The Legend of Guru Dutt

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In an alternate universe, Mr Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone is still alive, and he has been making films all his life. In an alternate universe all is right with the world and tragedies are fewer. In an alternate universe melancholy would not have taken away a genius from Indian Cinema.

On a different Earth the quality of films from the Golden age of Indian cinema has only risen, aided by the magnificent Guru Dutt and his films.




In his too brief life Guru Dutt created some of the best films, films that remain in the favourite list of movie fans, films which are timeless, shot with originality and which taught other filmmakers to use the camera as a pen for writing poetry.

To the uninitiated it would be easy to think that Guru Dutt made tragic, hard hitting dramas about society or unrequited love. While he did excel in that, he made a very very wide range of films, from acting in swashbucklers to directing film noirs, from making comedies to producing tight police procedural In keeping with our tradition, here is a list of 5 films which he directed that you should watch


1) Baazi - 

There is a story which is part of the film lore that two young men Guru Dutt and Dev Anand became friends while working for Prabhat Films, Pune. They both had come to the film industry to make their mark not just as actors but also as directors and producers. and as a gesture of friendship they promised each other to Star in a film directed by the other and vice versa. Baazi was a result of that promise.


It was an excellent film-noir, with an anti-hero Dev Anand who spends his time gambling, beautiful women singing and dancing in SpeakEasys, and a righteous heroine who brings the hero away from his wayward ways. 

Baazi was the first film that Guru Dutt made and it set up his career and his signature styles, stark frame compositions and a delightful use of Black and White.

2) Baaz - 



This was a fun film. While Guru Dutt had acted in several films by then, this was his first film as a lead actor. It was Guru Dutt doing a Douglas-Fairbanks turn, in a movie about 16th century Konkan coast with K N Singh playing a Portuguese general and Geeta Bali playing a renegade princess turned pirate. It is also one of the rare Indian films to be set mostly at Sea.

3) Mr and Mrs 55



This film was a laugh riot, and it was perhaps (for want of a better word) the lightest moment in Guru Dutt's career. Paired with the most beautiful woman in the world, aided by a zany plot about stipulations of marriage for her to earn her father's fortune and playing a cartoonist who is frustrated with the world around him, add to it Johnny Walker at his best. 

This is a film which merits multiple repeat viewings.


4) Pyaasa


Pyaasa is not only Guru Dutt's finest film, it is also one of the best films ever made. It explores love, estrangement, disillusion and the fickle nature of human beings. Guru Dutt played a poet who never gets his due until he is mistakenly declared dead after a dead beggar is found wearing his coat. (perhaps a cruel mirror of Guru Dutt's own legacy, his fame reached his heights in 80s with a revival in German and French cinema circles), the publishers and his friends literally feast on the mileage gained by The Death of A Poet and his poems sell. Finally when Guru Dutt comes back and proves that he is alive his friends and family again waste no time in using this to their personal advantage. In the end Guru Dutt condemns this hypocrisy of the world in the epic song 'Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai' and leaves society with his love.

5) Kaagaz Ke Phool



It was film which broke Guru Dutt's heart, and it was a film which would have made him proud had he been alive today. Film scholars say that the Suresh Sinha in the film is the director Gyan Mukherjee (who made the superhit and excellent Kismet) who was his mentor at Bombay Talkies, while in the aftermath of his life people also find parallels between the loneliness of Guru Dutt's own life, his unrequited love for Waheeda Rahman and how his films did not get the recognition that they deserved.

Kaagaz ke Phool was about an artist spiraling out of control fueled by love and alcoholism. There was no redemption in the movie, no happy ending, it was a bleak portrayal of life as we know it and it was a beautiful tragedy. 



It isnt just enough to talk about the films Guru Dutt made, it is also important to talk about the music, the way the songs were shot, his friendship and partnership with Johnny Walker, Rahman and Dev Anand and his marriage with Geeta Dutt. 

