh Bhatt made a comeback after 20 years with Sadak 2, and it was disastrous. He wasted a cast, which included his superstar daughter Alia Bhatt, with an outdated story that was badly made. The poorly reviewed film broke records for all the wrong reasons.