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2014 In Review — Blog

Toronto Film Festival ends with The Imitation Game grabbing big award

The much-heralded Toronto International Film Festival announced award winners from the 39th Festival on Sunday. Here’s a list of the winners.

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Oscars 2014: Did the Academy get their nominations right?

American Hustle and Gravity may have notched up 10 nominations apiece, but seeing films like Her and Philomena get their due means that the Academy has done its bit. But there’s always Oscar night to undo all the hard work, writes Dean Williams. [Read more…]

The Rising Stars of 2014

Debutant actors understand that they are not yet in a position to dictate terms to the ‘powerful’ superstars. Will the superstars continue to call the shots the way they do? Or will production houses bank on good writers, scripts and have new talent showcase their presence on the Bollywood landscape? Here is hoping 2014 will have emerging talent that will show the way forward. Look out for these fresh face

Siddhant Kapoor – After working as an assistant director and a DJ, Shakti Kapoor’s son Siddhant will be seen in Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly.

Tiger Shroff – Tiger has already been making news as a health and body-building advisor for Aamir Khan in Dhoom 3, he will be seen in Shabbir Khan’s Heropanti co-starring alongside newcomer Kirti Sanon.

Sooraj Pancholi – Suraj Pancholi was involved in the Jiah Khan suicide controversy. And now, word is out that Pancholi Junior is all set to make his Bollywood debut in Subhash Ghai’s Hero remake.

Harshavardhan Kapoor – Like father and sister, another Kapoor to join Bollywood is Anil Kapoor’s youngest Harshvardhan. He will be seen in Mirza Shiba directed by Rakeysh Ompraksh Mehra’s.

Bilal Amrohi – Salman has launched many young stars. This time it’s the grandson of Kamaal Amrohi, Bilal will have Salman as his godfather as he steps into Bollywood.

Athiya  Shetty – A film-making and liberal arts major from New York Film Institute, Athiya Shetty will be seen along with Suraj Pancholi in Hero.

Nicole Faria – Miss India Earth and brand ambassador for Frédérique Constant Geneve, after her reign as a beauty queen Nicole is all set to appear on screen with Yaarian, a romance adventure film directed by Divya Khosla

Daisy Shah – Former assistant choreographer for Ganesh Acharya, Daisy has acted in several Tamil and Kannada films. She will be seen along with Salman Khan in Jai Ho.

Ariana Ayam – Hailing from Afghanistan, she landed a role in a short film while working at a Grapich design studio in New York. She will be seen along with debutant Adhayan Suman in Heartless.

Kriti Sanon – An accomplished Kathak dancer and model, Kriti will be seen opposite Tiger Shroff in the upcoming film Heropanti directed by Sabbir Khan.

The Best Indian Documentaries of 2013

Here’s a list of the top documentaries made in India this year

Beyond Bollywood

Marking 100 years of Indian cinema this year, The Beyond Bollywood Project follows four people and their behind-the-scenes lives in Bollywood. Shot over four years, this film is a dedication to the industry’s unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes. Ruchika Munchchala and Adam Dow are the filmmakers behind this intriguing and insightful journey that tells a story of what it takes to make it in the world’s largest film industry.

Rajula – A tale from the Himalayas

Based on the folk tale Rajula Malushahi, Nitin Tiwari’s tale from the Himalayas portrays the lead character Rajula’s relationships as a father, lover and brother. The narrative tries to find a connect between the old and the new generation.

When Hari Got Married

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam follow Hari, a 30-year-old taxi driver’s simple story of arranged marriage and courtship as the audience acquaint themselves with Hari’s uncomplicated worldview and see just how traditional most of India still is. Credit goes to the filmmakers who did not milk the story for highlighting issues that plague rural India. It’s a rom-com documentary made all the more poignant because it’s real.

Menstural Man

Amit Virmani’s documentary follows school drop-out Mruruganantham, India’s improbable champion of affordable feminine hygiene. This controversial film has featured on various international media including CNN and BBC and been included in women studies curriculums in more than 90 universities across the world.