We shall pause for now and talk of these later, for now we leave you with a haunting song from Jaal


The Essential Jack Nicholson

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There are no limits, literally none to what 'Mad Jack' Nicholson can achieve. He is the actor with the most nominations for Best Actor in Oscar history, he is the only actor to have been nominated in every decade (apart from Michael Caine) and is the only one of the three people to have won 3 oscars for acting (two for best actor and one for best supporting actor). He has portrayed a wide range of characters, most of them lovable, many of them likeable from a distance, and a few of them outright scary.

He has straddled the path of being the bad boy of hollywood, along with being one of the most respected actors of multiple generations (there was a joke in Mad Magazine once about his gardener being able to book a table at high class New York restaurants on the virtue of being His gardener).

He is an acting institution in himself (young Leo and others imitate him with Great Success), to watch him is to watch films at their finest. And if you are not properly introduced to John Joseph 'Jack' Nicholson, the following five films will act as a good starting point.


1. Chinatown



This movie has one of the best last lines in the history of cinema. This movie is one of the best noir films in the history of cinema. A dark and gritty film about a Private Detective getting caught in a whirlpool of strange conspiracy by a beautiful damsel in distress, it is about a loner going against a system to widely corrupt that it is impossible for him to win (and yet you root for him) because Jack Nicholson's Jake is at par with the best in hard-boiled protagonists.

The movie has a complex conspiratorial plot which keeps you guessing till the very end, often leaves you despondent and yet makes you hope against hope for Jake to succeed. And it is the power of Roman Polanski and Jack Nicholson who bring this story alive on screen.

If you are a fan of detective crime films and can stomach a punch to the gut, you shouldnt miss out on Chinatown.

2. The Passenger

Straight out of Chinatown, Jack Nicholson went to Italy and starred in Passenger, an intriguing story about the cost of assuming false identities.



Like Chinatown, The Passenger has a heartbreakingly in-genuine plot at the center of its story. It has a reporter who fakes his own death because he is tired of his own life, and then assumes the identity of another man (who he does not know is a drug-runner, and this leads to a lot of complications). It is a tale of loss, of betrayal and yet of a man finding himself by exchanging his life with someone else.

They do not make films like Passenger anymore.

3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


This is not just one of Jack Nicholson's best film, this is one of the best films EVER made. For a story set entirely in the confines of a sanitarium, it helps you find hope in the weirdest of places. Jack unleashed his entire acting powerhouse in this film (check out the official poster, it says Jack Nicholson in almost the same size as the movie's name).

Jack Nicholson went on to win an Oscar for his portrayal of Randle Macmurphy, a sane man in this mad world. It is hard to describe how efficient he is in this particular role. He went on to win his first oscar for the film.

At the risk of sounding cliched I would say - see it to believe it.

4. The Shining



'Here's....Johnyyyyy!'

I kid you not, it was the prowess of the horror that Jack Nicholson could conjure up which made one endearing line about America's favourite TV host (Johnny Carson) into something infinitely scary.

This movie scared an entire nation, and continues to scare movie watchers to this day. It is correct to say it was Stanley Kubrick's bordering on the insane genius which brought this Stephen King book to life with an eerie (often referenced in pop culture) ambience and strange side scenes, but it was the traumatic, decent into hell and madness of a family man portrayed by Jack Nicholson which is the USP of this movie and this is where Jack Nicholson showed his potential of scaring the hell out of his audience.

And of course the movie gave the world this iconic axe-wielding door breaking scene.

Watch it, but not with the lights out. Its more dangerous.

5. As Good As it Gets

This particular movie is this writer's personal favourite of the actor's Oeuvre. Partially because the central character is a writer.



Jack Nicholson plays Melvin Udall, a hopelessly racist, homophobic, sociopath, neurotic writer who is successful in what he does, but is (perhaps as a result of the success) a dick to everyone around him. You immediately start off by disliking Melvin, but his eccentricity is at time adorable and it keeps you from completely hating him.

The movie also has the beautiful Helen Hunt holding her own against The Big Jack, and it is about watching the aforementioned all around bastard Melvin slowly (very slowly) turning over a new leaf, by trying not to be a dick to everyone.

The movie is a comedy, and it is one of those films which when ends makes you start missing the main characters.

Jack won his second best actor oscar for this film, and if you havent seen ANY of the films starring Jack, then this is a good starting point.



