Here are top 10 Hindi films of 2015, keeping in mind not just their mass appeal, but also their artistic values, and cinematic sensibilities.
Perfectly cast and passionately executed, this Sanjay Leela Bhansali historical was a palate for the actors to showcase their oeuvre. Ranveer Singh pitched in an exemplary performance as a doomed Maratha Peshwa, fighting society and fate for the sake of love. Priyanka Chopra as his first wife turned out to be a scene stealer while Deepika Padukone transformed herself into a woman torn between her beliefs and love. Exquisite cinematography, hard-hitting dialogs, and effective music together turned this into one of the best historical romances ever.
This Kabir Khan drama was about a do-gooder simpleton who goes out of his way to reunite a mute and lost Pakistani girl with her family. The film saw superstar Salman Khan transform himself into the perfect actor, and a child-actor Harshaali Malhotra hold forth like a seasoned star. The inclusion of a terrific Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a Pakistani journalist and a splendid script by K. V. Vijayendra Prasad, who had also scripted Bahubali, helped. The outcome was a heartwarming tale of love and humanity that proved that content is always king.
This Meghna Gulzar thriller was a perfect blend of fact, fiction, and speculation. Starring a superlative Irfan Khan as a CDI team detective trying to uncover the truth behind the heinous crime and a brilliant Konkona Sen Sharma as the mother, the film, aided by a tight screenplay, unfolded with clockwork precision. Drawing inspiration from the infamous Aarushi Hemraj double murder, and the Avirook Sen bestseller ‘Aarushi’, the makers had got their research right. The film lead to a spate of online petitions requesting to reopen the botched murder case thus proving that cinema can indeed bring about change.
This SS Rajamouli epic resonated with audiences not just in India, but also overseas. This spectacular tale of love, retribution, and inheritance in the backdrop of a majestic battle of good over evil, had many firsts to its credit. Be it the visual special effects of international standards, or a new language ‘Kilikili’ developed exclusively for this film. The Hindi dubbed version collected over 100 crores. Needless to say, language was no longer a barrier and in the process its leads Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Tamannah Bhatia, and Anushka Shetty became overnight pan India stars.
This Shoojit Sircar comedy-drama about father daughter bonding was set in the backdrop of a road trip from New Delhi to Kolkata. Starring Amitabh Bacchan as the father, Deepika Padukone as the daughter, and Irfan Khan as the owner cum driver of the cab they hire, here was an unusual relationship-based film that worked at all levels. It was heartwarming and funny in equal measure. Subtle performances and lack of overt melodrama and toilet humor that wasn’t quite toilet humor, worked, and our faith in simplistic films restored yet again.
This Anup Singh fable about a lonely ghost narrating a heartbreaking tale, was unlike any in recent times. Surreal in feel and magic realistic in its execution, this tragedy, starring Irfan Khan, Tillottama Shome, Rasika Duggal, and Tisca Chopra, had a great combination of pathos and performance. Difficult to categorize for its sheer dexterity in moving between issues including partition, transgenderism, love, longing, and fantasy, this was a treat that rightfully won not just international awards, but also a place in the hearts of aficionados of inventive cinema.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha:
This romantic comedy by writer-director Sharat Katariya was set in the Haridwar of the 1990s. It was a layered, breezy movie that was not just a social commentary, but also a mainstream romance. An outstanding performance by debutante Bhoomi Pednekar, who piled on the kilos for this role, was matched by an earnest Ayushman Khurana and a stellar supporting cast.
Tanu Weds Manu Returns:
This Anand L. Rai’s romantic comedy had Kangna Ranaut and R. Madhavan reprising their roles of a married Tanu & Manu. It also had Kangna playing the role of her lookalike Kusum, which, according to me, turned out to be one of the best double roles performed in the history of Bollywood. A hilarious Deepak Dobriyal, a doomed Jimmy Shergill, and a lawless Zeeshan Ayyub helped spice up the proceedings further. The result? 150+ crores at the Box Office, and a superstar actress who proved that women-oriented films can work wonders too!
This Neeraj Ghaywan social drama had Richa Chadda, Vicky Kaushal, Shwetha Tripathy and Sanjay Mishra as the main characters. Set in Varanasi, the film had pitch-perfect performances that not just tugged at the heartstrings, but also our conscience. The deft handling of a bold script was brought alive by stunning cinematography. The film not just made us proud at international film festivals, but also restored our faith in the art of sensitive storytelling.
This Navdeep Singh’s thriller about a couple who witness an honor killing along the Haryana highway was gutsy, gruesome, and guttural in equal measure. Unpredictable yet realistic, it had Anushka Sharma, who incidentally also shared the co-producer credits deliver a stunning performance that saw her shift from a hunted to a hunter with dexterity. Neil Bhupalan as the husband, and a spirited supporting cast that included Darshan Kumar and Deepti Naval helped flesh out the film further. Here was redemption that resonated with our intrinsic belief in justice being served, no matter what.