50. Namastey London: An unexpectedly quirky comedy, this surprise hit remake of the classic “Purab aur Paschim” was authentic, fun and funny for most part. It featured an refreshing and energetic performance from Akshay Kumar (before he got typecast in “Welcome” type roles) and gave Katrina Kaif a chance to use her Angrez accent to actually add authenticity to her character. The music was an eyesore thanks to the involvement of aapro Himesh. However, the movie was earthy, breezy and a perfect outing on any given Sunday.
49. Mithya: A black comedy to the core, Mithya was as entertaining as it was sad. Featuring an impeccable performance from Ranbir Shorey, the movie was extremely funny for the most part. Unfortunately, it was also a thin storyline stretched too long, like butter spread overdecade too much bread. However, solid dialogues, performances and a few well placed plot twists made the film a highly entertaining experience, a rarity in Indian dark comedies.
48. Johnny Gaddar: Had it not been for Neil Nitin Mukesh’s wooden performance, Johnny Gaddar would probably have featured much higher in the list. The movie is expertly crafted by Sriram Raghavan who makes a story that is at once a classical Western thriller and also postmodern tribute to the masala films of 1970s. With a plethora of superb supporting performances, the only problem with the movie is the fact that its leading man is far from convincing. Nevertheless, the confident direction and supporting performances make it a memorable film.
47. Parzania: A powerful film based on a true story with superb performances by Naseeruddin Shah and Sarika. A boy went missing during the Gujarat riots because of simply his name and his family is left behind to pick up the pieces. This could be a story of hundreds of families in Gujarat today. The movie was lacked the typical happy ending and instead gave us a disconcerting account of the atrocities that were committed and the chilling role that the government played in the carnage.
46. Om Shanti Om: An absolutely entertaining reincarnation tale, the movie was a classic big budget Hindi movie. However, what made it interesting is that it drew inspiration from and made references to a plethora of movies ranging from the usual Karz and Madhumati to Gone with the Wind, Phantom of the Opera and many more. A stunning comeback for Arjun Rampal as the menacing Mukesh Mehra, it also gave us the dewy eyed Deepika Padukone. At the same time, it was a celebration of the Hindi film industry with all its stars and its larger than life appeal. Needless to say, it proved to be one of the highest grosser of all time. 46.
45. A Wednesday: This sleeper hit, a phenomenon rarely witnessed on this side of the world, was timely and relevant in its subject matter. Unlike most terrorism films, it put the common man at the centre stage rather than the terrorists or the government. The dialogues were sharp, biting and reflective of the popular sentiment on the matter. The performances of veteran actors Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah as well as Jimmy Shergill and Aamir Bashir were absolutely fantastic. While unrealistic, the plot achieved its objective in delivering an excellent thriller that was thought-provoking without being jingoistic.
44. Kabul Express: This was perhaps one of the most underrated films of this decade as it was a refreshing departure from anything portrayed on the Indian screen before. Shot on the tough landscape of war-torn Afghanistan, the film was technically flawless and had a tight screenplay. The story was entirely original and haunting in its implications, a tale hard to dismiss offhand given the director’s extensive experience with the country. At the same time, it was an entertaining road movie with the requisite humour, thrills and a great background score.
43. Morning Raga: Directed by celebrated theatre personality, Mahesh Dattani, the movie was a poignant and emotionally resonant tale of three people haunted by the past finding redemption in their love for music. The movie was interesting as it introduced Carnatic music to a wider audience (including myself) and featured some lovely fusion versions of “Thaaye Yashodha” and “Mahaganapatim.” It also featured a haunting performance by the always bankable Shabana Azmi. A lovely outing because it was fresh, metaphorical and pure.
42. Cheeni Kum: The tale of love between a 64 year old chef and a 34 year old woman; sounds familiar? Not really. And that was the USP of this film. Absolutely wonderfully enacted by Amitabh Bachchan and Tabu in title roles, the film was very well written in places and always interesting. The ideas of ageing, death and social stereotypes were dealt with the required delicateness and care. The sub-plot about the little kid may be slightly off-putting for some. However, the success of Cheeni Kum reflected the changing sensibilities of the moviegoer. No longer were subjects taboo (as had been the case for movies like “Lamhe”).
41. Being Cyrus: Bollywood has always been weak on thrillers, primarily due to a lack of originality. “Being Cyrus” was one of those rare thrillers that actually worked wonderfully. Darkly comic and macabre, the tale of Cyrus Mistry and his days with the Sethna family at their house in Panchgani is twisted and allows us a view of the deep recesses of characters’ psyches. It reminded me of Tolstoy’s saying that each unhappy family is unhappy in its own unique way. As we are exposed to the Sethna family’s secrets, we laugh, we gasp and in the end, are left with a sense of wonder and melancholy.