A brief insight into the major Hindi films that made a mark at the box office in Bollywood this year.
2022 has been a mixed year for films in Bollywood. It witnessed the best Hindi movies, and the worst, too.
Several male stars delivered big duds. For example, Ranveer Singh had two releases: Jayeshbhai Jordar and Cirkus. Neither of them had set the box office on fire.
Similarly, several remakes have bitten the dust. The Hindi remakes of Vikram Vedha, Mili, and Jersey are a few examples. Only Drishyam 2 managed to become a blockbuster.
2022 also had its share of wonderful films both in theatres and OTT. Let’s check the best Hindi movies of 2022:
It was the first big Bollywood release, post the second wave of the pandemic. Gangubai Kathiawadi was released at a time when theatres were operating at 50 percent occupancy, particularly in Mumbai.
The film was based on a chapter from Hussain Zaidi’s book The Mafia Queens of Mumbai. There was certain scepticism on whether Bhansali would be able to pull off this gritty real-life story, considering that his Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani, and Padmavat were larger-than-life movies.
However, both Bhansali and its leading lady Alia Bhatt surprised one and all. Though Gangubai Kathiawadi had its share of Bhansali-trademark elements in the way the area of Kamatipura was staged, the film had a beating heart which made it much more than just a visual spectacle.
Gangubai Kathiawadi also offered Alia her widest canvas to date. The actor made sure Bhansali’s faith in her did not go in vain.
In fact, Alia sunk her teeth into the role and came up with a performance that is far superior to her previous ones. Physicality was a problem at times, but it is to the actor’s credit that this aspect did not become bothersome for the audience.
Alia expressed a lot just through her body language. The best example of this is the song “Meri Jaan” which takes place between her and Shantanu Maheswari in a car.
There was a multitude of emotions that she had to convey and the actress just killed it.
Another example is one of the initial scenes when the character stands in front of a brothel, leaning on a wall and calling out for men in whispers.
There are no dialogues, let alone a heavy monologue, but Alia conveys the pain of Gangu superbly, just through her eyes. Her performance easily stands amongst the best seen on-screen.
The supporting cast made this film even more memorable. Shantanu Maheswari as the Muslim tailor Afshan made a successful detour from television to films.
Our Gangu marks chaar chand at the @IIFA with 8 nominations! 🤍#GangubaiKathiawadi #IFFAAwards #IFFA2023#SanjayLeelaBhansali @aliaa08 #VijayRaaz @shreyaghoshal #Shussainzaidi @Shussainzaidi @janeborges9 @amturazofficial @prerna982 @jayantilalgada @PenMovies @saregamaglobal pic.twitter.com/G3XGv9TeYp
— BhansaliProductions (@bhansali_produc) December 26, 2022
The love story between him and Gangu was handled with a lot of sensitivity. Audiences feel sad when the couple does not have a happy ending.
Ajay Devgan as Rahim Lala only had an extended special appearance, but the senior actor was as solid as ever.
Another character worthy of mention is Jim Sarbh, as a journalist. In their first scene, Gangubai introduces herself as Gangubai, the prostitute. This shocks Jim’s character.
A story on domestic abuse on-screen is something that calls for a lot of sensitivity. Debut director Jasmeet K Rheen was brave enough to pick it up and mix it with elements of thriller and comedy.
This is a difficult mix to pull off for any director, let alone a debutant. But she managed to make it mainstream.
However, Darlings (released on Netflix) has its flaws: The tonal shift in the second half feels rather abrupt; the dark comedy doesn’t completely land. The indecisiveness of Badru makes the audience impatient.
But then, there is also a lot to like about Darlings. Chief among them is the mother-daughter dynamics portrayed excellently by Shefali Shah and Alia Bhat. The constant tussle between mother and daughter led to some thoroughly entertaining moments.
Jasmeet K Rheen also makes some valid points on the unequal power structure of marriage.
Unlike in Gangubai Kathiawadi, Alia is not the driving force in this film. But the audience roots for her because each one of us can see a family member or friend in her plight.
Kudos to the actor for choosing this film as her maiden production venture.
While Vijay Varma looked truly a scary psychopath, Roshan Mathews in the role of Zulfi was charm personified.
Our Darlings at @IIFA with 5 nominations!☀💛
— Eternal Sunshine Productions (@EternalSunProd) December 27, 2022
The story of Jalsa (streaming on Amazon Prime Video) is far from cheerful, as the title indicates.
Director Suresh Triveni packs a lot of serious stuff in the movie, starting from moral ambiguities to class divide. There are occasions when it feels too scattered and the characterisation of Vidya Balan leaves a lot to be desired, which I will get to later.
Vidya is introduced as Maya, a strong-willed journalist. She is someone who believes that truth should come out no matter what.
