End of year write-ups tend to be a double edged sword. On the one hand, it seems like entire universe is busy compiling lists that are often identical to everyone else’s best of the year lists, making witty observations you wish you had thought of, not to mention being able to see new films well in advance of their general release date.
But for the blogger who reviews and writes purely for pleasure, there is also a great sense of achievement and satisfaction in the end of year write up; that you have taken the time out to indulge your passion, made the time to see as many films as you can (with some being truly inspirational, and others making for an entertaining two hours) and then writing about it – even if one’s list is lost in the crowd, at least one has a contented feeling that they were able to add to the 2012 list canon and express one’s own thoughts publicly.
This year, rather than write about how Salman is still ruling the roost at the box office or how Priyanka’s turn in Barfi! would have been my favourite performance of the year were it not for Sridevi and Vidya Balan or how I am still not finding any love for Akshay Kumar, I thought I’d focus solely on films and soundtracks. Because 2012 has seen some absolutely cracking cinema and some amazing original soundtracks grace our silver screens and iPods, with many showing a longevity and endurance that will last beyond 2012. So here are my favourite films and soundtracks of 2012.
Paan Singh Tomar – It was a real effort to see this film; cancelled screenings, running back and forth to the multiplex and to top it off, the screening started late. But boy was it worth it. Whether it was the matter of fact way the story was told or the barren landscapes that said so much, PST rewarded my persistence to see it ten fold. With a tour de force performance from Irfaan who made the whole thing seem effortless, PST was easily my favourite film of 2012.
Kahaani – Vidya, Vidya, Vidya. I just knew that even if the film turned out to be no good, Vidya would be the saving grace. Luckily, the film was fantastic too with a brilliant twist at the end that demanded repeat viewings and in the process, allowed me to appreciate the other great aspects of this film too. With a superb cast and taut direction, Kahaani rocked and was certainly a landmark film of sorts.
English Vinglish – Now this was a masterclass in how to make a comeback – from that first shot to the final frame, I was taken back to a time when I would watch Sridevi films with an almost religious fervour with Sridevi bringing the forgotten fierce back to the big screen. Not that English Vinglish was a throwback – if anything, it showed Sridevi is still as relevant as ever and as the industry slowly evolves, this female superstar still has lots to offer.
Agneepath – On my first viewing, it felt too long. On repeat viewings, it feels complete. I thought this would be a blasphemous remake but it turned out to be a fitting tribute to a classic film. With superb performances from Rishi Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Hrithik Roshan, Agneepath started the year out right and also set the benchmark for the numerous remakes in the pipeline.
Gangs Of Wasseypur – I generally like my Hindi films with an interval so I can digest what has just happened but I didn’t get that at the film festival screening of GOW . Even then, I couldn’t deny how brilliant GOW was – it had me engrossed from start to finish and though I have only recently acquired the second part (legally thank you very much) I am certain that it will be just as brilliant as the first part.
OMG – Oh My God! – Of all the films this year, this is the biggest surprise. Thanks to the silly title, I really didn’t expect this film to be so smart or to impress in the way that it did. With a great lead performance by Paresh Rawal, the greatest achievement here was that for the first time in a long time, Akshay Kumar didn’t annoy me. On the whole, I feel this film should have got far more credit than it did.
Cocktail – The opening scene where Saif flirts with the air hostess irritated me. But then Deepika struts on screen and soon it emerged Cocktail was not your average rom-com. Watching beautiful damaged people in designer clothing go loco is one of my favourite types of films so by the end I was totally drunk on this Cocktail. Throw in the soundtrack to my summer and gorgeous cinematography and it was totes obvious that this film was always on a fast track to my favourite films of the year list.
Talaash – Having avoided the massive spoiler that was doing the rounds, it soon transpired that it didn’t matter if I knew the twist or not for Talaash is far more than just a plot twist. Intelligently made with excellent production values, superb performances and a wonderful soundtrack, like all other Aamir Khan films, Talaash did not let us down and ended the year on a positive note for me.
Agneepath – So Chikni Chameli was no Munni Badnaam but it was damn entertaining to listen to and watch (Katrina Kaif vs botox anyone?). Gun Guna didn’t irritate the hell out of me as similar songs tend to do. But it was Shah Ka Rutba that was the piece de resistance of this album - beautifully picturised and had a similar effect on the individual when listened to. Hot stuff indeed!
Agent Vinod – Now this was a rather eclectic collection of songs but to it’s credit, Agent Vinod managed to pull it off. I’ll Do The Talking Tonight was strangely addictive, Dil Mere Muft Ka rocked, Raabta was a nice surprise and then of course, Pungi encapsulated the spirit of the film neatly as well as proving a nifty number on many a wedding dancefloor.
Rowdy Rathore – The only good thing about this film was the soundtrack which contained some absolutely bitching tunes. Chin Ta Ta was a foot tapper which gave an empty cinema a party atmosphere, Chammak Challo Chel Chabeli fast tracked itself onto every sangeet list going whilst Ae Re Pritam Pyare still creates a commotion in my head and heart every time it is played, never mind the awesome video. If only the film had been as good.
Cocktail – I loved the film and loved the soundtrack even more. Tum Hi Ho Bandhu was infectious, Daaru Desi was like meeting an old friend, Yariyaan was perfect to daydream to whilst Jugni was the perfect chill out/moody day song. Adding a kick was Second Hand Jawani which like Agent Vinod’s Pungi is fun to mess about to. That rare soundtrack where I didn’t hit fast forward as every song was awesome.
Ek Tha Tiger – Another one which gave the fast forward button a rest, I loved this soundtrack – Mashallah had me at the Arab beats whilst Lapaata’s salsa feel was addictive and mood boosting. Banjaara was also a great track but my favourite was Saiyaara sung beautifully by Mohit Chauhan and Tarannum Malik - a track that I listened to on repeat many times. This tiger roared and how.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan – With A R Rehman and Gulzar at the helm, this was guaranteed a spot in my favourites. As usual, the first listen left me confused but soon I was head over heels in love - whether it was Challa’s folksy vibe or Ishq Shava’s funky beats (originally my least liked song but has now grown on me) or even the phoning it in romantic number Saans, I couldn’t get enough. Interestingly, it was Heer and Jiya Re which turned out to be my absolute favourites. A soundtrack for life.
Talaash – The seductive guitar in Muskaan Jhooti Hai seduced me on the first listen as did Jee Le Zara and Lakh Duniya Kahe. Hona Hai Kya proved itself beyond a situational song and could be from numerous other films (which is not a bad thing). But it was Jiya Lage Na that really struck a chord with me and garnered the most repeat listens on the ol’ iPod. Having said that, this was another soundtrack I could listen to from start to finish without fast forwarding. Brilliant.
All images are courtesy of http://www.glamsham.com.
All songs are courtesy of http://www.youtube.com