6. The Departed



Admittedly this was an ensemble cast movie (missing from the poster - big names like Martin Sheen, Mark 'The Fighter' Wahlberg and Alec 'Fuck You, that's my name!' Baldwin) and it was a sprawling crime saga with multiple foci point. However, it was Jack who (in a good way) chewed the scenery in every scene that he was in. He played mob boss Frank Costello, and to put his acting chops in a nut-shell, there is a scene in which he tells Dicaprio (who acts a police-rat inside a mob) that he smells a rat, and he imitates a rat. In that particular scene he ACTUALLY becomes a rat by the power of his acting.

That my friends, is Jack Nicholson for you.

Happy Birthday great sir, may you grace us with a few good films more.



Honourable Mentions



Jack Nicholson was the original Dancing with devils in the moonlight Joker.


In which Jack derides Tom's truth handling abilities.

Top 5 films of Madhubala

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Madhubala - the ethereal beauty, the innocent smile and the eyes to charm stones. Born as Mumtaz Jehan Begum Dehlavi, Madhubala never wanted to become an actress, but somehow entered Bollywood at the age of 9 as a child artist to support her family. During the course of her short but a dazzling life, she acted in more than 70 movies setting the screen on fire with her surreal charm and natural acting abilities. Her resume includes the envelope-pushing characters from a 16th century court dancer to a ghost to a modern woman who changed the norms


We celebrated her birth day a week back. Today we are going to look at her top 5 performances in films

Before we start, I would like to do some honorable mentions to some really great films like Chalti ka naam gaadi, Half Ticket, Amar, Dulari, Howrah Bridge and Jhumroo where she set the tune by her brilliant acting. But where she shone even more and took away the breath of audiences is some paramount work. So here we go

5) Kala Pani - 1958
Produced by Dev Anand under the Navketan banner, Kala pani was a major success when it released. Jeweled with magisterial music by Dada Burman, the film showed the on-screen romance between Madhu and Dev like never before. The movie’s script was based on A.J. Cronin’s novel, Beyond This Place. Madhubala played the character of a journalist Asha who helps Dev sahab to prove his innocence and also solve a murder mystery. The film also has this 'chanchal' side of Madhubala with the song 'Achha ji mai haari' sung michieveously by Rafi and Asha


4) Mr & Mrs 55 -1955
Despite being famous for making melancholic sad dramas, Guru Dutt perhaps made one of the pioneers of rom-com genre in Mr & Mrs '55. In a romantic saga engulfing the lead actress played by Madhubala to be rich heiress who is forced to live the simple life of a traditional woman. This film is refreshing particularly with Madhu playing the role of a rich, snobbish 20 year old. The film had brilliant music by O.P.Nayyar and lyrics by Majrooh saab.One of the most iconic moments in the films is when Lalita Pawar asks Guru Dutt -  “tum communist ho?” (are you a communist?) with Preetam replying “ji nahin cartoonist” (no, I am a cartoonist).


3) Barsaat ki Raat - 1960
Barsaat ki raat is a classic in all aspects. It was a revolutionary film at its times. Although it got more notice for 2 major reasons - it came head to head with K Asif's Magnum Opus - Mughal e Azam and secondly for its divine soundtrack composed by Roshan saab. But beyond that the film was a breakthough for many other reasons. Madhubala plays a muslim girl in Hyderabad who takes the bold decision of running away from home and marry a 'shaayar' Bharat Bhooshan. The film is full of melodic scenes and somewhat like Pyaasa is drenched with 'shaayari' and 'qawwali'. The film reaches a crescendo at the end with a qawwali competition in Lucknow where Madhubala comes running after hearing Bharat Bhushan's voice. Immaculate, touching and musical. Almost perfect

