Bollywood to all of us is the popular Hindi cinema. The cinema that churns out hundreds of movies every year with many making it to the prestigious Rs. 100 crore plus club.
It is the cinema that makes actors, stars and that too overnight. The cinema that often makes the stars bigger than the movie itself. It is the cinema that India lives on. The pulsating beats of the latest caper, the costumes worn by the favorite actors and the merchandise going off shelves in a hurry. All this is how mad we are about movies and Bollywood or the commercial cine directors know that. They know how to hold the nerve of the millions and let the craze peak. Such commercial hits have always ruled the box office and will continue to do so.
However, there is this new breed of filmmakers and audience who is ready to change things and accept new things. The writers are coming up with stories unheard of before, the directors are giving them face and shape like never before and we, the audience, are getting more than willing to pay to watch such experiments at the theatres nearby.
For me, I was born and brought up on the heavy dosage of Yash Chopra brand of cinema and I am very proud of it. I love the opulence of popular cinema, the garish showcase of everything and every character. I love the music and lyrics of this cinema very much. But I cannot deny the fact that these days off-beat films, or films that are not the regular formula films, carry so much weight and depth that you cannot just ignore them.
I have loved some of the off-beat movies coming from Bollywood in last few years and since I have to list 5 of them here, these are my best watch and highly-recommended in this space.
1. Khosla ka Ghosla (Director – Dibakar Banerjee)
An honest attempt to showcase the pain that a middle-class man goes through while getting his land back from land mafia in Delhi, all with wit and humor. The nuances picked up in this film, the characters, dialogues, situations and the setting make it one cracker of a movie. I must have watched it countless number of times. Honestly, you will not regret those 2 hours spent on this one. There was no ‘star’ in this one but the characters made it such an ensemble cast that you cannot imagine the movie without them. Definitely a must watch.
2. Pinjar (Director – Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi)
A heart-wrenching account of a Hindu girl who is kidnapped by a Muslim and the tribulations she goes through, all this with in the backdrop of India-Pakistan partition of 1947. The movie is an adaptation of the book with the same name written by the very famous Punjabi writer, Amrita Pritam. I remember watching it and being so over-whelmed with emotions. You can see the attention to details considering it was a period movie and you can see the hard-work put in by the cast. For me, it was the best work of Urmila Matondkar till date.
3. Zubeidaa (Director – Shyam Benegal)
A story based on the life of an actress, who marries an already married prince. It is about her coming to terms with living a royal life, adjusting to the presence of the first wife of the prince, her jealousy and finally that’s what taker her life. To add a beautiful layer to the story and characters, the movie had an amazing music score. Karisma Kapoor’s best work ever.
4. Dhobi Ghat (Director – Kiran Rao)
This film boasts of not just the living actors as the star cast but also has the city of Mumbai as one of the key characters playing a crucial role. The story has many intertwined sub-plots running through various households of Mumbai, cutting across the strata of society. I loved this because it had honesty and very ably justified by the performances from the entire star-cast.
5. Chameli (Director – Sudhir Mishra)
A stormy night in Mumbai and two strangers stuck in a desolated place. One an upmarket professional and another, a prostitute. This is a story on how they meet each other and by the end of that night, a lot unsaid happens between them. It is about how they affect each other, learn from each other and leaves you thinking about whether they could have a future together. Kareena Kapoor in the lead role did complete justice to the part and again. The red lipstick and that saree became such a hit. This remains one of my favorite movies done by her. The music score is something I still play and it never leaves you. A must watch.
(Picture source: Wikipedia)