Year Roundup Of 2021 Movies

Firstly advanced New Year to everyone and also hoping that we will finally get rid of this COVID in 2022. Just like 2020 this year was also truncated for obvious reasons, adding to the second phase of COVID a new variant called Omicron has also started. As a result it is difficult to make a comprehensive list of the movies which have come this year. Within the choices that we had following are the movies that I have loved across Hindi and Telugu.

83 :

The significance of India winning the 1983 world cup goes beyond just the tournament. It was much more than that. It was about respect and being taken seriously by the cricket world. Not surprisingly the 1983 victory has more emotional significance than the 2011 win under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The reason for that is prior to 1983 India had lost horribly in the previous two world cups. They had not even made it to the playoffs. As a result no one had the confidence that India would even make it to the playoffs let alone winning it.

There were constant humiliations and adverse circumstances. But Kapil Dev firmly believed that India could win and his confidence transformed the entire team.

It is a huge responsibility as a filmmaker when you are bringing that incredible real life story on screen for today’s audiences. In spite of the never ending COVID Kabir Khan was sure that he would release the film in theaters only. When you see the film you understand why he took such a decision. The hard work that has gone into recreating that era is very evident in every frame. 83 is one of those big ticket entertainers that you wouldn’t mind watching any number of times. As a viewer you go through a roller coaster of emotions. The icing on the cake was the performances led by Ranveer Singh. It is truly an award winning act. Others like Saqib Saleem, Jatin Sarna, Tahir Raj Bhasin and Pankaj Tripati also chipped in with winsome performance. It is unfortunate that 83 won’t achieve its full potential due to Omicron.

Sardar Udham Singh :

Shoojit Sarcar’s Sardar Udham Singh is a far cry from the typical jingoism that we have been seeing in films of this genre. Shoojit Sarcar delivered a layered biopic which gives you a physiological insight into the mind of the freedom fighter. For those who are not aware Sardar Udham Singh is someone who is known for assassinating Micheal O’Dwyer in London. He did that in order to take revenge for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar.

One of the big strengths of the film was its writing. There were plenty of moments which would make you applaud the writers. Another refreshing aspect of Sardar Udham Singh was its non stereotypical portrayal of the British characters. As a result actors like Shaun Scoot also shined in their limited parts. Vicky Kaushal was simply terrific in the title role. He ably switched between being explosive and being restraint as per the demand of the script.

Shershaah :

Vishnu Vardhan’s biopic on Vikram Batra was a watchable film within the confines of a familiar war drama. For those who are not aware Vikram Batra was an officer of Indian army. He was posthumously awarded with Param Vira Chakra for his actions during the 1999 Kargil war.

The most interesting aspect of Shershaah was the equation that the onscreen Vikram Batra shares with the Kashmiri people during his first posting. We see him getting along with the locals with ease. It is also shown that the elders trust Vikram Batra more than the senior officers. Although it is highly debatable whether this really happened but nevertheless it makes for an engaging watch.

The action scenes were another major asset to the film along with Kamalijeet Negi’s cinematography. Lastly Siddarth Malhotra was in solid form, it was a performance that many didn’t see coming but Siddarth surprised one and all.

Pagglait and Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi :

There is more than one similarity between the stories of Pagglait and Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi. For example both stories are set in Lucknow and deal with the theme of widowhood. In Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi the death is of the head of the family, in Pagglait the death is of a man in his mid 20’s. The age of the female characters does vary but the theme is the same. Another similarity is the nature of the family members. We see the gossiping family members who have an eye on the dead man’s money. Since Paaglait came after the former it is possible that director Umesh Bist did take inspiration from Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi.

However keeping aside the similarities both are wonderful films that expose the society’s deep rooted patriarchy. They realistically portray the traits of dysfunctional families. Having said that Paaglait feels more complete as a film, performance wise both Supriya Pathak and Sanya Malhotra were brilliant in their respective films.

Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar :

Dibakar Banerjee’s Sandeep Aur Pinly Faraar was judged pretty harshly by the social media upon its release. The reason for the negativity was more to do with people’s preconceived notions than the content itself. Agree that the last film that Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor did wasn’t anything great but still the social media negativity was uncalled for. Fortunately the film found its audience after its digital release on Amazon Prime. Dibakar Banerjee along with writer Varun Grover gave a masterful take on masculinity, greed and corruption, they took the format of a chase film and made sure that it was much more than that.

The story of Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar revolved around a hotshot banker and a Harayana cop. The uniqueness of the story starts from the names of the protagonists itself. Parineeti Chopra plays Sandy aka Sandeep, Arjun Kapoor on the other hand is Pinky. Their paths cross one night and they are forced to flee because of certain circumstances.

Many of the male characters in this film are entitled, toxic etc. For example you have a timid bank manager in Pithoragrah, there is a scene where he tries to subjugate Sandy. Pinky is also someone who can be aggressive but he knows that she is smarter. There is also a tender side to him which comes out at the most unexpected time. There is also an elderly couple played by Raghubir Yadav and Neena Gupta. The character of Raghubir Yadav is someone who thinks that speaking in English automatically makes him superior.
After a series of disappointing performances Parineeti Chopra was back with a bang. She absolutely nailed the part. Arjun Kapoor has never been a great performer but Dibakar Banerjee managed to extract a good performance from him. He particularly shined in the pre-climax.

Love Story :

Sekhar Kamula went beyond his comfort zone with Love Story. He tackled a story which had serious undertones of caste and gender. It isn’t perfect by any means but Love Story still worked for a number of reasons. ‘

The biggest strength of Love Story was how Shekar Kamula developed the character of Revanth. There was lot of sensitivity and the director never resorted to unnecessary commercial elements to prop up the character. Revanth is someone who generally tries to avoid conflicts as much as possible. There is only scene towards the end where he decides that enough is enough however the action scene works because of the context behind it.

Additionally Naga Chaintanya also sprung up a pleasant surprise. He came out of his comfort zone and delivered a career defining act. He got the nuances of the character spot on starting with the dialect. Shekar Kamula was also fairly successful in showing the caste disparities. Sai Pallavi was good in her role of the upper caste Mounika but there are instances where she falls short. One big issue with the film was the serious hangover of Sairat and Highway. The director took caste from Sairat and child abuse from Highway.

Kondapolam :

This film was based on the novel of Sannpureddy Venkatarami Reddy by the same name. The novel was hugely successful and is considered to be a great read. Sannapureddy had addressed many significant topics through his book. For example you had the theme of need for coexistence between man and nature. It was also about the protagonist getting rid of his inner demons and facing life with confidence.

Director Krish retained the spirit of the novel and added his own touch as well. He removed certain unnecessary chapters from the book and made it crisper. The big change between the book and the movie is the insertion of Rakul Preet Singh’s Obulamma. It is the creation of the director but it doesn’t feel unnecessary or unwanted. In fact Rakul was a big revelation in her part; her role would be remembered for a long time just like Samantha’s one in Rangasthalam. Another big achievement of the film was how Krish set up the tale with the help of the technical department. Both the cinematography and the art direction shined big time. Vaishnav Tej as the protagonist Ravi was earnest and gave a sincere performance. He was able to do justice to the arc of Ravi. It was the second time after Uppena that Vaishnav Tej and Sai Chand acted as father and son, the comfort level between the two was very apparent.

Shyam Singha Roy :

Director Rahul Sankrityan took a familiar theme of reincarnation but he made it engaging for the audiences through his narration. There were certain flaws too but the film still worked for most part.

The story of Shyam Singha Roy is divided into two timelines. One is contemporary which features Nani as the aspiring director Vasu, the other one is that of Bengali activist and writer Shyam Singha Roy. Both these roles are played by Nani.

The heart of Shyam Singha Roy lied in the flashback episode of the second half. It touched upon many issues starting from untouchability and later going to the Devadasi system. The love story between Nani and the Devadasi women played by Sai Pallavi had plenty of heartwarming moments. The contemporary bits were also hugely enjoyable. The performances of all the actors were good but Nani deserves the highest marks for his seamless portrayal of the two characters.

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