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7 Best Bollywood Films Of 2020: Ludo, Sir, Gunjan Saxena, Thappad, Shakuntala Devi And More That Hit The Bullseye

With 2020 coming to an end, we give you 7 films that Bollywood delivered and impressed us much. From ludo to Gunjan Saxena, Sir to Taish and Shakuntala Devi, here's a list of films that stood out!

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7 Best Bollywood Films Of 2020: Ludo, Sir, Gunjan Saxena, Thappad, Shakuntala Devi And More That Hit The Bullseye
This was a terrible year for all, Hindi cinema included. Most of the feature films that were dumped on the  OTT  platform were sub-standard, if not outright unpalatable. Even some of the films that I liked on first viewing in 2020, turned out to be disappointments on repeat viewing. These include Hitesh Kawalya’s gay love story Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan,  Meghna Gulzar’s true-life story of an acid-attack survivor, Chhapaak, and Irrfan’s swan-song Angrezi Medium and Sushant Singh Rajput’s farewell film Dil Bechara. Here are the ones that I felt good about at the end of the year.

Ludo: Anurag Basu’s comeback film combined endearing craziness with a deep emotional heft. The languorous humour and the self-deprecatory laughs go away into making Ludo the most engaging film of the year. A pity we had to watch it at home. Ludo belongs to the big screen. It is big in plot, emotions, performances, and production value. This time  Anurag Basu has done the cinematography himself. He knows exactly which tonal complexion to adopt for every character. They resiliently come out as definitive decisive individuals with massive quirks and eclectic eccentricities. Crazily out of control, these characters are driven deftly into a melee of madness and steered expertly out of the mess by a director who has never been in a better place. Welcome back, Mr Basu. Jagga Jasoos is forgiven.


Sir:  There is something inherently distasteful and eye-rolling about the idea of a well-to-do eligible single man falling in love with his live-in house-help in a Mumbai highrise. I have to admit I approached Rohena Gera’s feature-film debut with a lot of apprehensions. By the end of the sparse slim and tender tale of forbidden love, I was completely sold over, thanks to the dignity grace restrain, and nurturing unconditional kindness of Ratna, the maidservant who dares to dream. Gera builds the relationship in the domestic environment with subtle gestures of unpunctuated empathy. There is an uncalculated precision in the way the relationship grows. House-help Ratna’s character is written with rare care. In the hands of Tillotama Shome, Ratna becomes someone we know intimately in no time at all. The minutest of gestures speaks volumes of her self-respect.



Taish: As I finished watching this lengthy masterpiece for the second time, indeed a masterclass in adroit storytelling with room for every character to breathe even when they are destined to die, I thought not for the first time…  what am I doing watching this at home???!!! Taish is a big-screen experience in every sense: big emotions, big egos, big fights, big vendetta, big screams, big silences…This is the kind of internecine vista of continuous bloodshed and vendetta that would end up being no more than an exercise in gratuitous violence in lesser hands. Not Bejoy Nambiar. I’ve watched his work closely and admired it since he started with Shaitaan.



Thappad:  On second viewing Thappad turned out to be not as exhilarating as Anubhav Sinha’s last work Article 15, but still way ahead of the competition this year (if we can call Imtiaz Ali’s dreadfully dull Love Aaj Kal and  Shoojit Sircar’s unbearably obnoxious Gulabo Sitabo competition).  Thappad is an important film. It tears at the hypocrisy of the middle-class to show how pathetically short we fall as a  collective nation when it comes to basic human rights even within the four walls of private homes. Thappad can either be seen as a powerful parable of women’s empowerment or a scathing ironic indictment of the way that empowerment is subverted. The writing is so sharp it cuts open our collective perception of what cinema about marital imbalance should be. This is Anubhav Sinha’s third important film in a row. I  can’t wait to see where he goes next.



Gunjan Saxena:  It makes its point about a girl breaking into a male domain without shattering any glass ceilings. The transformative spirit animates the inner soul of the plot without standing back to be congratulated. The direction by first-timer Sharan Sharma is equanimous and unwilling to forfeit its composure for cheap thrills. Miraculously the scenes of jets flying across the battle line do not run amok. The CGs are aesthetically done.  Manush Nandan’s camera isn’t looking for ways to prettify the frames. The beauty of the scenes lies in the eyes of the beholder,  in this case, us. I only wish the narrative had avoided those intermittent songs in the background.  This film didn’t need them. It creates a  world beautiful in its imperfections. How  I missed the applause in a movie theatre when  Gunjan Saxena strides across the screen all ready to pilot her destiny into orbit.



Shakuntala Devi: Shakuntala  Devi comes to us unadulterated, unapologetic, and refreshingly free of cloying sentimentality. Well, almost. There are sequences towards the end of the nifty narrative where mother Vidya Balan and daughter  Sania Malhotra where director  Annu Menon could have pulled out all stops. Luckily, the mood in this buoyant bio-pic is forever sunny, with a few rain-clouds making intermittent appearances. What is rare in our desi bio-pics is honesty. The Dhoni one, for instance, did away with Dhoni’s brother. And the Sanjay Dutt one simply blocked out  Dutt’s daughter. Shakuntala Devi (SD) tells it like it was, Straight, blunt, and unvarnished



Jawani Jaan-e-Mann: This film is a whole lot of fun. It’s like a casually but immaculately cut suit designed to fit and flatter the wearer without looking over-tailored.  It’s a story that opens its heart to human flaws, an over-sexualized (okay, horny) 40-plus Londoner who thinks life is a  bed of….well, just a bed where you  ‘sleep’ (actually not a wink) your way through as many women as humanly possible. Going into it, expecting one more film showcasing Saif Ali Khan’s roguish charms, you come away surprised at the walloping punch that this punch-drunk celebration of a midlife crisis brings to the table.





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