Katiya Baaz

If you’ve never lived in Kanpur where the electricity supply is inconsistent at best, then this film by Deepti Kakkar and Fahad Mustafa is an eye-opener. The story chronicles the clash between Loha Singh, a Robin Hood-style power thief who claims to be the best in the business, and Ritu Maheshwari, a government official determined to stop power theft in the industrial town of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The 84-minute movie had been screened at the Berlin and Tribeca film festivals before appearing at the Mumbai Film Festival in October 2013.

Faith Connections

Pan Nalin’s documentary follows the stories of sadhus, policemen, people and children during the biggest Indian pilgrimage, the Kumbh Mela. The film does not lecture the audience on faith and religion, but captures the vastness of the Mela and the enormity of the number of people who attend it.

Beyond All Boundaries

Cricket is India’s national obsession. Kunal Nayyar’s Beyond All Boundaries follows three cricket fanatics, 30-year-old Sudhir Kumar, 12-year-old Prithvi Kumar, and Akshaya Surve an aspiring female cricketer, for whom the sport is a life-line. The film also received good coverage at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival.

An American In Madras

Karan Bali’s documentary is a peek into Tamil Cinema history. The 80-minute documentary traces the works and life of director Ellis Roderick Dungan who made some outstanding work between the 1930s and the 1950s. This documentary is a celluloid statement on the creative challenges E.R. Dungan faced and how he overcame them.

The Top 10 Actresses of 2013


Forget the actors, this was the year of stunning performances by women in English films. Here are the top 10:

Sandra Bullock in Gravity

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine

Judi Dench in Philomena

Emma Thomson in Saving Mr Banks

Kate Winslet in Labor Day

Carey Mulligan in Inside Llewyn Davis

Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle

Meryl Streep in August: Osage County

June Squibb in Nebraska

Julianne Moore in Don Jon

The Top 10 Films of 2013


From a balding huckster and an aging alcoholic to a man seeking his freedom, 2013 has been a great year for films. Here are the top 10.

American Hustle

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Director: David O Russell

Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams

Plot: A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey power-brokers and mafia.

Dallas Buyers Club

Genre: Drama

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner

Plot: In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.

12 Years a Slave

Genre: Historical drama

Director: Steve McQueen

Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender

Plot: Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, the New York State citizen who was kidnapped and made to work on a plantation in New Orleans in the 1800s. Steve McQueen directs from a script he co-wrote with John Ridley, based in part by Northup’s memoir. Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, and Paul Giamatti co-star.


Genre: Drama

Director: Stephen Frears

Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan

Plot: A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman’s search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.

Blue Jasmine

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin

Plot: A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn’t bringing money, peace, or love…


Genre: Sci-fi thriller

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Plot: Gravity is a 2013 3D science-fiction thriller and space drama film directed, co-written, co-produced and co-edited by Alfonso Cuarón. The film stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts involved in the mid-orbit destruction of a space shuttle and their attempt to return to Earth.

Sound City

Genre: Documentary

Director: Dave Grohl

Plot: Sound City is a 2013 documentary film produced and directed by Dave Grohl, in his directorial debut, about the history of recording studio Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, Los Angeles.


Genre: Drama

Director: Alexander Payne

Cast: Bruce Dern, Will Forte

Plot: Director Alexander Payne takes the helm for this black and white road trip drama starring Bruce Dern as a tempestuous Missouri father who’s convinced he’s won a million dollar magazine sweepstakes, and Will Forte as the son who grudgingly agrees to drive him to Nebraska to claim his winnings.


Genre: Documentary

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Plot: Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity.