2) Mughal e Azam - 1960
Mughal e Azam is definitely the most famous film of Madhubala. It was a film of grandeur, surprising and shocking the audiences with the brilliance of K Asif and his vision to make a film which can not be made again. The film took almost a whole decade to be complete and broke all box office records on its release. The film stars Dilip and Madhu - the best pair possible (on screen and off) but even there Madhubala steals the show with those eyes, smiles and tears. Voiced on by Lata ji on some of the most memorable soundtracks ever created in Indian cinema (tuned by Naushad), Madhubala looks in a league of her own. Whether it's the shy Indian lady in Mohe panghat pe Nandlal or the lady fighting for love in qawwali - Teri mehfil me kismat aazma kar. But the highest point in the film is achieved, not surprisingly at' 'Jab Pyaar kiya to darna kya'. It is often said that she suffered abrasions on her skin and fainted during the filming of the movie due to its harsh demands and her delicate health. But she was determined to finish the film at any cost.She ended up giving one of the most sterling and memorable performances in history of Indian cinema

1) Mahal - 1949
If someone has Mughal-E-Azam up her sleeve, its almost impossible to think of something that could better it, but then Madhubala had Mahal as her pathbreaking film. Released in 1949, when she was only 16, Mahal was a phenomenal film and first of it's kind. The genere of gothic-noir-fiction in India was pretty much unexplored before Kamal Amrohi made this legendary film for Bombay Talkies. Madhubala stormed into the filmy scene of Bombay with this film and pretty much stole the show in the film too. There has been word round the campfire that Madhubala outscreened Suraiya for this film and the role was pretty much written with Suraiya in mind. Once Madhubala appeared on-screen and dazzled the viewers, any thoughts of someone else playing the role, went out of the window. This song made 2 stars - Madhubala and Lata mangeshkar. With the hauntingly brilliant melody - Aayega aanewala, composed by legendary Khemchand Prakash, both of them shot to fame and glory.The film has become etched in the memories of the viewers and the ghostly white face of madhubala appears everytime one thinks of the film.


Hope you like the list. Let us know which is your favorite Madhubala film

And here is a bonus song - look at the facial expressions during the whole song, worth killing for

20 Most Anticipated Films of 2015

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For die hard Filmi fans like us, 2014 started on a शायराना note with Abhishek Chaubey's urdu दावत  Dedh Ishqiya and ended with Anurag Kashyap's dark, gloomy and fantastic Ugly. In spite of having stunning underrated films like Ankhon Dekhi, Filmistan, Sulemani Keeda and several other biggies like Queen, Haider, Highway and Dedh Ishqiya, 2014 was rather gloomy compared to terrific 2012 and 2013.

So as it is said रात गयी बात गयी , we will move away from 2014 and think of amazing films that awaits us in 2015. So just like our last year's post, we are back with yet another list where we talk about 20 Most Anticipated Films of 2015.

20. Main Aur Charles
Director - Prawaal Raman
Cast - Randeep Hooda, Richa Chadda & Adil Hussain

Prawaal Raman is a very underrated director. Barring ultra bore Tusshar Kapoor starrer Gayab (2004), Raman has given us two very different horror films in form of Darna Mana Hai (certain stories were brilliantly directed) and unnoticed psychological horror thriller 404 Error Not Found (2011). His next, Main Aur Charles is about famous conmen and serial killer Charles Shobraj (starring Randeep Hooda in the title role) who was known for his notorious serial murders and passport forgeries. Considering the enigmatic lifestyle of Shobraj, Raman's film can serve as great thriller set in '70s and '80s. Also it will be refreshing to see Raman attempting something other than horror genre.


19. Shamitabh
Director - R. Balki
Cast - Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush & Akshara Hassan

One thing that is sure about R. Balki films is that they come with truckloads of feel good feelings and Ilaiyaraaja's music. Whether it be unconventional romance in Cheeni Kum (2007) or a heartwarming father - son story in Paa (2009), both films had that refreshing treatment to it. His next, Shamitabh revolves around our very own Bollywood film industry. A superstar lends his voice to deaf and mute junior artist but when junior artist becomes a star, an ego clash breaks out between the two over the success of film. Film will also have eminent film and TV celebrities doing cameos alike Zoya Akhtar's Luck By Chance. 


