The start of 2021 brought good news regarding the reopening of cinemas, even though they are at 50% occupancy. Soon, producers and distributors began to grab seats at the box office to release several highly anticipated Hindi films, even as that meant at the risk of low audience participation due to the coronavirus. The next three months remained a mix of not only genres, but also mediums. Small movies have made way for the big screen, while big movies have found a safe place on multiple streaming platforms.
Just two weeks after its theatrical release, the creators of Janhvi Kapoor-Rajkummar Rao star Roohi set out to premiere it on Netflix, for quick feedback. In contrast, actor Seema Pahwa’s debut film, Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi, was one of the first films to hit theaters in 2021. Those who couldn’t make it to theaters were waiting for its arrival on Netflix. But, despite several postponements, Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi is still waiting for an OTT release.
In short, there was more action and drama off the screens for Bollywood, than maybe on screen, in the first quarter of 2021. Now, as we move into the month of April, with movies Biggest and Best Hindis, we take a look back at the first three months of the year and list the best and worst of what we’ve seen on screens so far.
BEST FILMS OF JANUARY-MARCH 2021
Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi
Veteran actor Seema Pahwa seems to have gathered all of his experience over the years and incorporated it into his first directorial project – Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi. Starring a slew of brilliant actors including Naseeruddin Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma, Vinay Pathak, Vikrant Massey, Manoj Pahwa, Supriya Pathak, Vineet Kumar and others, the artist had a unique plot of what happens when ‘an extended family meets for 13 days after the death of the patriarch. Until “tehrvi”, family dynamics change with petty politics and the insecurities that come into play. The film has addressed several regressive social stigmas and virtues.
Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar
After being delayed for an entire year, many believed that Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar might disappear upon release. But Arjun Kapoor-Parineeti Chopra’s star managed to impress. Having the Dibakar Banerji stamp, the film takes off right off the bat, with a crackling opening, and soon we are introduced to the opposing worlds of its protagonists and the power play around them. He subtly underlined the class division with a dash of comedy. The film had room for better execution, but from what it delivered, it finds a place in this list.
Who would have thought this audience drama was, well, what it turned out to be! Actors Arjun Rampal and Manav Kaul are entangled in this murder mystery that explores the human mind like never before. Brownie points to Manav Kaul for shocking viewers with his performance. This ZEE5 thriller deserves a sequel, since it ended on a cliffhanger. The public is waiting.
Probably the best visual marvel you would have seen in India, this film by Gitanjali Rao follows the love story of a flower seller. Although this is an animated film, it has given everything that has been seen on Indian screens to date a run for money. Bombay Rose can be described as extraordinarily beautiful. Check it out, in case you still haven’t. It is streaming on Netflix.
Kajol, Tanvi Azmi and Mithila Palkar made a dream cast in this director of Renuka Shahane. Turning around the world of three generations, of forgiveness and the realization that a mother is a woman above all else, it boasted of a matured storyline, handled delicately, but boldly. The title of the film also had deep meaning for its plot.
And since we’ve managed to put together the best movies released in Q1 2021, let’s take a look at the less good ones too.
THE WORST FILMS OF JANUARY-MARCH 2021
The girl on the train
In what has been billed as an ambitious remake of the Hollywood hit starring Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train has remained half-baked and without impact. Parineeti Chopra has tried to play the victim, an alcoholic who gets caught in a murder case. But the thrill died down well at the start of the film, and no one was invested in finding the identity of the real killer.
He’s been making a lot of noise since he went upstairs. The second outing in the horror comedy universe of Dinesh Vijan, the casting of Janhvi Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao, his multiple title changes also made the news of the film. But it was declared a snooze-fest once it hit theaters. Those who expected a sharp, witty take like Stree came back disappointed. The only saving grace was Varun Sharma’s love affair with the ghost.
Either Sanjay Gupta should stop making gangster movies in Bollywood or change the cardboard cutting formula. Mumbai Saga is just another forgettable movie with guns and morons. It might be called a massy masala artist, but how about having an interesting plot? Let’s leave it for another time.
Which movie did you like the most?
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