However, when she gets embroiled in an unfortunate accident, she does not stand up to what she preaches. The victim happens to be the daughter of her domestic help Ruksana, played by Shefali Shah.
Despite Jalsa being a new genre for Suresh Triveni, there is no denying the command that the director showed.
He is particularly impressive in showcasing the intricacies of human behaviour when they are pushed to the edge. The class divide between the two central characters was captured well by him.
There is a scene in the first half when Ruksana’s son gets fascinated with the motion flush in the toilet. For him, it is like a toy that only rich people can buy.
Rohini Hattangadi as Vidya’s mother spreads so much warmth whenever she appears on the screen.
Lastly, Ruksana’s bond with Maya’s 10-year-old son, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is also good to watch.
As mentioned earlier, Vidya’s character severely suffered from loose characterisation. At no point do we get a glimpse of Maya’s remorse.
Yes, a certain fear is there about police catching up with her. However, there is no proper scene where Maya feels bad for what she has done. This doesn’t go down well with what is shown in the beginning.
The looseness in the writing also reflects in Vidya’s acting. The actress is sincere but we have seen her do far better in the past.
The climax also ought to have been more power-packed. The stereotypical representation of journalists is another put-off. Not surprisingly, Shefali Shah walked away with the top honours.
The Hindi remake of the second Drishyam arrived at a time when there was a saturation of remakes.
Films like Vikram Vedha, Jersey, and Mili couldn’t do much despite having good reviews. However, there were more expectations from this sequel, given that the Malayalam original didn’t release in theatres and there was no dubbed Hindi version available.
The trailer was well received and the presence of the underrated Akshay Khanna added to the curiosity. The film was expected to be at least a hit; however, it went far beyond the expectations of the trade.
Drishyam 2 is one of those rare films that holds its own, both as a remake and also as a standalone film.
Much like the Malayalam original, here too, there are no heroes and villains. The audiences root equally for the common man Vijay (Ajay Devgan) and the police officer (Tabu).
Director Abhishek Pathak deserves huge appreciation for how he adapted the source material, while at the same time, adding certain things that don’t disturb the flow of the original.
Akshay Khanna brought a certain dynamism to his role of a determined cop-cum-friend.
Some sarcastic one-liners brought a smile to our faces, like the one when Akshay’s Tarun mocks Vijay about the latter’s story on what happened that night.
Keep the votes coming!
— Panorama Studios (@PanoramaMovies) December 28, 2022
This is a remake of the acclaimed Tamil film Kolamaavu Kokila. The original was greatly appreciated for its performances and direction. Nayanthara aced her parts in the original.
There were doubts if Janhvi Kapoor would be able to pull off this author-backed role. However, to her credit, she was more than efficient.
Siddarth Sen, who directed Good Luck Jerry (streaming on Disney+ Hotstar), transported the Tamil original to Punjab. He added the angle of Jerry and her family as Punjabi migrants.
The father was replaced by a kind-hearted neighbour. Much like the original, here too, you root for the leading lady.
Good Luck Jerry had elements of both crime and comedy. This concoction was well handled by the director. Much of the film’s laughter comes from Rinku (Deepak Dobriyal). His one-side lover act packs quite a punch.
The movie also gave Janhvi some moments to showcase her masala side and the actress made full use of it. She is particularly good when Jerry has to take things into her own hands.
A very special moment for all of us 🥰 Thank you #ITA2022 for this win ❤️ #GoodLuckJerry #MostPopularFilm2022#CYPPL #AanandLRai #SidharthSengupta #ITAAwards #ITA #OTTFilm #Bollywood #JanhviKapoor #IndianCinema #HindiCinema pic.twitter.com/E6AXruteme
— Colour Yellow Productions (@cypplOfficial) December 12, 2022
This is a survival drama starring Janhvi Kapoor. It is a remake of the Malayalam super-hit flick Helen, starring Anna Ben in the title role.
Survival drama is not a genre that can be watched on a repeat mode and it certainly isn’t for the weak-hearted. Mathukutty Xavier remade his own Malayalam hit into Mili.
Not surprisingly, it didn’t find many takers. But it did great justice to the original. In fact, we can watch Mili even if we have seen Helen.
The best part of the movie is when the survival drama takes over, with Mili’s father and boyfriend joining hands for their loved one.
The freezer room portions make you feel that you are actually with Mili. AR Rahman’s background music also added to the thrills.
The father-daughter relationship was the major backbone and it was a delight to watch Manoj Pahwa and Janhvi sharing screen space.
Sunny Kaushal could have had more scenes with Janhvi but even in those few scenes, he made his presence amply felt with his amiable nature.
Janhvi knocked it out of the park with her terrific performance as Mili, the title role. She makes the pain of the character so real.
Mili also had some impactful social commentary in terms of portraying the stereotypes attached to young working women.