2023: A Round-up of Non-Hindi Movies

In one fell swoop, I have combined all languages of the world - except one - and created this list. 

5. Barbie - Greta Gerwig

I was supposed to like the other film, right? Barbie was supposed to be the vacuous film I would take my daughter to, wearing pink and sneering at it? But when you have such a clever takedown of patriarchy, masculinity, corporate greed, human existence - all with a superhero(ine) operating in multiple universes, what’s not to like?

4. Decision to Leave - Park Chan Wook (Mubi)

A police officer investigating a man’s death (murder/suicide) starts to fall in love with the dead man’s wife - who is, obviously, a suspect. What started off a very interesting police procedural, soon became a love story, only to end as a fable of love and loss. 

3. Ela Veezha Poonchira - Shahi Kabir (Prime Video)

Two middle-aged men in a distant outpost in the hills. Mist descending and lifting on their daily lives. A slow build-up of their fears and their insecurities. And then…

Malayalam cinema takes their own sweet time to build up the atmosphere and the characters, and then land the punch that makes you see stars. Stars they make out of actors. Soubin Shahir leads the cast where there’s not much else part from the mountain, a camera, and two actors working wonders with an already wonderful script.

2. Vidhuthalai Part 1 - Vetrimaran (Zee5)

Vidhuthalai represents the best of Tamil cinema, where a thorny and current social issue becomes a kickass film that blends action, music and entertainment in a gripping package. Soori plays a constable in a police company looking for the leader of an extremist (quasi-Naxalite) group in the aftermath of a train bombing. As in the director’s earlier Visaranai, the lines between the good and the bad, the police and the criminal, the society and the anti-social are quickly blurred with the police wreaking havoc on the people and on their own. Vijay Sethupathi is the elusive leader of the extremist group, who remains tantalisingly in the shadows as the manhunt expands. But the show is stolen by Soori, who delivers a powerhouse performance as the good-natured misfit. 

Come for Vijay Sethupathi, stay for Soori. 

1. Sapta Sagaradaache Ello Side A - Hemanth Rao (Prime Video)

- So your favourite movie is the most cliched love story plot ever? 

- Yes. A star-crossed couple is separated by a wrong incarceration and an arranged marriage.

- And then? What happens after the interval? Do they get together?

- What do you mean interval? This is the full film. 

- Oh?

- Side A, remember?

- Side B is coming?

- Yes, the theatrical run just got over. I am checking everyday to see if it has come on OTT.

- You’re checking everyday? For a film?

- Yes. 

- Oh? Who did you say the lead pair were?

- Rakshith Shetty looks nothing like he has ever looked before. And the heroine - Rukmini Vasanth - reminded me of Madhabi Mukherjee in Kapurush

- Wait. Did you just compare a Kannada masala movie heroine to…

- Yes.