Genre: Comedy/Drama

Director: Spike Jonze

Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams

Plot: A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

Top Bollywood Actresses Of 2013


Anushka Sharma

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

Sonakshi Sinha


Nimrat Kaur

The Lunchbox

Kalki Kochelin

Ek Thi Daayan

Vidya Balan


Parineeti Chopra

Shudd Desi Romance

Huma Qureshi


Mahi Gill

Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns

Shruti Hassan

Ramaiya Vastavaiya 

Kareena Kapoor


Top 10 Songs Of 2013


Sari Ke Fall Sa – R…Rajkuma

Director: Prabhu Deva

Music Director: Pritam

Singers: Antara Mitra, Nakash Aziz

Talaiva Tribute/Lungi Dance – Chennai Express

Director: Rohit Shetty

Music Directors: Vishal-Sekhar

Singers: Yo Yo Honey Singh

Sawaarloon – Loteera

Director: Vikramaditya Motwane

Music Director: Amit Trivedi

Singers: Monali Thakur

Mera Mann Kehne laga – Nautanki Saala

Director: Rohan Sippy

Music Director: Falak Shabir

Singers: Falak Shabir

Tum Tak – Raanjhnaa

Director: Anand L Rai

Music Director: A R Rahman

Singers: Javed Ali, Keerthi Sagathia & Pooja AV

Manjah – Kai Poche

Director: Abhishek Kapoor

Music Director: Amit Trivedi

Singers: Amit Trivedi & Mohan Kanan

Tere Mere Beech Mein – Shuddh Desi Romance

Director: Maneesh Sharma

Music Directors: Sachin-Jigar

Singers: Sunidhi Chauhan & Mohit Chauhan

Dilli Waali Girlfriend – Yeh Jawani Han Deewani

Director:Ayan Mukharji

Music Director: Pritam

Singers: Arijit Singh & Sunidhi Chauhan

Khooni Monday – Go Goa Gone

Directors: Raj Nidimoru & Krishna D.K

Music Director: Sachin – Jigar

Singers: Arjun Kanungo, Suraj Jagan & Priya Panchal

The Top 10 Indian Actors Of The Year


Here is our list of Indian actors who proved they were exemplary exponents of their craft

Ranbir Kapoor

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

Ranbir Kapoor swept audiences off their feet with his flamboyant charm as Bunny in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.

Ranveer Singh Bhavani

Ram Leela

Ranveer Singh as the coarse, nonchalant and crude Ram saved in Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Ram Leela. Though  the film failed impress audiences Ranveer Singh left a lasting impression with some fine acting.

Akshay Kumar

Special 26

Akshay impressed audiences as well as critics with his amazing performance in Special 26.

Farhaan Akthar

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Actor-cum-director Farhan Akhtar proved with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag that he is here to stay as an auteur.

Sushaanth Singh Rajput

Kao Po Che and Shuddh Desi Romance

Sushaanth Singh Rajput first in Kao Po Che and later with Shuddh Desi Roamnce showed he had screen presence and with the right scripts can become an actor to look out for.

Irfaan Khan

The Lunch Box

Irrfan Khan delivered a  superlative performance in the Lunch Box that left moviegoers speechless.

John Abraham

Madras Cafe

John Abraham’s performance in Madras Cafe ably silenced his critics.

Hrithik Roshan


Hrithik Roshan as the brooding Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in Agneepath,  set hearts and the box office on fire.

Shah Rukh Khan

Chennai Express

SRK, with his rare ability to laugh at himself made Chennai Express a great film.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui

The Lunch Box

Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s humorous portrayal of a middle-class office goer in Lunch Box was phenomenal.

Aamir Khan

Dhoom 3

Most will agree that Amir Khan has outgrown boyish roles. In Dhoom 3, though people did not like his evil side, his performance was one of the year’s best.

