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2007 in Perspective - PB Critics´ Roundtable – Samir Dave´s Top 10
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Planet Bollywood presents you an exclusive series of top movie picks of 2007 by its critics.

Best Films of 2007

10. Bheja Fry

It’s no “Welcome” and that’s a welcome change from the usual in your face comedies that come from the twisted minds in Bollywood. Bheja Fry is one of those movies that needs to be seen several times in order to appreciate the subtle humor inherent in the portrayal of the lead character Bharat Bhushan (Vinay Pathak). Pathak plays his idiot savant of a character with a madcap glee. Adding to the insanity are Rajat Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey. Director Sagar Ballary deftly handles the screenplay’s trap falls and manages to keep the whole movie on track. Bharat will fry your brains with subtle laughter and by the end of the movie; you’ll hope to GOD that he never answers your phone! For fans of subtle and at time dark humor, this movie is the must see comedy of the year!

9. Johnny Gaddaar

Director Sriram Raghavan (Ek Hasina Thi) presents his second masterpiece to the audience. Who would have thought that Neil Mukesh (grandson of legendary playback singer Mukesh) would not inherit his grandfather’s talent for singing, but instead channel his talent into acting? He makes a stunningly confident debut in this movie that starts with the answer to the murder mystery and then fills in the blanks for the audience. With a solid screenplay, excellent attention to detail by the director, a killer performance by Dharmendra, and a soundtrack (by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) that easily ranks as one of the best of 2007, you will find yourself happily immersed in the world of Johnny Gaddaar.

8. Parzania

What happens when a Muslim family is caught in the crossfire of the infamous Godhra riots? Parzania’s director, Rahul Dholakia doesn’t hold back in this emotionally charged movie that deals with the sensitive topic of Hindu/Muslim riots. Naseeruddin Shah is excellent as always as the father of the son who has disappeared during the rioting, but it’s Sarika who delivers a career defining performance. One of the most hard-hitting movies of 2007, Parzania is a must see for any serious fan of Bollywood.

7. Chak De! India

This is the little movie surprised everyone and became a national movement. From every corner of the world, “Chak De! India” became the anthem of choice. Espousing the virtues of the classic saying, “every dog has his/her day”, director Shimit Amin is exceptional in the way he has filmed the game scenes. Shah Rukh Khan turns in his best-restrained performance in a long time (yes, the hamminess of Om Shanti Om is absent) and the Bollywood superstar displays real acting prowess in playing the beleaguered coach of the woman’s hockey team. Each of the girls on the team are presented as characters with depth, and the director deftly plays on audience sympathy to create a movie that will leave you shouting, “CHAK DE! INDIA”!

6. Gandhi - My Father

We all know the story of Gandhi which was presented to us in cinematic form by Richard Attenborough’s classic film, but what about the story of the son who could not get out from under his father’s shadow? Director Feroze Abbas Khan presents the Mahatma in a way that has not been done on film before. There have been rave reviews for Akshaye Khanna’s performance as Gandhi’s disappointing son, Harilal; however, the true star of this film is Darshan Jariwala who portrays this historic figure with grace and humility. His performance makes this a film that must not be missed. Gandhi was not perfect, yet was great because he accepted his faults and tried to correct them. That’s a lesson that all of us need to take to heart.

5. Saawariya

Sanjay Leela Bhansali created an exotic dreamlike masterpiece that flew over most viewers’ heads. Perhaps the movie was ahead of its time, and will be appreciated in the coming years. Yes, the story is straightforward and simple, yet have we forgotten how to appreciate a linear story that doesn’t deviate into mindless melodrama? I give a lot of credit to the director for pushing the boundaries and creating an atypical Bollywood musical that pushes the genre into the future. Excellent performances by debutantes Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor showcase an innocence that has seemingly been lost in most common Bollywood fare. The music by Monty Sharma grows even more beautiful with each listen. This is one of the best movies of 2007, and stands up to repeated viewings.

4. Taare Zameen Par

Can you read this sentence? Yes? Then be thankful that you don’t have to face what millions of children across the globe who are dyslexic do. This beautiful and moving tale of a child who can not read or write, but expresses himself within the creativity of life around him, is a wonderful start to director Aamir Khan’s career. In his directorial debut he has dealt with issue of dyslexia without sounding overly preachy. The movie not only has an excellent screenplay, but also an amazing soundtrack. What really makes this movie stand out is the acting by Darsheel Safary who is undoubtedly the best actor of 2007.

3. The Blue Umbrella

Ever have a prized possession as a child that gave you comfort and protection against the world? You had faith in it and it almost seemed magical. While you had it in your hands, no one could hurt you and you would never stop smiling. Relive that feeling again by watching this beautiful fable directed by Vishal Bharadwaj (Omkara).

2. Dharm

What does it mean to be Hindu? What does it mean to be Muslim? Is religion more important than humanity? Is it more important that kindness and love? You won’t find a more sensitively handled film than this overlooked gem. The film is beautifully directed by Bhavna Talwar and showcases riveting performances by lead actors Pankaj Kapur and Supriya Pathak. Do yourself a favor, find this movie, watch it, and have your mind opened with the answers to some unsettling questions.

1. 1971

Moving, gripping, edge of the seat drama that features stellar performances by an excellent ensemble cast, 1971 to me epitomizes the potential of Bollywood films to leave a lasting impression on the audience. Director Amrit Sagar excels in the art of creating realistic tension and showcases the strength of his ensemble acting team led by the excellent performance of Manoj Bajpai. The music by the director’s brother Akash Sagar is fresh and adds a terrific ambience to the film. It’s rare that a movie comes along that touches the heart as this one does and reminds us of those brave souls who have died for our country.

From the top of the Himalayas to the land of Bollywood, Samir Dave exists in that mysterious dream-like dance sequence with music by Pritam… at the edge of forever. He’s an avid fan of all things Bollywood and sometimes feels like his life is a Bollywood film that is insanely hilarious yet thoroughly melodramatic, all at the same time.

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