“It’s a huge achievement for all of us, we are hoping to make the cut” said Bollywood actor Rajkummar Rao on the selection of his film Newton to represent India at the prestigious Oscar Awards in 2018. After having recently watched this brilliantly made “political satire” in a theater, I can definitely state that this movie truly deserves to be selected to represent our country at the international stage. However, there have been a few other “Bollywood” movies that I have watched this year which were also worthy of an Oscar nomination. So here is presenting my list of four movies that could also prove to be a worthy “Oscar Selection”.
a. Lipstick Under My Burkha- Alankrita Shrivastav:
“Desires of women” is the theme on which this extremely well made and brave “Bollywood” film titled “Lipstick Under My Burkha” directed by Alankrita Shrivastav (assistant to celebrated director Prakash Jha) is based on. Comprising of brilliant performances by the cast that includes an interesting combination of seasoned actresses such as Konkana Sen Sharma, Ratna Phatak Shah along with talented newbies such as Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur, this movie packs a real punch. The fact that it deals with sensitive women related issues such as “sexual desires” and “marital rape” makes this a truly “landmark” Bollywood movie. Furthermore, this movie has been handled extremely “sensitively” by Alankrita (female), and has been courageously been backed up by producer Prakash Jha. Above all, the critical as well financial success of this movie proves that it is high time that the “conservative” Indian society accepts the fact that women (like men) also possess “desires” that at times maybe sexual as well.
b. A Death in the Gunj- Konkana Sen Sharma:
Based on the complex theme of “Alienation” that many individuals face in human society, “A Death in the Gunj” directed by debutante Konkana Sen Sharma is an extremely well crafted movie rarely seen in Bollywood. Set in the year 1979 in a small town in Jharkhand known as “McCluskiegunj” the story of this movie revolves around a meek individual called Shyamal Chatterjee (played brilliantly by actor Vikrant Massey) also known as Shutu. Furthermore, this movie in an extremely sensitive manner deals with the effect of “alienation” on individuals in the human society. Supported by brilliant performances by a stellar star cast that includes the likes of Om Puri, Tanuja, Ranvir Shorey, Tilotama Shome, Gulshan Devaiah, Kalki Koechlin, Massey, and Jim Sarbh, this movie provides for some truly engaging cinema. In addition, this movie has also been very well executed by first time director Konkana Sen Sharma, who I must say makes a very confident debut. Overall, this sensitively made movie not only represents truly great cinema but also, exposes the harsh fact of life that “alienation” of an individual or any society eventually leads to an aggressive revolt in the form of violence.
c. Haaramkhor- Shlok Sharma:
“Sweet and sensitive” would the best way to describe “Haaramkhor” a brilliantly made “Bollywood” film by first time director Shlok Sharma. Having assisted Anurag Kashyap for many years, Shlok makes a remarkable debut by brilliantly portraying a complex intimate relationship shared by a young underage student Sandhya played by Shweta Tripathi, and her teacher Shyam Tekchand played Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The fact that the director manages to tell such a complex story in a manner that is both “sensitive” as well as in an extremely “endearing” manner makes this movie a sheer joy to watch. Furthermore, apart from the brilliant execution by the director this movie is backed by brilliant performances by both lead protagonists Tripathi and Nawazuddin. In conclusion, it would be apt to say that “Haarmakhor” quite brilliantly shows us all that in a rather “conventional” Indian society “unconventional” relationships” do exist.
d. Trapped- Vikramaditya Motwane:
“Claustrophobia” is a feeling one gets while watching the brilliantly made “Bollywood” movie “Trapped” directed by the talented Vikramaditya Motwane, and produced by Phantom Films. Based on a unique concept in which a man named Shaurya played by Rajkummar Rao is trapped in an apartment in Mumbai city without water, food, and electricity, this movie has been brilliantly executed. So be it the splendid use of some outstanding background music composed by Alokananda Dasgupta that adds to the “claustrophobic” atmosphere, the brilliant editing by Nitin Baid that ensures a crisp narrative, or the excellent cinematography by Siddarth Diwan that beautifully captures the “depressive and claustrophobic” atmosphere, this movie is excels in all departments. The icing on the cake is the magnificent performance given by protagonist Rao as a desperate man looking a find a way to his “freedom. All in all, this movie is a rare “survival” thriller ever to be made in “Bollywood” that takes the theme of “claustrophobia” to another level.
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