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Friday, September 22, 2023

7 Impactful Theatrically Released Bollywood Films From 2020

The year 2020 can be easily split between two phases: BC and DC – Before Corona and During Corona. It’s been such a catastrophic year that it has felt lengthier than normal.

In countries like England, major cinema chains like Cineworld had announced a temporary closure due to the widespread disease and it has been a major shock to cinema workers as well as consumers.

As such, the definition of ‘normal’ has changed significantly but prior to the pandemic, cinemas were open and a few Hindi films had released.

Reflecting back at some of the theatrical releases this year, Filme Shilmy presents 7 Bollywood movies that were impactful, impressive and engaging.

Chhapaak – Dir: Meghna Gulzar

Chhapaak truly does serve as a ‘splash’ to awaken society on the stark reality of acid attacks and the lethal impact it has on victims and survivors.

Based on the real-life survivor Laxmi Agarwal, this Meghna Gulzar directorial follows the life of Malti (Deepika Padukone) over the years since her attack.

Viewers journey with her through her rehabilitation, her facial surgeries, her legal battle against her attacker and her constant struggle to become economically independent.

It’s undoubtedly a hard-hitting watch, but with an earnest performance from Deepika and Meghna’s realistic filmmaking style, it is a cinematic salute to the unwavering triumphant spirit. 

Tanhaji – Dir: Om Raut

Subedar Tanhaji Malusare (Ajay Devgn) was undoubtedly an unsung warrior from the 17th century. His acts of valour and bravery continued to inspire soldiers long after he lost his life in battle.

Ready to lay down his life for his King and country, this braveheart planned a surgical strike to get back the Kondana Fort against the Mughal army headed by the Rajput Udaybhan (Saif Ali Khan).

The movie, which is topped with some spectacular action scenes, presents a lesser-known of Indian history with grandeur and visual appeal.

Having grossed big bucks at the box-office, it also unites the loveable real-life pairing of Ajay and Kajol on celluloid and that too for a valiant narrative!

Thappad – Dir: Anubhav Sinha

Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad successfully questions the so-called implicit rules of marriage and it is one of the most thought-provoking yet compelling pieces of cinema this year.

It showcases how Amita (Taapsee Pannu) reevaluates her marriage after her husband, Vikram (Pavail Gulati) slaps her in the face in front of a group of people at a party.

Since Mulk, Anubhav has reinvented himself to be a storyteller on societal subjects and this film realistically exhibits the rampancy/commonality of domestic violence.

At the same time, whilst conveying an important subject, Sinha ensures that the narrative is expressed in a gripping and cinematically gripping manner. 

Malang – Dir: Mohit Suri

Malang is a buzz of adventure, thrill, suspense, and romance. All at once, these aspects are very well-balanced, which fuses the visions of Luv Ranjan and Mohit Suri seamlessly, topped with a foot-tapping soundtrack.

It tells the story of Advait (Aditya Roy Kapur) who visits Goa where he meets Sara (Disha Patani), a free-spirited girl who lives life unshackled.

Opposites attract and all goes well until life turns upside down. Years later, Advait is on a killing spree with cops Agashe (Anil Kapoor) and Michael (Kunal Khemu) in his way.

Aditya delivers a solid performance, unalike to his previous works and the narrative keeps one on the edge throughout, bringing several twists. It also subtly addresses misogyny making it Suri’s most empowering work yet!

Kamyaab – Dir: Hardik Mehta

Kaamyaab which stars Sanjay Mishra as Sudheer in the lead depicts the story of a sidekick who was prominent during the yesteryears of Bollywood.

Sanjay Mishra plays the role of a side actor who wants something special in his 500th film, whose dialogue from a film has become quite famous “ab bas enjoying life, aur option bhi kya hai”.

It is Bollywood’s most realistic and relevant adaptation of the grim reality of the film industry. Via light humour, it also addresses thorny issues like sexual harassment and nepotism.

Mehta’s spectacular storytelling and providing a voice for the lesser-known gems of Hindi cinema makes this one of the best films of the year. Glad SRK’s Red Chillies Entertainment backed it!

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan – Dir: Hitesh Kewalya

Of recent, Bollywood has finally taken the initiative to present LGBTQ+ stories through mainstream cinema and it’s high time this happened too.

Hitesh Kewalya’s directorial debut exhibits how a gay couple Kartik (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Aman (Jitendra Kumar) face a long and difficult road to happiness as they battle opposition from Aman’s family.  However, Kartik isn’t prepared to step back until he marries Aman.

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, through the guise of comedy, addresses several subjects associated with homosexuality… Be it homophobia, the science between same-sex attraction, life pre and post section 377 and much more.

Whilst there is still a requirement for more commercial Bollywood movies which show the real struggles and challenges LGBTQIA members go through, this was definitely a promising start!

Panga – Dir: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Like Ashwiny’s previous films Nil Battey Sannata and Bareilly Ki Barfi, this too presents an extraordinary tale of small-town inhabitants, with a perfect balance of poignancy and positivity.

It is the story of a middle-class Indian woman – Jaya (Kangana Ranaut), a forgotten kabaddi world champion.

She catalyses an inner desire to give a new meaning to her existing role as a wife and mother, taking an ingenious decision to come back to the sport despite the challenges of age stereotypes.

Panga is an uplifting watch which entertains and carries a solid feel-good sentiment. With earnest performances, especially by Kangana and Richa Chadha, it is a wholesome ode to empowerment and the undying human spirit!

The fresh smell of popcorn, hearing trailers playing and watching people miscellaneously coming and going, visiting the cinema has always been a treat.

To now think that the place which once lit up with reels of excitement and anticipation for new releases is now gathering dust, in various locations around the world.

Plus, with the OTT platforms taking more prominence – becoming the lifeline of entertainment – the future of geographical cinema has never been more uncertain.

But as they say, nothing is permanent. If many cinemas are closed today, then they will surely open some day. Afterall, nothing ever beats the big screen experience.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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