Friday, January 6, 2012

Top 11 Top 11 Lists of 2011 #3

Counting down to 2012, I thought it would be fun to do my Top 11 Top 11 Lists of 2011!

(Although, yes, I realize that it's NOW 2012... just work with me here.)

List 11 - Top 11 Indian Film Songs According to Filmi Girl's iTunes

List 10 - Top 11 Scene Stealers of 2011

List 9 - Top 11 Films Filmi Girl Never Got To See

List 8 - Top 11 Things Filmi Girl Wants To Go Away in 2012

List 7 - Top 11 Bollywood Losers of 2011

List 6 - Top 11 Bossest Women in Bollywood

List 5 - Top 11 Filmi Moments of 2011

List 4- Top 11 FILM Moments of 2011

List #3...!

Because I’m quickly growing tired of rehashing 2011 and I’m sure you are, too, I’m combining what I had planned for lists three and two (Best Leading Performances, Female and Male) and making just one list out of them!

That leaves room for two more lists - Best Films of 2011 and What I’m most looking forward to in 2012.

(And, really, do we need to segregate awesomeness by gender? No.)

Now, this is Leading Performances - I’ve already listed my favorite scene-stealers.

Also, keep in mind I haven’t seen Rockstar or Saheb Biwi aur Gangster because I’m 99% positive I would have made room for both Ranbir and Jimmy on my lists if I had. Those two can act with a capital A.C.T.



TOP 11 LEADING PERFORMANCES OF 2011

Bonus pick for Best Debut Hero/ine: Saqib Saleem in Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge

Take note of the name Saqib Saleem because you will be hearing from him again. He took the role of role of Vishal Bhatt, kind of dickish everyman rom-com hero, and turned him into a living, breathing human being with a heart.

In the hands of lesser hero, Vishal could have been either extremely bland (think Imran Khan) or just a massive douchebag (think Uday Chopra) but Saqib put enough charm into Vishal to smooth the rough edges and just enough social awkwardness to make it believable that such a handsome guy would have trouble getting ladies.

Top 5 Heroes and Heroines

#5 Salman Khan in Ready

I know, I know... Not Bodyguard? No, not Bodyguard. That was Kareena Kapoor’s movie. Salman in Ready was on point and freaking hilarious. It wasn’t a master thespian performance but it had plenty of swagga and lots of heart. You could tell he was having a blast. One of my favorite roles of the year!

#4 Surya in 7aum Arivu

[With a bonus shout-out to Shruti for not sucking like I expected her to!]


Suriya is a dream in anything and 7aum Arivu was no exception. While not the greatest film to come out in 2011, Suriya’s hero act was top notch. I loved when he was the Epic Bodhidharma and I loved when he was average regular circus performer Aravind. Suriya was magnanimous, charming, funny, romantic, bad-ass, and sensitive... full to Hero!

#3 Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap

This was a fun, little film that deserved more (positive) attention than it got. In an era when Heroes spend more time on maintaining their six-packs than beating up bad guys in the community, it was refreshing to see the Big Dog himself show up in all his glory and show us how it’s really done - with grace, style, and a quick wit.

Old is gold, baby. Old. Is. Gold.

#2 Katrina Kaif in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

Fulfilling the promise of Namastey London, Katrina gave a full-on solo-heroine act in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan. As the independent Dimple, Kat proved once again that nobody does “regular girl” as well as Bollywood’s own Barbie Doll. Sure, the script was kind of dumb and her hero verged into Biswajit wet dishrag territory but none of that mattered when she was on-screen.

The bottom line is: Katrina can be sexy without being vulgar; she can be comedic without being shrill; and she can interact with other people as if she was a normal human being with normal human emotions.

You can’t say that about too many other heroines working right now.

Prepare for Hurricane Katrina in 2012.

#1 Kareena Kapoor in Bodyguard

Here we go - the biggest, filmiest performance of 2012 was Kareena Kapoor as bodyguard proctee Divya in Bodyguard.

From her introduction sequence in which she glows like she’s in a commercial for an expensive shampoo brand to the finale where she stoically prepares to give up the man she loves for the greater good, Bebo held this film in the palm of her hand.

Emotions drift across Bebo’s face, doing enough emoting for both herself and Salman Khan... Brava, Kareena! Brava!

Actors and Actresses

#5 Ranveer Singh in Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl


Although this movie was extremely mediocre, Ranveer Singh puts in a tour-de-force performance as titular con artist Ricky Bahl. He’s seductive; he’s calculating; he’s a chameleon.

As “Ricky,” Ranveer puts on six or so different characters and makes each of them distinctly different and utterly convincing. Ranveer, darling, cut out every scene with wet dishrag-ette Anushka Sharma and use this as your show reel.

#4 Sendhil Ramamurthy in Shor in the City

I might be fudging my definition of “lead” a bit for this but I thought Sendhil was remarkable as the foreign-returned Abhay in Shor in the City. Abhay’s journey from helpless Westerner to hard-boiled Mumbaikaar is the cement holding Shor together. Sendhil gives a very naturalistic performance but - take note aspiring “on par with Hollywood” actors - he’s always compelling. You feel his frustration; you feel his rage; and you feel his indifference.

Playing the “straight man” of a film is always going to be a thankless task, so I wanted to give some major props to Sendhil for doing it so well.

#3 Akshay Kumar in Patiala House

On the opposite side of the spectrum from Sendhil’s subdued but compelling performance is Akshay Kumar’s subdued but compelling performance in Patiala House. Any Nikhil Advani film is going to lay on the melodrama pretty thick and this one was no exception. The acting coup Akshay managed was to be melodramatically subdued. He telegraphed sadness and depression to the farthest corners of the theater... billowing waves of despair... and when that ray of sunshine enters his life? And we see a smile? Wonderful relief.

Again, playing the “straight man” doesn’t generally win praise - most people (myself included) tend to get distracted by shiny, hammy, or otherwise showy performances but I thought Akshay was wonderful in Patiala House and wanted to single him out as one of Bollywood’s most underrated actors.

#2 Prabhu Deva in Urumi

And speaking of showy, Prabhu Deva in Urumi was phenomenal! You can’t take your eyes off of him when he is onscreen. As the emotive yin to Prithviraj’s stoic yang, Prabu Deva provides a much needed human touch to every scene in Urumi,whether he is romancing the lovely Nithya Menon or battling it out with baddie Alexx O’Nell. Especially for somebody like me who has to rely on subtitles, having an expressive actor like Prabhu Deva helps to provide emotional context to otherwise dry (or confusing) plot points.

Prabhu Deva is really one of the best working in any industry in India... or, dare I say it, globally today. He’ll make you laugh; he’ll make you cry; he’ll rip your heart out and then make you want to do it all again.

#1 Vidya Balan in No One Killed Jessica

I just realized that three of my top five performances are these quiet ones. See, Filmi Girl isn’t all about the flash!

Vidya’s turn as Jessica’s sister Sabrina was phenomenal. It put me in mind, positively, of Arshad Warsi in Sehar. Gone was any sort of Vidya we had seen before and in her place was a meek, dowdy woman almost pulsing with below-the-surface emotion.

Rani Mukerji’s butt may have grabbed my attention while watching the film but it’s Vidya Balan’s Sabrina that stayed with me all last year.

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I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

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xoxo Filmi Girl