The Best of World Cinema


Viva La Libertà

Language: Italian

Director: Roberto Andò

Cast: Toni Servillo, Valerio Mastandrea, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Michela Cescon. Il

Synopsis: Viva La Libertà takes a dig at Italy’s political system. The film, released just a week before the election, begins when the leader of Italy’s opposition party drops out of sight and is replaced by his bipolar identical twin, fresh from the madhouse. Anchored by Toni Servillo’s usual consummate performance(s), this winking critique of Italian politics offers several pleasurable digs at the establishment, though its staid craftsmanship and general lack of vitriol don’t provide the bite most politically-inclined auds will expect.

Night Train to Lisbon

Language: German and Portuguese

Director: Bille August

Cast: Jeremy Irons, Mélanie Laurent, Jack Huston

Synopsis: Night Train to Lisbon is about Raimund, a Latin teacher and an ancient languages expert. We see how his life changes when he saves a young woman on a bridge in the Swiss city of Bern, from jumping to her death. The woman disappears, but she leaves her coat behind. Raimund finds inside the coat a book by a Portuguese doctor, which contains a train ticket. He then sets off on a journey to Lisbon. While looking for the author, Raimund revisits a dark chapter in the country’s history and unveils a tragic love triangle.

Venus in Fur

Language: French

Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric

Synopsis: The film is based on the eponymous American play. The play itself was based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novel Venus in Furs.  Venus in Fur is about a playwright Thomas. Thomas mourns the poor performances of the actresses who auditioned for his play. Once he has given up and is about to leave the theatre, a woman who claims to be actress Vanda arrives and convinces him to let her read for the part. Thomas’s surprised how Vanda is sensitive to the character and knows every line by heart. As the audition progresses, the intensity is doubled and the attraction Thomas feels for Vanda turns into obsession.

La Grande Bellezza

Language: Italian

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Cast: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Buccirosso,

Synopsis: The film is about an elderly socialite, Jep Gambardella. He used to be a famous novelist in his twenties. Now, he only happens to write cultural columns and throw parties in Rome. After his 65th birthday party, he takes a walk through the ruins and city streets, and reflects upon his life, his first love and sense of unfulfillment. So will he be able to get back to his writing?

Vis À Vis

Language: Croatian

Director: Nevio Marasovic

Cast: Rakan Rushaidat, Janko Volaric Popovic, Kresimir Mikic

Synopsis: It centers on a film director and his lead actor trying to bond on an isolated island in winter.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour

Language: French

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux

Synopsis: It is romantic story about a lesbian couple Adèle and Emma. The film is an adaptation of a graphic novel by Julie Maroh. The emotions are intense, cataclysmic and unforgettable.

The Golden Cage

Language: Spanish

Director: Diego Quemada-Diez

Cast: Karen Martínez, Brandon Lopez, Rodolfo Dominguez

Synopsis: The film is about three Guatemalan teenagers and their attempts to cross the Mexico-US border. The name of the film has been taken from the Mexican ballad, Jaula de Oro, which is about the despair of Mexicans who have actually made it to the US.

Paradise: Hope

Language: Austrian

Director: Ulrich Seidl

Cast: Melanie Lenz, Joseph Lorenz, Michael Thomas, Vivian Bartsch, Johanna Schmid

Synopsis: This is the final film in Seidl’s Paradise trilogy. The film is about Hope – Melanie, the 13-year-old daughter of the first film’s protagonist and niece of the second film’s subject.


Language: Dutch

Director: Alex van Warmerdam

Cast: Alex van Warmerdam, Annet Malherbe

Synopsis: It narrates the tale of Borgman. Her arrival in the tree-lined avenues of an exclusive residential area marks the beginning of a series of bizarre events centred around a wealthy couple, their three children and their nanny.

Child’s Pose

Language: Romanian

Director: Călin Peter Netzer

Cast: Vlad Ivanov

Synopsis: It is about a 60-year-old woman Cornelia and her 34-year-old son, Barbu. Barbu tries to lead an independent life. However, he lands up in trouble and is saved by his mother. From then on  Cornelia expects Barbu to once again become the dependent child he was before. A still traumatized Barbu just does that. The film explores this grey area between motherly love and self-serving manipulation.