July 01, 2019

Digital Studio India

Language: English

Monday, 01 July 2019

HOT 50! Paying our ode to the extravagant milestones of the year gone by, across the M&E industry

our magazine

In the issue

Aditya Dhar

It is rare for a neophyte director to make a big splash with his debut film, but Aditya Dhar aces this feat with Uri: The Surgical Strike. Hitherto a struggling lyricist-writer-aspiring director, Dhar convincingly combined conviction and craft to helm the high-on-patriotic-fervour Uri; the thumping affirmation and the 200-plus crore grosses garnered by his film have made Dhar a sought-after film director now, besides transforming his lead actor, Vicky Kaushal, into a major star. Dhar narrates with gritty realism, the based-on-true-events story about the Indian armed forces’ strikes on cross-border terrorism, and also interweaves the tense war-like sequences with family emotions that provide an emotional underpinning to his characters. Where he shows his métier in particular, is in the sequences which unfold an army unit’s subsequent escape through a danger-fraught route, after being attacked. Dhar manages a nail-biting pace right up till the rousing finale. Dhar’s film has effectively coined the catchphrase of the year which has transcended cinematic boundaries and entered everyday life. There are legions in the audience who enthusiastically echo ‘High sir’ whenever reminded of the question the army major played by Vicky Kaushal poses, “How’s the josh?”

Zoya Akhtar

It is a testimony to the versatility of Zoya Akhtar’s talent; for someone who directs plush films focussed on the posh class enjoying its privileges – Dil Dhadakne Do, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara, Luck By Chance – could also deliver a grimly different film like Gully Boy with its roots in the Mumbai slum of Dharavi. But what didn’t change for Zoya in her latest film, is her proclivity for unconventional subjects showcasing troubled male characters and the outspoken women in their lives. In Gully Boy, Akhtar succeeds in extracting a heartfelt performance imbued with both: exuberance and introspection, from Ranveer Singh who plays the titular character, Murad. She deftly explores his hard scrabble existence in which his options seem limited by the dreary circumstances of his life. Akhtar charts Murad’s coming-of-age through his turbulent relationship with his girlfriend (Alia Bhatt), his encounters with the temptations of fame, and the exhilarating rap battle in the climax. We can relate to Akhtar’s perceptive depiction of the triumph of the human spirit.

Sriram Raghavan

If there ever is a resurgence of the film noir movement in Hindi cinema, one can safely attribute it to Sriram Raghavan’s dark cinema. In the cleverly constructed Andhadhun, a blind pianist (Ayushmann Khurrana) ‘witnesses’ a murder of a yesteryear, nostalgic-songs-prone movie star (Anil Dhawan in an inspired piece of casting). In a chilling sequence, Ayushmann goes to report the murder at a police station but does a volte face and reports the murder of his cat when the murderer stands in front of him in an inspector’s uniform. The film establishes a nail-biting sequence laced with bitter black humour, which is Raghavan’s forte. The director also extracts scalpel-sharp performances from Khurrana, and especially from Tabu as the noir-ish femme fatale and Dhawan’s duplicitous spouse with a ‘Lady Macbeth’ air around her.

Laxman Utekar

Fluidity of movement among the different creative arts within the cinematic umbrella is a hallmark of today’s film world. Laxman Utekar, the director of the recent sleeper hit, Luka Chuppi, first hit the spotlight as a cinematographer with his imaginative shooting of the underwater thriller, Blue, and followed it by lensing an impressive list of films including English Vinglish, Dear Zindagi, and Hindi Medium. He took a plunge into the Hindi film industry through Luka Chuppi (2019), a romantic comedy with a social comment that looks at a live-in relationship as practised by a small-town couple (Kartik Aryan-Kriti Sanon). Utekar effectively captures the small-town vibe in the visuals and offers many a zany character in the ensemble cast. To Utekar’s credit, Pankaj Tripathi as a nosy relative is a veritable laugh riot, offering us an affirmation of the comic aspects of this noted thespian’s well-stocked acting arsenal.

Sujoy Ghosh

Sujoy Ghosh deserves kudos, first and foremost for steering national treasure Amitabh Bachchan into yet another astounding triumph in a pivotal role at the ripe age of 76! Fortunately, however, Ghosh’s Badla also scores in other areas besides Bachchan’s knockout performance. In this Indianised adaptation of the Spanish thriller, The Invisible Guest, the director nimbly orchestrates a cat-and mouse game between a murder-accused (a correctly enigmatic Taapsee Pannu) and her hotshot lawyer (Amitabh Bachchan) that uncovers multiple layers of intrigue. Ghosh’s revenge thriller is a cerebral exploration of the classic locked room mystery. The director tantalisingly reveals that the two protagonists are hiding secrets from each other as the film races to a climax which keeps both: the brain and pulse, racing.


Previous Issues

june 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 01, 2020
February 01, 2020
January 01, 2020
DS 1st Dec 2019
November 01, 2019
October 01, 2019
September 01, 2019
August 01, 2019
June 01, 2019
May 01, 2019
April 01, 2019
March 01, 2019
DS - Feb 2019
DS - Jan 2019
DS - Dec 2018 - Vol. 10 - Issue 12
DS - November 2018 - Vol. 10 - Issue 11
DS - October 2018 - Vol. 10 - Issue 10