Oscars 2017: Five films that are a better pick than MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Sarbjit
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the long list of 336 films eligible for the Oscar in the Best Film Category. Out of the 114 feature films that released this year, only two Indian films have made it to the list and we are quite taken aback by the selection - Neeraj Pandey's cricket biopic MS Dhoni: The Untold Story and Omung Kumar's Sarbjit.
While we suspect that this is going to boost the trend of making biopics, we also believe that these were not the finest work by the Indian filmmakers this year. MS Dhoni: The Untold Story might be the second biggest grosser of the year and Sarbjit might have been lauded for the sensitive portrayal of the titular character by Randeep Hooda, there were various other contenders that were more worthy of selection in the long list of the Oscars.
Here are our five picks that we believe could have replaced either of the two biopics as India's representation in the long list of Oscar contenders:
Aligarh is not only exceptionally scripted and edited but the nuanced portrayal of a homosexual professor by Manoj Bajpayee made the film even more compelling. The beauty of the film rests in its silent moments which bring out the contrast of how silence can be both a soothing balm and an excruciating pain at the same time.
Yet another biopic, this film did not resort to VFX or high-octane drama to make itself heard. It appeared less synthetic owing to its one-shot sequences and the rehearsed-yet-effortless performances of the supporting cast. The claustrophobia and uncertainty of being on board a hijacked plane was palpable courtesy the atmosphere envisioned and created by the director Ram Madhavi.
This slice-of-life drama was anything but overtly dramatic. The treatment was subtle and the performances, understated. The viewer could experience the myriad range of emotions that the lead actors Kalki Koechlin and Naseeruddin Shah's characters were undergoing throughout the film. The hint of pain latent in their half smiles spoke volumes of the inner turmoil the two faced in spite of pulling up a brave front. The cliffhanger ending of the film justified the title to its core and left the viewers waiting for more.
Kapoor & Sons
This family drama deserved a selection merely for the universe it transported us into. It felt like a world that we were visiting as guests or as a distant member of the extended family of the Kapoors. We connected to each character, in their insecurities, in their guilty pleasures and in their desperation.
The fact that almost all the characters were grey was a reassurance of our imperfections, and the film helped us to embrace them with open arms. It was a technically sound film as well, as every aspect was on point, from the make-up to the cinematography in natural light.
This psychological thriller brought to life the horrors of agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces. But it did not project the patient, played by the unbelievably talented Radhika Apte, in a sympathetic light. Rather, it empowered her. In crime thrillers, the viewer wants to unravel the mystery and works towards the solution along with the protagonist.
However, Phobia turned the tables as the viewer was at the edge of the seat cursing the protagonist not to venture into the unknown and hoping that she remains at a safe distance from her risky adventures. The horror was real.
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story and Sarbjit were certainly not the finest of Hindi cinema this year.
Updated Date: Dec 23, 2016 15:17:54 IST