Top Films 0f 2012
Image: Illustration: Anjan Das
Top 5 Indian Films
Gangs of Wasseypur-I and II
A three-generation gangster epic in Jharkhand’s coal mafia. Directed by Anurag Kashyap, this could be India’s equivalent of The Godfather series. It features Manoj Bajpai, Piyush Mishra and Nawazuddin Siddiqui and explores dynasty dynamics, a coming of age story, and the legacy of a philandering father.
Debut directorial feature by the gifted Ashim Ahluwalia, the film is set in the sleazy, Mumbai C-grade film industry. It is about two brothers who produce raunchy horror films with titles like Dolly Darling and Lady James Bond. It features Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anil George and Niharika Singh.
A political thriller based on Greek author Vassilis Vassilikos’ novel Z, the film follows three characters looking to benefit from the changing fortunes of a small town. But they face a dilemma when they realise the locals are being exploited. The film stars Abhay Deol, Emraan Hashmi, Kalki Koechlin and Prosenjit Chatterjee.
The Ship of Theseus
The film is named after a philosophical paradox — whether an object that has all its parts replaced remains fundamentally the same object — and what happens if this is applied to people.
The debut film by Anand Gandhi features Neeraj Kabi and Soham Shah.
Tasher Desh (Land of Cards); Laptop by Kaushik Ganguly; Kokkho Poth (Sound of Old Rooms)
Tasher Desh by Q is a post-modern, psychedelic take on Tagore’s dance-drama about the adventures of a prince who incites a feminist revolution in group of playing cards.
Laptop by Kaushik Ganguly is a superbly told tale of how a stolen laptop changes hands, including a delicately observed relationship between a blind writer and his typist.
Kokkho Poth (Sound of Old Rooms) by Sandeep Ray is a moving documentary, shot over 20 years, on the joys and dilemmas of being a poet in Kolkata.
Top 5 Foreign Films
Life Of Pi
Tobey Maguire, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Adil Hussain — and Suraj Sharma as Piscine Molitor ‘Pi’ Patel, named after a swimming pool in Paris. It is a magical adventure in which the zookeeper Patel family moves from Pondicherry to Canada by ship. But the ship wrecks, and Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific on a big lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger. A tale of faith, hope and survival.
The Dark Knight Rises
The third instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series after Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, the film stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy. Following Harvey Dent’s death, Batman takes responsibility for Dent’s crimes to protect his reputation and is hunted by police. He must face the terrorist Bane, and discover the truth about enigmatic Selina Kyle.
The Great Gatsby
Baz Luhrmann, who earlier directed Moulin Rouge and Romeo+Juliet, casts Leonardo diCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Amitabh Bachchan in this adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. Mid-westerner Nick Carraway is lured into the lavish world of his neighbour, Jay Gatsby but soon sees through the cracks of Gatsby’s nouveau riche existence. Bachchan plays Meyer Wolfsheim, a shadowy figure.
A wonderful, uplifting, elegant French comedy that won Jean Dujardin Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, and the adorable doggie Uggy the Palme Dog Award. It is a love letter to silent cinema, in black-and-white. Hollywood silent movie star George Valentin (Dujardin) is rendered obsolete by the rise of the talkie, until rescued by the love of rising star Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo).
Midnight’s Children (Aka Winds Of Change)
An adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which won the Best of the Booker award. It is about a pair of children, born within moments of India gaining independence from the British, who grow up in an India that is nothing like it was in their parent’s generation. The film stars Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami and Rajat Kapoor. Mehta filmed in Buddhist Sri Lanka to save herself grief from both Hindu and Islamic fundoos.