The Best of Films in 2011

Another year comes to an end with people asking  the same irritating question,  “What are your New Year plans?”. I have modified my reply over the years from “what is the big deal with a New Year???” to “I will  be doing what I love to do, watching  films that I have missed”. There is nothing more enjoyable than a planned home screening of an unseen film, dimmed lights, curtains drawn with pop corn and cola for company. Blissful.

I keep a close  watch of films that I miss but for those who don’t here is a list of my favorite films from 2011.  Now this does not mean I expect you to watch them on New  Year’s Eve. All I wish is  for all of you to watch at least some of these films in original print and enjoy them the way they are meant to be.

Special Mentions-Bollywood: This year I will stick to the regular top 10 in my list. However, I would like to mention some other films that left a mark. Sahib Biwi aur Gangster with Dhulia again in his element, Shaitan for some good hard hitting, disturbing cinema, Mujhse Fraandship Karoge for the performance of Saqib Saleem and for giving a fresh feel to the college romance, Tanu Weds Manu (On a reader’s reminder, slipped my mind) for realistic sets, authentic art direction and bang on characterization (especially Pappi), Don 2 for some slick film-making surpassing even Hollywood, and Singham for being such a damn good entertainer.

10. The Dirty Picture

Dropping necklines, superlative dialogues, and great performances especially by Vidya Balan who showed everyone that fat can also be sexy. It is one of my two favorite performances of 2011.

9. Pyaar  Ka Punchnama

A low budget film which had no stars to power it. What it had, was a great idea executed well and helped along by excellent dialogues (one liners as well as the 5 min one). Add to it Divyendu Sharma as Liquid and you have a winner.

8. Shagird

Tigmanshu Dhulia is totally in his element in this film. He has everything in place from a great script to superb dialogues to an excellent main lead in Nana Patekar and a fine support cast. All these combined made Shagird a surprise package in 2011.

7. Chillar Party

A gem of a film about a bunch of kids and their dog. It talks about friendship and standing up for what you believe in. It is a simple film with its heart in the right place. Also worth mentioning is the kid known as Janghya (Naman Jain), he is a complete superstar. A lot of credit for this film goes to Salman Khan as this is the first film from SKBH (Salman Khan Being Human) Productions. Hats off for choosing such a script to launch his production house.

I am sure very few people would have seen it so please do watch this one for sure.

6. No one Killed Jessica

Filmy yet effective, No one Killed Jessica is a hard hitting film that asked some very relevant questions. Vidya and Rani in top form along with a powerful musical score by Amit Trivedi led by the track Dilli Dilli.

5. Delhi Belly

So much was expected from this film ever since the first promo came out and the expectations kept building up with every song being released. The controversial ‘Bhaag DK Bose’ led the pack with ‘Ja Chudail’, ‘Sweety’ & ‘I hate you’ following behind. Probably the best script of the year, Delhi Belly delivered on expectations with fine performances from Vijay Raaz, debutante Poorna Jagannathan, Vir Das and some kickass music.

4. Yeh Saali Zindagi

“Zindagi pe tera mera kissi ka na zor hai, hum sochte hain kuch yeh saali sochti kuch aur hai yeh zindagi, uff Ye Saali Zindagi”.  This is the title track of the film and its done in such a style that you know then and there, you are watching something special. The film holds true to this feeling and delivers a hilariously romantic ride which is thrilling at the same time. It offers a damn entertaining story coupled with the Khan of all seasons, Irrfan Khan in his zone. Irrfan lifts this film to great heights and is supported well by some wise-cracking lines. It  is a must watch for all those who missed it & those who didn’t miss it would watch it again anyway.

P.S. There is also the super hot Aditi Rao.

3. Stanley Ka Dabba

A truly experimental piece of cinema which showcased so many different facets of life. Shot with kids as a part of a summer camp without giving them the knowledge of it being made into a film, this brought out a natural feel to the film which is very rare today. A superb concept, beautiful execution and a genuinely heartfelt performance by

2. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

I don’t think I have seen a more fun film than ZNMD in the last 10 years. Coincidentally the last time I had so much fun was  again a film by an Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar’s debut film Dil Chahta Hai. In this case it is the sister behind the camera while Farhan comes in front for the most natural role of his career. Mind you there is a lot of difference in the styles of both brother and sister when it comes to film making but both styles are excellent. Zindagi na milegi dobara teaches you how to  embrace life and not be so involved with the future that you spoil your present. It is a film that makes you think about the choices you have made and the memorable days of your life. I say Zoya Akhtar has a different style of film making because she follows a layered style where all these things are very subtle, hidden in a way. This was the case even in her debut film Luck, By Chance another superb film.

Zindagi na Milegi Dobara also boasts of some very fine cinematography, Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music, certainly one of this year’s best albums and a extraordinary performance by Hrithik Roshan. Couple of scenes that are worth mentioning are Hrithik’s reaction after the deep sea dive and his reaction to being rejected in a arranged marriage. Simply superb.

1. Rockstar

My favorite album, my favorite performance, my favorite screenplay, my favorite director of the year, all come from Rockstar. To be honest, the first time I saw the film I went to watch a Rockumentry as that was the kind of positioning done with the trailers. This is the major reason why people felt a disconnect in what they expected and what  they saw. I was no different.

However, the film still managed to have a very strong after-effect and I felt like watching it again. This time I saw it from the point of view of Imtiaz Ali and fell in love after just 40 mins into the film. It was almost like I was watching some other film. The screenplay that looked random came across as brilliant and I appreciated Imtiaz Ali for the treatment he gave to the film. It is more of a Rockstar meets Devdas kind of a film than a documentary of a famous rockstar. I mean it as a complement because first the latter would have been easier to execute and second I am not referring to the SRK starer, merely to the character Devdas.

Imtiaz Ali does a brilliant job of using a random narrative which gives the film an almost dreamy feel. It is like when you dream, the sequence of events is not linear, its jumbled but even then you can make perfect sense of everything that is going on in your head. Similarly here every scene has a connection and makes perfect sense in the bigger picture.

Ranbir is exceptional as Janardhan as well as Jordan which says a lot about his acting abilities. The bigger hero of the film is AR Rahman who gives one of his career best scores for this film, every song has classic written all over it. Equally special is Mohit Chauhan who put to rest all debates about how he can only sing one kind of songs. Overall It was a very difficult film to pull off and credit to Imtiaz Ali for doing it in his way.


  1. Rockstar as the number 1!!!!

  2. good choices

    special mentions could also have Tanu Weds Manu and 7 Khoon Maaf

    1. I agree about Tanu Weds Manu but not 7 Khoon Maaf. I feel Vishal Bhardwaj is far more capable than what the end product was. It was too linear for my liking.

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