2016 was a remarkable year for Bollywood. Some much anticipated movies bit the dust whereas some least expected ones soared at the box office. There have been some exceptionally successful ones like Sultan whereas some downright flops like Mohenjo Daro. Some movies had to fight tooth-and-nail with the censor board for release like Udta Punjab while some got leaked online and had to suffer a drop in business like Great Grand Masti. Nevertheless, it was a year where production houses took risks and came out with some exceptionally ‘hatke’ storylines. They tried really hard to stay away from the beaten path and churn out quality content where the actors themselves also took initiative and tried to do something different.

So, we had Akshay Kumar who took up two real incidents in his movie, Shah Rukh Khan turned a shrink to Alia Bhatt’s troubled personality, Aamir Khan took up wrestling and became ‘Haanikarak Bapu’ for his onscreen daughters. Amitabh Bachchan gave us all a morality check and tried to break the stereotypes attached with women in India. Directors came up with unusual and interesting scripts which were ably backed by producers and big star cast. Actors really worked hard to look their part and followed their acting skills with sweat, blood and tears (literally in some cases). Almost all the top notch actors came out of their comfort zone and gave one gritty performance after the other. We’ve come up with a list of movies which enthralled us with their unique storyline and the different treatment meted out to them. Check them out here:

    1. Airlift

Akshay Kumar’s Airlift was based on a true incident. It follows the story of Ranjit Katyal (Akshay Kumar) who is a successful businessman in Kuwait but during the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq finds himself in the unenviable place of a leader of stranded Indians who have to be evacuated from Kuwait. The evacuation does take place and becomes the most successful evacuation ever attempted by any country in the history of the world. Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur received rave reviews for their portrayals in the film.

    1. Nil Battey Sannata

Nil Battey Sannata is a comedy film directed by Ashwini Tiwari and stars Swara Bhaskar in the lead role. The story follows Chanda Sahay (Swara Bhaskar) who is a school drop-out and a single mother to her sullen, resigned daughter Apeksha (played by Ria Shukla). She works as a household maid. The movie sets out to deliver a message that anyone has a right to dream and change the station of their lives. The movie follows Apeksha and her less-than-enthusiastic response to Maths and her studies. She has no ambition for herself and does not want to do hard work to improve her life. However, her mother Chanda enrolls in the school of Apeksha to help her work out her problems with Math. But the errant daughter sees this as embarrassing and tries her best to sabotage all steps taken. The premise of the story is so endearing that it needs to be seen.

    1. Kapoor and Sons

For once Bollywood did not relegate itself to showing homosexuality in the stereotypical way. This movie makes it to this list only because of the sensitivity and normality that the homosexual character is shown in the movie with. He is not over-the-top nor is his persona exaggerated. One can believe his anguish of not coming out in front of his family at the same time one can understand the dilemma the family faces in accepting the fact. The film stars Fawad Khan, Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Rishi Kapoor.

    1. Rustom

One more movie of Akshay Kumar makes it to the list. The film is based on the real life incident of Naval Officer K. M. Nanavati and businessman Prem Ahuja. The film has a lot of courtroom scenes which are ably acted out by Akshay Kumar and Sachin Khedekar. The real life incident was adapted in a very succinct manner and should be watched for the acting and direction.

    1. Neerja

Neerja was a film made on the life changing incident of Neerja Bhanot. Neerja Bhanot was a Pan Am flight’s head purser who thwarted the hijack attempts of her Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan. She alerted the pilots thus grounding the plane and lost her life to help save 359 of the 379 passengers and crew on board. Sonam Kapoor played the title role in the film and gave one helluva performance. She is up and running for most of the awards in the country. Let’s wait and watch whether he bags one.

    1. Pink

Pink was a surprise or a sleeper hit. The movie had Amitabh Bachchan, Tapsee Pannu, Angad Bedi and Piyush Mishra in the lead roles. The Shoojit Sircar directed film raised relevant questions on the outlook of society towards women and made all the pre-conceived notions look farce. The film received rave reviews and was loved by the female audience. This was unquestionably one of the best movies of this year.

    1. M S Dhoni: The Untold Story

M S Dhoni: The Untold Story is a biopic on Indian Cricket Team’s Captain M S Dhoni. It is based on his life and depicts the important milestones achieved by him and his team. The film stars Sushant Singh Rajput in the title role. Sushant Singh Rajput gave a career best performance in the role of the swashbuckling cricketer. The script was watertight with a direction that did not overlook even a small point. Since the biopic was about a contemporary cricketer it was difficult because all the facts and trivia were out there for the audience to know. However, the film gave a good portrayal of the cricketer and made it into an interesting watch.

    1. Happy Bhaag Jayegi

Amidst all the big star cast and big budget films this was a minion which tugged at the heart strings and made us laugh and cry at the same time. The film stars Abhay Deol, Jimmy Shergill, Abu Fazal and Diana Penty in the lead role. The movie is a romcom and can be watched with the entire family.

    1. Udta Punjab

Udta Punjab will just have to make it to the list, if not for the bold story then for the ruckus that it had with the Censor Board. The movie is based on the drug abuse in the state of Punjab and stars Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh in the lead roles. The story revolves around drugs and drug abuse. The film’s subject was found too vulgar by the Censor Board and they asked for a total of 89 cuts. However, after the Bombay High Court order the film was released with one single cut. The movie should be watched for the stellar performances by the star cast, special mention for Alia Bhatt who portrays a nameless but a very poignant character.

    1. Dear Zindagi

Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt never fail to surprise us. After the debacle of FAN, Shah Rukh Khan came back with a bang with Dear Zindagi. The Gauri Shinde directed movie is a coming-of-age drama. Alia Bhatt after her gripping performance in Udta Punjab gives a stellar performance of a troubled girl. Shah Rukh Khan appears in an extended cameo where he helps Alia’s character come to terms with her personal life. The movie is breezy and endearing and you can’t help fall in love with the two central characters. Watch this for a simple but honest story line.

    1. Dangal

Dangal is a biopic made on the lives of former wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat and his daughters Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari. Aamir Khan essays the role of Mahavir Singh Phogat who trains his daughters in wrestling. The film is inspiring and motivating. It highlights the grit, determination and hard work put in by Indian wrestlers in achieving the highest accolades for the country. The movie also can be cited for giving women characters their due. The female characters are assertive, determined and is shown in a positive light. The movie also gives a huge jolt to the patriarchal attitude of the society. A must watch for every movie buff.

This year gave us amazing movies which we are proud of and can learn something from. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that 2017 gets better. We’re waiting eagerly for 25th January 2017 when two big movies Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees and Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil releases.

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