18. Bangistan
Director - Karan Anshuman
Cast - Riteish Deshmukh, Pulkit Samrat & Chandan Roy Sanyal

A Mumbai Mirror movie critic turned script writer/director Karan Anshuman's debut Bangistan is political satire shot extensively in Poland. It narrates the story of 2 aspiring terrorists but from opposite religions whose goofy acts will make an impact on world's peace. The prime reason for anticipating this film is that it is been produced by Excel Entertainment (Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani) who in past have given chance to budding filmmakers to showcase their talents and have churned out smart comedies in form of Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (Reema Kagti) and Fukrey (Mrigdeep Singh Lamba). Also it would be interesting to see Riteish Deshmukh doing a satire after all those non sense slapstick comedies he has done all these years.


17. Phantom
Director - Kabir Khan
Cast - Saif Ali Khan & Katrina Kaif

Kabir Khan's filmmaking sensibilities are quite oscillatory. If he pulled out YRF from those sappy romances with his hard hitting docu drama Kabul Express (2006) and an amazing emotional story depicting the aftermath of 9/11 attacks in New York (2009) then he also shocked us with ridiculous spy love story starring bhai in Ek Tha Tiger (2012). But going by the story of Phantom, which is based on S Hussain Zaidi's unreleased book about Indian secret agent who is recruited to combat global terrorism post 26/11 attacks. Film was shot in tension filled regions of Lebanon.


16. Piku
Director - Shoojit Sircar
Cast - Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan & Jishu Sengupta

After his stunning Yahaan (2007), Shoojit Sircar was about to start his next titled Shoebite/Johnny Walker starring Amitabh Bachchan but that film got cancelled due to row between two production companies (Percept and UTV). Since then he always wanted to do a film with Big B but never got a script suiting him. After making National Award winning Vicky Donor (2012) & Madras Cafe (2013), Shoojit is back with a heartwarming father - daughter relationship set against the backdrop of Kolkata. Deepika Padukone is in great form post Ram Leela and Finding Fanny and Irrfan does wonder when he is teamed with brilliant directors and actors. So it will be amazing to see how Shoojit brings out the best performances from Big B, Deepika Padukone and Irrfan. Also film will mark the debut of noted Bengali composer Anupam Roy.


15. NH 10
Director - Navdeep Singh
Cast - Anushka Sharma & Neil Bhoopalam

After stellar debut with Manorama Six Feet Under (2006), Navdeep Singh faced disappointment when two of his upcoming projects - Rock The Shaadi (a Big Fat Punjabi Wedding meets Zombie Comedy) and Basra both starring Abhay Deol were shelved. Finally he is directing his next which is horror thriller about the road trip of couple gone wrong with enough dose of women empowerment. Film is co-produced by Anurag Kashyap's Phantom Films and Anushka Sharma's Clean Slate Films.


14. Fan
Director - Maneesh Sharma
Cast - Shah Rukh Khan, Ileana D'cruz & Vaani Kapoor

SRK film on this list can raise some questions on my taste in movies. Even though the kind of crap that SRK is doing now doesn't take away that this same actor has given us some memorable performances with films like Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na (1993), Swades (2004), Chak De India (2007) & Devdas (2002). Fan will have SRK playing double role - one that of a die hard fan & other of the biggest superstar of Bollywood. Another reason I anticipate this film is because it is been directed by Maneesh Sharma who made a very accomplished debut with his Band Baaja Baaraat (2010) and gave one of the honest and researched rom-coms (Shuddh Desi Romance; 2013) in recent times. The renowned special effects makeup maestro and 3 times Oscar winner, Greg Cannom (famous for The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Dracula & Mrs. Doubtfire) has worked on developing the look of SRK in the film.


13. Tamasha
Director - Imtiaz Ali
Cast - Ranbir Kapoor & Deepika Padukone

After not so wonderful Rockstar (2011) and unusually charming Highway (2014), Imtiaz Ali is back with a big budget love story with two most sought actors in showbiz. Shot in Corsica, film revolves around two unknown individuals who strike an unusual bond due to their love for same comic series Asterix in Corsica. Music by none other than A R Rahman. After stunning music in Rockstar am totally waiting for this one.


