You must have often come across the phrase, ‘Content is the King in Bollywood’. Given the success of films like ‘Queen’, ‘Kahaani’ and the latest ‘Pink’, I too agree with this saying. But many a times, movies which were high on content, failed to grab enough eyeballs at the box office. Blame it on their faulty promotional tactics or their unconventional approach of storytelling, these films received a not-so-warm welcome at the box office. Here’s a list of eight most underrated films of the decade (in no particular order):
This Anurag Kashyap directorial might have won him humongous critical acclaim outside, but back home it was an average box office grosser. A winner at the Deauville Asian Film Festival and Puchon International Festival, ‘Ugly’ can be touted as one of Kashyap’s best work in recent times. Talking about the film, what I believe makes the film class apart is that it dares to be ugly; it doesn’t shy away from reflecting the dark, yet realistic face of the society. The Police Station sequence where Shouvik confronts Rahul is one of the most hard-hitting scenes I’ve seen in recent times. Ronit Roy’s power-packed performance and a gripping screenplay are bound to give you goosebumps!
Aligarh is a biographical drama, based on the life of Professor Lt. Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, who was sacked from his position of a reader of Marathi at Aligarh Muslim University, due to his sexual orientation. The movie depicts the harsh conditions homosexuals are subjected to in our country. This solicitous film really made me wonder what exactly is the limit of morality, as said in the movie. With its thoughtful content, spectacular performance by Manoj Bajpai (which won him a Dadasaheb Phalke award) and a tear-jerking climax, ‘Aligarh’ stands high on my recommendation list. However, the film failed to set the cash counters ringing at the box office.
This classic tale of two lovers Neeru and Manu, separated by destiny, who meet again after six years, won my heart with its sheer simplicity. While many filmmakers have portrayed love in various ways, Raincoat does the same with just one scene- a scene which forms the soul of the movie. Based on the story ‘The Gift of the Magi’, Raincoat stirred my heart with the way it defines love. However, despite winning a National Award, the movie couldn’t perform well at the box office.
Set over a 24-hour period, Firaaq depicts the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Several plots intermingled with each other efficiently illustrate the aftermath of the riots and Firaaq can best be described as a potpourri of human emotions and inner conflicts, set against the backdrop of a riot. What I loved the most about Firaaq is the way it brings out the emotions on screen and keeps you glued to it. This Nandita Das directorial went on to receive rave reviews and win two National Awards as well. However, it was a box office failure!
An excruciating depiction of the saying- “Power doesn’t corrupt. The fear of loss of it does”, Gulaal is set against the political backdrop of Rajasthan where power is the ultimate desire of every individual. A hard-hitting political drama, ‘Gulaal’ has received a cult status due to its grittiness and gore. Gulaal has received rave reviews, thanks to a solid plot and Kay Kay Menon’s phenomenal performance. However, it received a lukewarm response at the box office.
My all-time favorite, Udaan is all about breaking free from the clutches of dominion and realizing your dreams. What I think makes the movie stand out from the rest is its treatment; with zero melodrama and dollops of realism, the movie never goes over the top. Also, Rajat Barmecha’s docile-turned-rebellious character makes me feel for him, every time I watch the film. Upon release, it met with extremely positive reviews as well. This one is a must watch on every movie aficionado’s bucket list!
I bet many have not even heard of it, but this masterpiece from the house of YRF is a brutally honest depiction of the suburbs of Delhi, where Titli is a member of a carjacking brotherhood. While not many would have expected Titli to make it to this list, what I feel is that its unconventional storyline and a toned, yet utterly convincing performance by its lead (Shashank Arora), makes Titli one of the most real among the chunks of crime dramas produced these days. While Titli won dozens of awards internationally, it sank without a trace at the box office.
When I entered the hall to watch this one, I had little expectations from it. But what I was served with, left me amazed. The opening sequence itself gave me a taste of what’s coming next and from there on, the narrative engulfed me completely. Two lives, converging on the banks of the Ganges, makes up for an innovative concept and the way director Neeraj Ghaywan weaves the narrative, is a sheer example of brilliance. Although the film won Neeraj Ghaywan a National Award, it was a box office disaster!
This was just a short compilation. The list of the most underrated movies is endless. There are hundreds of other movies like Shahid, Aamir, Shor in the City, Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi, Shaitaan, Talvar etc, which despite the good content, failed miserably at the box office.
High time that we change our taste, isn’t it?
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