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2016 Roundup: These underrated Bollywood films certainly deserved larger appreciation
'Dhanak' will be one of the most heart-warming films we saw in 2016. Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, it is a beautiful story of affectionate brother-sister bond. Pari, the elder sister embarks on an unknown journey to bring vision to her blind brother Chhotu. Winning over troubles, they reach their destination. 'Dhanak' sadly didn't receive the commercial success it deserved; probably due to the absence of a 'star', or due to Kukunoor's past reputation of making his strictly content-oriented cinema.
'Parched' hits hard at patriarchy and all its by-products. It is a parallel story of three Rajasthani women; Radhika Apte (a barren, tortured woman), Tannishtha Chatterjee (a widow in her 30s, still filled with physical and emotional desires), and Surveen Chawla (an erotic dancer and prostitute). Linaa Yadav beautifully constructs characters that are symbols of fiery protests against the system and its unjustified norms set against women.
'Chalk n Duster'
'Chalk n Duster' is a thorough narration of what's wrong with the present-day education system. 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. Same way, all marks and no lessons make robots. We stand in an age where the education system is slowly becoming education industry, with donations, hi-tech college campuses and target-oriented coaching classes. This Shabana Azmi and Juhi Chawla-starrer is a relevant and highly recommended watch.
'Nil Battey Sannata'
'Nil Battey Sannata' was the debut feature film of ad film maker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, and starred Swara Bhaskar in the lead along with Ratna Pathak Shah and Pankaj Tripathi in pivotal roles. Swara plays a househelp who works hard to educate her daughter and wants her to become a government officer. The daughter, however, is least interested. 'Doctor's child will be a doctor, a maid's child will be a maid', she simplifies. It is a lighthearted yet intense watch.
After 'Ragini MMS' and 'Darr @ The Mall', this was filmmaker Pavan Kripalani's third venture; and the best so far. Radhika Apte plays a sufferer of agoraphobia, a phobia where the concerned patient is scared to go out in public, with thoughts of potential violence. 'Phobia' was a dark film with considerable violence, but effectively portrayed how the on-going incidents of violence put an impact on our mind.
'Waiting' is a heart-warming love story. Kalki Koechlin and Naseeruddin Shah have their respective spouses at the same hospital. Two of them sit at the hospital's waiting lounge; tired, waiting for a miracle to happen. They fall in love as if two broken souls find solace in each other. The film was directed by Anu Menon and earned wide critical appreciation.
Hansal Mehta's 'Aligarh' was based on the true story of a professor of Aligarh Muslim University on grounds of being a gay. The film faced huge resistance; because homosexual relationships are illegal and debatable, and also because it associated a reputed institution like AMU. However, Manoj Bajpayee as the professor and Rajkummar Rao as his partner delivered excellent performance.
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