Films that made news in 2022 so far: RRR, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Badhaai Do

The first three months of this new year has already passed us by. So far, it has been a mixed bag, as far as film releases are concerned at least. From more independent, comparatively smaller OTT releases to the big theatrical experience, we have had it all. The conversation has been dominated by The Kashmir Files which made more news for its political and emotional heft than cinematic nuance, the spectacle that is SS Rajamouli’s RRR and the polarising Gehraiyaan.

(Note: List has been compiled in terms of release dates).

Hindi

Gehraiyaan

After its release date was pushed back, perhaps owing to the pandemic, Deepika Padukone, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday and Dhairya Karwa-starrer Gehraiyaan finally saw the light of the day in the second week of February. The trailer had promised an adult, complicated but tantalising relationship drama. However, the movie turned out to be something else altogether. Sure, it was about relationships and what they mean to us and how they change us. But Gehraiyaan also turned out to be a thriller of sorts, a ‘domestic noir,’ as its lead Padukone had once mentioned in a media interaction. Not everybody was up for its unpredictable twist and its open-ended conclusion. But Gehraiyaan is worth mentioning because no movie in so long has generated the kind of extreme reactions it has — people either seem to love it, or hate it.

Gehraiyaan is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Badhaai Do

The day Gehraiyaan hit the streamer, Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar’s Badhaai Do also released in cinemas. Although it failed to generate impressive numbers at the box office, people who saw it could not help but appreciate the way its LGBTQAI themes were handled. Rajkummar and Bhumi gave credible performances, so did the supporting cast, especially Sheeba Chaddha, as Rao’s grieving, eccentric, lost mother.

You can now watch Badhaai Do on Netflix.

Gangubai Kathiawadi

The film that opened the box office in a big way, at least in the Hindi-speaking belts was Alia Bhatt’s star turn in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi. Based on Hussain Zaidi’s book called Mafia Queens of Mumbai, Gangubai Kathiawadi’s hightened drama was softened ever so subtly by Bhatt’s leading act, who, much to people’s astonishment, not only convincingly pulled off the decidedly mature part of Gangubai, but in fact carried the entire film on her vulnerable yet strong shoulders. A special shout-out to the Neeti Mohan-sung romantic number “Meri Jaan.” Its music, the picturisation and Alia’s acting alone in it deserve a place in this list.

Gangubai Kathiawadi collected around Rs 128 crore at the box office, according to Bollywood Hungama.

The Kashmir Files

Vivek Agnihotri’s controversial movie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is hard to ignore how strongly it has captured people’s imagination, and therefore has had spectacular results at the box office. According to the filmmaker’s last update, the movie has collected Rs 331 crore at the worldwide box office.

Love Hostel

The day Gangubai dominated theatres, a much smaller film with a relatively unknown director called Love Hostel released on ZEE5.The film, starring Vikrant Massey, Sanya Malhotra and Bobby Deol in pivotal roles, turned out to be a surprisingly thrilling concoction of murder, mayhem and romance. While Deol definitely featured in all the headlines for playing a mean mercenary, it was Sanya and Vikrant’s chemistry and Massey’s leading act that was the movie’s highlight. Of course, director Shanker Raman’s tightly wound script aided the process greatly.

Love Hostel was presented by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, and is available to stream on ZEE5.

Jalsa

After making the endearing Tumhari Sulu in 2017, filmmaker Suresh Triveni decided to explore a darker side of humanity in his Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah-led movie Jalsa. The film is not your regular whodunnit, you pretty much are told in the first 20-30 minutes of the movie who does the deed. But what are its repercussions, especially when the gruesome hit-and-run case involves two petrified but angry mothers at the centre of it all?

Triveni explores this with firm hands, letting us know how even mothers can be fallible, irrational and imperfect creatures, like the rest of us, not unlike Maggie Gyllenhaal’s acclaimed feature The Lost Daughter.

Jalsa is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Sharmaji Namkeen

The late Rishi Kapoor’s swan song, Sharmaji Namkeen is a bittersweet movie about a man in his golden years who is having trouble adjusting to retirement. The Hitesh Bhatia movie, in hindsight, seems like a befitting ode to Kapoor’s long career. The actor, self-admittedly a foodie, got a chance to relish that role in his final on-screen appearance. Paresh Rawal stepped in after Kapoor’s death. Despite their distinctly different takes on the same character, Sharmaji Namkeen feels like a seamless, smooth thing designed to choke you and make you smile at all the right moments.

You can stream the movie on Amazon Prime Video.

RRR

After Gangubai Kathiawadi, the movie that finally struck gold in a big way at the box office was SS Rajamouli’s highly-anticipated period drama RRR. Starring Ram Charan and Jr NTR in the lead, along with extended cameos by the likes of Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt, RRR brought back the movie magic that was continuously punctured by whistles and exclamations of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ by cine-goers. The leads’ chemistry, spellbinding visuals and Rajamouli’s able direction made RRR the quintessential movie-watching experience which audiences have longed for ever since the pandemic began.

Naaradan

Director Aashiq Abu, known for acclaimed features like Virus and Halal Love Story, once again hit the nail on the head with his recently released political thriller Naaradan. Starring talents like Tovino Thomas and Anna Ben in leading roles, Naaradan sheds light on the kind of responsibility journalists have in bringing the truth forward, and how often, many of them end up becoming corrupted by the lust of fame, power and money.

Pada

Another Malayalam thriller, Pada has been brought to life by director Kamal KM. Pada boasts of a talented cast with names like Kunchacko Boban, Joju George, Vinayakan, Dileesh Pothan involved. Based on a true story that took place in 1996, Pada centres around four men who abduct Palakkad’s district collector in order to get the government to recall Adivasi Land Amendment Bill. Powered by its central performances, Pada is a reflective, well-made socio-political movie about indifference and humanity.

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