12. Dil Dhadakne Do
Director - Zoya Akhtar
Cast - Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Anil Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Anushka Sharma, Shefali Shah & Rahul Bose

Her last film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) was about 3 friends who discover themselves on an adventurous road trip in Spain. Her next, Dil Dhadakne Do is about a dysfunctional family on a Cruise in Europe. Interestingly, Zoya had approached Ranbir Kapoor & Kareena Kapoor to play siblings while Katrina Kaif & Hrithik Roshan would play their respective better halves but due to several issues entire cast got revamped. Now, Ranveer Singh & Priyanka Chopra play siblings and Anushka Sharma & Farhan Akhtar play their respective better halves. Anil Kapoor & Shefali Shah will play parents to Ranveer & Priyanka. Expecting some eye popping cinematography by Carlos Catalan & music by SEL.

   
11. Wazir
Director - Bejoy Nambiar
Cast - Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar & Aditi Rao Hydari

Bejoy Nambiar made one of the coolest and stylish film debuts in recent times with Shaitan (2011) and followed up that quirky style in his 13 episode TV Series MTV Rush but sadly his last work David (though beautifully shot) wasn't even close to his previous works. But having seen the trailer of Wazir we feel assured that Bejoy is back. Trailer has distinct Bejoy Nambiar visual style with flashes of noir in it. Though it is not clear from the trailer what exactly is the plot of the film (something related to terrorism in Kashmir, that's what it seems from some stills in promo) but it would be great to see Amitabh Bachchan as paralysed retired Chess Grandmaster and Farhan Akhtar as an ATS cop. Also penned by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi & edited by Rajkumar Hirani.



10. Shaandaar

Director - Vikas Bahl
Cast - Shahid Kapur, Alia Bhatt, Pankaj Kapur, Sanah Kapur, Karan Johar & Sanjay Kapoor

Vikas Bahl directed Queen (2014) which is one of the best coming-of-age films in recent times. His next, Shaandaar revolves around two insomniacs (Shahid Kapur & Alia Bhatt) who fall in love over an elaborate destination wedding. Having worked in his father's film (Mausam), this is first time Shahid Kapur & Pankaj Kapur will share screen along with his sister Sanah Kapur. Strangely Bahl has assigned Pankaj Kapur as Alia's father while Karan Johar will play Shahid's father. Music by Amit Trivedi & editing by Anurag Kashyap. Shahid post Haider is in terrific form while Alia Bhatt has shown her acting prowess with Highway. Would be exciting to see how Vikas extracts performances from them.


9. Badlapur
Director - Sriram Raghavan
Cast - Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddique, Huma Qureshi, Yami Gautam, Vinay Pathak & Divya Dutta

After the disappointment of Agent Vinod (though long uncut picturisation of Raabta was stunning), Sriram Raghavan is back with Badlapur that reminds us of his earlier works (Ek Hasina Thi & Johnny Gaddaar) full with pulpy neo noir and gritty action. Badlapur narrates the story of Raghu (Varun Dhawan) who is keen to take revenge from Liak (Nawazuddin Siddique) who killed his family 15 years ago. Exciting female leads - Huma Qureshi, Yami Gautam, Radhika Apte & Divya Dutta. It would be fascinating to see Varun Dhawan play intense character that takes him out of his comfort zone and those chocolate boy looks.


8. Liar's Dice
Director - Geetu Mohandas
Cast - Geetanjali Thapa & Nawazuddin Siddique

Acclaimed cinematographer Rajeev Ravi's wife Geetu Mohandas, an acclaimed Malayalam actress turned director made her debut with this little film called Liar's Dice. The film went on to win 2 National Awards in 2014 for Best Actress (Geetanjali Thapa) & Best Cinematography (Rajeev Ravi) and was selected as India's official entry for Oscar 2015. But sadly did not get nomination but has made its presence felt at several film festivals (Mumbai, Sundance, Sofia International etc.). It's even more sad that very few even knew about this little gem. Liar's Dice narrates the story of a young mother Kamala (Geetanjali Thapa) who sets out from her tribal village near India China border in search of her missing husband in Delhi with the help of an unreliable con men (Nawazuddin Siddique).



