2022: Roundup of Hindi Content

2022 was the year everyone predicted Bollywood would die. And yet it didn’t.
The leaping tigers of RRR, the ear-jangling entry scenes of Rocky in KGF Chapter 2, the romantic flutterings of Hridayam, and the prosaic messages of Pa. Ranjith couldn’t stop Bollywood from churning out five superhits and five critically acclaimed milestones that wiped out the fears triggered by the five high-profile duds.
I think if Bollywood can get Aamir Khan out of his PK-hangover and restrict Akshay Kumar to social service messages, it will do fine in the coming years. Though, since The Cholas are Coming (literally), it will have to find a way to plug the gap created by the lack of remake options.

Rocket Boys: An intricately recreated period piece with characters we knew, but before we knew them. The adventures of  M/S Bhabha, Sarabhai, Kalam et al became the history (and science) lesson we should have got in school.

Guilty Minds: Perfect binge-watch. Known settings, recognisable characters garnished with just the right amount of legalese and corporate back-stabbing. 

Delhi Crime S2: In a way, this season was even better than the stellar S1 because it did not have the shock value of a nationally discussed crime. But it is a triumph of the writing and acting that how well the show laid threadbare the underbelly of our national capital region. 

Panchayat S2: This has ceased to be a series about a random under-achiever stuck in a remote village and hoping to get out. The characters, the relationships, the settings, and the problems have become a microcosm of our insignificant selves. Panchayat is the 'pale blue dot' of modern India. 
Looking back, I realise my favourite ‘scenes’ weren’t from my favourite films of the year.
I just LOVED a kid Laal Singh teaching a Delhi youngster a dance step. It had all the star power that an (un)expected cameo brings to a movie.

I loved Alia Bhatt owning the election rally speech in Gangubai Kathiawadi. It was a tour de force by a performer at the top of her craft, saying lines that would create an avalanche of coins in the theatres of yore.

The way the ­Ghode pe sawar hain song was slowly built up in Qala to reveal the transition of an under-confident newcomer into a singing diva, ploughing through the dirt of the film industry.

The murder scene in Monica O My Darling – executed to the tune of a rocking song and packing in a plethora of hat-tips – was cinema I love! [Trivia here!]

The wonderfully written, lovingly shot scenes between Dulqer Salman and Shreya Dhanwanthary in Chup: The Revenge of the Artist would count among the best reasons why people fall in love (with each other and with the city of Bombay).

5. Vikram Vedha
There is something to be said about star vehicles that lay on the action and musical set pieces thick and fast; at least, I say a lot about those. The 70s Bollywood fan inside me just loved Vikram Vedha, which cleverly recreated Hrithik Roshan’s Vedha significantly away from Vijay Sethupathi’s Vedha. The resulis a high-octane retelling of a popular myth, layered with star charisma in every scene.
Best explained by this fight scene in a musical landscape.
4.  Jalsa
A morality tale of our times, Jalsa succeeds because it underplays the dilemma faced by the successful TV anchor, something that we all dread fearing. Two excellent performances – Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah – subtly and probingly ask us, ‘will you be able to live up to your public persona in private’?
3. Kaun Pravin Tambe
This is the IPL behind-the-scenes video we didn’t deserve. But what a story it was! Shreyas Talpade hit it out of Shivaji Park with his unheroic portrayal of a cricketer who debuted in his forties and whose struggle was endorsed by Rahul Dravid, no less. It is also a well-written film, where the minutiae of an unsung cricketer’s daily struggle don’t degenerate into boredom.
2. Gehraiyaan
Around midnight, after I finished watching Gehraiyaan, I stayed up for a couple of hours and wrote an anti-review. How I felt then is still how I feel. Gehraiyaan is difficult to explain, not because of a complicated plot. But because people like you and people you know are up there... In their entire messy glory. Gehraiyaan is also difficult to like. How can you like a film in which you're holding your breath because that likeable character is suddenly becoming unlikeable exactly like that friend of yours? Maybe exactly like you?
Watch it if you dare.
1.       Badhaai Do
So if I liked Gehraiyaan so much, how come it isn’t at the top of my list?
Because I am still a sucker for filmi set-pieces (see VV above) where music and romance play out in full glory, in slow-mo and soft focus, making us want to fall in love all over again. Badhaai Do treats same-sex love stories with the glamour Bollywood does so well. And caps it all with a rousing climax.
Hopefully, it'll be a trendsetter.
0.       Deewaar
Released this year in a restored avatar, an emerging superstar’s vehicle written by two of the greatest practitioners of film writing, Deewaar was a sight to behold on the big screen. Every tiny detail of every scene came alive as Vijay Verma hurtled towards his gloriously fatalistic end. We have all seen Deewaar many times but being able to hear ‘Main aaj bhi phneke hue paise nahin uthata’ with the audience erupting in cheers was an experience of a lifetime.