‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ To ‘Andhadhun’: A Look-Back At The Best Films Of The Decade

Can I call the last decade a blockbuster year at the movies? This is not just from a monetary perspective, there was quantity and quality. There was the hard core masala film and, on the other hand, there was content driven cinema – the latter taking over, as lines between commercial and so called middle of the road cinema were blurred. A new crop of directors emerged willing to defy convention, the definition of the hero, too, underwent a change, there was a rise of the unconventional hero, whilst the typical heroes decided to break the mold and chart unexplored territories. This was also the decade when the women lead from the frontlines on and off screen, the so called ‘female oriented films’ sent the cash registers ringing, you couldn’t deny that the ‘women were definitely on top’.

It was the decade which gave us Alia Bhatt, Ayushmann Khurrana, Ranveer Singh, Taapsee Pannu, Rajkummar Rao,  Varun Dhawan and Vicky Kaushal.

Choosing the best films of the decade, at the expense of sounding clichéd, it’s as tough as looking for a needle in a haystack. There were some great cinematic moments, but to jam them together in a best off is a tough call to make. Also, what worked for me may not work for you, so here is my list from a purely non-critical, non box-office point of view.

Year 2010, let’s starts with Maneesh Sharma’s Band Baaja Baaraat! Street smart Delhi Uni student Bittoo (Ranveer Singh) and an ambitious event-manager from a not-so-posh Delhi locality decide to come together as wedding planners for the rich and not-so-rich, after all, weddings are a lucrative business. It was indeed perfect fare, music, dance drama and romance!

Intrigue, betrayal and misadventures in Gorakhpur, Abhishek Chaubey’s Ishqiya starring Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi and Naseeruddin Shah was unmissable. Yes, once upon a time a film which would have been categorized as middle of the road, parallel film was truly commercial in all aspects.

Do Dooni Char, a slice of life story of a middle class family in Delhi, who wants to raise their standard of living. Starring Rishi Kapoor as the family head, a teacher who would have to compromise on his ethics and Neetu Singh as his supportive wife.

Dabangg, now don’t judge me, but this was one of  those typical Bollywood masala fare that would even make the hardened cynics smile. Salman Khan as the maverick rogue cop Chulbul Panday was at his over-the-top best, love him or hate him you couldn’t ignore him.

2010 also saw Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan – the story of a young boy and his relationship with his abusive father, who tries to clip his wings. The film was emotional, and resonated with most – since all of us, at some point in our life, have been at the crossroads whether to follow our heart, our crush, our dreams, and let the head take us where it has too.

Come 2011, three friends on a journey of self discovery, the Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol starrer Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara struck a chord.  Ude aasmanon mein khwabon ke parinde, was a song which resonated not only with the millennial generations but the one’s before that and after, were we losing out on living as we went about our daily existence.

Imtiaz Ali’s Ranbir Kapoor starrer Rockstar, the rise and fall of Janardhan Jakhar aka Jordan, the Rockstar whose pain and agony creates sweet music as he himself embarks on a path of self-destruction. The soundtrack rich and it was Ranbir Kapoor’s gig all the way!

The year also gave us The Dirty Picture, starring Vidya Balan as the bold, beautiful and brazen southern starlet  Silk Smitha. A woman who didn’t want to conform to society, who lived by her own terms, the men she loved and lost and her own tragic end, The Dirty Picture was saucy, it was sensational and shocked the audience and saw Vidya Balan as one of the key players who turned the dice in favor of female actors.

2012 was the year I truly enjoyed myself at the movies, Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra’s Barfi was bitter-sweet story of two specially-abled individuals who come together.

Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani with Vidya Balan as the central character in the film, a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband  was a riveting drama.

Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur centered around the coal mafia had all the elements violence, sex, intrigue, politics.

The Late Sridevi’s come back film English Vinglish, the story of a shy housewife, mocked for lack of English speaking skills, who takes a course in the language, reiterated why it’s never too late to start all over again.

Hindi cinema was truly coming of age as we met Vicky Donor, Ayushmann Khurrana who donates his healthy sperm to earn money. The film questioned issues of infertility in men and how things are better discussed than brushed under the carpet.

Talaash, starring Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee, a grieving couple, a ghost and a crime to be solved.

In 2013, we were introduced to two unlikely people, whose only connection is a their Lunchbox. Ritesh Batra’s Irrfan and Nirmat Kaur starrer was truly a fare to be savoured, as it served myriad flavours of emotion.

Then came Bunny the wanderer and Naina the book worm in Ayan Mukherjee’s Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. The film brought along not just the lead pair’s sizzling chemistry, but also a lyrical story of finding your roots and that one true love.

The same year we got Sanjay Leela  Bhansali’s Romeo-Juliet saga set against the backdrop of guns in Gujarat, starring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, as the ill-fated lovers Ram Leela.

Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera an adaptation of O’ Henry’s Last Leaf, starred Sonakshi Sinha and Ranveer Singh. A con man and an aspiring writer, strike a friendship, love blossoms, the ultimate betrayal and retribution. Lootera was subtle, it was picture perfect in its visualization, power-packed performances made it a cinematic gem.

In 2014, Alia Bhatt showcased her arc as an actor, which was to only grow the raw emotions in Highway, the same year she was Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya, showcasing her flair for comedy.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean Adaption of Hamlet, Haider set against the politics and the armed insurgency in the Valley during the 1990’s was riveting. Starring Tabu, Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor in pivotal roles.

Kangana Ranaut’s Queen, Rani from Rajouri Garden is looking forward to her wedding and honeymoon, little realising that she would definitely go on her honeymoon, but alone! Queen is a film not to be missed.

Another film I truly enjoyed was the Sidharth Malhotra Parineeti Chopra starrer Hasee Toh Phasee, a businessman whose romantic relationship has gone all wrong meets a geek who does not believe in conformity, and it’s a comical case of opposites attract.

2015 was truly the year of Deepika Padukone at the movies and she didn’t disappoint. From playing, the titular character Piku, a daughter who juggles career and playing single parent to her 70-year-old father Bhaskor Bannerjee played by Amitabh Bachchan, Piku was truly a slice of life .

As Mastani the consort queen of Peshwa Baji Rao, the Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh chemistry sizzled, I will skip the film to the actor’s third release opposite Ranbir Kapoor, Tamasha.

Tamasha may not have exactly made noise at the box-office, it was a film which endeared, the story of a young man who does not want to tread the beaten path, does one need to always do what is socially acceptable, Tamasha was a spectacle not to be missed.

Another gem that year was the Ayushmann Khurrana Bhumi Pendekar starrer Dum Laga Ke Haisha, a school drop out marries an overweight graduate, and it was obvious both had not weighed in their options.

Dil Dhadakne Do, a dysfunctionally functional rich family and their friends embark on a cruise where the waiting worms spill out of the tightly warped designer cans. Zoya Akhtar’s star studded voyage opened to mixed reviews but it was light and easy on the eyes and ears, and well who isn’t game for a Gala Gudiyan.

2016 did’t disappoint, it was truly the year when the women and their stories ruled the box office. Aamir Khan’s Dangal on the real life story of the Phogat sisters was a case in point of women in sports.

Alia Bhatt’s Dear Zindagi was the coming-of-age drama of a young girl as she learns and unlearns a thing or two about life.

Sonam Kapoor’s Neerja, on the late Air Hostess Neerja Bhanot, who sacrificed her life in the name duty, and there was Pink starring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu, a woman’s fight for her honour.

Shakun Batra’s Kapoor and Sons was another unmissable film, the complex dynamics of the Kapoor family. There are secrets, skeletons and betrayals. Is there ever a perfect family? The film was one of the first to openly bring out the question of homosexuality without caricaturing it.

2017 was a bit of a disappointment with the exception of Secret Superstar, Badrinath ki Dhulaniya, Tumhari Sulu, Newton and Bareilly ki Barfi – which for me was by far the best of the year.

2018 was perhaps a fantastic year for the Hindi film industry, new and to use the much abused Bollywood jargon
hatke‘ content came to the fore. Meghana Gulzar’s spy thriller Raazi starring Alia Bhatt hit bulls eye, while Manmarziyaan saw relationships, marriage and infidelity through the gaze of Rumi – the main protagonist who lives by her own rules.

Sriram Raghavan’s thriller Andhadhun struck the right notes, a visually impaired musician and a conniving temptress, played brilliantly by Ayushmann Khurrana and Tabu. Badhaai Ho, what happens when your middle-aged parents decide to get pregnant and have the baby.

Stree, a horror comedy one of the first in Hindi cinema and October, a young man whose life takes a turn after the death of a friend.

2019 was the year when Ranveer Singh brought the Gully and its sounds, the story of Indian rap artists Divine and Naezy, was real and raw. Apna Time Aayega became an anthem of sorts and it kind of became cool to live life as you know it best.

Ayushmann Khurrana was the one actor who owned 2019, with Article 15, that raised the question of caste politics, Dream Girl – the story of a man who impersonates as woman and then came Bala – a comedy, tackling the issue of premature balding.

Sujoy Ghosh’s thriller Badla starring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapse Pannu was a slick watch.

Saand Ki Aankh the story of the octogenarian Shooter dadi’s starring Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pendekar may have got caught in debates of ageism, but it proved once again that content is what drove the box-office, not star power.

Chhichore was one of the best films I watched this year, the story of one time good for nothing students who take a walk down memory lane years, later only to realise the best lessons in life aren’t learnt in the class room.

This was a decade when characters drove the show, content was king, writers got their due, stars power took a beating after all there is indeed no biz as showbiz.

1 thought on “‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ To ‘Andhadhun’: A Look-Back At The Best Films Of The Decade”

  1. Pammi

    Excellent information about decade movies

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