7. Tumbad
Director - Rahi Anil Barve
Cast - Sohum Shah

Anand Gandhi after tasting critical & commercial success with Ship Of Theseus is back but this time as a producer. With almost same crew as that of SOT (Pankaj Kumar as DOP & Sohum Shah in lead) Tumbad is a period horror thriller set in pre & post independence era of Pune. For me the genre of Period Horror Thriller itself is so luring. Plus Rahi Anil Barve made an ultra dark disturbing B&W short film Maanjha which was praised by many including Danny Boyle for its unsettling theme.


6. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy
Director - Dibakar Banerjee
Cast - Sushant Singh Rajput, Anand Tiwari, Swastika Mukherjee, Neeraj Kabi & Meiyang Chang

After making critically acclaimed and diverse genre films like Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006), Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008), Love Sex Aur Dhokha (2010) & Shanghai (2012); Dibakar Banerjee now decides to adapt Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay's famous detective novel into a hindi feature film. The official plot of film is stated as - In a contemporary interpretation of war torn Calcutta during the 1940's, the film follows the first adventure of Byomkesh (Sushant Singh Rajput), fresh out of college, as he pits himself against an evil genius who is out to destroy the world. It's his wits against the most villainous arch criminal the world has seen, in a world of murder, international political intrigue and seduction. And its official teaser had everything from Japanese armies to vintage Calcutta to seductive femme fatale to gothic feel and above all a death metal music. SOLD!


5. Tigers
Director - Danis Tanovic
Cast - Emraan Hashmi, Tannishta Chatterjee, Adil Hussain, Danny Houston & Supriya Pathak

Danis Tanovic who previously directed Oscar winner No Man's Land (2001), directs Tigers (previously titled White Lies) which narrates the story of young salesman Ayan (Emraan Hashmi) in a pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan who is devastated when he discovers the ill-effects of the infant formula he is peddling and challenges the system and power related to it. This typical David v/s Goliath story is narrated from the POV of documentary filmmakers who are filming a documentary on the life of Ayan instead of simple story from the POV of Ayan. This kind of genre of Docu-drama thriller is yet to be explored in our film industry and hence makes this one really enticing. Tigers is a co-production between India, France & Britain and has been produced by Anurag Kashyap & Guneet Monga. Tigers got a respectable applause at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and music will be by Pritam.


4. Bombay Velvet
Director - Anurag Kashyap
Cast - Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar, Kay Kay Menon, Siddharth Basu, Vivaan Shah, Raveena Tandon & Manish Chaudhary

Initially planned as a Christmas release in  2014, Anurag Kashyap's magnum opus was preponed to November but due to extensive VFX & post production work pending, makers decided to release the film in May 2015. So finally Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet will release on 15 May 2015. Based on Gyan Prakash's novel Mumbai Fables, Bombay Velvet is a neo noir period drama thriller set against the backdrop of '50s & '60s Bombay and shows Bombay's transformation into metropolis. Starring Ranbir Kapoor as street boxer, Karan Johar as an egoistic Parsi businessman (Main antagonist), Anushka Sharma & Raveena Tandon as Jazz singers and other stalwarts in industries like Kay Kay Menon, Manish Chaudhary & Siddharth Basu. Featuring cinematography by Rajeev Ravi, Jazz based music by Amit Trivedi and its International version will be edited by Martin Scorsese regular and three times Oscar winner Thelma Schoonmaker. Totally excited!!!!


3. Court
Director - Chaitanya Tamhane
Cast - Vira Sathidar, Vivek Gomber, Pradeep Joshi & Geetanjali Kulkarni

The most Internationally acclaimed Indian film in recent times. Debut Indie director Chaitanya Tamhane's Court narrates a bizarre court case where an ageing folk singer is tried in a court on the charges of abetment of suicide of a sewage worker in Mumbai. As the trial unfolds, personal lives of lawyers and judge involved in the case is explored which gives us an insight into class discrimination and hold of power in an Indian Judiciary. The film has gathered unprecedented critical acclaim at several Film Festivals but it would be interesting to see how Indians welcome this film.


