The beginning of 2021 brought with it some good news about cinema halls reopening, even if at 50 per cent occupancy. Soon enough, producers and distributors began grabbing slots at the box office to release several much awaited Hindi films, even if it meant at the risk of low audience turnout due to the coronavirus. The next three months remained a mixed bag of not just genres, but also mediums. Small films made way to the big screen, while big movies found a safe spot on several streaming platforms.
Just within two weeks of its theatrical release, the makers of Janhvi Kapoor-Rajkummar Rao starrer Roohi decided to premiere it on Netflix, to get quick returns. On the other hand, actor Seema Pahwa’s directorial debut Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi was one of the first movies to open the cinema halls in 2021. Those who couldn’t make it to the theatres, waited for its arrival on Netflix. But, despite several postponements, Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi still awaits an OTT release.
In short, there was more action and drama off the screens for Bollywood, than maybe onscreen, in the first quarter of 2021. Now, as we enter the month of April, with bigger and better Hindi films lined up, we take a look back at the first three months of the year and list the best and worst of what we saw on the screens so far.
BEST FILMS OF JANUARY-MARCH 2021
Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi
Veteran actor Seema Pahwa seems to have gathered her entire experience from over the years and put it into her maiden 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 entertainer had a unique plot of what happens when an entire extended family gathers for 13 days after the death of the patriarch. Until the ‘tehrvi’, the family’s dynamics change with petty politics and insecurities coming into play. The film touched upon several regressive social stigmas and virtues.
Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar
After getting delayed for an entire year, many thought Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar might just disappear upon its release. But the Arjun Kapoor–Parineeti Chopra starrer managed to impress. Having the Dibakar Banerji stamp, the movie takes off right from the word go, with a crackling opening, and soon we are introduced to the opposite worlds of its protagonists and the power play around them. It subtly highlighted class divide with a pinch of comedy. The film had scope for a better execution, but from what it delivered, it finds a place in this list.
Who would’ve thought this courtroom drama to be, 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 the viewers with his performance. This ZEE5 thriller deserves a sequel, since it ended on a cliffhanger. Audience is waiting.
Probably the best visual wonder you would’ve seen in India, this Gitanjali Rao film follows a flower seller’s love story. Though an animated movie, it gave everything seen on the Indian screens to date, a run for money. Bombay Rose can be described as extraordinarily gorgeous. Watch it, in case you still haven’t. It’s streaming on Netflix.
Kajol, Tanvi Azmi and Mithila Palkar made a dream cast in this Renuka Shahane directorial. Revolving around the world of three generations, forgiveness, and a realisation that a mother is a woman first, it boasted of a matured screenplay, handled delicately, yet boldly. The film’s title had a deep meaning to its plot too.
And since we managed to collect the best movies that released in the first quarter of 2021, let’s take a look at the not so good ones too.
WORST FILMS OF JANUARY-MARCH 2021
The Girl on the Train
In what was presented as an ambitious remake of the Hollywood hit starring Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train remained half-baked and non-impactful. Parineeti Chopra tried hard to play the victim, an alcoholic who gets caught in a murder case. But the thrill died down much early in the film, and nobody was invested in finding the identity of the real killer.
It made a lot of noise ever since it went on floors. The second outing in Dinesh Vijan’s horror-comedy universe, casting of Janhvi Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao, its multiple title changes kept the movie in news too. But it was declared a snooze-fest once it released in theatres. Those who went in expecting a sharp and witty take like Stree returned disappointed. The only saving grace was Varun Sharma’s love-story with the ghost.
Either Sanjay Gupta should stop making gangster films in Bollywood, or change the cardboard cut formula. Mumbai Saga is just another forgettable movie with guns and goons. It might be called a massy masala entertainer, but how about having an interesting plot? Lets leave it for another time.
Which film did you like the most?