2. Nyodda
Director - Meghna Gulzar
Cast - Irrfan Khan, Konkana Sen Sharma, Neeraj Kabi & Tabu

It must not have been easy for Meghna Gulzar to always live up to the expectations of her father Gulzar's directorial works. After making decent debut with Filhaal (2002) and okay-ish Just Married (2007), Meghna Gulzar returns to movies with Nyodda after 8 long years. Produced and written by Vishal Bharadwaj, Nyodda is fictional dramatization of shocking and sensational Aarushi Talwar & Hemraj double murder case. Film is believed to have some terrific performances from Irrfan (as Investigative officer), Konkana Sen Sharma (as mother), Neeraj Kabi (as father) and Tabu in a special appearance. Just like rest of his films, music will be by Vishal himself and lyrics by Gulzar. The reason this film comes at this spot surpassing Bombay Velvet and others is it will be quite interesting to see how VB & Meghna dramatise one of the complex and shocking double murder mystery (which is supposed to be a shocking case of honour killing) in recent times.


1. Titli
Director - Kanu Behl
Cast - Ranvir Shorey, Shashank Arora, Amit Sial, Lalit Behl & Shivani Raghuvanshi

So the top spot is reserved for debutant Kanu Behl whose Titli was showcased in Un Certain Regard Section at Cannes 2014. Co-produced by YRF & Dibakar Banerjee, Titli is set in dystopian Delhi where the youngest member Titli (Shashank Arora) of a violent carjacking family plots an escape. His struggle to do so is countered at each stage by his indignant brothers, who finally try marrying him off to 'settle' him.Titli, finds an unlikely ally in his new wife, caught though she is in her own web of warped reality and dysfunctional dreams. They form a strange, beneficial partnership, only to confront their inability to escape the bindings of their family roots. Will they be able to escape the violent nature of their family? Being an assistant to Dibakar Banerjee, Kanu Behl's treatment to the film is awe-inspiring. It is said to be the most unusual role for Ranvir Shorey and marks the return of talented actor Amit Sial after Love Sex Aur Dhokha (2010). But the best part is that this film is co-produced by YRF and I am glad that they are investing all those crores they earned from mindless hits like Dhoom 3 in Indie stuff like this. Hope other major production house also starts operating in this way.


Honorable Mention - This film was deliberately not included in above list because a Kamal Swaroop film surpasses all the Most Anticipated list that can ever be created. His films irrespective of everything are MUST MUST watch. After directing highly surreal satire Om Dar-Ba-Dar, auteur Kamal Swaroop returns to the director's chair after 26 long years (Rangbhoomi was an exception) and result is this brilliant documentary Dance For DemocracyThis documentary film by Kamal Swaroop attempts to provide an insight into the complex political structure of India, world's largest democracy, in the historic city of Banaras during the campaigning of Narendra Modi & Arvind Kejriwal for Lok Sabha Elections in 2014. Just take a look at its trailer and you will be amazed and mesmerised by Swaroop's visual and musical sense. That symphony style BGM is absolutely the best thing you will ever hear.


Some films worth waiting for - Baby (Neeraj Pandey), Hunterrr (Harshvardhan Kulkarni), Dum Laga Ke Haisha (Sharat Katariya), Hawaizaada (Vibhu Puri), Aur Devdas (Sudhir Mishra), Fitoor (Abhishek Kapoor) & Tanu Weds Manu 2 (Anand L Rai)

Still Waiting - Just the way Ashim Ahluwalia's Miss Lovely and Nitin Kakkar's Filmistan got theatrical release after couple of years of being in cans. I hope similar things happen in 2015 for some delayed films like -

Vasan Bala's long delayed debut Peddlers (showcased at Cannes 2012) starring Gulshan Deviah, Siddharth Menon & Nimrat Kaur.

Amit Kumar's Monsoon Shootout (showcased at Cannes 2013) starring Nawazuddin Siddique, Vijay Varma, Tannishta Chatterjee & Neeraj Kabi.

Ketan Mehta's Mountain Man starring Nawazuddin Siddique.

Mangesh Hadawale's Dekh Indian Circus (Won 4 National Awards in 2012) starring Nawazuddin Siddique & Tannishta Chatterjee. Produced by Vivek Oberoi and music by SEL.

Hope you liked the article and mention your Most Anticipated Film of 2015 in comments. It would exciting to see different choices coming!!